Bob Dunn has hosted some great conversations in a relatively new feature at Do the Woo called Woo DevChat. The latest episode with Zach Stepek, Till Krüss, and Carl Alexander might be the best so far. They offer a deep but humorous series of takes on the now nineteen year-old question, “What is a WordPress Developer?”
Ten years ago this topic was reliable clickbait for much “WP-Drama” and serious chest thumping. It was often expressed as “who counts” or “who deserves to be called a developer?” (Emphasis on exclusivity by men who resemble each other.) “Will the real developers please stand up?”
A lot has changed in a decade…
Perspectives have changed and matured a lot since then. Now there’s even a growing space for “No Code” or “Low Code” developers. I liked the generous, expansive, even inclusive outlook Till has — which doesn't mean pretending there aren't big differences. But everyone who does creative work, who makes stuff with WordPress, they're one of us, part of a big community with a lot of key things in common.
I don't care about the definition because to me, even if when people ask me, what do I do? And nobody would understand the normies that I talk with outside my home. It's just that I make things. And to me, it's someone I can make a creator, whether this is copy and pasting from stack overflow, using the WordPress full page editing or developing things.Till Krüss
Sure, clearly there's distinction, but I find all of us not to be already undermining this year, but we all just make things. And that's what matters to me at least, as opposed to drawing lines and distinctions between who does what. But yes, I think your definition is pretty good. Someone who knows how to write code, maybe it's a bit of experience, a couple of weeks on doing things from scratch. That's probably something I would add to that. Can you start with a blank document source file and create something from it? Maybe that's a developer.
The rise of the WordPress professional
Zach, Till, and Carl's conversation reminded me of this 2015 post by Mario Peshev and the excellent comment discussion it provoked. In one comment, Jenny Beaumont introduced the inclusive but specific term, “WordPress Professional.”
As I recall, “WordPress Professional” entered Post Status's self-understanding around that time and grew to become quite central to our idea of membership.
It’s a good time to celebrate growth, maturity — and longevity. This is our 500th issue. WordPress is 19! And the 6.0 release is just a few days old, with new and old hands contributing from all over the world. Many are “developers” of some kind. Those who are showing up every day to make the project work and to make a living in WordPress are the professionals. Here's to them! And to you!
Thank you for playing your part.
Have a great weekend.