How Do I Get into PHP Development?

Page Coleman
Page Coleman
Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

If you would like to get into PHP development, you may find that a background in computer science and other web technologies, such as HTML, XHTML, CSS, and Javascript, is useful. Previous programming experience in other languages can help you learn PHP development more easily. PHP software often integrates with simple SQL databases, so some training and experience with those will also give you an edge as you pursue your new career. Build a varied portfolio as you learn, then search for traditional jobs or work as freelancer.

PHP development training may be conducted through onsite classroom training. Onsite training is especially helpful if you learn better with structure and mentoring. You can ask your instructor questions face-to-face and talk through points that aren’t clear. Consider checking with local community colleges for courses.

Another option is to take PHP development training online. In some classes, you will learn in a structured environment with an instructor. This option allows you to ask questions of an instructor and to get suggestions on your work.

You can also find self-study training materials online, in books, and on DVDs. The advantage to self-study is that you can work at your own pace, and the training may be low cost or free. A disadvantage is that you must be self-disciplined, and you will not have an instructor to ask questions. If you are self-disciplined, already understand another development language, or programming comes easily to you, this might be a good way to learn.

A number of PHP applications need to integrate with SQL databases. Be sure to include learning to work with these as a part of your training. You will limit your PHP development opportunities if you aren’t able to work with SQL databases.

Once you understand the basics of PHP development, consider other ways to enhance your learning and gain experience. You may want to develop your own PHP software, look for an internship, or work with non-profits or small businesses. Strive to work on a variety of project types, because building a varied portfolio will help you showcase your skills when searching for work.

PHP programmers can find work by searching through job advertisements. Larger organizations may want their PHP developers to have undergraduate degrees in a computer science field in addition to several years of experience. Smaller organizations are more likely to accept a candidate with less education and experience.

You can also set up your own PHP development firm or work as a freelancer. In these situations, your potential clients tend to be less concerned with your education and more concerned with your experience and portfolio. To start, you may wish to target small organizations who need a contractor on a short term basis, or you can find work through online job systems or php development programs.

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