This is a question we are frequently asked here at Eggplant Digital. Let’s start by clarifying what “learn WordPress’” actually means. It’s a bit like asking “Can you speak Chinese?” As we all know there is a huge difference between counting from 1 to 10 and conducting a business meeting completely in Mandarin.
As with learning a language, or indeed any skill, its a better idea to focus on the level you’re trying to achieve and the things you want to be able to do. To help you out we’ve split WordPress know-how into 3 different levels. So where are you in the scheme of things?
1. Basic Level User
You are someone who uses WordPress to update the content on your site – posting up articles and photos and changing text are the most common jobs. Basic level users don’t need to know how to code or how to download or install plug-ins (components for extra functionality). The goal here is simply to do things like add blog posts and change basic details on the site like the working on the “About Us” page, or phone numbers and addresses for example.
It’s a good idea to have at least a couple of basic users in any company to be able to post updates and make those small changes whenever needed.
Time to get to this level? 10 hours maximum
2. Entry Level Professional
Many people can do quite a lot of things with WordPress, but still without touching any code. It’s one of the amazing things about WordPress. How does this work? Plug-ins. Plug-ins are files that you can bolt-on to an existing program to give extra functionality. Think of it like this….
Imagine you are driving a car. The car has power, speakers and a radio, but no source of your own favourite music. You bring along your own music in your smartphone and connect it to the system. Immediately they all work together, and you have your own music coming from the speakers. If you remove the mp3 player then you can still listen to the radio, as before.
This is exactly how plug-ins work in WordPress. A great example of one of the most commonly used plug-ins is Google Analytics. This plug-in gives Google access to data about your site so that it can give you reports and information on how many people are visiting your site and what pages they are spending time on.
However, if you want to reach the level of even a basic professional, you’ll have to be able to learn at least bit of code to make simple changes, and that will take you a bit more time and effort.
Time to get to this level? 6-12 months.
3. Fully Professional WordPress Developer
Finally, we have the professional. A full blown WordPress developer will have a vast set of tricks and tools available to be able to finish up and complete all WordPress related jobs. Does our WordPress developer need a good level of coding experience? Yes, most definitely.
Fully accomplished WordPress developers will be able to deal with all the front end (visual) elements of a website, as well as the back-end (functionality) elements. Higher end WordPress developers will be able to build their own plug-ins for use on their own sites or to sell for use by others. Other jobs for these developers would include site migrations ( moving your site to a new host), adapting your site to be responsive, or adding e-commerce functionality like WooCommerce.
The important thing to remember is that with technology everything is changing all the time. In order to stay at the top of your game as a WordPress developer, you need to be constantly learning and using new tricks and tools.
Time to get to this level? 2 years +, In addition, be ready to learn for the rest of your career…
Where Do I Go From Here?
If you want to use WordPress then the first thing to decide is what level is right for you. If you just want to know the basics, we offer basic WordPress training which will get you the top end of being a basic level user. We’ve already happily helped a good number of novices get confident with dealing with their day-to-day needs on WordPress.
If you want to progress further then it might be an idea to head over to teamtreehouse to have a look at their popular video tutorials which will explain more complex issues.
If you want to become a WordPress pro and are seriously considering taking up web development, then take a look at Mayden Academy. They offer one of the highest quality web development crash courses on the planet. They don’t specifically deal with WordPress, but they teach PHP which WordPress is built on. We’ve actually been around their site in Bath in the UK and have had a good look at their course, including their taster day for novices. A crash course at Mayden would be a great idea for people wanting to get into PHP and development in general.
If there’s a question that we didn’t answer then we’d love to hear about it. Drop us an e-mail and we’ll get back to you, or may even write an article to answer you on the blog!