You are valuable

The keys to being valuable: Be open. Be honest. Be willing. Be passionate.

Result: Be valuable. Be employed.

WordPress continues its dominance as a CMS. This is an obvious statement if you look at statistics for sites that use WordPress, but have you thought of what that means to you if you know how to work with the platform?

It means you are valuable.

And people want to hire you.

The rest of the real world is figuring out just how good of a content management system WordPress is. It’s user friendly, constantly iterated, easier to maintain, and easier to extend than just about any other mature platform. But that doesn’t mean it’s simple. It still takes talented people to build consistent, high quality websites.

I am not the best WordPress developer in the world. I look up to hundreds of other people around me. But I am valuable. I can build just about anything with enough time and energy and as long as I keep my constant thirst to learn more about the industry I’m in. If you are like that, then you are very valuable too.

But I don’t know how I stack up

I cannot say this strong enough: just be honest. Be very straightforward about what you are currently capable of, what you are interested in, and what you’d like to know a year from now, or two years from now.

A challenge for people hiring “WordPress developers” is that there are massive differences in people that call themselves that. People hiring have a very hard time deciphering between an entry level person that knows HTML pretty well and a few WordPress functions, versus a seasoned PHP developer that specializes in WordPress development.

So… Just be honest. Show people sites you’ve worked on, and say what specifically you did on a particular site.

Can you customize a preexisting theme’s CSS? Do you know how to make custom templates? Do you know how to write custom queries? Do you know how to create widgets and settings pages? Do you know the WordPress database architecture? Could you be given a type of content (say like a restaurant menu) and give a detailed outline of how you would structure and organize the data? Do you have experience working with advanced meta data and custom meta boxes? Do you know jQuery or JavaScript? Do you have PHP experience with other frameworks? Are you obsessed with page load speeds? Have you created any public plugins or themes? Do you have design experience?

It’s not as important what your comfort level with these things is as your openness describing what you are good at and what you are not.

Oh, and don’t let me forget: if you can communicate really well to both clients and within a team, and you know how to prioritize your own work, then you have an huge advantage before even starting to talk about your development skills.

When I got my first full time web job, I wouldn’t have considered myself an “expert” at much of anything. I was decent at a few things, miserable at a few, but pretty good at two things: the right places to use which WordPress tools and methodologies, and how to look things up and learn.

Years have passed since then, and I’ve drastically improved across the board. What has benefited me most was knowing what I know, knowing what I don’t know, and having a strong desire to learn.

If you can resonate with this at all, and are on the fence about going full time WordPress, or wondering if you are valuable, or maybe you’re struggling freelancing, then maybe it’s time to market yourself and get hired.

Keep in mind there is more than freelancing available. Interactive agencies and ad agencies and dedicated WordPress agencies and WordPress product makers are all hiring. And they need a vast array of different skills from maintenance to new development to support to you name it.

If you’re convinced you’re not ready, then just build websites and you will be soon enough.

If you really excel at any of the skills I’ve mentioned, then you are in very high demand.

You are valuable.

This was originally published in 2012 on my personal blog. I’ve modified it for Post Status readers, because I think we still need this message.

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One Comment

  1. I really enjoyed your thoughts on this, Brian. I especially liked “what has benefited me most was knowing what I know, knowing what I don’t know, and having a strong desire to learn.” Well said!

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