WordPress developers
WordPress developers

Understanding the Role of WordPress Developers: Separating Fact from Fiction


In the realm of software development, WordPress developers often find themselves under scrutiny. Many individuals hesitate to label WordPress developers as “real” developers, partly due to the widespread use of the term “developer” within the WordPress ecosystem. This ubiquity blurs the line between those who merely install plugins and themes and those who genuinely craft them. This article delves into the question of what it means to be a “real” developer and how this label applies to WordPress developers.

  1. Defining a Developer

In the world of software, a developer is someone who possesses the ability to conceive, design, write, test, and debug software. True developers offer more than just the installation and configuration of pre-existing solutions; they can design and create unique solutions using code. When it comes to websites, this typically involves two primary aspects:

1.1 Front-End Development

Front-end developers utilize languages such as CSS, JavaScript, and HTML to write code that runs on the client side, within the user’s web browser.

1.2 Back-End Development

Back-end developers work with languages like PHP and MySQL, focusing on server-side code that powers the functionality of a website.

While some developers specialize in either front-end or back-end development, others possess proficiency in both areas, all the while adhering to coding standards, best practices, and secure coding techniques.

  1. Non-Coding

    Roles in WordPress

Within the expansive WordPress ecosystem, there are roles that do not require extensive coding but are nonetheless essential. These roles include:

2.1 Web Designer

Web designers concentrate on the visual aspects of a website, such as its appearance and user experience. They leverage their expertise in design principles, color theory, and usability to craft the website’s aesthetics. In some cases, a web designer may collaborate with a developer who translates their design into an installable WordPress theme.

2.2 WordPress Implementer

WordPress implementers take the client’s requirements and utilize existing “off the shelf” software to construct a website. They assemble the various components like a puzzle, employing basic coding skills when necessary but predominantly relying on software created by developers.

  1. The Significance of Role Clarification

The casual use of the term “developer” within the WordPress community has led to a confusing amalgamation of individuals with diverse skill sets. This situation poses challenges for clients seeking the right professional for their projects. Moreover, it can disrupt the ecosystem when clients end up with individuals ill-equipped to handle the work, tarnishing the reputation of the WordPress community and its products.

  1. Identifying Genuine WordPress Developers

In the absence of official WordPress certifications, identifying a legitimate WordPress developer relies heavily on assessing their portfolio of past and present work. This portfolio should encompass websites, themes, and plugins. To gauge their expertise and reliability, consider the following factors:

4.1 Plugin and Theme Directories

Check if the developer has contributed to the WordPress plugin and theme directories. Examine the reviews and support threads associated with their contributions. This can provide insights into their skills and commitment to quality.

4.2 Client References

Whenever possible, reach out to previous clients and inquire about their experiences with the developer. This should encompass both the initial implementation and ongoing support. A developer’s ability to maintain positive client relationships is a valuable indicator of their professionalism.


The debate surrounding the legitimacy of WordPress developers as “real” developers arises from the ambiguity surrounding the term. While some individuals within the WordPress ecosystem may not engage extensively in coding, their roles remain crucial. Web designers and WordPress implementers, for instance, contribute significantly to the overall success of WordPress-based projects.

To address the confusion and ensure clients find the right professionals, it is essential to clarify roles and responsibilities within the WordPress community. This will not only benefit clients but also uphold the reputation of WordPress as a versatile and reliable platform for website development. Identifying a genuine WordPress developer may not hinge on official certifications but rather on their proven track record and the feedback of satisfied clients.

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