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What does a PHP Programmer do?

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  • Written By: Lucinda Watrous
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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A PHP programmer develops scripts and implements coding for various websites and applications using the PHP scripting language. PHP is used to create dynamic web applications, which rely on input from the user to properly display information. Information is stored in a MySQL database and PHP scripts send commands to the database to retrieve and display the appropriate information. It is the backbone of many web applications.

PHP can be used to automatically keep track of visits to a website, to update displays of new content published to certain area of a website, and to control the overall display of content on a user-by-user basis, because it can be embedded in HTML. PHP is an open source scripting language, meaning no one has to pay to be able to use it, and it is maintained by a group of volunteer programmers. A simple text editor will be enough to practice coding, though a live testing server with PHP support will be required to test the code, unless PHP is downloaded and installed on the computer used to create the code.

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To be successful as a PHP programmer, it is a good idea to have a foundation in HTML before beginning to learn any PHP code, as the two languages share syntax rules. Though no formal education is required, courses in web design or web development are likely to address the PHP coding language. Learning PHP takes time, dedication, and practice using the coding language. There are many books dedicated to the subject, as well as free tutorials and online resources to help. A PHP programmer should expect to spend a lot of time studying the makeup of the language before learning how to implement it.

PHP programmers may find jobs with web development companies, or they may decide to work for themselves as a freelance PHP programmer. Web design and development firms often have PHP programmers on staff to help with a variety of projects, and may outsource projects to freelancers to fill in gaps during heavy demand. A number of freelance job websites offer projects for PHP programmers to bid on, providing a way for PHP programmers have access to work from a variety of outlets.

A PHP programmer may have the luxury of working on a variety of different projects at once. In addition to writing code, he or she may also be responsible for testing and debugging code so that it operates flawlessly when it gets to the client. Freelance PHP programmers can market their skills through a portfolio highlighting their education and experience, and providing links to projects they have completed. Programmers seeking projects for their portfolio may want to create and host mock websites to provide live examples of their work.

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