June 15, 2022

How To Become A Wordpress Developer (Self-taught)


Ever wonder what it's like to be a WordPress developer or even how to become one? I invited one onto the podcast to share his journey and tons of great tips for aspiring developers that want to follow the same path. The best part is that he's completely self-taught! We all know how hard that path is, and he made it happen. It turns out that WordPress development has quite a bit of depth and a few different languages and frameworks you can pursue - JavaScript, ReactJS, and PHP. Also, WordPress development seems to have a more lenient barrier to entry in terms of what you need to learn initially. If you're just trying to break into tech and you enjoy coding, this episode is for you.

Micah Wood (guest):
Website - https://wpscholar.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/wpscholar
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/micahwood

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Transcript

Don Hansen:

Welcome back to Don the developer podcast, where we help aspiring web developers get jobs and junior developers grow. In this episode, we're going to continue our series, exploring coding, adjacent position and positions and positions that aren't like traditional front end, backend software engineering and exploring different types of software engineering positions. So are focused on WordPress today. How do you become a WordPress developer? What is, uh, what is a WordPress developer? Day-to-day what does it look like? Is it fun? Does it suck? We're going to dive into it. But, um, I brought on Micah with me today. He's going to go ahead and share his experience. We're going to dive into some questions. Uh, Micah, thanks so much for coming on.

Micah Wood:

Thank you.

Don Hansen:

All right. So who are you, uh, talk a little bit about your experience as a WordPress developer.

Micah Wood:

Uh, well, let's see. Um, I always like to go a little bit further than. When I started WordPress. Uh, so I had a company where I, uh, I had a lawn care company and ran for 12 years and decided that I want to make a switch. So I made the switch to learning and becoming a WordPress developer. Um, to be honest, I didn't think I had. So to do that at the time and make any kind of money, um, turns out I was pretty good at it. So it started, uh, picking up customers and then eventually, uh, working with some other people and then getting into more enterprise level work and then landed a job in hosting company. So, um, so right now that's where I'm at, I'm at a Bluehost, so. Gotcha.

Don Hansen:

Okay.

Micah Wood:

Um, well, so. When I was first, uh, toying around with different technology. Uh, I tried to build a website for my lawn care company when I was having. It ended up being a really nasty looking HTML website without a whole lot of design thought put into it, had a nice Microsoft clipart logo. Uh, so I'm pretty, pretty low tech. Um, and then I had a friend who was a designer, so he helped me spruce it up, but it was still just basic HTML site then, um, I don't know on the side, I started up my own little martial arts studio and, uh, I wanted to create a website that was dynamic where people could log in and see the curriculum for their belt levels and all that kind of good stuff. Uh, so I started working just raw PHP, my SQL kind of stuff. Um, got that working and then a friend of mine, uh, and his buddy, they, they had started up a WordPress agency. And kind of introduced me to work for us, but I had also installed Joomla and Magento and some other things I'm not very impressed with Joomla Magento. I was pretty sure he had to have a college degree to just install it. Uh, and then, you know, uh, Hey, you know, it was just difficult to apply, like, you know, uh, upgrading and all that was like, go to this file, change these things, you know, uh, it, it was pretty, pretty narrowly. Uh, I think. Things have been moving more in that direction that WordPress had already started to go down where, you know, you could click a button and install a plugin, um, which was really nice. So that was kind of one of the, it was easy for me to, to jump into, uh, I still felt like it was kinda hard at first because, uh, I hadn't been doing PHP and stuff my own way. And then I had to work within a framework that, you know, I didn't know the internals of and that kind of stuff, but, um, I adapted and started figuring it out. Um, so it was a bit of an interesting journey. I was completely self-taught and there were no bootcamps or courses when I was doing this. So it has been about probably 12 years ago. Uh, that I started.

Don Hansen:

It's a really cool self-taught story. You essentially, you needed a website. It was for the martial arts. Okay, so you essentially got, I mean, I, I truly think is a really cool way to get into coding in general. It's like, you have a problem you need to solve, you realize coding is a solution or a tool to create a solution, and then you create that solution. Right. And then you kind of found some interest in it and pretty much doubled down on it. Um, I think this to me, I guess when you did that, you were learning WordPress. Did you feel? So what if you were just like building some random WordPress website? You're like, I kind of want to get into coding. I want to learn some tools or languages. I just want to build some random websites. Do you feel like you would have been as motivated if you weren't building a website for yourself?

