What Does a WordPress Developer Do?
WordPress developers create and manage websites using WordPress, an open-source content management system used by over 40% of all websites worldwide.
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WordPress Developer Responsibilities
Each WordPress role will have its own set of unique responsibilities based on the organization or client’s needs. It’s important to understand that one individual will not be an expert at every task associated with WordPress development.
The below list represents common roles associated with WordPress development:
- Front-end WordPress developer
- Back-end WordPress developer
- Full-stack WordPress developer
- WordPress Engineer
- WordPress plugin developer
- Web application developer
- WordPress software engineer
- WordPress consultant
- WordPress configurator
- WordPress specialist
- WooCommerce developer
- WordPress support specialize
The above roles are also commonly augmented with terms like junior, senior, or lead which further define experience level and/or enhanced responsibilities.
The below list represents the most common responsibilities a WordPress programmer will use in their daily tasks:
- Collaborate with Designers: Work alongside UX/UI designers to translate design into a functional and engaging user experience.
- Develop Websites: Code responsive and user-friendly websites based on client specifications or approved graphic design files. This includes the creation or customization of WordPress template files and Gutenberg blocks.
- Implement SEO Best Practices: Optimize website templates for SEO strategies and techniques outlined by inhouse or external SEO consultants.
- Conduct Cross-Browser and Cross-Device Testing: Create a consistent user experience across various platforms and devices.
- Optimize Website Performance: Code and test websites to adhere to standards set forth by Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Page Experience, and Core Web Vitals reporting.
- Develop Custom WordPress Code: Extend the platform’s functionality as necessary through custom development of WordPress custom post types, plugins, or REST API connections.
- Manage Back-End Services and Database Configuration: Oversee technical aspects of the CMS and server-side configurations for optimal performance.
- Maintain WordPress Core and Plugin Software: Regularly test and implement software updates related to WordPress core, plugins, or theme files.
- Troubleshoot and Resolve Issues: Address website bugs or problems related to themes, plugins, or hosting environments.
- Stay Updated on WordPress Updates: Research, learn, and implement the latest WordPress software and coding updates.
- Provide Technical Support and Training: Offer support and training to clients or internal teams for managing and updating the WordPress CMS.
- Maintain Comprehensive Documentation: Document code, solutions, and methodologies for future reference or team member use.
WordPress Developer Experience and Expertise
Software and coding proficiencies
- Back-end software such as PHP, Java, Python, Node.js, Ruby, Sass
- MySQL database usage and optimization
- Wp-CLI commands
- REST API and GraphQL
- WordPress core architecture
- Gutenberg blocks
- Popular page builders such as Elementor, Beaver Builder, or Divi
- WooCommerce and other e-commerce extensions
- WordPress multisite
- Headless CMS and full site editing
- Semantic HTML5 coding
- Accessibility (WCAG 2.0+, WCAG 3, UAAG, ARIA, etc.)
- SEO best practices
- Design software such as Adobe Cloud, Photoshop, Illustrator, XD, AEM, and Figma
- Version control software such as Gulp, Grant, Blaze meter, SVN, or GitHub
- Good analytic skills
- Strong attention to detail
- Strong problem-solving skills
WordPress Developer Education
A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is often preferred but rarely mandatory since many WordPress developers are self-taught.
In lieu of formal education, many digital agencies or hiring managers will look for a strong portfolio showcasing completed WordPress projects, custom theme creation, and plugin development. A solid portfolio and personal website will provide the best demonstration of a developer’s ability and experience.
Certifications are not generally requested for a WordPress programmer since the WordPress community does not have a formal standard for certification. In replacement of formalized certification, WordPress has a plentiful supply of online training at learn.WordPress.org, including core documentation, tutorials, lesson plans, online workshops, interactive forums, and in-person WordCamps.
WordPress Developer Compensation
While many software developer roles are full-time positions, the WordPress community is dominated by an active freelance community of WordPress specialists. This means there is no one size fits all approach and WordPress coding jobs can be filled via one-time projects, part-time hourly rates, or full-time salary positions.
