(What I’ve Learned)
The WordPress community is a tech community unlike any other.
A community so strong that it almost transcends the software platform itself.
It often boggles my mind just how much software can bring people together.
There are many WordPress evangelists, myself included.
However, I think there is a problem that many “WordPress developers” fail to address.
This problem doesn’t just apply to WordPress developers, but the ease-of-use and massive plugin marketplace makes the problem particularly pronounced in the WordPress community.
The WordPress ecosystem is so robust, some developers just get lazy.
What happens when your client needs a specific functionality built into their website?
Naturally most developers will turn to the plugin repo.
It’s smashingly convenient to have so many options at your fingertips, but what happens when that event scheduling plugin doesn’t do what you need it to?
Do you fork it and modify it?
Or do you go down the plugin rabbit hole jumping from solution A, to solution B never to find exactly what your client needs?
I have a confession to make
When I first learned HTML and CSS I felt like a superhero. I could do anything. Is there something I can’t code? No problem. There’s a plugin for that.
I became lazy and comfortable.
I stopped learning web development because I only cared about learning WordPress.
WordPress doesn’t exist in a bubble.
I was foolish.
Exploring the wider web development world taught me a few things.
- WordPress isn’t always the answer. Sometimes there are better CMS or platforms suited to different clients
- The more I explored the world outside of WordPress the more I came to appreciate WordPress. After wrangling with Drupal, WP is a cakewalk
- I became much better customizing WordPress when I stopped “learning WordPress” and started learning “web development”.
- The best WordPress developers would carry on if WordPress disappeared tomorrow. At the end of the day, it’s knowledge of the underlying technology that’s truly transportable.
Many people have no desire to code, and that’s OK.
However, it’s important to understand that your ability to achieve greatness for your clients within WordPress will always be limited.
What happens when there isn’t a plugin for that? What happens when the plugin author stops supporting their plugin?
If you call yourself a WordPress developer, it’s not a cop-out to avoid learning the fundamentals of web development.
If anything, it’s a mandate.
Here ye WordPress developers, never stop learning. No matter how easy it is to throw up a WP site. Never stop learning.