Micah Wood:

We'll probably not. Yeah. I, uh, I mean, I think the motivation probably would've come from just my desire to do something with coding, but yeah, it would have been. I think it would have been a little bit more difficult if they weren't for the fact that I had already had kind of those little things I wanted to do and started working on them. So, yeah.

Don Hansen:

Yeah. That makes sense. Um, what kind of things do you work on right now, uh, with WordPress? Um, do you, do you build like you dig in deep and build teams and, and really get into the PHP parts? So the code or, um, what are you.

Micah Wood:

So, yeah, so right now, uh, well technically, um, uh, you know, work at a hosting company. So we, uh, blue hosts, we, uh, focus on, you know, Blue has being the best flows, best place to do WordPress, uh, and that's for our customers, of course. But, uh, so part of, part of what I do is try to make sure that it is the best place to do WordPress. Right? So trying to make it as easy as possible for people, which means we have plugins that handle quality stuff behind the scenes, everything from like a single sign on, into your site, from the hosting platform to. You know, handling caching and just being able to more easily customize things on their site. Um, and so there's a lot of different things like onboarding flows and stuff like that that we can do to kind of, to help. Uh, but there's also been a lot of innovation in WordPress lately with full site editing and a lot of things that previously were only found in, uh, premium plugins and stuff like that. Uh, so that's kind of. You know, becoming free to everyone, uh, which is great. Um, but it also, um, provides us some additional opportunities where, you know, we can, we can go in and make it even easier for people. Um, and they get more control over different aspects of their site that they wouldn't normally have had before. Um, so. There's that, um, the actually been doing a little bit of Lenovo as a part of this, because we've created essentially a hub where we can find out more information about the sites that we have and make sure that everybody's sites are running well. Um, so we're using some other tools to make WordPress, make sure we were aware of all the WordPress issues and things that people are running into. Um, so that's kinda kind of the. Bluehost side of, of what I do. And technically I'm a sponsored contributor. Bluehost pays me to actually contribute to the WordPress project itself. So that is very interesting. Um, you know, being able to jump into different aspects of WordPress and, um, you know, help with the workflows of the editor or jump in and, uh, You know, right. Rest API, end points for menus or all kinds of stuff. So, um, it really just, there's so many opportunities, uh, to work on WordPress itself. It's, it's a little ridiculous. Um, but yeah. There's a lot of lot going on there.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Yeah. You almost sound a bit like a Jack of all trades when it comes to, it sounds like your focus really is just, like you said, making WordPress or WordPress a little bit more accessible for peoples that are using it. I'm blue host and you're kind of just building internal tooling to be able to make that easier. And your, do you jump into. Do you jump into any people's sites when they have a technical issue and you help solve that technical issue?

Micah Wood:

Yeah, we're, uh, we're actually gonna be out next week, uh, in Porto, Portugal. Uh, there's a word camp. And so we'll have a big booth out there. And one of my favorite things at these work camps is we actually get to sit down with customers. They come in and they're like, Hey, I've got this problem. My site's not fast. Or my site's doing this weird thing or this, you know, some weird happening and we'll jump in and, you know, help out and get to the bottom of it. So, um, yeah, I've kind of missed that because this is like the first. In-person event in two and a half years, I think. Uh, but, but having that like actual connection with the customers and being able to work through issues and stuff is really nice. Cause then, you know, not only do you help somebody overcome a problem, but you also get to go back and be like, Hey, you guys, we should probably change this for everybody to make it easier. So

Don Hansen:

it makes sense. Okay. So you've pretty much. Pretty much help clients of different size WordPress sites, right. That might have, I guess I kind of want to get a feel for the types of problems that happen. And even what you need to learn, to be able to create these WordPress sites for someone that's like an individual like yourself is building a WordPress site for their martial arts studio or, um, you know, someone that has, you know, a company of a hundred people that has kind of a main website that is built upon WordPress. Um, so. I guess for the people that are like, I'm kind of just a, you throw up a WordPress site, you want to get an idea online. You want to get your website online for like the one man shops. Um, do you feel what, what are some of the first of all, like what are some things that you need to learn to be able to do that and do it successfully? And what are some of the challenges that come up with those types of customers?

