WordPress is known as the most popular and accessible content management system (CMS) in the world. For many, it’s an attractive professional prospect, and they may start researching the path to learning how to use it. Often, the question “how long does it take to learn WordPress?” soon follows.
There are several answers, depending on what you’re referring to. Do you mean how long does it take to learn to use the basic interfaces and manage the WordPress backend as a website owner that doesn’t code? Or perhaps you want to know how long it will take to become a WordPress developer who can modify or create themes and knows the ins and outs of their website?
This article explores both of these questions and gives a reasonable estimate of how long it will take and the knowledge you need for each.
Why learn WordPress?
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS in the world, powering approximately 43% of all websites on the internet. The reasons for WordPress’ popularity are many, but the main ones are:
It’s free and open source.
WordPress websites’ functionalities can be extended with thousands of free and premium plugins from the marketplace.
You can build any website with WordPress, from personal blogs to institutional and governmental sites.
WordPress sites are scalable.
With such a significant market share, it’s no surprise that the WordPress community and industry are also very large. Businesses worldwide need WordPress to build websites, so knowing how to use the platform can guarantee steady employment opportunities.
Note: This article explores WordPress.org. WordPress.com, on the other hand, runs a modified version of WordPress.org’s software and is even more beginner-friendly than WordPress.com, at the cost of taking away a lot of freedom from website owners. To explore the differences and similarities between these platforms, read our blog post about them.
What do you need to know to learn WordPress?
Using WordPress is a skill like any other: you get better at it by understanding how it works and practicing it enough to become proficient. The fundamental knowledge you need to learn how to use WordPress is the following:
Basic computer skills. Experience with text editors like Word, folder management, and general web surfing will make things easier. If you found this page through a search engine, you likely already have what it takes.
A reason to learn WordPress. Having a goal you want to achieve with your WordPress skills will motivate your learning journey. Do you want to create a website for your online resume, a personal blog, or become a professional WordPress developer? Having a north will give you motivation, a hunger for knowledge, and structure.
And that’s it. As you’ll see, WordPress is not overly demanding at the most basic level. That said, a couple of factors can speed up your learning process, primarily the following:
Experience with website builders. Beginner and user-friendly website builders like Squarespace, Wix, and GoDaddy are an excellent introduction to basic web development with no code.
Experience with programming languages or web development. Knowing any programming language, web development-related or not, will significantly boost your ability to absorb the more technical WordPress terms and mechanisms.
The estimated time it takes to learn WordPress
As a developer
Suppose you want to become a developer who can build a site from scratch, create or modify themes, and keep up with website management and maintenance. It may take a couple of months or over a year, depending on the available time and prior knowledge.
All WordPress developers need to be full-stack developers, meaning they can manage the front-end and back-end sides of the website. After gaining experience, you may specialize in specific niches, like eCommerce development. However, to be a competent WordPress developer when taking your first steps, you must have the following skills.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
Learning the fundamentals should take about one or two weeks, then another month to practice and become good at it.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
CSS is used to style HTML elements. Because of this, HTML and CSS are often studied together. Learning CSS should take around one month to familiarize yourself with its many tags, elements, and attributes.
JS is used to change website behaviors and improve user experience. Learning JS should take around two to three months. You should spend a few weeks doing personal projects that involve JS, CSS, and HTML.
Hypertext Processor (PHP)
PHP connects the database part of your website with the user interface. Learning PHP could take three to six months.
All WordPress sites have a database. MySQL is the most popular relational database management system (RDBMS) used to manage and implement it. The basic commands take only a few days to learn, but if you want to go deeper into database administrator territory, it may take several months or more than a year.
As a non-technical user
First of all, what does it mean to use WordPress “without code”? It doesn’t mean WordPress itself won’t be built on code or that WordPress.org has separate platforms for developers and non-developers. No, WordPress is the same platform for all users.
The difference is that non-developers don’t interact directly with the underlying HTML, CSS, JS, and PHP code that powers your website and its pages. This limits how much you can tweak and customize your site but also means that learning WordPress as a non-developer takes considerably less time.
You can gather the knowledge needed to build a website without code in weeks, but becoming proficient at it may take several months or over a year of frequent practice. Since you won’t use code, you must rely on the default WordPress editor Gutenberg or third-party page-building plugins like Visual Composer, Divi, and Elementor.
These WordPress editors are designed to be easy to use. They will take a few days to understand at the basic level, but probably months or a year to get good enough to take complete control of their capabilities and create professional-looking sites.
Some people have built careers out of using these no-code editors and have been very successful at it. That said, keep in mind that they ultimately limit how much you can customize your site because you’re not getting into the nitty-gritty of the code. For some people, that’s perfectly fine.
How long does it take to set up and build a WordPress page?
Setting up a WordPress site as a website owner that doesn’t code takes the same time as developers because the steps are the same. It comes down to the following:
Purchasing a domain name and acquiring web hosting services for your site.
Installing WordPress on the web host’s server. Some web hosts specialize in WordPress and make installation a one-click affair.
If you’ve never done it before, this process may take a few hours at most, but once it’s done, you’ll be at the main dashboard with all of WordPress’ tools at your disposal.
From here on, the process of building a site can take no more than a few days for very simple ones. However, as complexity and size increase, development time does so, too. For our developers at White Canvas, building a site may take anywhere from 2 to 20 weeks, with the most likely range being 6 to 16 weeks.
So, how long does it take to learn WordPress?
Learning to use WordPress is a great way to gain skills that will serve you well, not only when building a website but in other professional areas.
Learning WordPress takes a variable amount of time, depending on your focus. If you plan to become a professional WordPress developer, you’re looking at six months to over a year of training. If, instead, you want to build websites without code, learning the basics takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
In both cases, becoming a master of your craft will likely take multiple additional years of practicing and improving while staying current with current best practices.