How freshers and beginners in PHP can land a Great First Job

Why PHP developers are in great demand?

According to statistics, the popularity of PHP is increasing day by day. It is getting more powerful and stable with every update. With the current stable version (5.5 ) , php can be considered as one of the powerful scripting languages available to build web based applications. One of the major   factors which influenced the popularity of PHP is opensource softwares built on top of this language.

Highly popular open source softwares like WordPress (used to build Content Management Systems & Blogging websites), Joomla (used to build Content Management Systems) , Magento (used to build high end shopping carts), OpenCart (used to build simple shopping carts) are all built on top of PHP with MySql as database. All these open source softwares have contributed to the increase in popularity of PHP.

WordPress powers millions of websites as per Alexa,14.75% of the top 1 million websites in this world are powered by WordPress. Similarly Magento is a powerful e-commerce application built using Zend Framework (a framework for PHP & MySql) and is used by many popular shopping carts in our world. All these factors has increased the requirement for professionals with good knowledge in PHP & MySql.

Read 6 Best books to learn PHP and Mysql

I have written this article to help freshers & beginners in PHP to land a good job. Many freshers are looking for jobs in php. In this article, I have tried to show you the latest trends in PHP, the highly popular open source applications, which platforms & software's you should master and such things to get your first good job in PHP.

programmer

For a beginner/fresher like you, I can assure that PHP is one of the easiest language to master! PHP is basically a server side scripting language used to build web based applications. The language is well defined with thousands of library functions for each of your logical requirements. In fact, the availability of this vast library of built in functions makes PHP much simpler to handle compared to other languages . This advantage stands as a drawback for PHP because it creates an easy entry for any one who knows the thorough basics of any other programming language. If you know the basics of programming or some other languages like C or C++ ,understanding & mastering PHP wont be a tedious task.

It's not about being a Php developer, its all about being the updated trendy Php developer.

Lets begin..- 8 Steps in getting a job as PHP Developer

What all things you should know to be a good php developer? You need to know the basics of some more languages(like Html,Javascript) etc to be a good php developer. As PHP is very much a server side programming language and is mainly used to build web applications  you need to know the basics or as much as you can about the following web technologies (technologies & languages used to build web based applications).

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. JAVASCRIPT & JQUERY
  4. Database- Mysql

Lets begin with PHP,

Step
1

PHP

First of all you need to learn the basic and advanced PHP. PHP is a simple server side programming language. Usually every programming language has two approaches to build a program. They are called:-

  • Procedural methodology 
  • Object Oriented methodology

1 .Procedural programming

Procedural programming is nothing but the normal way of writing a computer program (just like you wrote in your schools). Its a conventional/academic method which is used fr teaching purpose only. Advantage of procedural programming is that its simple to understand, everything is pretty straight forward. When it comes to industries & real jobs, they prefer people who knows Object Oriented Programming methodology (OOP). OOP is an industry standard programming method which has its own advantages over procedural method.

2. Object Oriented Method.


OOP or Object Oriented Programming has several advantages when it comes to use in industries & web application development companies.

  • Code Re-usability - The code you wrote can be used by another programmer and viceversa
  • Facilitates Collaboration/Teamwork - 2 or more people can work together in the same project
  • Easy Maintenance & Iterations - OOP makes it easy to make alterations to the application and release updated versions.
  • Protection of Data & higher security - OOP method provides better data protection (for the flow of data in between many modules of the program) & higher safety standards for the web application you make.

These are some of the many advantages of OOP .  You are highly recommended to learn the Object Oriented method, and I can give you tons of reasons for that.

  • All of the well functioning and established companies use Object oriented method, so that employees can work together in a team. OOP makes your code modular, so that one person can work in his section without disturbing others sections.
  • Most of the frameworks for PHP like YII, Zend, CodeIgnitor are all designed in OOP methodology.

These two reasons are fair enough to make you learn the object oriented concept.

If you are new to PHP & MySql, W3Schools is a great place to begin your learning curve. W3Schools can give you a great idea about the basics of PHP Programming, MySql, JQuery, Javascript, HTML & CSS.

Note: I have written a detailed  beginners guide to PHP-MySQl-JQuery-Ajax & HTML/CSS in a single article using real examples. I recommend you to read this article for getting better at programming & web application development.

