Should You Learn WordPress in 2020?

This post gets written every year, and this time I’d like to weigh in and share my thoughts on WordPress and whether or not it’s still worth picking up.

I spent a year and a half learning to code before seriously considering WordPress development. Knowing what I know now, I would have been learning and using WP from the beginning. Like many others learning to code, I felt a bit hesitant and unsure about WordPress. As WordPress is very established, it’s not the trendy new thing in the development industry. There’s also tons and tons of opinions about WP online, both positive and negative.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different. If your goal is to learn to code as fast as possible and get a job at a huge company or start up, maybe WordPress shouldn’t be a learning priority for you. That said, if you have any interest in freelancing at all, you should learn WordPress.

If I’m being completely honest, I had all of the following thoughts about my now beloved WP:

  • Isn’t PHP dying?
  • Isn’t WordPress dying?
  • Is WordPress development REAL development?
  • I want to learn to CODE. I already know how to figure out a page builder.

It’s funny. I am now a freelance WordPress developer, and obviously I’ve become a big fan. My eyes have been opened to just how useful WordPress is as a tool, especially for freelancers and small agencies.

Let’s start with PHP.

Isn’t PHP dying?

The short answer is no. PHP 7 has improved the language tremendously, and PHP continues to allow for affordable development. Frameworks like Laravel are becoming increasingly popular as well. WordPress alone, which is built with PHP, accounts for something like 60% of the web.

It’s true that many new sites are now built with Node.js or another one of the many options for server-side programming. With that being said, PHP isn’t going anyway and will continue to be a solid tool for many years to come.

Isn’t WordPress dying?

From what I can tell, not at all! Almost everyone I’ve ever heard talk negatively about WordPress was someone who did not have much experience with it. WordPress continues to be an excellent solution for both businesses and individuals.

Need a blog? Need a portfolio site? What about a membership site? Want to quickly set up an e-commerce store? Maybe you’d like to build and sell a course?

Hopefully you’re getting the idea. WordPress provides quick and customizable solutions for a variety of needs, which is what makes it such an amazing tool for freelancers. There are plenty of freelancers and agencies making BIG money with WordPress.

Lastly, the use of WordPress as a headless CMS ensures that WordPress will be relevant moving forward. Very simply put, this allows developers to build their website with JavaScript and use WordPress only for the CMS and data.

Is WordPress development REAL development?

I’ll be the first to admit that a whole lot can be accomplished without any coding knowledge. Good. That’s out of the way.

WordPress can be incredibly simple, but there also exist very complex WordPress sites. If you don’t know how to code, you are only able to take advantage of a fraction of the potential WordPress has – which leads me to my next point.

I want to learn to CODE. I already know how to figure out a page builder.

First of all, I think you would probably be impressed by tools like Elementor and Divi, but that’s not the point.

In my opinion, WordPress is the perfect sandbox for people learning to code.

Starting with front-end development, an experienced developer can build a WordPress theme to match any design. There’s no need to use a page builder if you don’t want to. Knock yourself out – build a theme with Bootstrap or SASS or both if you want. Code newbies can practice their CSS skills by building demo themes or simply editing or overwriting CSS for an existing WP site. Additionally, you can write custom code to connect your site to APIs.

There’s obviously a lot that can be learned about back-end development through WordPress too. Traditional WordPress themes and plugins are built with PHP. There’s also lots of opportunity to learn about databases.

As I mentioned earlier, headless WordPress is becoming more and more popular. This gives people who want to be JavaScript developers the chance to see how WordPress works on the back end.

Like I said, if you’re at all interested in freelancing, WordPress is a very solid choice. Technology used on the web changes almost daily, but WordPress is here to stay for the foreseeable future and continues to be a quality tool to work with. 

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