If you ask a WordPress developer or a client what makes a great WordPress developer you will likely get a different set of answers. This is because there are different types of WordPress developers each with their own specialties within WordPress. You see, it depends on what you are looking to get out of a WordPress developer that dictates what qualities that developer should possess.
Types of WordPress Developers
1. The All Code, No Design WordPress Developer
This type of WordPress developer is 100% focused on providing the absolute best possible code. They want your website to be the fastest WordPress site on the block with the leanest code, they trim ALL the fat. This type of developer admits they know nothing about design, wish they did, but have no desire to learn it. They will, however, be able to talk your ear off about the future of WordPress development, technologies and use acronyms you’ll likely have to Google to understand but don’t worry they got you.
If you’re the type of client who needs a plugin created or customized this is the developer for you. If you want a custom theme created instead of modifying an existing theme to fit your design this is your developer. If you have a designer and your website is more complicated than the standard business website, perhaps with e-commerce integrated then you want this developer to make sure you get the most out of how your site functions.
2. The Design Only WordPress Developer
This type of developer is a premium theme customizing master. They will choose the best premium theme out there and customize it, to an extent, to fit your brand. Ask them to code the theme from scratch or from bootstrap or genesis frameworks and they will run away. Don’t get me wrong they will be very capable of building you a very well designed finished product. They’ll likely also be able to ensure the site’s UI/UX is top-notch as well with user-centric design considerations.
If you’re the type of client that can’t afford both a web designer and web developer and your needs are not more than a standard business website for example then this could be the developer for you. The beauty of WordPress is that developing a basic website that is beautiful is not hard and many savvy designers are more than capable of using WordPress to bring their designs to life with very little actual development skills. Some things need to be engineered, other things should be designed.
3. The Business Savvy WordPress Developer
This type of developer understands what it’s like to be in the client’s shoes. They have business experience and completely understand the VALUE of their work. They will prefer project-based pricing over hourly but will be conscious of project budgets and to say it again, the value of their work for the client. This means that the developer will be able to make helpful recommendations in order to get your project done most efficiently within the constraints of features and costs.
If you’re a client who needs a WordPress project done but is not sure of the best way to approach or get it done this is your developer. They will be able to help advise on the best route to take in order to complete your job. This developer has worked with businesses of all sizes and knows how to speak and project manage appropriately for each. If you want your website to give you the most marketing value this type of developer will be best suited for that as well with an understanding of tactics like content marketing and SEO for instance.
4. The Complete Package WordPress Developer
This developer likely has over 10,000 hours of practice within the realm of web development. They come from a diverse background of business, coding, design, project management, and administration. They are an agency packed into one person, a very rare breed of developer. They also know their value and you can expect large price tags to go along with that but it’s worth it if you can afford it. This is the developer who you can depend on no matter what you need. You will never fully understand how they are so good because you’ll never be on their level. This developer always seems to be available and in a good mood smothering clients with kindness so much you can’t possibly be unhappy as a client.
If you’re a client looking for the unicorn equivalent of a WordPress Developer this is what you’re seeking. But seriously, these guys are out there I know a few and they always get paid what they ask for and on-time by great clients. If you find one, it’s likely they’ll only want to work remotely or you better have a really awesome company that aligns with their interest, including great pay, if you’re trying to bring them in-house.
5. The Wannabe WordPress Developer
I added this developer originally as a joke to add perspective but it turns out this is actually a very worthy type of WordPress developer. They have many similar qualities as the design only and business developers in that their coding skills might be lacking a little but they can help suggest great solutions for getting your WordPress job done. This developer is frustrated deep down because they feel by this point they should be better at coding than they are which leaves them feeling capped. They also feel they have an advantage because they understand the business side and the tech side.
Wannabe WordPress developers are good for clients who want to do it themselves and need hand-holding. The wannabe developer will be willing to take the time to help the client learn side by side with patience. This developer likely knows a few really talented developers who can help if needed so the client need not worry. Oh and if you have any doubts about WordPress being the right CMS or platform for the job this type of developer will be glad to re-assure you WordPress is the only way to go.
As you can see not all WordPress developers are created equal. It’s for this reason that I myself know I will not always be the best fit for certain jobs, projects or clients based on my own developer type. As a client or a developer, you should know your types so that you can produce the best results for a given WordPress development scenario.
I should also mention that it’s possible for developers to be a mix of developer types. Just ask a developer they’ll tell you where they fit because they don’t want to take on work that isn’t right for them. Developers are most happy when they have clients and jobs that are best suited to their qualities as a developer.
Which type of developer are you? Did I leave one out? Leave a comment below and add some value for the readers of this post.