It’s been about a year now since I’ve started working in WordPress. I’ve learned so much in this past year, and I wanted to share how I got to where I am today for other designers who are interested in expanding their WordPress knowledge. My progress would not have been possible without the following three things:
1. Taking an HTML class
During my undergrad, I had a few Dreamweaver courses and interned at the University of Michigan News Service updating the code on their old sites. So, I knew what HTML looked like and could recognize tags, but I didn’t really know what it did and how it worked until I took the HTML class. It taught me all the basics that I needed for a strong foundational knowledge about WordPress. The professor only cared if everything met the HTML standards, so it trained me to recognize where problems might occur. When troubleshooting something that is broken, knowing where the HTML breaks in WordPress is usually a good place to start.
2. Time management
When I added Web design to my production work schedule, the hardest thing for me was figuring out the pacing of my projects. I learned a lot about how to set deadlines for myself, where in the process I needed to give myself more time and how to juggle the other smaller projects in between. Now when I know I have a Web project coming up, the first thing I do is sit down with my calendar and map out where the milestones in the project have to be set. Of course things don’t always go the way I’d like them to, but having a clear layout of all the steps that need to take place enables me to easily stay on track.
3. Talking to “experts”
OK, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a true WordPress expert, but using my coworker and friends and going to local WordPress meetups has helped me learn the most. The WordPress meetups are great because we usually get into discussions about different ways to do something, different plugins I didn’t know about or how to custom code something I had previously used a plugin for. I’ve never been one to shy away from asking questions. I know if I have hit a wall a few times, it’s time to ask for help. You can learn a lot from figuring things out on your own, but if you’re wasting too much time and someone can teach you, there’s never any harm in asking for help.
If you’re a designer who also incorporated WordPress into your suite of skills, what helped you make the jump?