The average U.S. salary for a WordPress Developer is:
Total compensation will vary greatly by skill set, geography, and type of employment. A WordPress freelancer will charge anywhere from $5-$175 per hour, with the average around $70 per hour. The highest paid developers are generally located in the United States and Western Europe, while the lowest paid freelancers reside in locations such as the Philippines, Ukraine, and Latin America.
Full-time WordPress developers expect a competitive salary, flexible work schedules, generous vacation time, paid holidays, paid sick leave, medical insurance, 401k programs, and sufficient time for continuing education and community participation, such as WordPress’ Five for the Future or WordPress core contributions.
Sample Job Descriptions
Including the right content in your job description is essential when hiring a WordPress developer. The following examples can serve as templates for attracting the best available talent for your team.
Job Description for a Junior WordPress Developer
As a WordPress Developer, you will be responsible for coding websites, quality assurance testing, and fixing problems as they arise.
- Develop websites that adhere to designs supporting internal business requirements or external customers
- Troubleshoot and resolve application issues, providing diagnostic and analytical support
- Conducts performance analysis and recommends improvements
- Ensure work complies with policy and standards
- Bachelor’s degree in a related Information Technology field preferred
- Minimum 1-year experience with WordPress development and administration
- Experience developing websites in other CMS tools
- Knowledge of standard software development concepts, practices, and procedures
- Ability to multitask and plan proactively, as well as accomplish goals in a timely manner
- Demonstrate strong oral/written communication and listening skills
- Proficiency in presenting information to end users and business
- Demonstrates close attention to detail and accuracy
- Ability to work with minimal direction, yet able to work collaboratively in a team environment
- Microsoft .NET Framework/.NET Core
- Working with REST APIs
- Working with MS SQL Server or other relational databases
Job Description for a Mid-level WordPress Developer
ABC Company is seeking a WordPress Developer to work in our corporate office, supporting the IT Operations and Maintenance contract
We are a rapidly growing company that considers our employees and teams to be our most important assets. Our team environment provides growth opportunities to individuals motivated to excel. We are situated in (City, State) — well positioned for most commutes within the (City) area. Our newly renovated office spaces are first in class, facilitating a teamwork environment. We also offer opportunities for telework and have some of the most interesting, advanced IT businesses in the DC area. Our growing program works with the most forward-leaning technologies and extraordinary customers who are thought and action leaders in within the AI/ML domain. We offer a highly competitive compensation and benefits package to the right person for this position.
The ideal candidate will familiarize themselves with the WordPress environment. Take on work assignments to maintain and enhance the WordPress environment. An ability to work closely with the customer to develop requirements and user stories. Willingness to take on challenges and changing priorities. Be willing to learn new processes and technology to broaden their scope of responsibilities and their ability to work independently.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or related field, or equivalent experience
- 3 to 4 years of development experience with WordPress
- Experience working with a variety of WordPress plugins
- Supported the use of custom WordPress themes and plugin development
- Experience with PHP development and PHP frameworks
- Working knowledge of front and backend development
- Familiarity with code versioning tools (GitHub)
- Ability to manage multiple projects and deliverables simultaneously
- Desire to learn and take on new challenges
- Experience setting up development environments
- Working knowledge of AWS Cloud Computing Services
- Familiarity with ITSM tools (ServiceNow)
- Knowledge of security controls
- Understanding of Section 508 guidelines
- Ability to develop user stories to address user requirements
- Working knowledge of Linux
- Understanding of agile development tools, especially Micro Focus ALM suite
Job Description for a Senior WordPress Developer
ABC Company is seeking to hire a WordPress Developer. This position will work closely with leaders and project managers to ensure our projects meet specified requirements, timelines, and budgets. We are a fast-paced, execution-driven organization company. Responsibilities include:
- The WordPress Developer will research, design, and implement technical specifications for projects based on user requirements as indicated in the scope of work, wireframes, and sitemap documents
