I think it's time to learn WordPress

Good day everyone,

First off - I don’t mean WordPress in the mere sense of drag and drop menus or simple content blogs. I mean being able to create and fully customise WordPress sites with some knowledge of PHP, possbily creating my own plugins and really getting into the nitty gritty of the exact things that makes many developers NOT want to work with WordPress, which I believe is valuable in itself and in turn creates perfect opportunities for many new and aspiring web developers that just want to break into the industry somehow.

So I’m just about halfway through the intermediate algorithm challenges and I’ve hit a brick wall. I want to get going with the advanced front end development projects and at the moment I don’t really see how the practice gained from doing the intermediate and advanced algorithms beforehand will carryover into the advanced front end projects (at least by a significantly substantial amount in comparison to the intermediate front end projects). I feel that the programming skills and practice gained from the algorithms will more so carryover into the backend projects later, but for now those are out of reach for me right now so there isn’t much point in forever dwelling in frustration over the fact that I can’t quite figure out how to sum a range of prime numbers or sort out a Fibonacci sequence by myself (just yet). I do want to finish the front end certificate which will take me some time to do legit without rushing/copying algorithm solutions, but right now I’m (fortunately) currently in a spot where I’m also likely to have prospective clients approaching me for projects. I feel it is going to take a lot of time before I actually become half decent at hardcore programming as opposed to just simple website / webapp customisations by means of coding. I believe it is also going to take a good long while before I actually finish the front end certificate. If I can be productive as a newbie coder sooner as opposed to waiting to become a super adept programmer before I can actually create something cool or even better, a project that will help me get my foot in the door in the industry then why should I wait?

My ultimate goal is to get into freelancing, although I do embrace the idea of working for a startup as a fullstack developer for a good few years just to really get proper developer experience and hone my skills. I do NOT see myself working for the tech giants of today where one usually has to be some sort of programming prodigy with a CS degree or really lucky with their interview/whiteboard algorithm challenges on the fly. I don’t have a CS degree so I speak not just for myself but also for many who are in a similar situation. Having looked into the opportunities that have presented themselves available both online and offline, the demand for WordPress and PHP especially is significantly high where I live (I live in the UK) and a lot of the fullstack developer roles in my area in smaller agencies require WordPress experience anyway, so right now it seems to make sense for me to go down the WordPress + PHP path instead of lets say, Node or any other backend language.

As I’ll be learning PHP I need some kind of platform to visualise my PHP practice coming into fruition - This is also another reason why I am strongly leaning towards WordPress. I don’t have to quite be a PHP master to see my progress, I just want to be able to prove to myself and prospective employers that I am capable of customising websites to a client’s liking through PHP and making use of the plugins available. Again, it boils down to the idea of being more productive for my time spent learning and coding in a way that makes sense from the get go.

I also have a project that I have (fortunately) been given the opportunity to work on that involves content updating/blogging and also a database system. This is the reason why I’ve been looking into WordPress and although it isn’t fully fledged coding/programming, I feel like I could actually be more productive in producing projects for prospective clients, especially if they’re asking for something with the features mentioned above, something which WordPress is widely used for worldwide. Right now I just don’t think there is enough time for me to gain build the project completely from scratch.

I’m gonna be starting off with some Udemy courses to get the basics of WordPress down, then supplement my learning with some PHP practice. I believe the programming practice I have gained thus far on FCC should enable me to at least get started with the simplest concepts to work with WordPress in PHP.


I want to learn WordPress because:

  • I have a prospective client that wants a project done in a way that WordPress is great for.
  • There is a huge demand for work in my area.
  • Overall satisfaction of being able to build front end projects and leverage backend capabilities with the help of plugins while I practice actually getting good at programming to build my own stuff from scratch later on.
  • My ultimate goal is to well establish myself as a freelancer.

What’s not to love about WordPress?

If anybody here is also learning WordPress or has learned it, please do share your story on how you got started. It would help empower the rest of the community that do want to go down this route. After all, we’re not all aspiring to become fullstack JavaScript developers due to many reasons such as job opportunities, learning interests etc.

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I’ve never to “sum primes” either. But the tools that you’ll be learning and using are where the magic happens.

I just finished a 7 year stint as an ESL teacher in China (going web dev => ESL teacher => web dev). Some of the curriculum has what’s called CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning).

I remember when we first started teaching these books, one of my first CLIL sections was the water cycle. We also allow parent’s to periodically observe classes for quality and after both teaching this lesson and being observed, the parent came and said “don’t you think that’s too hard for these kids?” (Students aged 8-10)

I said, “Of course! But while they’re wrapping their heads around the science, there’s a whole lot of English being spoken.”

And that’s the key. You might never need these exact algorithms or the ability to whiteboard a bubble sort, but while you’re struggling through this, all the incidental learning that happens will make you ready for those projects.

As for Wordpress, it’s still in demand. My friend spends his days up to his neck in Drupal too. There’s definitely nothing wrong with having extra skills.

If this isn’t lining up for you, definitely take a break and do something else (like Wordpress). This will still be here when you want to try again. :slight_smile:


Yes, a lot of the jobs I see on Upwork want you to know WordPress.