Micah Wood:

I got a small mom and pop kind of brochure website. Um, yeah, so, you know, nine times out of 10 and, uh, I actually, uh, maybe a more direct example. My, uh, so, you know, I've taught martial arts for a long time, but I also have a teacher, uh, I do present jujitsu and, uh, he was like, I need a website, but I have no idea. What is. Uh, and he found out that I did websites, so he wanted to get a little, some tips. Um, so he was able to, you know, as, as a person who doesn't know any code doesn't know anything, he was able to. Sign up for hosting WordPress was there really for him to go. Um, he was able to install a couple of plugins. Um, and the funny thing is he got all that set up and ready to put content in, but he didn't know what content couldn't. Um, so, uh, thankfully I had already built martial arts websites and knew kind of when to quit in there. And so I was kind of help helpful in that area, but, um, but yeah, like the. Beauty of it is that it's easy enough for somebody who doesn't know how to code to come in and be able to do stuff. Um, and that's part of what the WordPress full site editing is all about, right? Like when you used to just have like this area where you could edit the content, but you had to have a theme where you could have the header and the footer and all those kinds of things. Uh, but now with full site editing, you can actually see. I want to edit the theme, a header, or I want to edit the footer and that kind of stuff. Uh, and you can do that using the same editor that you'd normally use to edit your content. Um, so that that's, that's cool. Uh, that was around when I was helping him with his site. So he had to install one of the builder plugins that, you know, makes that easy. Um, And I've got a neighbor who's recently started. Um, he's transitioned from, uh, being in real estate, essentially to, uh, to becoming a programmer. And so he's kind of been making that transition. Uh, and so he learned, you know, he wanted to get into the depths of it and really just be able to build, build stuff, come up with an idea and make it happen. Um, He, so, you know, he wanted to go beyond what the average person could do with it obviously. But, uh, we kind of started him at that point where you, you, you use a builder and you do all these things, but he also had learned HTML and CSS. And so if a customer said, you know, we want to do XYZ. You know, your average person wouldn't have no idea how to make the builder, do certain things, whereas he could jump in. Style things just so, and all that kind of good stuff. So your standard HTML CSS will take you along the way. I think most people, when they start learning WordPress, they start by installing it, setting up plugins and doing things that way. And then kind of slowly working their way backwards to the core of work. Uh, so it starts out, somebody wants to tweak a theme. They're like, Hey, I want to change this color or this thing, but you know, the theme doesn't have an option for that. So then they have to go in and they know the HTML will CMS CSS. So they go in there and change those things. And then along the way, they're looking at all the PHP template tags that WordPress has that handle the different, uh, things. And they start to get a little bit familiar with them. Um, You know, and then they slowly start fiddling with those and looking things up online or something. And then before, you know, it, you know, they're considering making their own plugin and, you know, you know, writing PHP for that. Um, and it used to be that all WordPress developers were just PHP developers that knew how to work inside of WordPress. Um, but now with a lot of the changes that have been happening to WordPress there's, uh, A much bigger focus on the JavaScript and react side of things. So, um, interestingly for WordPress has been, uh, a lot of the plugin developers have been around for a long time. Some of them have dropped off because they don't want to their PHP developers. They don't want to be a JavaScript. Um, but then you get a bunch of other people who come in and they are really good JavaScript and they have no idea anything about PHP. Uh, and so they're. Working on stuff. Um, so it's, it's not very common that you usually find someone who does both. Um, and I think what most people end up doing is going and finding agency and they ended up pairing up the back end and the front end so that they can get everything done. But there are some kind of workarounds, like, um, uh, there's some tools like advanced custom fields, which, uh, lets you create some custom blocks that normally would be in react, but you can do them in PHP. So some things like that, that, uh, I guess people have found ways around not having delivered the Josh grape side, but that, you know, people are trying to learn both sides and there's plenty of people that that do, but um, More commonly. I think everybody kind of finds its focus and drills in on that.

