What You Should Look for in a WordPress Developer

What You Should Look for in a WordPress Developer

Published on
July 27, 2022
Updated on
September 26, 2022
Author
Luan Campos
Reading Time
WordPress developers specialize in building custom plugins and WordPress development. Uncover what you should look for in your next WordPress hire.

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Are you looking into creating a website for your business with WordPress? Many companies use this website builder because it's affordable and easy to operate. But no matter how the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) route sounds appealing, you may not want to go down this road alone.

If you've never used this builder before for creating a website, consider hiring WordPress developers. These professionals already know the ins and outs of WordPress, so they can quickly get your site up and running. They can also:

  • Create plugins to add unique functionalities to your site
  • Add custom animations and menus to your site to make your brand stand out from competitors
  • Fix bugs and implement updates as needed

However, finding the right WordPress developer for your company can be trying. Although there's a glut of WordPress talent on sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, only a tiny percentage of these developers have the personality, skills, and experience to create your dream website.

We've created this comprehensive guide to help you locate the best WordPress developer for your brand. Read on to learn what is a WordPress developer and why you need one in your team. We'll also cover the skills you should look for in candidates and provide handy tips on how to hire a WordPress developer.

What Does a WordPress Developer Do?

As their title suggests, WordPress developers are web programmers who specialize in WordPress. As a free, open-source content management system, WordPress can be installed on web hosts to create any website, including:

  • Business websites
  • Mobile applications and websites
  • eCommerce stores
  • Membership sites
  • Hobby and lifestyle blogs

WordPress developers are primarily responsible for two main tasks: plugin development and WordPress development.

Plugin Development

WordPress plugins are software pieces that "plug into" a WordPress site. Good WordPress developers should be able to use the WordPress Plugin API to create their plugins and add or extend site functionalities.

Plugins can make tremendous or minor changes to your website. Here are some examples of what plugins can do:

  • Make beautiful sliders for your website
  • Generate sleek contact forms for your site
  • Backup your site data
  • Scan your site for broken links
  • Give real-time security updates
  • Provide two-factor authentication and other security features to protect your site
  • Automatically choose the best Search Engine Optimization (SEO) settings for your site and industry

WordPress Development

Besides developing plugins, your WordPress website developers should be able to build your site from scratch. They should know how to:

  • Implement the user interface (UI) or front-end of your site, which includes navigation menus, page layouts, and buttons
  • Program and manage the back-end or "logic" behind your site, including databases, application program interfaces (APIs), and server environments
  • Write core code and troubleshoot WordPress core files, which contain the main functionality of WordPress
  • Test and debug your site in a WordPress development environment before deploying it to live users

Full-stack WordPress developers can manage the front-end as well as the back-end. However, most WordPress developers are either front-end or back-end programmers. Therefore, look carefully at each candidate's resume and portfolio before you decide to hire someone. Otherwise, you may end up hiring the wrong type of WordPress developer.

What Should You Look For in This Type of Developer?

Now that you're familiar with the work scope of WordPress developers, let's take a look at the skills you should look for in WordPress developers:

Technical Skills

The ideal WordPress developer should have the following technical skills:

Understanding of the WordPress Development Environment

First, your hire should have a deep knowledge of the WordPress development environment. Specifically, they should know how to:

Create Custom Themes for Your Website

WordPress devs will create custom WordPress themes for your site. They need a solid grasp of the following languages and systems to do so:

  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language or HTML is a computer language for designing and structuring web pages and online applications. It consists of markup codes that dictate how webpage aspects get displayed. Developers can use HTML to:
  • Bold and italicize text
  • Insert pictures, links, and videos
  • Define sections of a page, such as footers and headers
  • Create tables and page layouts
  • CSS: Short for Cascading Style Sheets, CSS is another building block of website creation. WordPress programmers can use CSS to set the visual properties of webpage elements, such as the layout, colors, and format.
  • JavaScript: Often abbreviated as JS, JavaScript is a programming language that lets WordPress experts create dynamic content. Unlike static content, dynamic content changes according to user demographics, user data, and in-session behavior. Examples of dynamic content include:
  • Forms and purchase fields that change depending on how the checkout is processing
  • Banners that show different content depending on user location
  • Sidebars that show suggested products based on users' past purchases
  • PHP: This is a popular open-source scripting language for web development. WordPress developers can use it for many functions, including encrypting data, auto-generating files, and accessing databases.
  • MySQL: Last but not least, MySQL is a relational database management system based on structured query language (SQL). WordPress uses MySQL to store site data such as users, comments, and custom fields in table structures. Your hires should know how to use MySQL to access, retrieve, and execute operations. They should also know how to use plugins to access and modify MySQL databases.
Make a Development Environment

Your developer should know how to build a development environment for creating and testing themes. A WordPress development environment is a workspace for developers to implement and test changes without applying them to the live environment. Essentially, it's a safe and easy way to test code and see what the results look like before deploying it to end-users.

