Note: This post is a work in progress. I am gradually improving it. If you see a mistake or have something to add, please share it in the comments section. I’d really appreciate the feedback.
WordPress (WP) usage has skyrocketed in the past few years. However, organizations in the WP ecosystem are struggling to hire top quality people to match the rapid growth in demand. Companies need staff to fill in various positions, from frontend developers to human resources managers and everyone in-between. One of those roles is customer support. It has a relatively low barrier to entry but can be highly rewarding both financially and as an engaging job.
What Is WordPress Technical Support?
WordPress technical support refers to help services for people who have a specific problem using a WP website, a theme, plugin, or third-party service such as hosting. The technical support role goes by many names in the WP world including but not limited to:
- Customer service
- Customer support
- Support engineer
- Happiness engineer
… or some branded variation of the above titles like Support Buff.
A WordPress support agent usually performs two roles, customer service and technical support. The depth and breadth of the roles varies between organizations. For example in some companies, one support agent may only handle sales and billing enquiries and hand over questions about how to set up and use the software to a more technical support agent.
Who needs WordPress Support Technicians?
Companies hiring people for WordPress support roles include theme and plugin shops, hosting companies, WordPress dedicated support companies, and web development studios. The exact role of a WP support tech in each of these organizations varies widely. A hosting company might need technicians who can help with all hosting related issues like caching, DNS, backups, etc. while a plugin company with many non-technical users might need people with strong customer service and communication skills to guide users through using their software.
So How do I Become A WordPress Support Technician?
There are no hard and fast rules to how to become a WP support tech, but doing a combination of some or all of the following things gives you the best chance of getting hired.
- Customer service skills
- Learn WordPress
- Be an excellent communicator ( Document your growth and learning )
- Contribute to the WordPress open source project
Gain Some Customer Service Experience
Customer service chops set the best support techs apart from the rest. Experience in any service role, such as cashier or bartender, can translate well to serving WordPress customers. When customers come for help, it’s not just the technical issues that need to be addressed, but the emotions attached to those technical issues.
Unconfident beginners need encouragement along with a nudge in the right direction; frustrated users need empathy along with solutions; disgruntled customers need genuine apologies for any shortcomings in the product or service, and (the occasional) unreasonable customers need to be dismissed with grace.
If you want to improve your customer service skills, the following resources are a good start
- The GiveWP Support Manual. A concise guide to providing stellar WordPress support.
- LinkedIn Learning courses such as “Customer Service Foundations by Jeff Toister” and “Writing Customer Service Emails by Leslie O’Flahavan“
- The book “Customer Service Survival Kit by Richard Gallagher“
Well duh, of course you need to learn WordPress, but that can mean different things depending on where you start and how you use it. WP demands different skills from people depending on the use case. You might start out with a personal blog, a small company website, designing websites for friends or as a developer who had to learn it on the job. The skill sets needed are unique to each of those roles and it’s all WordPress! It should go without saying:
You don’t need to know how to code to use WP, or give WP support!
Now, I’m not saying you can pitch up and work at any company with a bunch of random skills. Build WordPress skills based on your strengths and look for jobs that best fit your skill set. If there are plugins, themes or services you use often, do your best to know them inside out. If you’re a developer then it’s learning how WP works under the hood from simply copying code snippets to building your own themes and plugins. If you’re a writer, then it’s knowing the processes needed to create brilliant content.
Where To Learn WordPress
There are as many ways to learn WP as there are to use it. Initially, you might need to try different things until you find what works for you. Here are a few places to start:
- LinkedIn Learning
- Join your local WordPress meetup or join a meetup in any location online.
Get Involved In The WordPress Community
WordPress is open source software. That means it’s built, to a large extent, by volunteers who give their time to build and improve WordPress. You can contribute in a variety of ways from organizing events, maintaining the WP core code, speaking at WP events and so many more ways! To see the full list of ways you can contribute to the official WP project, check out make.wordpress.org.
WP community contribution is not just about helping to maintain the software. It’s also a way to network. It’s a well known fact that refferals increase your odds of getting a job and being an active and genuinely contributing member of the community is a great way to develop relationships that lead to business.
The WordPress.org Support Forums
Involvement in any of the branches of the WP project can lead to a role in support, but the WordPress.org forums are most directly related to the tasks of a WP support tech. In the forums, you can quickly get immersed in the world of support and learn a lot about the stuff involved. Here are some things you’ll learn on the forums:
- Troubleshooting – learning the WP equivalents of “did you turn it off and on again?”. Two things your troubleshooting arsenal will gain are knowing how to check for plugin conflicts and checking if clearing the cache solves a problem, but troubleshooting goes way beyond that.
- Following release cycles – Whenever a new version of WP, a theme or plugin is released, any bugs that may have slipped through the cracks are discovered. The wp.org forums are a good place to keep track of those bugs and their fixes
- Moderating forums – Directing people to the right place to place to have their issue resolved, getting spammers removed, or dealing with people who break the code of conduct.
Another advantage of the WP.org forums is that it provides a public record of your experience giving WP support. You’ll have a forums profile page that shows the number of replies you’ve created. You can check out my support forums profile page to see what that looks like.
If none of the contribution methods above work for you, there many other places you can go.
- Stack Overflow, if you’re a coder
- If you’re a Redditor, r/WordPress is quite active. Also check out subreddits for bloggers, developers, SEO, digital marketers etc.
- Theme or plugin forums. Check if your favorite theme/plugin has a forum and ask questions give help there.
- Many, many facebook groups. I won’t even link them because I might end up going into a rabbit hole. Just search for your favorite WP company on Facebook.
- Slack workspaces – A list of local slack teams you can join.
the options are limitless, go and find your community!
Document Your WordPress Growth
WordPress started out as a blogging platform, so it’s only natural that there is a strong culture of writing within WordPress. You don’t need to be a prolific writer to document your growth. You can find a place that helps you do the documentation passively. Your WordPress.org profile is a good place to earn badges by contributing to all the different WordPress Teams. All events associated with your wp.org account also get listed on you profile. from creating a reply in a support thread to commenting on a wp.org blog post.
While passively earning credit for all the things you accomplish with WP is great. Documenting your active learning process is an excellent way to show your growth to the the world. Often called learning in public. Learning in Public has three main benefits:
- You have to actively engage in your learning process and come up with cohesive thoughts and processes that show your understanding. Aiming to be able to communicate something is a great way of learning it.
- You get feedback from your audience, which reinforces your learning process by addressing misconceptions or strengthening your understanding.
- There are many people out there who want you to succeed. Creating content is a great way to gain exposure to people who help you along the way.
So start a blog, YouTube channel. Or if you prefer shorter formats you can use Twitter or TikTok
Apply For A Job
If you’re ready to apply, then you can jump right in. There are a growing number of places you can look for WP job placements. Here are a few:
- WP Career Pages – a list of WP companies that are hiring along with direct links to their job pages.
- Post Status Job board – a curated list of high quality jobs by the team at Post Status
- jobs.wordpress.net – a public job board hosted by the WordPress project.
Those are the places I know from the top of my head, but there are definitely more. Check your favorite theme, plugin, hosting, etc websites and always keep an eye out for career opportunies.
All The Best
As you engage on the journey to becoming a WP support tech remember not to focus too much on the destination and just enjoy the journey. That’s a good rule for everything in life!