Requirements to become a PHP Developer
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.
All web developers need a basic similarity for and understanding of computers in general. It’s not necessary to comprehend exactly how a hard drive works, or how a billion transistors can fit on a microchip, but web developers definitely need to understand how a hard drive’s speed and capacity can affect its real world performance, or whether a particular CPU is powerful enough for a website development need.
Web developers frequently work with a Content Management System (CMS), which is used to build a website instead of building everything from scratch in HTML, CSS and other programming languages. Dozens of CMS are available, including Drupal, Joomla, WordPress and Zope. It is impossible for any one person to be proficient in every CMS, so many web developers pick one or several they prefer to use based on its capabilities, or the ease of finding work using that technology. Every CMS has a standard programming language, which is used to extend and customize it, including PHP, Python, Ruby and Perl. High end web developers are usually expert in one or more of these languages, and have enough CMS experience that their skills are transferable to new technologies as they are developed.
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.
If you think that being a PHP developer means writing PHP code you’re probably only half right. In addition to being comfortable with front-end technologies, you also need to come to grips with the fact that hardly anyone writes pure PHP code anymore. Most mid-size organizations have standardized on a framework or other, while the majority of clients will expect you to build their products using a pre-existing solution of some kind whether it’s Drupal for content management or WordPress for blogging, refusing to look outside your own little box is going to cost you either clients or job opportunities.
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