According to Google Trends, WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. More than 76 million websites are created using WordPress, which is approximately 20 percent of the World Wide Web. Its broad application, incredibly active community, constant development, and impeccable versatility are just some of the things that make it stand out. Of course, the fact that WordPress is an open source piece of software has a lot to do with this uprise as well.
Most people involved in the IT sector are well aware of most of these facts. The far more interesting question is: what happens to the user after he or she starts learning WordPress? What skills can you develop using this piece of software? How can it help you grow as a professional in this tough economy? Let’s figure it out.
Basic coding skills application
One of the greatest WP traits is that it requires very little to no coding skills. However, it is natural that after some time, you will start to get intrigued by the possibilities. The most common scenarios when this first encounter will happen are usually related to some plug-in issues or theme modifying. Owing to WP forums and similar resources, you can find the solution to many simpler problems and have your first experience with coding right there. While you can create a fully functional WordPress website without touching the code, actually grasping the code options gives you access to more possibilities and more control over your projects.
Victoria Kushner, a blog editor at Freemake, told about her skills development:
“When I just started my blogging career I knew so few about plugins, widgets, theme customization, etc. Thank God, WordPress allowed me to learn all these in an effortless way. Now I feel more confident managing the whole blogging machine for my company. I can easily add new features to my blog or improve user engagement.”
Managing project scope
The problem most young developers face is anticipating the project scope, cost and time of development. Not getting this right can lead to losing the client’s trust, exceeding your budget and ultimately losing money. WordPress, being that it is fairly simple, will help you manage this one on a smaller scale.
Bill Erickson, a professional WP developer, when asked about this, had this to say:
”The short answer is: keep the projects simple enough where this isn’t an issue. I require finalized designs and a scope document (which I write) that describes all the functionality. If the request isn’t in one of these, it’s outside of scope and extra. I’ll usually throw simple things in, but I try to be as clear as possible so I can reserve the right to draw the line once they go too far.”
Web design skills
Working with WordPress is not all about the backend. Getting a website up on its feet by using WordPress, although it may seem simple, requires some familiarity with current standards and trends in web design, an understanding of design based on website functionality, and the ability to adapt the design so it is logical and intuitive for every individual that lands on it. Although the whole process is very similar to a puzzle game (playing with different elements to create a whole), there is quite a bit of difference when comparing something that has been done by a seasoned professional and something done by a novice.
Steve Krug, a guru of web usability, probably said it best:
“The problem is there are no simple “right” answers for most Web design questions (at least not for the important ones). What works is good, integrated design that fills a need—carefully thought out, well executed, and tested.”
The way you compose the frontend is most emphasized with e-commerce websites since, if done right, it can lower the bounce rate and increase conversion and a lot of other things. But, you need experience in order to be able to recognize the more important factors and get them right!
Learning to blog from the blogging platform
Even though WP is much more than a blogging platform, you still need to appreciate its roots. If you attempt to make money using WordPress, your first couple of projects are bound to be simple blogs that are going to be pretty easy to set up. Still, the blogosphere is a very important aspect of IT, and if you aspire to become a well-recognized IT professional, then you will need to become a part of it.
Jamie Forshey, an instructional technology coach at Bellwood-Antis School District stated:
“Knowing how to utilize tools like WordPress allows users to share ideas and content with others via a blog and/or web site. Connecting and collaborating with a worldwide audience and building a PLN (personal learning network) through an online presence are necessary skills for the digital age in which we live, especially for students preparing for a career as an IT specialist.”
This is something you need not devote a bulk of your time to at the beginning but, down the road, the importance of it will become a bit more obvious. An online presence creates new learning opportunities as well as helps you establish yourself as an expert in a certain field. There is no room for anonymity in the IT sector, you need to be there and you need to be active.
Overall, WordPress is worth studying, regardless of your degree or planned major. It provides many invaluable skills, which can definitely raise your prestige as an all-around professional. So, keep on mastering WordPress!
Terry Smith is a former IT teacher from Geneva. Now Terry is a freelance blogger and part-time developer. Terry loves writing about educational technology and useful tools and tips for educators and students. Follow Terry on Twitter.