Don Hansen:

Okay. That's interesting. So react seems to be a little bit more prominent in WordPress. Um, can you, can you share, um, maybe an example of, I guess, a common example of where people would integrate react into WordPress and that's, you know, it's going to create a little bit more overhead, so. Where does that bring an advantage? What kind of application?

Micah Wood:

So the, um, so, well, just a little bit of history. So WordPress originally used to use something called tiny MC, which is like a little JavaScript based like content editor in the admin area. So you could edit your content and you save it in the database and then it just renders it on the front end whatever's in there. Um, and so. It would let you do some basic stuff and then manage that HTML for you. But you know, simple things like putting two images side by side is super complicated, right? Like you kind of have to know HTML that you can make that happen inside of what used to be the old or when they call the classic editor, the new editor, which is codenamed Gutenberg, or the WordPress blog. It is entirely built on react. So if you want to create a custom block that other people can use, you pretty much have to build that in react. Now they have a block built into WordPress, which is called a short code block, which was kind of the more traditional way. Plugin developers would allow people to do custom things within that tiny MCE editor is they would put these little brackets and they'd have some sort of like, kind of each TMOs syntax, but they would have like pretty in-depth functionality usually associated with that. So like, you could have this little. String that would essentially represent a slider, for example, on the front end of the site. And it might pull from different content type in WordPress and output those things, or, um, you know, sound was kind of the normal way of doing things and it was all PHP based. Um, it was kind of annoying for people who were using the plugins because they would have to look up the documentation on the shortcodes on the plugins website every time. They wanted to change something, right? Like most developers didn't have any documentation on, on location in the admin area where they think they could learn those things. The nice thing about the block editor is that all that you click on the block and it gives you complete just UI inputs for all the different aspects. Uh, so whether you want to pick a content. S, uh, some piece of content from somewhere else on the side, or you want to, you know, do some advanced query or you want to, uh, change the number of columns or change colors or anything like that. That's all built in. So, uh, from a user standpoint, it's a wonderful thing from a developer standpoint, if you want to do it and do it right, you gotta do it in react. So.

Don Hansen:

I think I would enjoy WordPress development more nowadays with that. Built-in, I'm a big fan of react. Uh, that's interesting. You're giving a few different avenues of kind of what you can pursue. So essentially I think, I just want to make sure I understand. So a lot of people, when they start with WordPress, they essentially kind of learned to just do a lot of things with plugins and probably. And editor a plugin, that's an editor or something that's built in to be able to do a little bit more with their pages. Right. Um, and then as they get more comfortable with that, maybe they want more customization or they just want to understand WordPress more. They start then diving deeper into the actual code, into potentially PHP code, um, or they Jew or dive into JavaScript and react specifically. And so it. It almost like for me, I like the style of learning and I like to progress in a more complicated topics when the need is there, um, where it's almost kind of different in like with traditional suffer engineering positions. Like, I think it's a really good idea to get the fundamentals down first and then dive deeper. And it's, you know, it's almost like in the very beginning, you're not necessarily building. Anything that's going to be, um, uh, prominent or you can build a little stuff to practice what you're learning, but it's a big emphasis on the fundamentals where it's backwards with WordPress. Um, I actually liked that style of learning. Um, I guess my question is if people want to get paid as a full-time WordPress developer, do you feel like it's really easy to get a position, being able to set up a WordPress. With plugins and essentially some editor and just put some things on a page or do they really need to dive into PHB? Do they need to dive into JavaScript? What gets some hireable?

Micah Wood:

Um, so yeah, I would say there's a couple of different options there, right? So like, if you're just trying to start your own business and do take side projects and turn it into a full-time job, doing work for customers directly, um, There's a lot of people who'd go the no-code approach and then, you know, slowly learn stuff. And, um, you know that, um, but I think most people that have gone down that path and made a business, what happens is they get too busy doing these kind of no code websites that they don't have the time and effort to put in to actually learn. The more in-depth things that would earn them more money. Um, so I think the people who are really good at business processes and like just generally like, you know, piecemeal and things out and, and, you know, getting it done, um, are more likely to do to do that. Um, I think the people who are, who are really interested in learning to code, um, they, you know, they're probably going to. At some point, at least get a job with an agency or a small, you know yeah. Some sort of small agency where they can, they can pick up some skills, um, and get paid at the same time. Uh, yeah. A lot of agencies have so many different approaches, so I've, I've seen agencies where, um, most of what they do is actually the no-code stuff, but then they do have other projects. Where they have need of more in-depth knowledge. Uh, and so a lot of people who go work at those types of agencies, um, you know, they could have built out some stuff and got a little bit experienced with the no-code approach and they can continue to do that at that particular agency. Uh, but the growth opportunity there. There are other projects where they will need to know more. And there were people there who will teach them. So while you could go to a bootcamp and spend $20,000 in 12 weeks or whatever, and try to try to find a job after that, and maybe your bootcamp even guarantees you a job. Um, you know, you, you could put a little effort in upfront. Usually you should be able to land to a low level position at, uh, at one of these types of agencies and entrepreneur. Kind of the next level, but, um, yeah, cause I, I have known some people that literally just knew HTML CSS and they went and worked at an agency. Um, you know, cause they could always start them out basic styling and doing that kind of stuff and then slowly work them into PHP. My brother actually started out working as a it professional who, you know, fixed printers and computers and, and stuff and ended up learning HTML. Yeah, actually got into Magento, then he got into WordPress. Uh, so, uh, I think that's a lot of, a lot of people's stories when they go work at agencies. But if you do have a lot more kind of like technical knowledge under your belt, um, you know, typically, you know, your average person is going to have more knowledge of either JavaScript or PHP, so they kinda choose the front end or back end approach. Um, and I think, you know, there's plenty of like junior PHP positions or junior JavaScript positions. Um, interestingly WordPress developers, if you, if you get a job where the title is WordPress developer, the pay is actually less than if you get a job as PHP developer or JavaScript developer. Um, because. I think because there are so many people using WordPress and learning it and trying to code and do everything and work for us. Um, and they didn't, didn't just start like learning PHP and then going from there. Um, it's interesting how, uh, um, Sorry, I lose my train of thought. Uh, yeah. But it's interesting that, uh, that, you know, people have, uh, have that, you know?

Don Hansen:

Yeah. So, and that's, that's an interesting thing. So PHP, I mean, PHP has been around for a long time. PHPs has been around for a very long time. And, um, how many, if you look at like PHP versus, uh, I mean PHP versus Python. I do think Python's generally going to pay a little bit more. Um, but there are a lot of applications in PHP that still exists today. And it's honestly, it's, it's highly due to WordPress being so prevalent as well. A lot of people, I don't talk about WordPress a lot, but I do know a lot of people do want to get a WordPress development. And, um, a lot of like people with an entrepreneurship spirit too, as I kind of started to dive into it a little bit deeper. Um, but there are a lot of people that want that position. And I do think the, you know, correct me if I'm wrong, but like, if we're talking about like a tradition. Front-end software engineering position. That's a very heavy into JavaScript fundamentals and react and like deep into CSS. Um, I think the learning curve is a little bit less getting into a WordPress developer position. And so it's more accessible and people can dive into it a little bit quickly. And I mean, quite frankly, if you have an untrue entrepreneurship spirit, You can try to build a business. You could try to push out. And I just a basic product and pricing model where like, maybe it's just a content general content, a static content site where you're putting ads on the website where you have affiliates or stuff like that, or it's a front facing website for your business. And it just brings in travel. I mean, there are so many different use cases for WordPress, but it seems like it's a little bit lower paying and very, um, but very much more accessible. So I think more people should consider that position and. I sometimes people like, I think sometimes people get too hung up on like, I need to, I need to get this official backend engineering position when there's like so many other coding opportunities where you're still trying to solve problems with code. Um, and when I, first of all, when I dove into WordPress and my company switched over, I was one of those people where I wanted to focus way more on Java script and what you're talking about with the plugin situation, where JavaScript is much more prevalent, react as much more prevalent. Maybe I missed it, but like seven years ago that wasn't the case, not as much. Um, and so, but WordPress development. There's a bit of, there's still a learning curve and you have to, in my opinion, I think it's really beneficial to learn PHP and get comfortable with it. I mean, we're presses built off a PHP. Um, you're still learning like solid programming skills. Um, hopefully the course is good and gets you a good solid foundation. But, um, I don't know. Um, I think I'm just ranting at this point, but I do notice a difference in south. Um, and, but I still think it's, you know, an actual programming position and I don't think you should just exclude it. What, so, because there's that difference? There's a WordPress developer title. That's going to pay less for people that want to try to avoid that, but still want to start with WordPress development. Um, Or niche, I dunno. Maybe they niched out what, what's your advice to people to try to bump up their salary as much as they possibly can when they're becoming a WordPress developer?

