Pathogenic fungi have diverse growth lifestyles that support fungal colonization on plants. Successful colonization and infection for all lifestyles depends upon the ability to modify living host plants to sequester the necessary nutrients required for growth and reproduction. Secretion of virulence determinants referred to as "effectors" is assumed to be the key governing factor that determines host infection and colonization. Effector proteins are capable of suppressing plant defense responses and alter plant physiology to accommodate fungal invaders. This review focuses on effector molecules of biotrophic and hemibiotrophic plant pathogenic fungi, and the mechanism required for the release and uptake of effector molecules by the fungi and plant cells, respectively. We also place emphasis on the discovery of effectors, difficulties associated with predicting the effector repertoire, and fungal genomic features that have helped promote effector diversity leading to fungal evolution. We discuss the role of specific effectors found in biotrophic and hemibiotrophic fungi and examine how CRISPR/Cas9 technology may provide a new avenue for accelerating our ability in the discovery of fungal effector function.