- Lead a small team
- Ensure projects are built to meet performance, security, and functional requirements
- The WordPress Developer will oversee the development and maintenance of websites, intranets, applications, and other custom programming assignments as applicable
- Develop new programs, analyze current programs and processes, and make recommendations
- A WordPress Developer will provide analysis of current programs which includes performance, diagnosis, troubleshooting of problem programs, and designing solutions to problematic programming
- Perform backend/database programming for key projects
- The WordPress Developer will stay up to date on industry standards and incorporate them appropriately
- Assist with testing, debugging, documentation, and overall quality assurance of projects
- Bachelor’s degree or higher in Information Systems, Computer Science, related field, or equivalent industry work experience
- At least 6-8+ years of experience with WordPress development experience
- Experience leading a team or mentoring engineers
- Seeking enterprise-level experience
- ASP and web servers (ISS/Apache) is a plus
- Extensive experience in custom web application development
- Ability to understand business requirements and the non-technical reasoning behind a decision or position, and present a clear, rational argument in favor of a proposed solution
- Advanced troubleshooting and debugging skills
- Ability to clearly and effectively communicate technical solutions to non-technical people
- Strong communication skills and attention to detail
WordPress Developer Interview Questions
General interview questions:
- How long have you been working with WordPress?
- Where and how did you learn WordPress?
- Do you consider yourself a front or back-end coder?
- Have you ever contributed to WordPress core?
- Describe your version control and documentation process?
- What WordPress project or client are you most proud of?
- Where do you go to stay up with WordPress development standards?
Questions for front-end developers:
- Do you prefer to use WordPress’ block editor or page builder plugins?
- Do you have a favorite theme or do you have your own base theme?
- How important is accessibility in website development?
- How do you build SEO best practices into your theme development?
Questions for back-end developers:
- Can you explain WordPress taxonomy?
- What are hooks and what is their functions?
- How would you go about enabling debug mode?
- What is your experience with the REST API?
- What are the most effective techniques for improving website speed and performance?
- How familiar are you with security and hardening WordPress?
How to Hire a WordPress Developer
1. Determine the type of developer you need
WordPress is a multifaceted CMS that can be extended in countless ways. This makes hiring a developer a bit challenging. Many times, a hiring manager or small business owner can get tripped up on wanting more skills than they actually need, not understanding the technical jargon associated with the role, or by poorly articulating the job requirements.
Before you write a job description, consider the complete list of requirements your company or project requires. Focus on those skills and remember that even the best WordPress programmers won’t be experts at every step of the development process or ongoing website management.
Also think through the type of developer you need. Remember that a WordPress expert is usually skilled at a specific portion of the development process.
Ask yourself how much WordPress expertise you require:
- Front-end developer: A front-end developer will be responsible for the visual elements you see on the live website. The skills needed for this role would include CSS, HTML, page builders, or the block editor.
- Back-end developer: A back-end developer has core skills for making the website function properly. These would include tasks relates to the MySQL database, the server, security, or performance.
- Full-stack developer: A full-stack developer such a professional handles both areas of WordPress development and is proficient in both front-end and back-end coding and maintenance.
2. Determine how you should hire a developer
Not every role requires a full-time employee or a long recruitment process. Walking through your internal needs and constraints will help you decide the type of role you need and the best process for hiring your new developer.
Consider internal constraints associated with the hiring process itself:
- Recruiting: Do you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to attract and screen candidates?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project or an ongoing need?
- Management: Do you have the time and expertise to direct the work effectively?
- Urgency: How soon does the work need to be completed?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need, which will then lead you down the path of how your hiring process should progress.
