I will admit it: I am a little scared to write and publish this post. Sharing opinions on programming languages tends to invite strong opinions and even conflict. Allow me to explain.
That said, I think it’s important not to shy away from these discussions. It takes a significant amount of time and effort to learn a programming language well, so we do need to determine if it is worth our time to go beyond the basics when learning a new technical skill. In this article, I will attempt to give you the background information you need and discuss the trends I am seeing so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you should learn PHP.
What is PHP?
Once you have an understanding of how to structure a webpage with HTML and add some basic styling with CSS, you’re ready to learn PHP. When you’re starting out, you’ll learn how to embed PHP code into HTML and how the PHP programming language works with HTML.
Reasons to Learn PHP
The two major reasons why PHP is a good programming language to learn is that it is one of the easier languages for first-time programmers to learn and the demand for PHP developers is currently high. There are ample opportunities at both stable companies and freelance gigs for PHP developers.
PHP Is Currently in Demand
If you know PHP, there are currently a number of full-time and freelance gigs that will be available to you. PHP is used by businesses, universities, small business owners, and bloggers. As I mentioned above, PHP currently powers up to 80% of the web, and all of that server-side code needs to be maintained.
If you crave a flexible lifestyle and would prefer not to work for a company, you can easily carve our a freelance career for yourself customizing WordPress and Drupal websites for individuals, bloggers, and small business owners. There is tremendous demand for these types of freelance jobs in our gig economy, and you can find opportunities through places like Upwork, Fivver, Craigslist, and countless other job boards.
PHP Is a Good Choice for First-Time Programmers
If you have no prior programming experience, then PHP is a good first language to learn. It does require you to install and set up your own web server, but a decent course on PHP will walk you through that process.
As you learn PHP, you will learn all about how the web works on the back end. As an aspiring web developer, it is immensely helpful for you to know how all the different parts of the web work together, and learning PHP will give you that knowledge. Another skill that you will likely learn with PHP is MySQL, which is an extremely popular database. Developers who know how to write proper SQL queries to retrieve information from databases are continually in demand.
Reasons to Learn A Different Programming Language
I continue to think that PHP is an excellent first programming language to learn, but there are a couple of trends that you should take into consideration before diving in.
PHP May Be on the Decline in Some Parts of the U.S.
PHP Gigs May Not Pay As Well
Where You Can Learn PHP
The best course I have found to date on PHP is Edwin Diaz’s PHP for Beginners. In all fairness, the course is so robust that I haven’t even finished it yet! It is a monster, 36-hour course that starts out with PHP basics and progresses to SQL database programming and building a custom content management system from scratch. In my current role, I work with PHP files on our web development server and credit Edwin’s course for helping me further solidify the basics of the PHP programming. I have also attempted to learn PHP from books but quickly got bored with the number of forms that I had to type and re-type. Edwin’s class is much more exciting, and at the end of it, you will know how to build a custom content management system for bloggers and be able to customize WordPress and Drupal websites. You can check the course out now or wait a couple of months until I publish my big review on Edwin’s PHP course that is available on Udemy.
I hope this article has helped you make an informed decision about whether you should start learning PHP. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or to leave a comment, and I will get back to you shortly.