Step
2

HTML (Hyper text mark up language) /CSS

 

html 5

You need to know some  HTML too to be a good web application developer. As you may already know, HTML is used to develop web pages for the web browsers . All the heaps of code which you've written(in what ever language be it like PHP, ASP, Python or Ruby) will be rendered as HTML in a browser. HTML is the only language which the web browser knows and reads. What ever view you see in a web browser is delivered to you in HTML. Right click on this webpage and select to view source; you can see the complete HTML of a website. To teach you another example; you might have seen input text boxes in a login form - rite?. You need to know HTML to build the login form (or text inputs ) so that the values can be passed to PHP and processed. So understanding HTML is very very important .

CSS or Cascading style sheets are where we  apply the styles to all the html elements. For instance, if we see some content with green color in a page, it should be coming from the css style sheets. We specify styles for each and every HTML element inside the stylesheet file (called as CSS file). Styles are written & saved as CSS files (by default:- stylesheet.css). Every HTML element can be styled like size of heading tags (H1,H2, H3...), font & color of hyperlinks, position of images etc etc.

You can Learn HTML and  CSS from W3Schools. W3Schools is a great place to begin your HTML & CSS basics.

Step
3

Javascript and Jquery

jquery

In fact jquery is a library of  javascript. Both of them are client side (or browser side) languages used for client side interaction. Now a days most of the visual effects you see in a web page  is implemented using Jquery.

If you need to do some calculations with out sending request to a server (that means with out a page reload), you need to use browser side processing language like javascript. For instance, if you want to calculate sum of two values and display it in browser, you can use Javascript to develop the code for the same.

Browser side/Client side languages must be used to solve problems that don't really need a server side request. For example, take the case of computing the sum of all products added in a shopping cart. You can do this either using a server side language like PHP or by using a browser side language like Javascript/JQuery. In the first case, a request must be sent to the server and the server must acknowledge request, process the request, and return the result to browser. The whole process takes lot of additional time, additional bandwidth and extra usage of resources. But if you are using a browser side language like Javascript to do the same calculation, the whole process of computing will take place inside the browser. There is no additional request sent to a server residing at some other continent, no additional bandwidth required, no need to reload the page & no extra time required. Computing will happen in an instant and the results are much faster than using a server side language. I hope you got the real difference between using a server side language & browser side language. On the other hand, if you need to communicate with a database like MySql (like storing some values into database or reading some values from database), you should use a server side language like PHP.

Jquery is a great client side scripting language which offers great career opportunities. You can take a look at complete reference to jquery to learn more about it.

Step
4

Databases -Mysql

Databases are where we store data. For an example, if we register in a website with username, password and other details, it should be stored some where so that it can be reused later. When we login to the registered website later, PHP verifies the user name, password and succesfully authenticate the user to the website. Mysql is the best and most common database used with PHP. There are other DB's like oracle, mongodb, PostgreSql and many others. Different databases have different purposes and the choice to use a database varies with requirements of the application to be built. PHP works best with MySql as there are many inbuilt functions in PHP to interact with MySql. When you use PHP with other databases, you will have to develop custom user defined functions to interact with those databases.

When it comes to the working of data bases, we can narrow it down to two basic processes.

  1.  Inserting new data to database and deleting/replacing the already existing data.
  2.  Fetching the Inserted data for displaying/processing.

A record will be inserted, deleted, updated or fetched from database using PHP by executing database queries. There will be differences in how the data is inserted or fetched, and it can be as simple as fetching a single row from a table to as complex as selecting multiple rows from multiple tables.

You can Learn Mysql basics from W3Schools.

Step
5

Ajax

 

Ajax will help you to send request to server with out a page reload. Most of the modern we based applications are built using ajax functionality so that the number page loads will be minimum. You need to be well versed in ajax too to be a respected & knowledgeable web developer. In fact, learning ajax is the easiest thing compared to all other scripting languages described above. You can use Jquery to send an ajax request and to receive a response. Thats all you need to know with ajax , just sending a request to a file and receiving its response . Here is a real life analogy for an Ajax response.

Request: Who is the American President?

Response : Barack Obama.

Lots of different scenarios occur in a request and response that's all you need to be aware about.

You can Learn Ajax basics  from W3Schools and then consider Learning Jquery Ajax - the easiest method to handle an ajax request.

