Pullquote: There's nothing that will spur you on more in life than following your dream

How to Learn WordPress Without Doing It on Your Own

Wait, what?

Okay, the headline might be a bit confusing, but bear with me. It all makes sense, I promise.

Let’s start somewhere else, though.

Hi, I’m Madalin Milea, and I am a technology professional based out of Rennes, France. I’m self-employed, a WordPress enthusiast, collaborating with CodeinWP (one of the top blogs about WordPress), and a member of the support team at ThemeIsle. I also maintain my own blog at M.Online, writing about a variety of topics such as blogging, WordPress and programming.

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But I didn’t start like that. I studied Management and Economics for three years. It seemed like a sensible option, but while I knew I was gaining some useful skills, I also wanted more. I had a feeling I wasn’t yet on the right track.

So I went right back to square one and started out on a new path – programming; a field that had always had a magical allure for me, something I’d always dreamed of doing but never thought possible.

I obviously needed to learn a lot about WordPress, programming, and all things related before I could collaborate with companies like ThemeIsle, or before anyone would even hire me as a freelancer, for that matter.

So how do you do that? How do you go from studying Economics and being a phone center technician (which I used to do), to a WordPress developer?

Well, WordPress and programming in general are very interesting fields. First off, the way “mastering those fields” works is unheard of when compared to other fields. For example, if you want to be a doctor, you have no way of obtaining the necessary education on your own, through blog posts or whatever. You need to go to school. With programming, you very well can be self-taught, right from the start, all the way to being an expert.

But maybe this is not the best path to take after all… Maybe you’re better off not learning everything all on your own? I mean, I found the amount of info available out there on the web rather overwhelming. There’s just soooo much stuff. Where does one start?

How to begin pursuing a new skill

I, for instance, decided to look for some online courses that could help me learn in a more easy-to-grasp way. So, after several hours of searching, I stumbled upon some Udemy courses on sale over at Creative Bloq Deals.

At first, they seemed interesting, but after a few days, I felt quite discouraged. It all seemed too complicated, I thought I’d never manage to learn anything. For a moment, I worried that I would never become a programmer. But I’m certainly not the one to give up easily, so I asked around for other ideas.

One friend of mine recommended the Treehouse courses and told me that there’s two weeks of free trial available (with full access). That seemed fair enough, so I gave it a go.

Long story short, it turned out to be a brilliant decision, and looking back, perhaps one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made. After only two weeks, I was already fascinated by the courses and the team running them.

It was during this time that I found my enthusiasm for WordPress and developed my skills. The Treehouse course structure really made things easy to follow. I was really taken with the whole experience.

In just one year, I’ve learned PHP, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. This has helped me to grow my new career as a freelancer, and allowed me to feel comfortable with things like creating themes, websites, and even plugins. This gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

In hindsight, I could have started with random free info that’s available on countless websites, but it wouldn’t have given me a natural step-by-step progression that a structured course does.

So my message is this:

Even if you set out to learn a new skill on your own, you don’t actually need to be on your own the whole time.

Get guidance from someone or someplace that really knows what they’re doing!

And please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Udemy courses aren’t any good, but in my case, Treehouse has just turned out to be perfect, considering my newbie level. I want to thank the team (especially Zac Gordon and Nick Pettit, my favorite teachers) for their wonderful work.

“Can I make the move?”

You might be at that point when you just can’t decide what you want to do with your life, or maybe all your previous ideas or your parents’ ideas don’t seem all that exciting anymore.

That’s alright.

You can always pivot. Change really isn’t as hard as you might think if you’re motivated and hard working. There’s nothing that will spur you on more in life than following your dream. Whether you’d love to be a web developer, write mobile apps, computer games or start your own award winning blog, you can do it.

There are so many resources out there, some you pay for, but many are free. You can easily find a wealth of knowledge or even just people willing to share their expertise.

Once you find the right route for you, like I did, you’ll be full of motivation, and it’s this motivation that will get you there. The thought of a new career doing what you love will inspire you to put in a couple of hours each evening after work mastering a new skill.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot. These days, my areas of expertise include WordPress development, team management, programming and SEO. It’s my desire to learn more that has always pushed me forward. Every day, I expand my knowledge and hone my skills as a problem solver and effective developer.

You always have to remember that nothing is easy, but when you overcome obstacles, you get a huge sense of achievement. For me, it’s so frustrating when I just can’t understand something. It would be easy to give up and think it’s simply beyond me, but if you persevere, the sense of achievement when you have that “A-ha!” moment is incredible. Just in the last year, I gained a set of skills that seemed pretty much impossible to me before.

So again, whatever skill you want to master, don’t set out to do it on your own. Find quality sources of information, and don’t stop until you stumble upon something that fits.

What’s your dream career? Have you taken the first steps to make it a reality?


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