Micah Wood:

Um, well I think, I think, uh, you know, when you're first getting into it, because the pay is lower, there's more developers doing that kind of thing. It is easier to land those positions than if you went after a strict PHP or JavaScript because. Um, but, uh, um, tell me your question again. You're going to start heading up, but then I got off track there. So what was it?

Don Hansen:

Uh, well, it was a long rant. That's why, um, but essentially like, so it sounds like it almost sounds like you kind of, that expectation should be realistic and you might start out with a lower pay. Would you say, let me change my question. Would you. For people that do want to bump up their salary, they get into WordPress development. Would you recommend they do double down on PHP? They do double down on Java script. Um, should they try to mix both, you know, it's going to take longer to learn two different languages. Uh, you know, what's your recommendation. Um, yeah, for those people.

Micah Wood:

Yeah. So a lot of people will get confused when they try to learn more than one language at a time, especially if they're just starting. Right. So, and even, even like doing PHP and WordPress, it gets confusing because you're like, well, what's PHP and what's WordPress functions. Like how do I know where one starts and the other end? Um, so there's a lot of that, that that happens. So I think it's definitely important to dive into one and. And learning well, um, you know, there's, there's the shortcomings of like peach pea and WordPress code getting mixed up in someone's mind, but then there's also the, you know, same thing had happened in JavaScript. You have to learn a, a billion build tools and all those kinds of things as well. Um, so either way it's a steep learning curve, but I think the unique opportunity that these WordPress positions provide is that you get that opportunity to sit alongside other people who maybe they don't specialize in WordPress. Maybe they specialize in PHP or they specialize in JavaScript. Um, and then you're coming in. With just enough WordPress knowledge to try to piece the two together. Right. Um, but you know, at the end, I think you come away, you know, from that first position is as having a better idea of which direction you want to go. And having probably gotten at least six months down that road of really learning that thing. Well, um, so your next position, you know, you'll be able to say like, this is, this is my focus. This is what I do. This is how I can help. And so it will be more likely get a higher pay. Um, and I think once you kind of get to that point where you're very comfortable with, you know, whatever section that you choose to, to pursue, you know, eventually you're going to, you're going to start to expand that probably to learn more kind of full stack, um, you know, maybe even learn some. Edge computing or some like other random things along the way. But, um, but yeah, I, I think, uh, I think it's a good opportunity for people to kind of dive in and actually work alongside people. So I had this interesting opportunity when, so I started working with this guy. He was kind of my coach and mentor, um, kinda got me out of just, well, Well, here's the thing. So yeah, I do want to say for all the people out there who are entrepreneurial, and maybe don't want to just start with a position, or maybe they don't feel like they can do that. Um, it's important obviously that you're able to get clients and most people who are developers, aren't very good marketers and vice versa. Uh, so. Um, so the chances are you're going to get started. You might find a person or two who wants to have you do some projects, but those projects are going to be kind of slow coming. Um, so what I found my personal experience was that if I kept connected with three agencies that needed some help with overflow work, um, then I could have. Not have to go hunting projects all the time. And as long as I do a good job with the agencies, they keep sending me where, um, so that's kind of where I was. And then I met this guy and he would, um, I'd actually just put out my first, well, I had put out a couple of WordPress plugins that were just like learning things that it's really stupid stuff. I dunno, order things by word count that, um, I created my first real big plugin in WordPress that a, a, got a 300,000 downloads and, you know, it took off. Um, so I gave a presentation, my Mia about this and a head hunter found me and connected me with this guy. You know, he went to Georgia tech and he got his degree in computer science and you know, now he's doing enterprise projects for people. And so, uh, so I connected with him and, uh, started working with him on some stuff. Um, and it was interesting because, you know, he was doing a lot bigger projects. Uh, and so one of the interesting opportunities. Uh, he had enough connections with enough bigger agencies that I actually went and spent about six weeks onsite at most of the major agencies here in Atlanta. Um, and got to kind of experience the culture and see how they worked. You know, some of them were very different. Um, and. And just, yeah, just being able to have kind of those, those types of experiences where you're actually working with other people, even if you are an entrepreneur and kind of doing your own thing, you can make those connections with agencies and they almost always need the help. Um, you just have to be confident in what you know, and sell, sell them on it and, uh, you can do well. So. I was going to say, just to get back to the pay question, um, you know, obviously the more, you know, the more you get paid, like I think if you started out like CSS and HTML, you probably looking at $20 or less on average, um, and then once you get in to get either more JavaScript or more PHP, you're probably looking at more like 40, maybe $50 now, or, um, but if you know, both, you're probably looking more like 90 to a hundred dollars an hour. Um, And, you know, for awhile there, I was billing out at 3 25 an hour. Um, so like people are willing to pay it if you know what you're doing and they, they know and trust that you can do everything in one one-stop right. Like I can dump the JavaScript side. I can build the PHP side. Um, so, uh, yeah, I think as far as pay goes, that's a. Probably the best thing you can do is, is to, to round out your knowledge of kind of all of the things. Um, but you know, if you're really, really good at PHP to the point that, uh, you know, you, you you've put a normal PHP developer to shame, then you could probably get paid pretty well that way too. So.