Here's what WordPress dev needs to know to create and use a development environment:

  • Create a local server stack: Your dev should use MAMP, Varying Vagrant Vagrants (VVV), XAMPP, or Docker to create a local server environment for testing.
  • Choose and use a text editor: Your hires also need to know how to use a text editor for coding. They should be able to choose a text editor that accelerates the development process. Depending on the project, your hires may choose a simple text editor for writing code or a fully integrated development environment (IDE) with tools for testing and debugging.
  • Configure debugging: WordPress developers need to configure debugging in the development environment. They should know how to use the following to accelerate and simplify the debugging process:

Professional Experience With Custom Plugins

Your hire should also have professional experience developing custom plugins. Like WordPress theme developers, WordPress plugin developers need to know HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and MySQL. They should also:

  • Write clean and efficient code
  • Use WordPress APIs
  • Follow the latest WordPress and PHP standards for plugin development
  • Optimize, test, and install plugins

Soft Skills

Besides hard skills, your dream hire should also have razor-sharp soft skills, such as excellent communication and problem-solving ability. These traits can help your newly hired candidates fit into the team and company culture.

Communication Skills

Like other information technology (IT) personnel, WordPress developers don't work in a vacuum. They need to collaborate with other team members and departments, including:

Your freshly hired WordPress developers should know how to:

  • Explain highly technical concepts to non-technical staff
  • Teach and mentor others as needed
  • Accept and give constructive criticism

Problem-Solving Capabilities

The ideal WordPress developer should have well-honed problem-solving skills to:

  • Identify and solve problems quickly
  • Find different solutions to problems
  • View problems from others' perspectives
  • Avoid assumptions and spot biases

English Language Skills

If you're hiring a developer from a non-English speaking country, you need to make sure they are fluent in English. Otherwise, they may have difficulties fitting into your team and understanding and following project requirements.

Expert Skill Sets

Finally, the best developers for your team should be confident about their areas of expertise and be able to:

  • Make decisions quickly
  • Work under pressure
  • Adapt to changing circumstances when needed
  • Share their perspectives and suggestions with the team
  • Mentor and guide junior and entry-level developers
  • Act as development consultants

Strategies for Testing Plugin Developers' Capabilities

WordPress developers are highly experienced professionals with a wide range of hard and soft skills, from HTML and PHP to problem-solving abilities. But how do you know if candidates know their stuff? Anyone can claim to have five years of experience in plugin creation.

That's why you should consider testing potential candidates' plugin development capabilities. Here's how:

Trial Development Task

If you want to see how well candidates know a particular language or system, consider giving a trial development task. Live trial development tasks will let you observe:

  • Candidates' logic, skills, and ability to explain what they're doing
  • Candidates' capability to work independently
  • Candidates' capacity to resolve assignments within a given deadline

Trial development tasks can test any skill you want, including the ability to:

  • Create a plugin with PHP, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS
  • Build a webpage with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS
  • Create an interactive form with JavaScript and CSS
  • Construct a WordPress development environment
  • Test and optimize themes and plugins

Sample Projects

If you want to see what kind of website a candidate can create, assign them sample real-life projects. You can do this through a take-home assignment or a pair-programming exercise.

As the name suggests, candidates can complete take-home assignments at home before or after interviews. If you decide on this option, use a coding assessment tool with reliable plagiarism detection to filter out dishonest candidates.

On the other hand, pair-programming exercises are completed online or in person. They involve pairing a member of your team and a candidate to work on a sample project together. Usually, the candidate writes the code, and the interviewer reviews and tests it.

Pair-programming is generally more time-consuming and resource-intensive than take-home assignments. However, it's a great option if you have a hiring manager who knows WordPress programming or a WordPress programmer who can act as a recruiter.

How To Hire a Developer for Custom Development in WordPress

Hiring a skilled WordPress developer takes patience — it requires more than just writing a job description and posting it on Indeed and LinkedIn. First, you need to consider your needs as a company. While you don't need to plan the layout of your site, it will help to answer the following questions:

  • What kind of website do you want to create?
  • What specific features and functionalities will your site have? For example, you may want a website with calendars, booking forms, and eCommerce capabilities.
  • What is the goal of your website? Is it to build a community or increase sales and brand awareness?
  • How many pages will the site have?

