— Texas A&M Webmasters (@tamuwww) February 14, 2014
My short, facetious answer: read my book!
More seriously, these are the steps I would recommend:
- Learn how themes work. The Themeshaper tutorial is an excellent place to start. Then learn how child themes work.
- Get really comfortable with conditional tags and the template hierarchy. I still refer to these Codex pages about once a week; they’re that essential (and complicated).
- Learn how WP_Query works, why
query_posts()is bad, and how to properly modify a loop or add a secondary loop.
- Learn how hooks (actions and filters) work.
- Learn to build custom taxonomies and custom post types. You’ll pick up the basics of plugin development along the way.
- Learn the options and settings APIs and data validation (that is, writing secure plugins and themes).
- Tackle the rest of this list as needed.
Only seven steps! Not so bad.