You’ve heard the word “expert” thrown around quite often. Why? If you have the word “expert” next to something you do, you automatically gain authority and credibility in that subject, duh. People also charge a lot more for being an expert. If you’ve done any kind of searches looking for a WordPress web designer, you’ve DEFINITELY heard the term “WordPress Expert” a lot.
What is an Expert?
I went looking for a definition of the word and found this when I searched for expert using my old friend Google:
A person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.
That seems about right. Basically, you know what you’re doing and you know how to do it well. Notice it doesn’t say anything about education, work experience, etc. Why? For example, I’m an expert at putting on my pants.
Seriously, I’m awesome at it.
I didn’t go to school for it, I’ve never had a job doing it, but I have knowledge and posses great skill in putting pants on. I’m an expert.
Levels of WordPress Experts
Much like putting pants on, there are different levels in expertise of WordPress. I’ll break them down into four general expert categories: users, power users, developers and architects. There are grey areas in between, but you’ll get the idea.
A lot of people are expert users. This type of person sees the WordPress dashboard and it feels like home. They know how to create posts, add pages, add and remove plugins, change themes and that sort of thing. WordPress makes this incredibly easy and you can even start a blog without ever thinking about hosting. If a person has blogged for a while, chances are they’re an expert at using WordPress.
A user can be considered an expert. They know how to use WordPress to get their message out to their audience and do so with ease.
They posses great skill in using WordPress.
The Power User
A power user often becomes one out of necessity. For the most part, they’re able to customize a theme to a degree. They have knowledge of HTML, CSS and some PHP. They have a basic understanding of how WordPress works and the file structure. Looking for and finding the right plugin to fit their specific need is no problem.
Preference is typically switched from a WordPress.com blog to a self-hosted WordPress blog. They like the control and flexibility it gives them.
A power user can be considered a WordPress expert as they posses an even greater skill and knowledge than the user.
Stepping up from the power user, a developer can build a variety of custom applications that are built on WordPress. You can think of developers as builders when it comes to WordPress. We build things, great things with it. The passing of code and gists back and forth between ourselves is done much like passing notes back in school.
We care about stuff like accessibility, the amount of queries a page has and get great enjoyment out of coding stuff that no one actually sees but improves user experience.
Seriously happy. Like a kid at the Lego store happy.
Developers can be experts. They have have the knowledge and skill to create sites and plugins to make the lives of the user and power user easier and better.
These guys and gals are amazing. Their thoughts and code are things of lore. There’s a good chance you’re using one of the awesome plugins or scripts on your current theme or at least a derivative of something they’ve dreamt up.
Developers watch the twitter feeds of these people like teen girls do with the Biebs.
Instagram not so much. That’d be weird.
Obviously the Architect type is an expert.
What Kind of WordPress Expert Are You Looking For?
As you can see, damn near anyone with some basic knowledge of WordPress can call themselves an expert and rightfully so. By definition, they’d meet the criteria.
What an expert is shouldn’t be based on their criteria for being an expert, but yours.
So much of the question that is “What is a WordPress expert” is dependent on who’s asking and for what reasons.
Hopefully now you have a better understanding of what you should be looking for and why when looking to hire someone to work on WordPress. (Currently not accepting new clients on pants training).
Agree or disagree with anything? What kind of expert are you? I’d love to hear it. Leave the comments below.