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How to Become a Pro WordPress Custom Theme Developer 2024

become a pro WordPress custom theme developer

How can I become a pro WordPress custom theme developer? Is this what you are thinking at the moment? If yes, this is the perfect read for you.

WordPress is an incredible platform that provides you with super convenient, highly secure, and efficient tools to build your business websites. Nowadays, around 1.5 billion websites are operating in the digital market, out of which 30% are developed using WordPress technology. As far as the United States is concerned, the top 100 organizations have built WordPress sites to make their businesses stand out. It clearly highlights the importance of this domain.

WordPress development consists of different phases, i.e., core development (coding), theme development, and plugin development. This article specifically focuses on the theme development phase. Let’s get deeper into today’s discussion.

WordPress Developers: Responsibilities & Types

Before going into the details of WordPress custom theme development, let’s first understand what WordPress web developers do and what types they are categorized in.

Well, WordPress website developers, like other web developers, design and develop business websites to make the digital presence of various brands. They are supposed to create engaging designs and develop professional sites to grab customers’ attention and increase brand awareness. The core responsibilities of these developers include; front-end development, back-end development, testing, quality assurance, and publishing. In short, they handle everything from start to end. Let’s go through different types of WordPress web developers.

1. Core Development Experts

The individuals dealing with the WordPress core are called core developers. In simple words, they write codes or modify the existing ones to introduce the required changes. It means that they change the WordPress program as a whole. These developers are in high demand and earn decent amounts. According to Zip Recruiter’s survey, WordPress developers can make $66,561 a year in the US, which equals $32 per hour.

Core Development Experts

2. Plugin Developers

Plugins are tools or applications known for adding certain functionalities to your WordPress site. The professionals who build these applications are called plugin developers. They help introduce the desired set of functions you need for your business website. The average yearly income of plugin developers is slightly higher than WordPress developers. According to Zip Recruiter, WordPress plugin developers make $71,937 a year in the United States. It is equal to earning approximately $35 per hour, as shown below.

WordPress plugin developers salary

3. WordPress Theme Developers

A theme enhances the look of your website. It is what you see on any site you land on. The way you present your products, services, and other business information is part of the theme. The IT experts who work on creating WordPress themes are known as theme developers. Theme development is divided into two categories. One is to build themes from scratch. It is called WordPress custom theme development. The other is to customize the existing themes to fulfill your requirements.

Zip Recruiter says that WordPress theme developers can earn an average of $81,156 per year or $39 per hour, as shown below. Comparing the earning potential of WordPress core developers, plugin developers, and theme developers clearly indicates that the salary structure of theme developers is higher than the other two.

WordPress Theme Developers salary

Learn more: Will Web Development Become Obsolete?

What Do WordPress Custom Theme Developers Do?

Before you move toward steps to becoming a pro WordPress custom theme developer, let’s get into the details of what they do. Well, WordPress custom theme developers create website themes from scratch, keeping the requirements in mind. They don’t use any pre-built concept to develop the themes but rather implement their own strategies and approaches to build a fairly new concept.

Many businesses prefer utilizing the existing themes by molding them according to their needs. In contrast, some brands focus on creating customized themes to set their businesses apart from traditional brands. Now, the question coming to your mind would be: is it a good idea to develop a custom theme instead of benefiting from the existing one? Right? We will discuss it later in this article.

Read more: Best White Label Web Development Services

Is WordPress Custom Theme Development a Good Domain?

As far as earning potential is concerned, it is a good career option. Remember, the job is challenging because you need to be well-informed about what is happening around in the industry. Moreover, you must be a good problem solver if you want to do something different.

Many businesses avoid creating themes from scratch because of the cost they may have to bear. This is why they prefer a budget-friendly solution that is to customize a ready-made WordPress theme.

How to Become a Developer?

If you are looking for steps to become a pro WordPress custom theme developer, don’t miss reading through the discussion below.

Is It Necessary to Earn a Degree

Well, not really. Earning a degree to become a customized theme developer is not necessary. But if you enroll in the relevant degree program, it will add extra value to your professional career. Remember, your skillset matters the most.

