If you spend enough time with WordPress, you may very well become interested in development. No, of course not everyone will do this.

They’ll continue to use it exactly as it is:

  • A blogging platform,
  • Or a content management system

But just as with operating systems, desktop software, mobile apps, etc., you may find yourself wanting to build things for WordPress.

So the natural question becomes:

“How do I go about getting started with WordPress development?

And there are tons, and tons of articles available for this. There are videos, there are courses, there are seminars, webinars, and so on.

So this is not going to be another post about the 10 things you need to do to get started in WordPress.

Instead, it’s going to take a different approach.

Getting Started with WordPress

Anyone who’s involved with WordPress will tell you: It’s important to find what you like about it.

  • Are you attracted to the way blogs and websites look?
  • Do you find yourself curious about how the everything fits together?
  • Are you curious about the foundation that stores data?
  • What about introducing new functionality that doesn’t currently exist within the software?

And this is just to name a few facets of WordPress.

Getting Started with WordPress

Green means Go, right? So get started.

But the reason I bring them up is before you can get started in developing solutions for WordPress, it’s important to understand what you really like about WordPress.

And by “really like,” I don’t mean its feature set. I mean what about it genuinely excites you.

What makes you say “Hey, I want to learn how to do that.” And when you can answer that question, then you’re ready to start developing things for WordPress.

But That Might Not Be Development!

At this risk of being pedantic, I know: Some of what I’m talking about here has more to do with design or database architecture. That’s okay, though.

At the most general level, it’s about development. All work together to ultimately form the entire software.

  • Database schemas must be designed, altered, and/or maintained to make sure data management is performant.
  • Application-layer code should be written such that it works well with the rest of the software. It should be extensible, and it should securely pass data to the database and to the front-end.
  • Front-end code should be accessible, should provide a great user experience, and should follow solid design principles.

And this is just scratching the surface. Once you find out which part of the software really excites you, then you can pursue that in more depth.

How Do I Get Started?

If you have 50 designers and/or developers this question, then you going to get a variety of different answers.

There is no single one right way to do it.

Some of the best designers I know are completely self-taught with absolutely no background in design. Others are incredible at what they do and they are deeply educated in the subject.

Some of the programmers I know can run circles around some of the brightest people I know, and some are far more confident in their ability than may be warranted (ouch, I know, I know).

But the truth is each of the people who are involved in WordPress development are people who identified what it what they loved and pursued that aspect of it.

So I may not necessarily be able to give you a 10 step program or a 21-day book on how you can get started in WordPress development, but I can tell you this:

  1. Spend time exploring WordPress. Everything it has to offer. Look at its features. Tweak every option. Explore the themes. Evaluate plugins.
  2. Note what piques your curiosity. What keeps you up at night? What makes you excited, and what makes you really want to learn how that particular feature works?

When you’re able to identify the things that appeal to you and the things that make you want to deeply dive into that area of WordPress, then you’re ready to start getting into WordPress development.

At this point, I’ve gotta ask:

  • For those of you who are curious about WordPress development, how do you answer those above questions?
  • And, if you’re experienced with WordPress and you’re reading this, how did you answer those questions and where did it lead you?

Perhaps I’ll share my own answers in a follow-up post.