Is using WordPress as a CMS cheating as a web developer?
My opinion is, NO! You still have to think about the layout and interaction with your intended audience. Just because the you are using a theme that you like, doesn’t mean you don’t have to adjust the css to meet your needs. Graphics still need to be built and uploaded making sure that they are pleasing to the eye. Do you want to build a site just like the millions of others before you, using the same platform, colors and graphics? If you are not a professional web designer you probably will and you will get the results of non professional.
I guess my point is why do you want to reinvent the wheel (the back end) every time you create a website. Also how are you going to give control of a complexed site to your customer, will they be able to navigate their way around or rely on you the webmaster? I would hope it is the latter.
What about SEO? You are still in charge there, or should be, for a happy client. With WordPress, SEO just got a little easier with their auto ping back when posting and plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast. But don’t think you still don’t have to work, you do. SEO requires constant monitoring, by installing tools like Google Analytics. While we are talking Google, how about monetization with Adsense or advertising with Adwords? Are you leaving your client that task or are you providing this service for them?
Sure anybody can download and install WordPress but so can you head to Sears and buy a wrench. Having the tool doesn’t make you a mechanic or carpenter. You still need the skills.