You can become a good WordPress theme developer without a degree, but you can’t excel in this domain if you don’t have the right skills. Therefore, always focus on adopting new technologies, thereby enhancing your existing skills. This is something that helps you stand out in the market.

5 Steps to Become Custom Theme Developer

Becoming a pro developer in customized theme development is not an overnight process. It takes a couple of years to reach your destination. Below is a list of the important steps you must follow to get over the line.

1. Understanding the Desired Skill Set

If you want to do something big in the website development industry, you must develop a good understanding of the basic skills required. As a theme developer, you must be well familiar with the top four languages, i.e., PHP, CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Every language has a unique role in developing customized themes for your WordPress sites.

2. Get a Deep Understanding of WordPress Technology

Having familiarity with any of the above-listed programming languages is good; getting hands-on experience with them will make you more credible in this industry. But how to become a pro? Is this what you have in mind? Well, all you need is to get experience by working under the supervision of seniors and experienced professionals. The reason behind this fact is that whatever you learn from books and other sources in a couple of months, an experienced developer can teach you even more within a few days. So, work smartly to set yourself apart.

3. Start with a Specific Domain to Proceed With

In the beginning, focus on one business category rather than jumping into multiple at a time. Dealing with multiple categories in the beginning, may confuse you at times. For instance, if you have created and customized various WordPress themes for restaurant businesses, stick to the same domains instead of switching to other business models, like eCommerce brands, shopping malls, sports, or others. As soon as you get hands-on experience with one model, you can confidently switch to another, and it will surely be a confidence booster for you.

4. Get Relevant Certifications

you need to go the extra mile and put more effort into making a promising career. Getting decent professional experience is good, but earning relevant certifications gives your credibility a solid boost. Doing this will help you get highly-paid clients or employment opportunities in globally recognized organizations. These days, many universities and IT companies are offering these certificates. Coursera and Udemy are also credible platforms for earning theme development certifications.

5. Stay in Touch with Your Industry’s Pioneers

Connecting with senior professionals has always been a good approach. You get a chance to learn from their experiences and excel in a short period under their supervision or guidance. Staying in touch with your industry’s pioneers will help you overcome a variety of challenges you may face during your development journey.

Recommended read: LeetCode Web Development: How is this Beneficial?

Important Files Required for Modern WordPress Custom Theme Development

The main “index.php” and “style.css” are the two most important files you need for theme development. The conditional files have their own importance. For example, if you don’t have an “author.php” file for your author page, “archive.php” will do the job. Similarly, you can use an “index.php” file if your homepage doesn’t have a “homepage.php” file. Some other files your WordPress theme should have are listed below.

WordPress Custom Theme Development

Is It Good to Develop a Custom WordPress Theme for Your Business Website?

Well, different businesses and developers have mixed reviews about it. Some prefer to go with customizing the existing themes, whereas others get attracted to creating them from scratch. Is it worth it or not depends on what interests and preferences you have.

In our opinion, building customized WordPress themes is more complicated than customizing the available ones. As a result, they consume more time. At the same time, you need more budget to create a theme from scratch. If these factors don’t bother you, you are good to go.

Read more: Custom WordPress Development and Design

Final Words

This article has presented a step-by-step guide on how to become a pro WordPress custom theme developer. If you wonder whether or not it is a good career path, make sure to go through the whole discussion presented above.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the future of WordPress development bright?

A: Well, saying anything, for now, will be too early. But it seems secure as long as you adopt the latest market trends and take on new challenges every other day.

Q: Where can I get remote WordPress custom theme development jobs?

A: A number of organizations in the United States offer remote opportunities. Apart from that, you can benefit from a variety of freelance platforms, like Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, People Per Hour, Guru, and the list goes on.

Q: How many years of professional experience should I get?

A: Though experience matters a lot, it is not the only factor to determine how long it will take for you to become a pro theme developer. One thing that matters the most is how diverse your skill set is and how much practice you do on a daily basis to improve and enhance your technical skills.

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