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Why You Should Learn PHP

by Bill Shaffir 4 years ago in how to
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If you learn PHP, you will be learning the language of computers everywhere.

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If you're reading this, you probably rely on the internet to get answers to many of your questions.

The internet is like an ever-expanding treasure chest for information and many of the websites that we rely upon for this information use a scripting language called PHP to give us a faster and more dynamic experience.

If you love the internet, recognize outdated frameworks and legacy code hampers future technology, and if are willing to learn new things, you should learn PHP.

So, what is PHP?

PHP ("Hypertext Preprocessor") is a general-purpose scripting language and server-side programming language that's been around since 1994.

PHP is the brainchild of Danish-Canadian named Rasmus Lerdorf, who also helped build Yahoo!'s infrastructure and now works for Etsy.

Whether you have a foundational knowledge of programming languages or you are an absolute beginner, these are the reasons why you should learn PHP right now.

Getting started is easy and free.

Image from Developers Academy

PHP is a great scripting language to start learning right now because it's super easy to get started.

If you haven't already, you will need to dedicate a few hours to learning HTML, CSS, and the like before you'll be able to learn PHP. The HTML backbone is vital to the creation of your web script and CSS is a fantastic commodity, and they're a breeze as well!

Many people will tell you that you need to know Javascript before PHP, but that's not necessarily true. Sure, an understanding of Javascript won't hurt, but that goes both ways; it'll be easier to learn Javascript if you already know PHP, as well.

Every scripting and programming language can be intimidating at first, but that didn't stop Mark Zuckerberg from creating Facebook, and it shouldn't prevent you from learning PHP.

Free learning resources are abundant on the internet, and there is also a massive community of talented PHP programmers that will be able to answer your questions if you need clarity.

PHP is flexible.

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Another reason why it's easy to learn PHP is that it's super flexible.

First of all, PHP is an HTML embedded language, so you can add HTML and CSS tags to your PHP files and switch back and forth between them instead of working with bulky code to output to HTML.

That's another reason why it's useful to know HTML and CSS before you learn PHP.

But you don't have to output to HTML. With PHP, you can also output images, PDF files, and even flash movies!

Furthermore, PHP runs smoothly on all major operating systems and an assortment of online databases, so you won't have to buy or install any new software or web servers before you get to work.

You can do anything with PHP.

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PHP does anything you tell it to do, and your favorite websites were probably created with PHP.

If you were to rely solely on HTML or CSS for web development, you'd be able to make a website with some links, pictures, and cool layouts, but you wouldn't be able to make it very interactive.

When you learn PHP, you'll be able to make highly dynamic websites with cookies, login systems, and session variables, CAPTCHA verifications, and user authentications, PDF generations, and access to a wide variety of databases. And that's just scratching the surface!

You can do all of this and more at a highly rapid speed that other programming languages are simply unable to compete with.

If you use PHP for web development, users will be able to make posts and interact with content in a variety of different ways. Think about all of the ways in which Facebook users can interact with each other—that is because Facebook is powered by PHP. In fact, social media, in general, hinges on PHP.

PHP is extremely popular.

Image from Simplified Techy

PHP powers most of the web. By "most of the web," I mean 80 percent of it!

The internet's favorite websites—Wikipedia, Facebook, Wordpress, and even PornHub—wouldn't be anywhere near as robust, fast, user-friendly, or interactive if it weren't for PHP.

I'm not telling you this in a lazy effort to convince you to learn PHP with an appeal to popularity. Sure, PHP is easy-to-use, and it certainly makes websites far more dynamic than HTML, CSS, and other programming languages.

PHP makes you employable—and rich!

There are many useful skills in the world that all humans are capable of acquiring, but being easy and awesome doesn't necessarily mean that it's worth spending time learning them.

PHP is different.

If you learn PHP, you will have no problem finding ways to apply it. Knowing PHP will make you a valuable asset to pretty much any employer.

One-third of the world's almost 7.5 billion people use the internet to access billions of websites on a regular basis. But for every 400 people in the world, only one is a web developer.

Considering that so many websites and businesses rely on PHP for their commerce, there should be more PHP programmers in the world. With PHP listed on your résumé, finding work will be a breeze.

There are a number of reasons why businesses love to use PHP for web development. One of these reasons is that PHP is open-source, so it's not only budget-friendly, but it's accessible to the global internet community.

Look, I think I've made it pretty clear that ANYONE can learn PHP. That's why mastering PHP will make you stand out from the crowd of fellow job-seekers.

If you master PHP, you will get paid for it; and when I say "paid," I mean six figures.

Yes, you read that correctly. Dedicating a few months to fastidiously studying the free PHP lessons on the internet (I'll get to that in a moment) can earn you hundreds of thousands of dollars in just a few years.

As I've said before, you'll need to have a firm grasp of HTML and CSS before you learn PHP. If you don't already know these two programming languages, don't worry! You can learn them very quickly using resources such as Codecademy, W3Schools, or a beginner's guide to getting started with programming.

Once you feel comfortable with your HTML and CSS skills, head to YouTube to learn more about PHP's theoretical framework.

The informational video above by Derek Banas only lasts 36 minutes and it's a great way to grab some background knowledge before you start to put PHP into practice.

Then, I recommend heading back to W3Schools for their free and interactive PHP course.

Learn-PHP.org is also a fantastic and interactive site that will help you learn PHP in no time!

If you get stuck or overwhelmed along the way, you can always head to forums such as Reddit to get question-specific advice from real web developers.

So, what are you waiting for? The sooner you learn PHP, the sooner you'll be able to experience its benefits!

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About the author

Bill Shaffir

Lover of gangster films and worried about the future of artificial intelligence.

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