Don Hansen:

Yeah, I think that's good advice. And even just your initial advice, um, I thought there was a good caution, um, because I think it outside of WordPress as well, so many aspiring developers, they just want to learn everything just to get that first high paying position. Perfect ideal position right now. Most of the time they don't and I think starting off and getting your foot in the door. And I love the idea. Even if you have an entrepreneurship spirit, you know, just help with overflow work, you know, connect with agencies, connect with other. Um, and especially like, uh, you mentioned something important. Um, usually, you know, marketing, usually, you know, development usually don't know both. And I think even pairing with people that can supplement with the knowledge that you lack, especially if you have an entre entrepreneurship spirit, that can be very helpful. But, um, yeah, so almost like learning PHP. And JavaScript or like really learning PHP or really learning JavaScript kind of just sounds like give yourself time with that. The money will eventually come. Um, but just kind of getting your foot in the door you had mentioned, like, then you can start, you know, you get a year into the position, then you can start getting a feel. What do I want to focus on next? Right. And maybe learning two languages at once is going to be a bit overwhelming. So, um, maybe you can figure that out, figure out the path. Um, yeah, I think that's really good advice if people like, I guess I'll ask one more question. If people wanted to get started learning WordPress, do you feel like there are any courses that they should learn or pick up? Would you recommend.

Micah Wood:

Um, so from the JavaScript side, um, Zack, uh, uh, trying to remember his last name, uh, Zach Gordon think he, uh, he has a JavaScript for wordpress.com. I think it is. Uh, and he's, he's got a whole bunch of really, really good JavaScript courses. It's almost like a bootcamp. Um, you know, you, you learn one thing after the other. And, you know, you've got a community like a slack community, people that you can reach out to, um, as part of that. Um, and you know, if you, if you do all that and build out all those sample projects and all that kind of stuff, like you'll be able to land a job doing that kind of thing at that an agency somewhere. Um, as far as the PHP side, um, I don't think there's a really good, clear. Place, I would say to go and learn that like, um, it's interesting. Cause, uh, uh, again, my, my friend who started, uh, learning WordPress and he's trying to get into PHP, he was like, well, I need to learn some basic PHP. So let me go find some sample problems and things to do. And he was, he was showing me some stuff he was working on and I was like, it's like, man, you must really love. And, uh, he's like, I know those are all the PHP examples that there are they're all meth. There was no like, uh, you know, most of what we do that WordPress is like, okay, well, I've got blob of text and I need it. I've got it down to 40 words and make sure that, you know, there's no like garbled, HTML and put it on the page or, um, you know, a whole different problem seven than most PHP training appears to provide. Um, so. Personally, I can't recommend any particular thing. Um, I think there are some good courses out there. Um, and you know, if you do a bootcamp or, or even just go to like a, a, you know, a school where they teach that matter of fact, I taught for awhile at creative circus. I taught a PHP course. We didn't, um, we didn't do WordPress at all. Um, and I think that was a really good experience for me. Just. Uh, to help me understand where people are coming from when they're trying to learn things. Uh, so it was, it was relatively simple to teach someone straight up PHP. Um, but as I've tried to teach people, WordPress PHP, it's been difficult because like I said, like the magic of WordPress often will cover over. The foundational things you need to know about PHP. Um, and so then you kinda, you know, you're, you're not really good at PHP, but when you're, when you're done with that, right. So like, I think that's where I had a little bit of an advantage is I focused on PHP first and then got into WordPress. Um, so I think if you, if you do get into WordPress, you should definitely take some time to do some RA PHP projects, even if they never, you know, it's never something you're going to release. Matter of fact, the first thing I built that website I was telling you about for martial arts. I, um, I stored all of the passwords in raw text in the database. Not great. Um, we've matter of fact, WordPress is what taught me that I should hash these passwords. I was like, wait a minute. What are they doing here? What I do? I know what the password is. Um, so, you know, I did a lot of things that were not very secure or, you know, the best way of doing them, but I made it happen in PHP. And I figured out the basics and I think having a clear understanding of. As you're trying to get into WordPress PHP. Um, it's going to give you a least clearer line of where WordPress starts and you know, where PHP stuff. So

Don Hansen:

I like it. I really like it. Well, um, if anyone is watching this on YouTube and you have any recommendations for someone that wants to learn WordPress PHP, uh, feel free to suggest it in the comments. It sounds like it's a little bit. Trickier path to try to find the right course, but it sounds like there are courses out there. Um, yeah, I, I think this is all really good advice. I appreciate it. Um, cause I, I do think more people should consider this path. Um, and you might really enjoy it, especially I'm telling you if. I think if I would, so I have an entrepreneurship spirit and if I would have followed that and pursued that at a much earlier age, I probably would have picked up WordPress because I built a web hosting company when I was 18. And just even learning everything I needed to learn, um, to get that website up, I feel like I could have done everything and were pressed, so it would have been easier. And I just want to create a company at the time. I didn't know. I would really enjoy software engineering. So, you know, it worked out, but, um, Yeah, I think word press. I think more people should consider it. Yeah. I think we dove into everything. Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap it up?

Micah Wood:

Um, there was something, but I think I forgot it. So,

Don Hansen:

oh no. What was the plugin that you created that got like 200, 300,000.

Micah Wood:

Um, yeah, it's, uh, I'm trying to make it go away at this point, but it was called promotion

Don Hansen:

slider. I shouldn't have said it if you're trying to make it go away.

Micah Wood:

Yeah, well, it's a, it it's it's, uh, it, it is being removed as we speak due to some security issues because I haven't updated it in almost eight, nine years. Um, but yeah, like that was, that was so my early code and of course, any code you've written six months ago is, is old code. So stuff you've heard in eight, nine years ago, and it's not really worth going back to and trying to update, but it was a good experience. Yeah.

Don Hansen:

That is a really cool experience. All right, cool. Um, yeah, Mike, I really appreciate you coming on. Um, if people want to reach out to you and anything else you want to shout out, or it could be.

Micah Wood:

Yeah. So my website is WP scholar.com. Uh, you can find me on Twitter as WP scholar. I'm also on wordpress.org as dummy scholar. Um, so pretty much if you'd Google WP scholar, you should find me. Um, yeah.

Don Hansen:

Okay. Cool. Well, seriously, Mike, thanks so much for coming on and diving into this with me. If you're watching this on YouTube, feel free to leave a comment below we can. Any of these topics that we're touching, um, that might not be like traditional software engineering. We can dive further into them. We can invite more guests. Can I just try to get a feel for what you guys are aiming for, but, um, yeah. Micah,

Micah Wood:

thanks so much for doing this.