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What must a good WordPress developer know?

Time to read: 2 mins

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Updated Jan 09, 2023

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All of us want to be good professionals, regardless of our field. This aim lets us grow and makes us better. I'll share my list of must-know items, that I've learned through the years.

Below you can find my must-know list for WordPress, split by levels, just like in case when you learn a new language.

It's very useful if you learn WordPress or you can use this list to check yourself and fix gaps in your knowledge of WordPress if there are any.

For each level, I've highlighted the main items that you must know. Every item contains a row of topics behind itself, and if you feel that your knowledge is weak when you're thinking about some item, write down this item in your notes and read more about those items later, dig into that topics to fix gaps.

Level A. Getting familiar

It's a minimum level for people that want to have a WordPress website. Even in case you're not a programmer, you must know the very basic things to be able to manage your WordPress website without issues.

  • What is WordPress
  • How to manage all types of content
    (posts, images, taxonomies, users)
  • What are CPT and PostMeta
  • The file structure of WordPress
    (where are unique to specific installation files, where are common)
  • How to move a WordPress website from one hosting to another

Level B. Beginner

It's a minimum level for people that want to create WordPress websites. Even if you're not going to create code, and want to build websites only using ready solutions, you must know these items.

  • List of most popular plugins and how to use them
    (like ACF, WooCommerce, SuperCache, All in One Seo, Redirection and others)
  • How WordPress works
    (the chain of main hooks and common filters, in which order themes and plugins are loading)
  • What are Taxonomy and Terms
  • Default thumbnail sizes, how to customize
  • Theme's templates
    (all built-in template names, what are page templates, how to add them)

Level C1. Medium

These knowledge will allow you to solve different kinds of tasks with WordPress and build fast websites.

  • Database scheme
    (all main tables and their main columns, e.g. posts-postmeta, users-usermeta, terms-taxonomy, options)
  • How to use all options of WP_Query
    (e.g. with complex filters by meta and taxonomy)
  • WooCommerce templates and main hooks, how to customize the checkout
  • Cron tasks
    (how to create, manage and debug them)
  • How WP permalinks work behind the scene, custom rewrite rules
    (e.g. how to support several variants of one url, like product1-vs-product2 and product2-vs-product1)
  • WP internal cache
    (to clearly understand what happens when you call 'get_post' or 'get_post_meta', to be able to reduce resources usage by your code)

Level C2. Extended

At this level, you feel yourself with WordPress just like a fish in a lake, you always know the best way to solve any task and nothing is too complex for you about WordPress.

  • Multisite mode
    (what are common and separated here, how do robots.txt and .htaccess act, and what about users)
  • Transients
    (what is it, where is it stored, and how to use)
  • WP CLI
    (e.g. how to regenerate all thumbnails without plugins)
  • Weak points of WordPress, how to prevent hacking from them
    (brute force of login form, xmlrpc.php, parsing user names via REST API and etc)

Conclusions

You've read my list of must-know items, and I hope that you've found some items interesting for your next learning, and this article will be a small push to improve your knowledge. Do you feel strong? Don't relax - here I've covered only basic topics. Try to dig into tools and topics which you meet every day and you'll find plenty of new and unknown things. Like with big plugins, each of them is like an ocean, wide and deep. Do you use ACF? Make sure you know all its features, e.g. how to create Gutenberg blocks using the plugin.

Let's make WEB and the world better - don't forget to contribute. Help other people to learn and share your features with others.

About the Author
Maxim Akimov

Certificated WordPress expert from Ukraine with over 6 years of experience.
Advocate of the BEM methodology and the overall modular approach.
Loves sporting activities, enjoys gyming and plays table tennis regularly.

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