Why Learn PHP?

By Pluralsight    |    November 30, 2016

Today we’re excited to announce the launch of our new PHP course, Try PHP! There are many programming languages out there for you to learn, which may lead you to wonder if you should start learning PHP. I believe you need to learn and use the best tools for the job at hand, and for many jobs PHP is a great tool worth considering. Not to mention, PHP has been around since 1995, which feels like forever as far as web languages.

PHP is a server-side language, meaning the heavy lifting is done on the server which dynamically generates the content that is delivered to the browser. Much like other languages, it was created to serve a specific purpose: Rasmus Lerdorf created the first iteration of PHP in 1994 to help keep track of visitors to his resume page. He called it “Personal Home Page Tools,” and, after open sourcing the project and moving from 1.0 to 3.0 in 1998, PHP is now a standalone language to assist us in building and maintaining dynamic web pages. Another change over the years involves its name, which now stands for “PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor.”

You could be a designer looking to integrate a new front end into an existing site that uses PHP, or a student looking to move toward a development career. Either way, PHP can help you on your way. A quick search for “PHP developer” will return 1,000+ results on almost every major job board, which comes as no surprise: At the time of this writing, PHP makes up over 80% of the known web server technology for language interpreters.

PHP is a broad and wonderful tool to learn, and here are just a few great reasons to dive in and learn.

There are several major frameworks that use PHP as a base language, such as LaravelSymfony, and Cake PHP, to name a few. Also, the popular blogging and CMS platform WordPress is written in PHP.

PHP also has very simple database integration with a wide range of drivers out of the box — including MySQL, MS SQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite — meaning you can get your project up and running quickly. Not to mention, PHP is quite fast and easy to scale when your project requires it. Due to its inherent speed and ability to handle a large number of requests, the need to scale is not immediate. If you’re interested in some benchmarks against other popular languages, check out PHP7 Benchmarks.

Another bonus in my opinion is that PHP is very well documented, which will help you in learning and developing within the language. PHP is also not just for small projects — many major sites still run it as a core language, such as Facebook, Yahoo!, and Wikipedia.

You can get started learning PHP right now with our new free Try PHP course. This course teaches you strong fundamentals you can carry into all your future applications, both small and large.

About the author

Pluralsight is the technology skills platform. We enable individuals and teams to grow their skills, accelerate their careers and create the future.