Once you figure out your main goals for building a website, consider how a potential hire can help you achieve them. Our list of hard and soft skills for WordPress developers can help you make a short checklist you can follow during recruitment.

Select a Platform for Finding and Hiring WordPress Developers

After covering the mentioned basic steps, you are ready to start hiring. The first stage would be to pick a suitable platform for hiring WordPress developers. These are the three main options used by recruiters:

  1. Traditional job boards and freelance platforms: Most companies use job sites like Indeed and Fiverr to locate and communicate with hires. Unfortunately, most of these platforms require you to spend weeks testing and vetting applicants manually. So if you don't have the patience or resources to vet thousands of candidates, consider other options on our list.
  2. Professional networking platforms: LinkedIn and similar media channels are also helpful for finding candidates as they provide more information about people's endeavors and experiences. However, recruiters still need to perform a lot of work manually after finding potential fits.
  3. Talent marketplaces: Unlike traditional job sites, talent marketplaces already have pre-vetted WordPress developers. They allow you to access a wide talent pool and quickly hire a WordPress developer most suitable for your needs. You only need to interview professionals to decide on the best one for your company, but that's about it in terms of manual work.

Write a Compelling Job Description

If you decide to hire through traditional job sites, you'll need a compelling WordPress dev job description to attract top-notch talent. Here's a sample WordPress developer job ad to help you handle the time-consuming part of the process:

Remote WordPress Web Developer — Revelo

Revelo is looking for a Remote WordPress Web Developer. This role is open to devs in the following time zones:

  • Eastern Standard Time (EST)
  • Mountain Standard Time (MST)
  • Central Standard Time (CST)
  • Pacific Standard Time (PST)

Company Bio:

Revelo is a talent marketplace that matches leading tech talent with international startups. Check out our website to learn more about our values, goals, and culture.

Duties:

  • Work with our team of UI/UX designers, developers, and project managers
  • Develop custom WordPress themes and plugins
  • Configure WordPress websites
  • Create documentation
  • Debug and test WordPress plugins
  • Use DevOps tools like Kubernetes and Docker
  • Contribute to the WordPress community

Requirements:

  • At least three years of experience working with WordPress
  • Ability to create WordPress plugins and themes following best practices and operational rules
  • Fluent in PHP, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS
  • Experience using MySQL and SQL to create and manage databases
  • Excellent English communication skills
  • Proven experience and ability working in teams
  • Strong problem-solving skills

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Competitive salary of $60,000 to $65,000, depending on experience
  • Parental leave
  • Three weeks of vacation

Schedule:

  • 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST
  • Monday to Friday

Compose Engaging WordPress Web Developer Interview Questions

After posting your job description, you'll see applications pouring into your inbox. Go through each cover letter and resume and make a list of candidates to interview. These questions can aid you in learning more about each of your selected applicants and further narrowing down your choices:

  • What drew you to WordPress web development?
  • How did you learn JavaScript, HTML, and CSS? Which of these languages is your favorite?
  • Tell us about your debugging and testing process.
  • How would you improve our company's website?
  • How do you keep on top of WordPress development trends? Do you follow any influencers or blogs?
  • What project management methodologies have you used in the past?
  • What was the biggest mistake in your career? What did you learn?
  • What is the most challenging part of being a WordPress web developer?
  • What other content management systems are you familiar with besides WordPress?
  • Do you know how to use the WordPress block editor? How does it fit into your theme development style?

Start the Process of Onboarding Your WordPress Developer

Finding the perfect WordPress theme or plugin developer for your company can be an exhausting and time-consuming process, especially if you're hiring candidates through traditional job sites. You are bound to perform a lot of manual work to ensure a satisfying outcome, from attracting candidates with compelling job posts to testing them for experience and expertise.

But you have other options to simplify the hiring process and make it more efficient. When you partner with Revelo, you get to sit back and relax while we manage the challenging parts of finding and recruiting candidates.

Revelo matches you with pre-vetted Latin American talent with excellent English proficiency, skills, and experience. All that's left for you to do is interview the selected professionals and decide on one or more of them.

Contact us today to learn more and hire WordPress developers for your startup.

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Luan Campos

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Full-Stack developer with 6 years of experience working with MERN stack. Worked for multiple transnational companies focused on web and cloud, technology services, and R&D. Major professional experience in Frontend with Javascript, Node.js, React.js, and Vue.js

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