Three options for hiring a WordPress expert:
- Use a professional recruiting firm: The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
- Hire an experienced freelancer: The freelance, or gig, economy continues to grow, with more talent available daily. Freelancers provide high-quality work without a long-term commitment. They can offer you a fresh perspective, more flexibility, and increased efficiency. While the freelance market isn’t ideal for every position, WordPress developers are often a great fit.
- Advertise your full-time opening on a top job board: Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice. We recommend posting on zen jobs – a relatively new job board that offers free job listings. The website targets visitors at all stages of their career journey, so you’ll have an opportunity to reach a wide range of experience levels. And best yet, it’s free to post your opening.
3. Determine where to advertise your opening
While there are major job boards that apply across industries and types of roles, some positions have specialty job boards available. A WordPress developer is one of these roles.
Here are some popular freelance platforms that we recommend when hiring for a WordPress project:
- WordPress: WordPress.org offers a job board specifically for WordPress-related positions. This job board is provided by the open source project team and is available for posting for free.
- Post Status: Post Status serves the main WordPress community. It is led by well-respected community leaders, and its membership includes top developers and agencies. This job board is a great place for finding expert WordPress talent.
- Codable: Codeable is available to connect with seasoned development professionals. Codeable is a freelance platform specifically designed for WordPress projects.
- Upwork: Upwork is a freelance talent network that helps individuals connect with experts in a variety of fields to accomplish project-based needs. When you have a specific, well-defined goal in mind, this can be a great path to hiring an experienced WordPress developer.
- Toptal: Toptal is an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers in the world. Toptal vets its freelancers before making them accessible, ensuring their legitimacy.
4. Write a concise job description
Your job description will be the first point of contact with your new hire, so make sure it sets a good example of your company and the available role. It should concise and align with the role needed.
Recommended components of a WordPress developer job description include:
- Position title
- Company overview
- Overview of the role
- A list of essential functions and tasks
- A list of hard requirements
- A list of desired soft skills
- Typical work environment
- Expected hours and work schedule
- Preferred education and experience
- Additional qualifications
- Salary and benefits
Don’t lose site of the average salary and perks for this role. These are common details found in most WordPress developer job descriptions.
5. Review resumes and portfolios
Since there are no formal certifications for WordPress developers, anyone can claim to be an expert. And in fact, many do. Make sure you protect yourself by reviewing the developer’s portfolio of work. If they cannot produce a portfolio or their vague about their experience, consider this a red flag and move onto the next job applicant.
Also consider searching Google for references to the developer’s name or email address. Since these folks spend their work days online and they have a large community of resources available, you should find plenty of references online. Take the time to review these references for communication and level of expertise. And if you don’t find any references, consider this another red flag to record.
6. Interview candidates
The interview process is a great opportunity to access communication styles and the other soft skills that will make a great candidate stand out. Make sure you pay close attention to these soft skills as you dig into the technical aspects of the role.
As you interview candidates make sure the questions asked match the role. You don’t want to confuse skill sets with applicants and mix up front-end responsibilities with those of a back-end development role. This will frustrate the applicant and provide an inclusive evaluation of the interviewee.
If you’re not familiar enough with the role to ask detailed WordPress questions and access their accuracy, consider hiring a recruiter who can manage this process for you.
7. Consider a sample project
After reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates, you should have a strong feeling for who is or is not a good fit. However, that can prove deceiving when evaluating a website developer.
Asking your preferred candidate for a pair trial project is an excellent way to access their skills and validate their level of expertise matches your requirements. And as an upside to this trial project, it will give you another chance to assess soft skills like communication and time management.
8. Create a compelling offer
As you consider your compensation package, make sure it aligns to this role and to what is expected in the WordPress community. If you misstep at this stage, you’ll certainly lose your best opportunity for finding talent.
Most WordPress jobs are remote-based, offer flexible schedules, and have additional perks like home office allowances, generous vacation policies, and time for furthering their coding expertise through community training programs and events.
Make sure your offer takes the nuances of this role into account and your offer is comparable to other openings within the market.
9. Ask for expert assistance
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring needs.