Step
6

Frameworks

You don't need to learn all the frameworks, just learn a framework and get in deep into it. These are the popular frameworks in php at present. And you need to learn at least one framework, most of the standard web development companies(which can give you better payment) uses frameworks for development.

If you are a beginner in frameworks for PHP, I would highly recommend to begin with YII as it is a new framework with high flexibility and easy to handle. YII is easy to learn as well.

Advantages of Yii Framework

yii

Laravel is the another php framework which gained great popularity recently.

  • Heaps of support for Jquery, which will help you to add jquery interactions very easily. Yii has got lots of jquery widgets like popup and many other effects and features.
  • Easy to handle very complex database queries. You can write complex database queries (say the mysql JOIN query used to join multiple tables ) which will be more than 5-6 lines of code in normal cases into a single line using Yii.

Learn Yii - Official guides and class rerferences and Larry Ullman's Yii tutorials - to master this framework and get deep into it.

Step
7

WordPress

 

wordpress

I have written about WordPress in the beginning of this article. 60 million and more websites in the  world is using WordPress to power the website. According to another data source 1 out of  6 websites is running in WordPress. In fact WordPress is simple if you come to know the basic file and database structure.

A WordPress expert usually dont need to go for a job as there are plenty of other options for him to make decent money by freelancing and self made projects. However many people still prefer the comfort of a good & safe job. If you are interested in WordPress, start getting deeper into it and learn as much as you can. Later you can apply for a job in 2 types of companies - 1) companies that provide WordPress customisation services and 2) companies that create WordPress based products like Premium Themes & Premium Plugins.  The demand for wordPress designers & developers are increasing day by day. Check the link below for the official wordPress reference - Learn WordPress

Step
8

Shopping Carts

 

magento

E-commerce is booming everywhere in developing countries like India, Brazil, China & some African countries. In Europe & American countries E-Commerce is refining its shape and going to the next level. You and I are living in the e-commerce era, so why not be a part of it. If you check the graph of the rise in e-commerce websites (use Google Insights) ,it would be exponential in shape. This leads to high demand for professionals with knowledge in open source e-commerce softwares written in PHP.

There are many open source (PHP-MySql based) e-commerce software's to choose from. I am listing 4 of them below. You can choose any one of them to build your own customized shopping cart.

  1. Magento
  2. Opencart
  3. Woocommerce
  4. PrestaShop
  5. OsCommerce

Out if these 4,   Magento is the best one in the industry which is stable and reliable. Magento is built upon the Zend Framework. People usually say that Magento is hard to learn, but in fact once you learn the basics, you can master Magento just like any other platforms. Qualified Magento developers are in high demand always and they are paid a handsome remuneration.

You can Learn Magento basics from the SiteGround tutorial.

Opencart can be considered as the lightest shopping cart created using PHP & MySql. It is very easy to learn & customize. Many people use opencart for starting small scale online business as it is easy,flexible and fast loading.

The rise of Woocommerce is another noticeable thing, Woocommerce is a powerful WordPress plugin, which enables your WordPress website to act as a shopping cart. Lots of good looking themes are available in Woocommerce that many people prefer woocommerce now a days. Woocommerce is much simpler and light, compared to magento. And in 2015, a much increased demand for woocommerce is seen. Its not at all a bad idea to learn woocommerce, you can definitely land a job by learning woocommerce.

NB: If you are a beginner you'd better learn opencart and then go to magento, so that you can understand the basic working of a shopping cart before advancing.

If you are beginning to learn web development, you can take a look at my Beginners guide to PHP-Ajax-Javascript-Jquery-Html & Css all in  one tutorial which will help you to improve your learning curve and speed. I have written this tutorial with a real life example which will help you to understand concepts better. 

Final Notes...

To land your first good job as a PHP Web Developer, you dont need to master all these languages, frameworks & open source applications. You only need to be really good at PHP, MySql, JQuery & one framework (preferably Yii or Zend) + one open source software (Magento or WordPress). But having a good command over all these languages & platforms is definitely a double edged advantage and you will be an authority in your domain. This kind of authentic knowledge will definitely land you a premium job with a premium payment package.

Author: Linjo Joson

Myself Linjo Joson, here in dollarfry , I write articles about creating and optimizing websites as well as making money from your online business. I am PHP/WordPress developer by proffession.I love web analytics and driving traffic to them(doing this for 9 years). You can find me on Google+