How to Start as an At-Home WordPress Developer

There are many perks to being an at-home web developer. You get the chance to work on a lot of different projects, often very interesting ones, and you also have the opportunity to set your own hours and live a much more flexible life than those who have to commute into an office.

However, because this job has these perks, you’re not alone in wanting to make a living doing it. This means there’s a bit of an entry barrier, and competition is tough. But since the whole world essentially exists online, once you make it, there’s plenty of work to go around. 

Knowing it’s a long road ahead can make it difficult to know how to even start, which we’re going to outline here. 

The first step is to commit to being a WordPress developer, as this is the number one content management system on the web, which you’ve already done. Here are the remaining things you need to do:

Get the Right Setup

Before you go ahead and invest a bunch of your time in becoming a WordPress developer. It’s important that you first get yourself properly set up to do the job you’re setting out to do. This means having a good computer that can handle everything you’re going to use it for. 

Make sure it has a solid processor — at least an i5 or equivalent — and plenty of RAM so that you won’t be slowed down when you have multiple windows and programs running at the same time. 

Also, equip yourself with a quality internet connection, and when you’re looking at different networks, make sure to look at upload speeds. 

You’re going to be sending a lot of information “up” towards web servers. If you have to pause and wait even just a few extra seconds every time you do this, you’ll slowly get frustrated, which will make the experience of learning to be and working as a WordPress developer much more unpleasant. 

Get Educated

Once you’ve got the right setup, it’s time to sit down and actually learn how to become a WordPress developer. You can do that by:

  • Teaching yourself by watching tutorial videos, reading blogs, and learning skills through trial and error. For those with the discipline and background to do it, this will save you a lot of money and may help you advance faster, but it’s likely going to be a bit more of an adventure.
  • Enrolling in an online tutorial. There are lots of web developers out there with courses and tutorials they’ve designed to help teach other developers and give them the tools they need to work in the field. They provide a nice mix between self-teaching and a more structured learning approach.
  • Taking a course/degree program. You probably won’t find many degrees in just WordPress development, but lots of universities, community colleges, and technical schools offer courses or certificate programs that give you a much more traditional path to becoming a developer. And depending on your interests, this approach can allow you to learn other areas of programming and coding, which could be useful for those with ambitions beyond WordPress and web development.

However, no matter which path you take, it’s important to remember that your learning never really stops. WordPress is an evolving platform that’s being updated and improved upon every day, and the community is constantly working on and distributing new and exciting plugins that improve the functionality of the platform and the sites that use it. 

Knowing what these are, as well as being able to understand broader issues in the WordPress world, will make you much more valuable as a developer and will make it easier for you to win and secure the best jobs. 

Start a Project and Build a Portfolio

Even while you’re still learning, it’s important you work to build a portfolio — a collection of your past work you can show to clients to prove to them you can do the job they’re offering. One of the best ways to do this is to just start a website early on in your training. 

As you go and learn more stuff, keep working on it so that by the time you finish whatever education program you’re in, you’ve got a finished product you can use to convince others of your skills. 

Another good thing to do is to start taking smaller, less complicated jobs early on by using one of the many sites freelancers use to find clients. 

Don’t shy away from offers that don’t fit your ideal image of a job because, until you have more of a portfolio, you probably won’t win these jobs anyway. It’s better to start doing projects, building relationships, and adding to your portfolio as soon as possible, as this is how you will start to win better clients who are offering more exciting, better paying work. 

Work Hard

If you’re starting from the very beginning, just know that you have a long road ahead of you. However, don’t let that scare you away. 

Working as a WordPress developer is interesting, rewarding work. Many of your clients will be entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for ways to make their dreams become reality, and this can be a ton of fun. Not to mention the perks of living such a flexible lifestyle. 

So, work hard, follow these steps, and stick with it. You’ll be glad you did!