Wax on, wax off. Or, learn some PHP before attempting WordPress.
Once upon a time, I wanted to use WordPress as the CMS for my portfolio. In that day and age, I didn’t know PHP. The folders full of .php files overwhelmed me, and the documentation wasn’t much help, given that it all looked like a terribly foreign language. I abandoned my desire and moved on to Plan B.
I accepted WordPress as being beyond my reach until quite recently, actually. It took a combination of independent studies in programming, a lesson in PHP fundamentals at a local meetup, and the PHP instruction offered by James to get me comfortable enough with my understanding of the language to attempt to modify it.
The modifying WordPress project was great practice, once I had a better grasp of what PHP was and what it was generally used for. In my own rendition of the project, I developed a better understanding of the WordPress “loop” by calling it in my own page template, and I used PHP to create a bar full of widgets in the footer.
I’m worlds more comfortable with WordPress now than I was a few short months ago. All it took was tackling the PHP building blocks first.