When you visit any website: a blog, a complex e-commerce platform, or a corporate website, it’s highly possible that it was built using WordPress. WordPress has been around since 2003. This vastly popular CMS (Content Management System) is used by 34.2% of all websites, including 14.7% of the top 100 websites on the Internet. No wonder that WordPress developers are in constant demand. The problem is, it’s not always easy to define their skill requirements.
First of all, they have to know both back-end and front-end. In addition to that, they should also be familiar with User Experience principles, design, and even SEO skills. To add to the confusion, there are people who claim they are WordPress developers despite lacking technical skills. They can install WP on a server, customize templates, add relevant plugins, edit content, maintain updates – all with little or no coding skills. In this article about WordPress developer salary, we focus on developers with strong programming skills. That said, the average salaries provided by popular services (PayScale, Glassdoor, Indeed) reflect the salary levels of both groups.
The skills behind an average WordPress developer salary
In order to hire outstanding WordPress developers, it’s crucial to understand their skill sets and the main scope of work. Specific duties depend on employers or projects, but some core tasks are common to all WP developers, including:
- Back-end development. WordPress developers are responsible for the work that happens on the server-side, which means they control how the website works. WordPress is built in PHP so a WP developer should know this programming and scripting language. However, having experience with Java, ASP or Perl is also a plus. WordPress developers should also have experience with MySQL database.
- Creating plug-ins and themes. WordPress is a Content Management System with an enormous library of themes and plug-ins that add additional functionalities to the themes. Thanks to that, WordPress can be used by millions of people with limited or no technical skills. Developing themes and plug-ins may be the main task of a WordPress developer.
- Conducting client training. Although WordPress is intuitive and easy to use, it requires some training to edit content and customize themes. Teaching clients how to do it can also be a factor affecting a WordPress web developer salary.
An average WordPress developer salary
As you can see, the skill set of a WP developer can be very broad but its level also varies depending on how much a developer has to write from scratch and how many additional functions they need to perform. This all has to be taken under consideration in salary negotiations.
According to PayScale, an average WordPress developer salary stands at $49,606 per year.
Glassdoor gives a higher average salary which is $61,083 per year.
The average WordPress web developer salary provided by Indeed sits between the salaries reported by PayScale and Glassdoor. It stands at $52,623 per year.
An average junior WordPress developer salary
The salary that a junior WordPress developer earns is not much lower than the average salary as you might expect.
PayScale shows that a junior WordPress developer salary stands at $41,765 per year.
According to Glassdoor, it’s slightly higher and stands at $48,144 per year. However, the data is based on 432 salaries which may not be representative of the entire industry in the United States.
Freelance WordPress developer salary
WordPress developer is a popular job among freelancers and digital nomads. Although the majority of web developers still work daily from the office, a growing number of companies prefer outsourcing and hiring freelance developers to cut some costs or to look for talent in a global pool. Although making all the expectations clear is crucial in every recruitment process, it’s even more important when hiring freelancers with whom you won’t share an office and possibly face some cultural differences. Don’t forget to present your company and its background, a detailed scope of work, all the important technical specifications, brand guidelines, time, and budget.
According to UpWork, which is a leading global freelancing marketplace, an average freelance WordPress developer salary stands at between $20 and $100 per hour. To compare, the average hourly rate of a web WordPress developer provided by PayScale is $19.58 and it’s $26.10 according to Indeed. With these numbers in mind, hiring freelancers doesn’t sound like cutting costs. That said, the hourly rates of freelancers that often work on small projects and the hourly rates of regulars shouldn’t be compared this way.
Other skills affecting a WordPress developer salary
As you already know, a WordPress developer’s list of tasks can be broad and vary depending on the employer, industry, and project. Both front-end and back-end programming skills are fundamental, but there are other useful skills that make an impact on the salary. For example:
- UX/UI. Familiarity with the principles of User Experience and designing user-friendly interfaces is a big asset in a WordPress developer’s portfolio.
- Web design. Especially in startups and SMEs, it’s desirable to hire a WordPress developer with Photoshop skills and strong aesthetic judgment.
- SEO. Although Search Engine Optimization is usually associated with marketers and copywriters, an important part of it is connected to the web and mobile optimization, how fast the website loads, how clearly it is structured, etc. These are often tasks that affect WordPress web developer salary.
Despite many professionals looking for a job as a WordPress developer, the recruitment process may be a challenge because the role is broad and may be understood differently. Setting clear expectations as well as the right screening and recruitment process are the keys to success.
Before you go
We also have other great resources devoted to a software developer salary, such as: