How New WordPress Developers Can Progress Faster?

Posted on July 9, 2013 by
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New users just starting with the exciting world of WordPress would likely try to reach out to more experienced, developers, designers, security specialists. Newbies typically need a good dose of guidance and encouragement to survive and stay motivated. Unlike other online platforms, WordPress is blessed with a solid community blessed filled with active contributors from many parts of the world. There are so many things to learn and being a part of this large community is a mutually beneficial relationship, since new users can eventually give back as they are building experience and skills. There are many opportunities for them to get involved. New developers can regularly check out chatters between many experienced professionals in forums and blogs. Just by listening, they can understand decisions typically made during a development project and it often proves useful to follow specific professionals who are the actual project leaders. Some of these developers still use IRC and one good way to learn is by using the Codex in WordPress.org. While new developers don’t have the skills needed to fix problems published by others in the Codex, they can still observe how others do that.

It is necessary for new users to check their surroundings, since they can’t fully take advantage of the community without identifying key players in the community. Learning the community is actually a part of learning WordPress itself. They should be willing to allocate enough time to familiarize themselves with the community, even if it doesn’t bring direct monetary gain in return. New developers can actually find a spot in the community by open-sourcing their piece of code and distributing it. A very common method is by creating themes and writing plugins for distribution in GitHub or the WordPress repository. This helps them gradually gain respect from fellow developers and other community members. They will get new ideas and feedback, which will contribute immensely to their learning process.

Learning Properly

Advices WordPress newbies get typically revolve around learning, which encompass everything from establishing their first WordPress installation to working with the actual PHP and CSS codes. WordPress’ way of learning is typically less formal and more about practical instructions to achieve results faster. The community purposely breaks specific formal learning pattern and members can typically walk away with elegant solutions to their problems.

One good way to familiarize ourselves with a new thing is by tinkering it, which is by taking stuff apart and putting everything back together. Newbies should be curious what’s inside the belly of WordPress and figure everything out for themselves. It’s a good idea to set up a new WordPress site for test purposes and experimentation. They can try out plugins and themes without worrying about running the live site. They can also read codes of the themes and plugins in them to see whether positive changes can be added. WordPress is a dynamic open-source platform and newbies should consider everything they read is rigid rules. It is important to get rid of our inhabitations by installing local development environments, such as XAMPP for Windows and MAMP for Macs. These tools allow newbies to build something worthwhile. Too many new developers try to get everything perfectly right the first time, but everyone makes mistakes and we can learn much faster by making mistakes along the way.

We should be aware that WordPress is changing course continuously. While it’s traditionally considered as a content management system for websites, many have considered it as a platform for online apps. Today, we can safely WordPress as a CMS with rich framework for developing great online applications. It will take time for newbies to understand its simple, yet versatile architecture. By challenging themselves to apply WordPress outside of the box, new developers can open up a whole exciting new world.

New developers can actually get paid to learn by taking a freelance project. Some local clients may have simpler requirements, allowing newbies to apply their skill without compromising the overall quality of the website. In the end, new developers would acquire new skills and get paid for the completion of the project. During the learning process, eventually new developers need to find a focus, since people tend to do better if they can find a niche and master it. Specialization can bring huge benefits. Developers will know a specific part of codebase in detail and make things perform better, so getting more specialized can mean making more money. Expertise often leads to better reputation, which allows developers to charge more for their specialized services. The WordPress community would be a dull place if everyone is core developers and there are huge opportunities for designers, plugin builders, content providers, security specialists, marketers, SEO experts, entrepreneurs and others.

Reading Properly

There’s so much information associated with WordPress and it can be hard to decide where to look. WordPress.org is without doubt a great place to start, since the Codex and forums are amazing resources for understanding and learning how the CMS works. Before starting to ask questions, newbies should read everything they can in Codex, while the forum is filled with more practical solutions. There are also plenty of opportunities to get advices outside of the WordPress.org, since numerous websites publish tutorials to help us achieve specific goals. However, WordPress has a relatively fast release cycle, so some of the code snippets and tutorials could already be rather outdated. Some of the information may still be legitimate, but can cause confusion due to changes and improvements applied to the latest WordPress versions.

People don’t actually “read” tutorials, since they typically scan the documentation for a specific piece of information. Consequently, writers of documentation and tutorials should be able to encourage people to read and add updates whenever possible.

New developers shouldn’t just be reading the Codex and other online tutorials. They should read the actual codes to get them into a faster track on becoming experts. While documentation explains what specific codes are supposed to do, the codes tell us how things can be accomplished. By poking around codes, newbies can easily find things that are helpful and gain valuable information for future tasks. New developers can start out by opening the code files and read them. They should get an idea how APIs work, what functions are available and basically, what is going on internally. A huge challenge would be to get an idea how the codes work, so developers can alter their behaviors. Among the first thing developers should learn is to grasp basic concepts, such as filters and actions.

Writing Properly

After spending some amount of time learning and reading about WordPress, newbies can start to write to explain what they have learned to other people. This is a very good way of learning about the platform. After gaining some knowledge about this subject, newbies can have the opportunity to break the information down and explain it to people. Personal blogs are good platform to publish early writings about WordPress. First, newbies can explain basics of WordPress and on subsequent posts; they can explain how they found a solution to a specific WordPress problem. This way, even newbies can help out others who face a similar problem. It is a good think that blogs, in particular WordPress-powered blogs, are equipped with a feedback loop, which allows readers to voice their opinions.

Because some of their earlier posts could be incorrect, newbies should invite people in the community to read their posts and correct any mistake. Many beginners find it comfortable to release their codes to the public, since the WordPress community is helpful enough and members don’t make fun of a coding mistake. In the end, even blogs with basic information can still be helpful to the community, because more than a few dozens of new users will read them and gain some valuable knowledge.

Building Things Properly

Learning about WordPress is fun, but building things can make us feel even better. If new developers want to maintain a sustainable learning pace, it is surely worth putting some effort into building new things. It would be quite easy to search for sample codes online, so new developers can copy specific snippets to their projects. By learning to build things, developers can also spot bad codes from good one. It’s also important for them to prevent bad codes from free online sources find their way into the website. It’s a good habit to include comments in the code to specify good ones and outdated ones. For developers, a little bit of additional understanding could go a very long way. They should take things and plan their websites slowly, so they can understand everything along the way.

Setting an Ideal Learning Pace

When building their first WordPress-based websites, it is important for developers not to rush in and attempt to master so many things at once. It can be quite overwhelming trying to build a comprehensive website. New developers shouldn’t try to master plugin development, theme design, community building and SEO, before they even begin creating content effectively. They should keep up momentum and set small achievable goal.

Just because developers can do so many different things with WordPress-based blogs, it doesn’t mean that they need to do everything at once. There are a zillion of 3rd party plugins and themes that developers can immediately use to save time. Their first priority should be to make the website easy for users to read and use. Any clutter added may detract users from specific messages. They should remember that websites are designed to deliver messaged and it is important to keep the audience in mind.

Web developers can start small and make a good foundation. Any website should be built with thought. If developers use ugly permalinks from the start, changing them later can have more serious consequences. It is impossible to know the future, but it’s still possible to make sensible assumptions. Developers create a hard list of everything they need and sometimes it’s good to be initially hard with ourselves.

Choosing Available Resources

When starting out with WordPress, it is easy to be stupefied at how such a versatile platform can be completely free. Newbies often get overexcited with all the free themes and plugins out there. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that just because they are free, it doesn’t mean that they are good and useful. There are some paid stuff as well, but that doesn’t guarantee that they are good either. With a bit of research, we can easily identify secure, powerful and useful resources, while setting aside poor quality ones. Newbies shouldn’t rush into installing anything right away and if possible, they should get others to help them choosing the right ones. Google is an unreliable platform for finding themes and plugins; so it’s a good idea to get them directly from WordPress.org or reputable theme websites. The WordPress repositories come with a reliable rating system, which can make it easier to choose what we should install on the website. Before choosing themes and plugins, it is necessary to focus on what we want to achieve and find proper tools to achieve that. With clear goals, we can easily sift through all the available resources out there.

By using available resources, developers can save plenty of time. They may no longer need to build their own theme, code new plugins and write custom functionality for clients. There are already many useful codes out there and they are free to use. WordPress is an open-source ecosystem, so developers can immediately build upon others code when necessary. Developers should look for things that others have completed and find ways to improve them. To assist new designers, there are tons of stripped down themes out there that can be expanded with various custom options. WordPress is full of expandable and extensible solutions, which can potentially deliver much more values to users.

There are also a bunch of APIs that can make our life easier and they can prevent developers from writing code unnecessarily. WordPress delivers ways to handle the mechanics of internal logics and without APIs, developers could end up doing things improperly. As an example, developers can use WP_Rewrite API to modify the engines, remote request APIs to do AJAX requests and WP_Cron API to design job system. Also with HTTP API, we don’t need to file get_contents and use cURL. WordPress comes with a vast collection of resources, so it’s crazy to start writing new codes without checking out what’s available out there.

Finding Helps

There’s no shame in asking for help and even experts need a bit of assistance from time to time. Newbies shouldn’t be worried about asking dumb questions, since experts in the community would be happy to point them in the right direction.

It should be noted that much of the WordPress community is consisted of volunteers and they don’t get paid for their efforts. So, it’s advisable to be polite and nice. Before asking questions, newbies should take time to do their researches. Experienced volunteers would appreciate it if people take time to do so and it won’t help anyone saying that our websites have broken down, without making early diagnosis. Once they have acquired helps from others, developers should try to help out by answering questions from less experienced members.

Early on, newbies can identify potential mentors that can help them with many aspects of their activities, such as customer support, SEO, code scalability, security and others. While the WordPress community is made up of good people, offline relationships with fellow developers can also make all the difference. By working with mentors, developers are less likely to feel that they are out on their own.
There are numerous WordPress-related events held regularly by the community, two of them are WordCamps and Meetups. These are good opportunities to find helps offline and lern more about the platform. Wordcamps is a two-day conference, which is occasionally followed by a “development day”, during which many developers gather to discuss about latest issues in the community. Meetups is a smaller event, which lasts only a few hours with a couple of speakers. It is typically focused on specific issues or local geographical areas. On the other hand, Wordcamps are attended by people from across the country or even other countries. It’s always a good idea to go out and talk with fellow WordPress developers. These professionals often gather for a few hours after the event ends, so this is a perfect opportunity to meet people and get advices from them.

Conclusion

WordPress development is not a solitary task , since developers can interact with the community and respond to others. People will come to our website to read and share their opinion. New developers should jump in immediately and start earning. As they go, new developers can immediately learn what work with WordPress and what doesn’t. Too many wonderful concepts and ideas didn’t survive, because people were not motivated enough to make the first step. New developers shouldn’t be afraid about asking for helps, since WordPress is blessed with a welcoming community. One of the good first steps is by following renowned WordPress experts on Twitter, since they continue to offer advices on WordPress. Developers may also go to events, help out in forums and hang out in popular blogs. Even the most experienced WordPress professionals started out as beginners and with WordPress, it is easy to get far. All we need is enough enthusiasm, commitment and patience.

Author :

  • Subash