An Inside Look at the WordPress Economy Across the U.S.
WordPress is the most dominant content management system on the web today. It has a diverse user base comprising personal bloggers, Fortune 500 companies, and all types of businesses in between. WordPress’s flexibility makes the platform capable of meeting almost any business’s needs. When companies rely on WordPress for their blogging and content management system needs, they’re looking for competent professionals to handle the day-to-day operations. These roles can range from theme designers and software developers to writers and system administrators.
There are so many ways to work with WordPress. What does the WordPress economy look like? Just how large is the WordPress job market, and where is it the most prominent? We wanted to find out. Using online job listings on Indeed.com for WordPress-centric positions in the U.S., we analyzed which jobs are most in demand, which states and cities are hubs of professional interest in WordPress, and which salaries are the most common. Read on to discover the nation’s hotspots for WordPress activity.
A Massive Market Share
When it comes to popular online publishing platforms, WordPress is by far the most widely used. It’s more than four times as popular as the runner-up – nothing else is even in the same ballpark. Data from the Wappalyzer web app analysis project shows that WordPress owns a massive 65 percent of the content management system market, compared with only 14 percent for Joomla and 8 percent for Drupal.
The market share of all other platforms adds up to only slightly more than half of the popularity of WordPress among sites using a content management system – and out of all of the top 10 million sites online, 23 percent use WordPress. If there’s one content management system in which employers are looking for expertise, there’s little question: WordPress is it. Smashing Magazine has suggested that WordPress owes its popularity to its ease of use and flexibility. With millions of site installations currently online, WordPress is creating plenty of career opportunities.
WordPress Careers Across the U.S.
The concentration of WordPress-based career opportunities varies from state to state. Using data from Indeed, we found that Delaware takes first place when it comes to WordPress careers per capita, while Utah and Vermont are nearly tied for second place. Utah has recently seen a boom in its technology sector, and Vermont is now home to a vast array of tech startups.
And when it comes to the top cities for WordPress career opportunities, those living near the coasts definitely have an advantage: Five of the 10 cities with the most WordPress job openings are located along the West Coast, and four are along the East Coast. Salt Lake City makes a showing, but California reigns supreme, especially in the Silicon Valley, where developers command some of the highest salaries amid a “real war for talent” as the region experiences a new boom in the technology sector.
Designers vs. Developers: A Closer Look at Regional Job Openings
We also identified job listings seeking a WordPress designer or developer and mapped the most common locations of these listings by state and city. Notably, New York is the No. 1 ranking state for both job fields – but at their peaks, WordPress developer job openings are about 50 percent more common than those for WordPress designers. Utah takes second place for developers and third place for designers, yet California, which ranks fourth for designers, only comes in at seventh place for developers.
On a city level, this gap is even larger: Santa Monica, the top city for designer job listings, has only about 13 such listings per 100,000 people, while Bellevue, No. 1 for developer jobs, offers about 31 listings per 100,000. In fact, Santa Monica doesn’t even appear among the top 10 cities for developers. Instead, Bellevue comes in first, at more than double the runner-up, Orlando. Bellevue is surging as a location for designers as well, coming in second place behind Santa Monica.
Typical Salaries of WordPress Jobs
Using data from Indeed, we sorted job listings by the salary offered to find the most common salaries for WordPress-related careers. By far, the most common salaries range from $30,000 to $49,000 a year, followed by $50,000 to $69,000. But cumulatively, salaries of more than $50,000 comprise the vast majority.
Similarly, the largest salary category for WordPress developer positions was $40,000 to $59,000, though altogether salaries of $60,000 and up were the majority. These salaries are on par with the U.S. mean annual wage of $68,670 for web developers.
And for WordPress designer positions, salaries of $30,000 to $49,000 are the most common, but those of $50,000 are the majority overall. Designers working with WordPress can likely expect salaries comparable to the U.S. mean annual wage of $50,670 for graphic designers. This suggests that WordPress workers perusing these job listings have a good chance of finding a well-paying position that keeps pace with the national average.
