How to Learn PHP

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by Bethanny Parker

Updated September 16, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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WordPress powers over 450 million websites, and PHP powers WordPress. That makes PHP a great language to learn for anyone who wants to master full-stack web development. If you are wondering how to learn PHP, you have come to the right place.

PHP is a general-purpose scripting language geared towards web development. PHP originally stood for "Personal Home Page," but it now stands for the recursive initialism "PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor."

There are many ways to learn PHP, including through online courses and coding bootcamps. You can also learn PHP as part of a computer science degree, although that route will take much longer.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are intensive programs designed to prepare students for entry-level jobs in tech fields in just a few months. You can take a coding bootcamp in web development or software engineering to learn PHP. Check to make sure the program covers PHP before enrolling. Some coding bootcamps cover other languages commonly used for back-end web development instead of PHP.

Coding bootcamps provide an accelerated alternative to a computer science degree for those who want to work as web developers. Bootcamps take much less time than a degree program and usually cost less as well.

Online Courses

Online course providers such as Coursera and edX offer online courses in a variety of computer programming languages, including PHP. Many of these courses are free, and those that require payment typically cost between $20-$1,000. That makes them significantly less expensive than the average bootcamp, which costs about $13,580.

Most online courses are self-paced, allowing you to progress through the material as quickly or slowly as you want. Some contain a series of videos, while others provide text-based or interactive lessons. Here are five online courses that teach PHP:

Online Courses vs. Bootcamps

Pros and Cons of Coding Bootcamps
Pros Cons
  • A coding bootcamp may be more comprehensive than an online course.
  • Coding bootcamps often use a cohort model so you can learn collaboratively with peers.
  • Coding bootcamps often have a set schedule to help you make progress in your learning.
  • Coding bootcamps have instructors and other support staff who can help when you have questions.
  • Coding bootcamps cost much more than most online courses.
  • A coding bootcamp might last longer than some online courses.
  • Coding bootcamps usually involve a much more intensive workload than an online course.
  • You may not be able to find a bootcamp focused solely on PHP, so you'll probably explore a broader set of tools, skills, and technologies with a bootcamp than an online course.
Pros and Cons of Online Courses
Pros Cons
  • Online courses typically cost much less than bootcamps, and many are free.
  • You can often learn at your own pace.
  • You may be able to complete an online course in a shorter time period than a bootcamp.
  • You can determine which skills you need and take courses to specifically fill those skill gaps.
  • Instructor access may be limited or unavailable.
  • You may not have much peer interaction.
  • You usually have to pay extra if you want a certificate showing you completed the course.
  • Online courses do not carry as much weight as a bootcamp on your resume.

Coding Bootcamps to Learn PHP

Noble Desktop

  • Location: Remote, New York City
  • Program Cost: $425
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Part Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Noble Desktop offers a WordPress for Coders course that teaches vital coding languages, including PHP, HTML, and CSS. Students will use these languages to work with themes and create WordPress projects. The course functions as an introduction to PHP through the use of the WordPress platform.

This 6-hour hands-on class can be taken either online or at Noble Desktop's New York City campus. Tuition is due before class starts. Graduates will earn a certificate of completion and can retake the course up to a year later.

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Udemy

  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $109.99
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Self-Paced

Career Services
Money-Back Guarantee

The Complete 2021 PHP Full Stack Web Developer Bootcamp consists of over 48 hours of on-demand video lectures. The bootcamp focuses on front- and back-end web development skills while teaching server-side PHP and MySQL. No prerequisites are needed to complete this 28-module program. Students will learn at their own pace, but must complete all exercises, projects, and quizzes to graduate.

Udemy offers interview preparation assistance to its students and lifetime access to this course once purchased. Although there is no live instructor, students can still engage with mentors on Udemy's private Facebook group.

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Get the Qualities You Want in a Bootcamp

We use icons to make browsing bootcamps easy for you. Use this breakdown to quickly identify program qualities you are looking for.

Accepts GI Bill®

Accepts the GI Bill® as funding for tuition.

Also Available In Person

This online bootcamp also offers in-person options.

Career Services

Offers career services to help you land your dream job after graduation.

CIRR Member

This bootcamp is a current member of the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. Learn more at cirr.org.

Evening & Weekend Options

Bootcamps are offered during convenient evening and weekend hours.

Job Guarantee

Employment is guaranteed as soon as you finish your bootcamp.