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how do you like upwork? This discussion suggests upwork is a waste of time

It’s okay. I guess. They have tests you pass to prove how knowledgeable you are in a certain area (HTML, CSS, PHP). However, those tests are really tough. You really have to know the subject inside and out. They give you a list of all the topics that will be on the test, and then you go and study them. I haven’t actually earned any money from them yet, but I live in a small town and cannot relocate. So, I’m pretty much stuck doing remote freelance.

Anyway, I’m also working on teacher certification, so web development is pretty much a hobby for me.

I used my experience in web dev to build out tools that changed how the teachers in my school teach. Nothing super complex, but some draggable stuff for smart boards that allowed more student-to-student interactions.

It’s a very good “hobby” to have as a teacher. :wink:

I know WordPress fairly well… Im not a big fan of it…and actually hope to shift my skills in a way I never have to deal with WP ever again…but thats not because theres anything wrong with WP. Actually, its pretty awesome and my preferred CMS… just that Im not interested in it. Which sucks, because I do know it well and would probably be a lot more successful as a WP freelancer if I didnt dread everytime I had to fire up a new project.

Im such a bundle of contradictions eh? :laughing:

Anyway…something to note is, you said in your first paragraph you would like to make plugins…but trust me, you wont be able to if you do not get a handle on javascript. The intermediate / advanced areas of the course are for the purpose to teach algorithms and data structure…knowledge you need to create your own plug ins. But you can always just use other peoples plug ins…theres a ton of them.

But yeah, creating projects for clients is a pretty solid way to learn I think, cause well…thats how I learned. If someone needed me to do something, Id say no prob then go learn how to do it…and now I have an extra skill I can use to market myself with to gain more clients.

Basically my path over the past 10 years has been…

  • Wow you can make a website? Can you make me one? -Of course!- Build website with the HTML I know.

  • Awesome! But, can you change all the links to this colour and move all the yadda from the left to the right? -No problem!- Learn CSS.

  • I love it! But I cant afford to pay you to maintain it, can you teach me how to update it myself? -Yes!- Convert site to WP.

  • Heres a a bunch of crappy pics that must go on the website which will ruin the design -Thank you!- Learn Photoshop and retouching.

  • Cool! But I screwed something up. Can you fix it? -No Sweat!- Learn how to restore from backup in SQL

  • So I have this idea, can you design it in WP? -I got you!- Learn more PHP to make custom themes

  • You are so awesome! I cant afford to pay you though -Disgruntled WP freelancer flips table and decides to expand skill set to compete in the job market

Dont let the last part throw you off LOL i mean,my primary job for the past 12 years has been in sales, along with freelancing, I dont want my day to be full of paperwork, customer service and convincing people to buy from me, hire me, pay me anymore…I just want to code.

Getting into freelancing isnt too difficult though, its really just about getting people to pay you for what you know. And as you can see from my experience, you will end up in situations where you dont know something, but forced to learn which directly and immediately makes your more valuable to future clients. The harest part of freelancing really, is marketing yourself. So I suggest studying up on sales and marketing, as well as running your own business…knowledge of that stuff is just as…maybe even more important than actual webdeve knowledge. I know so many people who became far more successful than me and know not much more than how to download and install a WP theme all because of how they market themselves.


Yes, go for it! A lot of new snobs seem to look down on PHP/mySQL and WordPress development. When they didn’t know… this was the Angular/React “HOT” ticket items back around 2000s. And it’s still in-use and in-demand today.

I’m self-employed and doing this for 17 years now. I talk to clients and listen to what they want, and the cheapest/easiest solution for them is sometimes just a simple WP site. And that’s what I tell them. You can charge a couple thousand$ for a week’s time or even less (and I’m not even talking about 8 hour) whole days of work.

Creating custom themes is easy (you only need HTML/CSS knowledge really and a few PHP/WP function tags… Using CSS frameworks + Javascript/jQuery on your WP themes/templates just makes work faster and/or icing on the cake.)

You can use MAMP or AMPPS for local development work. It’s a self-contained environment giving you Apache, PHP, mySQL, + other packages running locally on your computer as a virtual environment.

Now, as a freelancer/self-employed developer, there is no set limit on income. It’s not a fixed $xx K/year. You can make zero, or as much or even more than someone working an 8-hour day job. But that’s another topic.

— Oops, I’ll have to cut this post short. Literally, just got an email from a WP client needing some help with posting. Yeah, I know… it’s sometimes mind-numbing work. Even though you’ve provided the client an easy built-in Admin so they can do the work, they’ll just call you and ask you to do the work for them. That’s fine with me, they’ll get a bill at end of the month.


Wordpress is not a best choice for freelancing. The niche is really overheated with workers from asia who are willing to work for 3$/hour.

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I’ve done a couple of WordPress sites, some themes and some custom plugins and I can say it can be easy sometimes and really frustrating and messy other times. A lot of the times you can find a theme/plugin that just does what you want, but there has been a couple of instances where I’ve gotten requests to make changes that entail a lot of custom coding on my part.

