First of all, apologies if it isn't the right place to write this. I've been following StackExchange for years, but I just decided to sign up and I'm not familiar with posting.

I'm a web developer from Spain. I have almost 4 years of experience. I had the chance of starting working in a Marketing Agency where we made custom solutions based in Wordpress for different clients. 4 years afterwards, I keep doing the same.

We were doing custom themes and plugins in order to reach their needs. I got my first professional experience in PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. We can say all my experience is forged around Wordpress. I try hard to keep myself trained in these languages. I try to apply new technologies to the kind of projects I do (Always Wordpress as I said), but I feel stuck.

For example, I make courses all the time with platforms as Udemy. I learned Docker, and I use it for my developments. I learned EcmaScript6, and I replaced jQuery. I learned VueJS, including it in some minor projects that allowed me to use it. I learned Laravel, but I wasn't able to find a project that could match something like it. There are many more other technologies I try to learn.

I jumped over to other companies, but everytime I try to get another job, only Wordpress job offers are open for me. No one will give me the chance of applying the technologies I learned for the first time, or learning with them.

Most of the times the company will stop the contact once they hear the word "Wordpress" in an interview. Some other times, I make it to the test, where I fail (unless it's a Wordpress job position).

Fortunately, in every job I've been (3 jobs so far), my bosses and teams have been quite happy with my job, but I just need a different type of challenge, outside Wordpress.

It doesn't help either that I work alone in the projects I do. I can't learn from other programmers.

Until very recently I wasn't sure if I should go for Front-end of Back-end, I decided to focus on Front-end, and that's where I'm applying lately. Guess that's a small but important step in my career.

I know I have a lot to learn, and I won't stop investing my spare time in online training, but with the kind of projects I get, I find quite difficult to use these technologies the way I should be using it, and I lack of a more general understanding of big projects and infrastructures.

Has anyone being in a similar position? How do you get out of this? Sometimes I thought of dropping out of working for a year to focus on training, making a big project to learn and exhibit in Github, but it's money I lose, and being hired while not having a job becomes really difficult.

Hope I explained myself correctly, english is not my mother tongue.

Thank you.

  • Just to add, a lot of people consider WordPress as "buy a template online, self host it, copy and paste junk code into functions.php if you need anything else". If you used WordPress as an API backend to a Nuxt application, or used React to create Gutenberg blocks, or created a composer package to extend theme functionality and wrote about it on your CV I'm sure no one would turn their nose up at it.
    – Djave
    May 6 '20 at 10:39

 You're a web developer

You know PHP, html, css, es6, jQuery, Vue, Laravel... even Docker. Sure, you may know a bunch of WordPress stuff, but you're a essentially a web developer/front-end developer.

So be sure to tweak your resume to tell that you're a web developer, not a WordPress developer. I'm of course not suggesting you to hide your WordPress experience or expertise, but instead to highlight the other stuff.

 Keep applying

It's not easy to hire developers nowadays, and a lot of companies are on the hunt. You will find your place sooner or later. You absolutely don't need to stop working to get training in order to get a developer job.

Where to look for jobs

I believe that large companies/consulting firms won't even consider your application. Their hiring processes are really buzzword oriented and, if they're searching for an 'Angular developer' (should that thing even exist) they will never pre-select a candidate without professional Angular experience, for instance.

Small companies, on the other hand, don't use to be so picky about buzzwords. However, they're difficult to reach, and their job offers have less exposure in LinkedIn/Infojobs, where most of the people look for job here in Spain.

If I were you, I would sign in into every meetup tech community near Barcelona, so you can access job offers posted in the related mail groups. They use to be better and crafted with more careful than generic job offers like you can find in infojobs.

I would also absolutely subscribe to the manfred telegram channel, the best developer job offers I've seen this year came from there.

Maybe you can try manfred itself. I really don't know anything about how it really works or if it is really useful, but I do know that the people behind it are really professional and have a really deep knowledge about the developer market here in Spain.

Good luck!

  • Thanks Sergeon for your input. I'll try to give less relevancy to my Wordpress Experience. I'll have to come with a strategy to the question "which technologies did you use for that project?" during the interviews. I'm in several meetup groups, but I don't usually assist to any. I'm quite shy about going there to meet unknown people, but I guess I'll have to make an effort. Thanks for the manfred link, I didn't know that platform before.
    – Aelxan
    Dec 23 '18 at 11:41
  • 2
    I would suggest also trying a recruiter. I realize a lot of people have a bad opinion of them, but it has worked out great for me personally, and there are some who know the industry well and can give you advice on where to go. Also, do consider going to a relevant conference. You can get contacts there to help you find a company that offers what you need. Best of luck, as the answer says: you're not stuck, don't worry :)
    – bytepusher
    Dec 25 '18 at 14:28

I've known a few other people that got pigeonholed into Wordpress design. Here is what they did to get out of it (NOTE: they each did one of these things).

Created a portfolio using Angular or React (your framework will be different)

They found jobs on Upwork and PeoplePerHour that let them build a portfolio of a few projects in whatever the "coolest" front-end library happened to be. It changes AT LEAST once a year, so do your research and pick the current "cool" framework.

Convinced their current boss to let them work on front-end projects

If you're self-taught, then try to convince your current boss to let you build a frontend. The problem is he/she can always say no, and if this were possible, you'd probably not be posting on Stack Exchange.

See if a nearby university has some sort of front-end certificate

I'm not familiar with European university offerings, but some American universities will offer certificates for front-end web development to compete with coding boot-camps.

While I'm on the subject, if you're thinking about a code boot-camp, look long and hard at the program. In America, several were bought by a for-profit university with a history of predatory practices.

  • Thanks for your advice. I think the third option could be an option. I've found a front-end master degree in an online university that sounds good. Regarding the front-end projects at my current job, that's a bit difficult unfortunaly. We only sell Wordpress projects.
    – Aelxan
    Dec 23 '18 at 8:33

Wordpress basically exists in its own ecosystem. It is mainly used for quick and low-cost website development for businesses that are simply interested in a website to fill the requirement of having one for customers looking for them. Your typical experience doing Wordpress development will be contract work.

Web application development is a different beast. Businesses looking for those roles will be usually businesses in tech that are relying on their web application(s) to deliver value. You will likely be hired long-term for this kind of job.

Now there is also a certain bias against the first group. Wordpress contractors tend to be seen as the low-cost option and somewhat questionable for long-term development projects.

My advise would be to practice as much as possible with front-end web application development projects and spin up some personal projects you can show at an interview on your free time. It will not be quick but your goal is to get enough to show on your portfolio to be able to talk mostly about your front-end development experience and not even have to talk about Wordpress besides a passing mention.

Good luck!

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