Money-Back Guarantee

Tuition is refunded if you don't land a job within a given time frame after graduation. Visit the bootcamp website for terms and conditions.

Start for Free

No deposit is required to get started. Begin your bootcamp for $0.

Methodology

Bootcamp Ranking Guidelines

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

Our Methodology

The Bootcamp Team at BestColleges has collected data for over 150 bootcamps to help you find the best bootcamp.

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

At this time, our recommendation round-ups feature only immersive bootcamps designed to prepare students for job placement upon graduation.

To be included on our lists, bootcamps must meet the following criteria:

  • Must offer at least one bootcamp in the United States.
  • Must offer at least one bootcamp that is a minimum of 4 weeks long.
  • Must require at least 15 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is part time.
  • Must encourage at least 10 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is self-paced.

Pricing disclosure: The prices listed were collected from product websites in 2022. However, given the dynamic, fast-paced nature of the tech space, prices are subject to change throughout the year. To get the most up-to-date information about pricing, contact providers directly.

Methodology for Recommending Cheap Bootcamps:

  • The bootcamp must meet all of the general criteria listed above.
  • The bootcamp must cost less than $8,000 if it is offered full time, and less than $5,000 if it is offered part time. These numbers were chosen based on data collected by BestColleges in 2020 that determined the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,580.

PHP Jobs

PHP jobs include roles such as webmaster, PHP developer, full-stack web developer, and senior web developer. Read on for more information about each of these careers.

Webmaster

Webmasters keep up their organization's websites, working on website design and routine maintenance. They work with marketing to make sure the website fits the company's branding and perform online security maintenance. They oversee the addition of content to the company's website and make sure the website conveys a consistent theme.

Average Annual Salary: $56,970 (Payscale, as of March 2022)

PHP Developer

PHP developers use PHP to develop their company's website or digital product. They typically work as part of a development team. PHP developers work to ensure that the website runs smoothly, especially processes such as user login and processing of e-commerce transactions. PHP developers spend a lot of time finding and eliminating scripting errors.

Average Annual Salary: $65,680 (Payscale, as of March 2022)

Full-Stack Web Developer

Full-stack web developers create and maintain both the front end and back end of a website. That means they work on the whole site, both the part the user sees and everything that happens behind the scenes. They create and test interfaces and applications, monitor website traffic, integrate graphics, and lay out the site according to the designer's specifications.

Median Annual Salary: $77,200 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020)

Senior Web Developer

Senior web developers are often proficient in multiple programming languages. They may also be skilled in both mobile and web design, including responsive web design. Senior developers help design and build web pages, troubleshoot issues, and conduct tests. They may have greater project management responsibilities than web developers earlier in their career.

Average Annual Salary: $88,010 (Payscale, as of March 2022)

What Are the Benefits of a PHP Certification?

Many companies offer a PHP certification. Obtaining one of these certifications can make your resume stand out since not all applicants have PHP certifications. You can earn a PHP certification through Zend, LinkedIn, Coursera, W3Schools, or Udemy.

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning PHP

Is PHP easy to learn?

PHP is considered relatively easy to learn compared with other programming languages. Of course, you may find it harder or easier depending on the quality of the course you are taking and the availability of instructors to answer your questions. A course that moves on to harder concepts before you have mastered the basics may make it more difficult to learn.

If you get stuck while working your way through one course, don't give up. There are many different online courses available, so just try a different course. If you have tried three or four courses and still aren't happy with your progress, you might want to try enrolling in a bootcamp so you will have an instructor to help you learn.

Where can I learn PHP for free?

Some free online courses include Practical PHP: Master the Basics and Code Dynamic Websites through Udemy, Learn PHP through Codecademy, and PHP Tutorial for Beginners through Class Central.

Practical PHP is a six-hour video course that was created for PHP beginners with some knowledge of HTML and CSS. Learn PHP is a 10-lesson course that covers the basics of PHP. PHP Tutorial for Beginners is a curation of several YouTube videos that teach the basics of PHP.

What is the best way to learn PHP?

The best way to learn PHP depends on what you need as a learner. Free online courses may be right for you if you need flexibility and prefer independent learning. You can go through them at your own pace and learn the basics of PHP in just a few days, or you could take your time and spread out your learning over a few weeks or months.

If you don't learn well independently, it might be better to take a coding bootcamp. These structured courses walk you through the web development process in a logical manner, with some touching on PHP along with other tools and languages.

Feature Image: Berezko / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

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