So with that said, I think you should learn WordPress but as an add-on, I don’t think you should give up on all the front-end stuff here. Truth is, you will need JavaScript in WordPress too and if you have to do algorithms in PHP at least you have had experience with it in JS. Then it is just a matter of syntax.

I think you have gotten the algorithms challenges all wrong, in my opinion. They are not there for you to learn how, for example, one converts numbers to roman numbers (Just finished that challenge). There are there for you to learn how to think logically. It’s training for the brain. No matter what language you learn, you are constantly challenged mentally and solving problems all the time. How fast and well you solve these problems is what differentiates a good coder from a lousy one. In fact, that roman number challenge I just solved, was a real pain. I just couldn’t get my head around it. I came up with a solution that worked but was looonngg. It was so embarrassing, especially when I saw the spoiler alert. But really, you gotta start somewhere and it’s just training. A lot of these problems are something you will deal with in some shape or form in the future, regardless of language. So keep it up.

They teach you how to problem solve, which algo you are working with couldn’t matter less, what does matter is the various difficulty and the new problem solving skills you gain. Afterwards you’ll be more ready to do the advanced frontend projects. Keep in mind advanced algos are not required, only beginner and intermediate algos are required, that being said I still recommend doing the advanced algos so you gain more problem solving skills. Afterwards you’ll be really prepared to do the advanced frontend projects, these are the “hardest” frontend development projects.

You’ll need to learn PHP if you want to do Wordpress plugins, I’ve only used PHP to put together quick hacks when a service/api isn’t available to do it for me. It’ll be a bit harder since freeCodeCamp doesn’t teach you PHP, though since a lot of freelance work is related to Wordpress it’ll be beneficial for you to learn.

After completing freeCodeCamp consider getting a CS Degree, when talking to the college interviewers tell them about your experience with freeCodeCamp and explain how you think a CS Degree would help you more.

You could take a break from client projects or allocate a period of time to work on freeCodeCamp each day.

Depends…if you are only looking online joining services where you pitch a bid against other freelances for a gig, then yup…absolutely…

But…if you leave your house, talk to people, market yourself face to face…the work is out there. There is a huge amount of people who are determined to only hire someone a) in their home country or b) who they can sit down face to face and have a meeting with.

Also, its happened a lot where a guy called me after our date, not for a second date, but to see if he can hire me to build his website. I mean thas nice and all, but man thats deflating lol Oh and if you do online dating…put it on your dating profile that you are a freelance web designer… I got more guys contacting me for a website than a date…:cry: So yeah, maybe try that…unless you’re in a relationship, then dont try that :laughing:


That depends on how you market yourself, I agree a problem in the freelance field is that some people are willing to work at a lower cost since they really want to work on things, however then when you want to work for a more reasonable rate it’s harder to get those jobs. But if you’re willing to work hard to get those types of jobs then I encourage you to do so.

I was talking about workspaces like upwork since it had been mentioned in this thread earlier

I already work as a freelance developer so don’t really need your encouragment :slightly_smiling_face:

I’d rather join Chippendale and work as a dancer than join Upwork or Freelancer if I’m hurting for money.


Yeah upwork became complete shit and freelancer has always been shit. But it’s worth mentioning some people still manage to make 100k a year there so for some experienced developers it may be not be the worst option.

I completed my FCC certs, got a job, took a 10 hour course on how to build a website in php and learned wordpress on the job.

Understanding the algorithms helps across any language. You will learn to use code to handle the problems you come across. This is where algorithms and understanding them helps immensely.

Pick one language, master it, then any other language will be quicker to pick up.

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I used WordPress quite a bit. At some point I wanted to get away from it to focus more on JS, but I seem to always end up with WP again one way or another. Just now I’m starting to get more into it again. But that being said, whatever you do, don’t abandon JS…

A month has passed since I last wrote, I’ve been getting on with my learning and I hope you all have been going well with yours. For those intersted in learning WordPress, I’m excited to share what I’ve learned so far and the issues that arise when working with it.

  • Installing WordPress is not that straightforward but also not that extremely difficult, though it can seem like a chore to some. Prospective clients who aren’t tech saavy may not even bother with this process which probably makes a valuable service from a business standpoint. I also love the idea of developing on a local server much more than a web server so I’ve learned to setup my own local server environment.

  • Choosing a good theme, free or paid. Right now the project I’m working on has led me to making a choice either between buying a premium theme and modifying it or completely building one from scratch. It just seems more practical for a newbie coder like me to go and buy an existing premium theme that offers decent functionality which I can modify with snippets of design code and general programming concepts I have learned here on FCC.

  • Understanding the concept of parent and child themes. When activating a standard theme, any changes or modifications made to it will be lost if WordPress goes through an update - Child themes are essentially separate clones that inherit all the qualities of the standard (parent) theme which allows us to make modifications without being affected by official WordPress theme updates.

  • Slowly familiarising myself with PHP via learning inbuilt WordPress PHP functions. With time I’ll be able to get to know the code indepth so I know exactly what and how those WordPress PHP functions work. I would much prefer to learn PHP this way as it would seem to make much more sense in the beginning of my PHP learning rather than building random projects that don’t serve any real world purpose.

Ultimately theme development is a road that looks promising and one that I aim to specialise in.