What skills should you look for in a WordPress developer?

By September 2, 2020 September 8th, 2020 Developer screening, Front end developer, HTML
WordPress developer skills

Whether you’re looking at your next hire or simply want to further yourself as a technical recruiter, it’s essential to understand the most valuable skills for a WordPress developer.

The high adoption rate of WordPress for the creation of business websites has resulted in the service’s market share of 35% of online content. For this reason, expertise in WordPress development is in high demand.

But what are some must-have skills to do well in the field?

With so many coding languages available, finding a suitable WordPress developer is challenging. But lucky for you, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you make sense of it all.

Wordpress developer

Source: Unsplash – Fikret Tozak

Essential web development and design programming skills

The most obvious experience you need as a WordPress web designer is proficiency in the main programming and markup languages of web design, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, and many others. This technical knowledge will serve as the foundation of any work a WordPress developer engages with.

HTML

Standing for Hypertext Markup Language, HTML defines the structure of a WordPress site. It’s a principle language of web development in general, and expertise in it implies an understanding of how a web page is composed.

Even if you use a “what you see is what you get” editor or a content management system, knowing HTML is still an essential skill, as it gives developers control over their work and offers a structured approach to web page modeling. 

CSS

Another cornerstone of web content is Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. In a nutshell, it defines the visual appearance of a WordPress website. Front-end web developers must understand it, though it’s not a high priority if you work in the back-end.

JavaScript

JavaScript controls the interactive elements of a website. Working alongside HTML and CSS, this language excels in front-end development and serves as the main component of web applications for adding dynamic interactive behaviour to web applications. Due to huge growth in popularity in recent years, there are various JavaScript frameworks and libraries that can be used for back-end development as well, making this a great skill in web developer toolbox.

SQL

Stands for Structured Query Language and is responsible for communication with databases in web applications. It is a crucial concept to understand as a backend developer. 

PHP

PHP is a language especially suited for web development. WordPress is built using it, among other popular platforms. It allows developers to connect the user interface with the database part of the application which makes PHP an integral part of a web application.

WordPress platform

Knowing not only how to install and set up a WordPress website but how to make it from scratch using WordPress features like themes and plugins is of great importance for developers that should offer elegant and customized solutions for clients. 

Essential web development and design programming skills

Source: Unsplash – Stephen Phillips

Business knowledge

Because WordPress is widely adopted as a commercial tool, some business experience helps too when it comes to developing with this content management system. From eCommerce marketing to digital security, it’s important to look for these skills the next time you hire a developer.

Sales and marketing

While a WordPress programmer probably won’t be handling the marketing work alone, knowing who a business’ customers are, what they want, and how to appeal to their preferences and needs is still useful knowledge for a web developer. Knowing this will allow developers to offer solutions that are in the best business interest of both clients and owners.

WordPress is a popular platform for eCommerce companies, and these organizations often take advantage of its themes, plugins, and other tools to boost their conversion rates.

Search engine optimization

Tying into marketing as mentioned above, look for developers who understand search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. The individual components of a webpage influence how well it is indexed by a search engine. It is quite important to keep in mind how web crawlers, indexing, meta tags, and sitemaps work while developing a website to optimize its exposure on search engines.

SEO ensures that your business becomes noticed in a vast ocean of competing websites and companies. Ensure that whoever you hire has experience in optimizing content and generating backlinks for SEO purposes. 

Mobile development

Customers are now browsing the web through mobile devices more than ever. There are a wide variety of screen resolutions and sizes to work with, and your WordPress site must support as many devices as possible to maximize accessibility. It is imperative for the developer to understand responsive design and to develop applications in this manner from the early stages.

Online security

Business sites are often the target of cybercriminals and hackers. Every WordPress developer should be aware of security problems in web applications and how to mitigate them. Knowing OWASP top ten security risks and understanding how to test applications for vulnerabilities can be of great help in avoiding any potential security problems.

Wordpress developer

Source: Unsplash – Stephen Phillips

A constructive mindset

Being a WordPress developer is more than just having the textbook knowledge. Approaching the field with the right attitude matters just as much. When you interview potential candidates to work in your business’s WordPress development initiative, try to find individuals who exemplify the following traits:

Business thought processes

Creating successful websites for companies requires sound business logic. For instance, what makes a business successful, and how can you reflect that in the WordPress sites you create? Find a developer who can show off what your company has to offer the best.

Willingness to learn

Web development is not a stagnant field in any sense; it’s constantly changing and evolving and you must keep up with any changes. Developers must know what the current trends in modern web design are and how to use them effectively for an appealing and responsive WordPress page.

In other words, look to hire individuals with an open mind to new technologies. HTML5, for instance, has seen massive adoption rates in recent years despite only being released a few years ago. A talented web dev can pick up on new tools quickly and willingly.

Teamwork

Effective teamwork is of great importance for web developers. They must communicate daily and work together closely to complete a project within a given timeframe and budget.

Keeping focus

Website projects require a lot of planning. To keep focus, developers must be able to set goals for themselves, split tasks into digestible parts, and stick to schedules and deadlines.

Knowledge of popular project management tools, version control systems, and software development methodologies can be very helpful for organizing and planning ahead in the best possible manner.

Because there are so many skills to learn in WordPress design, from plugins to templates, it might be beneficial to aim for specialized developers over “jack of all trades” ones. The former group often understand their workflows in more depth than the latter.

Openness to feedback

Ongoing testing and code reviews are a natural part of application development. Try to hire someone who can take constructive criticism effectively. Improvement through feedback is how all the most successful businesses deal with website design.

Knowing your own limits

While it may sound strange, you don’t want a WordPress developer who thinks he can do everything. The most experienced workers in this field often choose to offload certain tasks that aren’t in their specialties if necessary.

For instance, a developer qualified in financial matters may take on the accounting aspects of the project while another might just focus on the layout and design.

Wordpress developer

Source: Unsplash – Launchpresso

The Real Answer? It’s a mixture of it all

Every company wants to find the right WordPress developer. At the end of the day, talented developers will display a combination of hard programming skills, business sense, and understand the merits of best practices when it comes to UX/UI.

Web development and design are always evolving. Trends change, styles fade, and user behavior evolves. A solid WordPress developer will understand how to create consistent user experiences that keep up with change.