After your first programming language
However, if you want to expand your employability, learn PHP. PHP is the backend programming language that WordPress is written in. WordPress is the software that powers 1/3 of the web. It’s more than a blogging platform. It is a content management system used by some of the largest sites on the web.
If you get stuck, buy another book
When I was a high schooler, I tried to learn to program C++, but I got stuck. I couldn’t get the exercises in the first chapter of the book to run. Instead of buying another programming book or trying a different language, I gave up. Don’t give up. That’s the advice I would give to my 15 year old self, if I could go back in time.
PHP is a language that was built for the web, so there are lots of handy functions. It stands for “Personal Home Page.” PHP isn’t a “hip” language — I hear more about Python these days than PHP — but its widespread popularity for building websites has made it a very in demand skill to have.
While I mention WordPress software, it’s not ONLY WordPress. There are many other kinds of websites out there that run on PHP. These include big ones like Facebook and e-commerce websites. Some run on PHP frameworks like Laravel or Magento. There’s also unique frameworks (“home grown” systems) that were built in PHP when the web was booming. All of these sites have to be maintained, and the demand for software developers who know PHP is here for the long term.
Where to start learning
- Try the PHP Docs: What is PHP?
- Book Recommendation: Murach’s PHP and MySQL
- Book Recommendation: Professional WordPress: Design and Development
- Video Recommendation: Laracasts Learn PHP
I recommend building something that challenges your skills. Build a website or web app, or perhaps a WordPress theme or plugin. Write blog posts about the challenges you encounter and share your project with the world! WordPress is widely used so that’s definitely worthwhile to learn. Alternatively, you could try learning the Laravel framework which some people find easier. Check out Laravel and other frameworks at https://laracasts.com/browse/frameworks Any of those frameworks would be valuable to know!
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