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How Do I Become a PHP Developer?

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  • Written By: Gabriele Sturmer
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, usually shortened to PHP, is a scripting language that works on the server side and is often used along with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) to create interactive websites. A PHP developer writes PHP code but also may design website layouts, work with online databases, test websites for technical problems and provide advice to a team of web designers and developers. To become a PHP developer, you must understand PHP and be able to use the language in combination with HTML and database query languages. You also may need a bachelor's degree for some jobs, and experience in PHP is crucial.

The first step if you want to become a PHP developer is to learn how the language works and to practice writing code. There are many places online that teach PHP, including the language's official website, web design and programming tutorial sites, and forums for programmers and developers. Many websites show sample code and provide an explanation for the terminology and syntax of PHP. If you prefer having more guidance and are new to web development, there also are plenty of short online courses that include projects, tests and contact with an instructor who can provide advice if you have problems with a certain concept.

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Although it may not be true in all cases, employers often look for competency in PHP rather than a specific college degree; however, employers who require degrees usually prefer a bachelor's degree in computer science, programming, web development or software engineering. Whether you will need a degree highly depends on the type of developer you want to become. Freelance programmers and other self-employed professionals may not need a degree if they can demonstrate their PHP programming skills, but programmers who want to work in large corporations may need a degree to become a PHP developer and to pursue jobs with more responsibilities.

Experience working on PHP projects is critical if you want to become a PHP developer. It is a good idea to keep any projects you work on and to create a website of your work that you can show to potential employers. PHP development jobs often require a wide knowledge of web programming, so you also may find it useful to gain experience in database development, page formatting languages and web design. You can gain these skills from free tutorials on the Internet, traditional courses or books. If you have absolutely no work experience that relates to programming, an internship also would be useful.

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MrMoody
Post 2

@David09 - I’ve known graphic artists who have learned PHP as part of their website work, so I don’t think you need to be a full-fledged PHP software developer.

People who know PHP usually have other technologies under their belt; it’s just one of the pieces in their tool chest so to speak.

Some of these people, like graphic artists, are fairly conversant with HTML and can adapt easily to the scripting nature of PHP. We have a graphic artist at our workplace and she learned it easily, although she handed off the SQL stuff to the developers.

Other PHP programmers are developers who also know ASP, JavaScript and other languages as well.

David09
Post 1

I agree that if you want to know how to learn PHP you can get by with some simple online courses; then practice, practice, practice.

I had to pick up PHP for a little job I did at work. I had no prior experience, but the company website was driven by PHP code and so I had to learn it.

It isn’t hard at all. It’s a very basic scripting language, and you can find a lot of PHP code scripts on the Internet that you can just plug and play into your website.

Since it is a server technology you should understand databases first and know SQL. A lot of your PHP code will be executing SQL statements against the database and returning results to display in a web page.

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