Dear Forum:

Should I take an intermediate PHP course?

I have design experence but want to move more into the world of developent. I am thinking about taking a course in intermediate PHP. I have some PHP exposure. Wold this be a good first step towards getting out into the job market?
The course is part of a certificate prgram at a major university. They offer courses in Ruby on Rails and Python. T thought the PHP course would be more comprehensive right now. I expect to hut the job market by the middle of this year. I eventually plan to do a lot with blogs.

Any advice would be helpful. The course starts in 2 weeks.


PHP is good for web applications - it is similar to C++ in terms of classes, inheritance, etc; however, it also allows embedded html code. It is also a web server-side tool. Unless you run a 5.5.x or later version, it cannot be run as a server on its own. I have recently used it to emulate a cell phone web browser, as well as to allow web-based access to MySQL databases.

My advice is that if you already have HTML and C++ skills, then PHP is not going to be difficult to deal with. If you don't, then you have some serious studying to do.

PS: my current work project is PHP-based. I will be pushing data from a MySQL database into Google's graphics tools to provide real-time (sort of) views into performance data from our cell phone browsers.

You're asking this question on a PHP forum, so to some extent your answers are going to be biased. I would go so far to say there are some job opportunities with ruby on rails, but looking at the very few questions posed in the ruby forums I doubt there would be many. Again with python it is a very powerful language but perhaps in less demand.

Looking at the job market where I am, PHP coupled with good knowledge of jquery and html seems to be in high demand.

C#/ even higher demand with a higher salaray. If I were advising on a course to go for to pursue some sort of web development career, it would have to be even though I love PHP.

Member Avatar


From somebody looking at a change of career myself a little while ago, it seemed that there were plenty of openings for developers with experience of either PHP and ASP.NET (C#). From what I read, freelancers tend to go PHP due to the almost zero startup costs, but that's not to say there aren't many C# freelancers. The startup costs for MS developers isn't prohibitive - that's a bit of a fallacy. Companies will vary with which language they require, but as iamthwee says, there's a tendency for C# to draw higher salaries. Bigger companies may allow for better promotion prospects too.

Learning PHP in a supported environment will surely bring you on at light speed compared to a DIY scenario with old textbooks and idiot-derived online tutorials. This may free up some time for you to learn C# in your spare time (while trying to avoid said textbooks and tutorials!).

The basics of most server-side languages are pretty similar, so picking up another one should be easier once you have a strong foundation in another. For example, I can convert c# code to php without much experience of creating any c# code from scratch myself, but I couldn't do the reverse without a lot of studying. So, learning two languages at a time is easier said than done.

With regard to Python and Rails, I've seen much fewer opportunities for these - that's not to say they are not viable, just that jobs for these don't seem as prolific.