Distribution of Designer and Developer Listings by State
We’ve also charted state-by-state WordPress job listings along two axes: developer jobs and designer jobs, with the size of each state’s marker indicating the total number of positions available. At a glance, you can see that many states, such as Alaska, North Dakota, and New Mexico, offer many developer jobs but almost no designer positions. Notably, very few states show an opposite trend – where designer jobs are listed, developer positions are available at the same rate or greater.
Where Can You Find the Most WordPress Freelancers?
But we didn’t just study employers and job listings – we included freelancers and their resume listings as well. Using publicly available listings referencing WordPress skills on Elance.com, we calculated the number of WordPress freelancers available in each state per 100,000 people.
So which state leads the pack? Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s Delaware again – a state whose laws are seen as especially friendly to businesses or individuals wishing to incorporate. The number of freelancers who list Delaware as their location is almost double that of the runner-up, Colorado. And with the exception of Utah, every other state among the top 10 is located either on the West Coast or East Coast. Given that WordPress positions are most frequently listed in coastal areas, it seems WordPress freelancers know exactly where they’re needed most.
Top Skills of WordPress Freelancers
WordPress is an extensive platform, and talents applicable to WordPress can encompass a variety of areas. Our analysis of WordPress freelancers’ resumes revealed some of their most commonly listed skills. The top two, “Photoshop” and “General Design Skills,” focus on aspects of design, while keywords such as “HTML5,” “CSS,” and “HTML” can apply to design as well as to the coding and development side of WordPress work.
We then mapped the most common skills listed by WordPress developers in each state. HTML and HTML5 occupy a wide swath from the West to the Midwest, stretching into the South. Other states across the country, such as California, Texas, and New Jersey, show CSS as their most common skill, and a handful, including Oklahoma and Connecticut, identify iPhone app development as their biggest area of focus.
Regional patterns also appear on maps of each individual skill. When Delaware, a major outlier, is excluded, states such as Utah and Maine show high levels of HTML skills, along with most of the western U.S. CSS, too, stands out in Maine and Utah as well as in Oregon. Washington, Maine, Montana, and Alabama rank highly for PHP, and New Hampshire, Georgia, and Utah are hubs of interest in iPhone app development.
WordPress Freelancer Hourly Rates
In addition to salaries offered by employers, we studied the hourly rates of freelancers. Altogether, the majority of freelancers charge hourly rates of $20 or more, which is comparable to the U.S. mean hourly wage of $24.36 for graphic designers and $33.02 for web developers.
We also mapped freelancers’ average hourly rates by state and found that they show slight differences from the regional wage distribution of graphic designers and web developers. While the freelancers we studied charge some of the highest rates in California, Nevada, and Colorado, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that designers actually receive the highest wages in D.C., New York, and Connecticut, and developers are the best-paid in Washington, Delaware, and Virginia.
The Best WordPress Management for Your Needs
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We reviewed 5,729 job listings in the U.S. containing the term “WordPress” from Indeed.com on March 13, 2015, and 21,300 freelancer resumes containing the term “WordPress” were reviewed on Elance.com on the same day. State and city fields from job and resume listings were combined with U.S. Census Bureau state and city population data to find the state and city per capita frequency of WordPress-related job and resume listings. Job listings were further segmented into those seeking a designer and those seeking a developer, using the keywords “designer” and “developer.” Occurrences of specific skill-related terms in resume listings, such as “Photoshop,” “HTML,” and “PHP,” were quantified as well as segmented by state in order to find the most frequently listed skill for each state as well as the relative prevalence of given skills across states. The hourly rates requested by freelancers were sorted into bins of $0–9, $10–19, and so on. Data on the market share, growth of installations over time, and current number of online installations was obtained from Wappalyzer.com.
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