Learning a new programming language can seem quite challenging, especially for the first time. To many people, nothing about programming is easy, and mastering a language takes serious dedication.
That said, some languages are more approachable than others, even to people without a significant technical background. So, is learning PHP easy, or is it on the same level as other complex coding languages like C++, Java, and others?
First, it’s essential to understand what PHP is and does. Whether it’s easy to learn might not make a difference if it’s the wrong language for the work you need to do.
But once you learn what it can do and how it applies to your work, you can prepare for the educational journey and set yourself up for success with PHP.
The Basics of PHP Programming
PHP is an imperative programming language that includes multiple paradigms or patterns and can be used to create complex command sequences.
It’s a versatile type of code that can be described in many ways, from procedural to interpretation to object-oriented.
If you find the definition confusing still, here’s what PHP does in a nutshell.
PHP programing was created to build web applications, websites, and web servers. It can be used to build the entire application backend, the element end users don’t interact with.
Using PHP, web developers can create website code in real-time and add it to various databases. Unlike other types of scripts, PHP scripts aren’t executed in the user’s browser but rather on the server that hosts the website.
Is Learning PHP Easy in General?
Initially developed in 1994 by Rasmus Lerdorf, the PHP scripting language is based on open-source technology aimed at web development.
One of the main advantages of its open-source nature is the vast amount of information available in specialized communities, developer social groups, resource libraries, etc.
As it allows coders to freely use its frameworks, PHP comes with little to no restrictions or investment requirements.
PHP is a dynamic programing language. Although it shares some syntax similarities with Java, C++, and Pearl, it doesn’t impose the same level of strictness regarding rules and establishing functionalities. In essence, it’s pretty flexible and allows programmers to use different solutions to solve a single problem.
Obviously, syntax similarities make PHP a great programming language to pick up after studying another similar type of code. But is learning PHP easy for the complete beginner?
It may come down to the user’s approach to learning the language.
Understanding PHP Difficulties
One aspect that makes PHP arguably easy to learn can also be one of its drawbacks, especially for beginner programmers. This is because dynamic scripting doesn’t rely solely on knowing PHP.
In reality, users must learn some HTML and Java and even have basic knowledge of C++ in some applications. Granted, not all PHP applications are complex enough to require using other complex syntaxes but knowing them can help solve many problems.
Then there’s the issue of commitment. Programming isn’t a skill that everyone can acquire and master at the same speed. Some people are wired differently and have an easier time picking up a new programming language.
And while PHP itself might be easier than some languages to learn, that doesn’t mean it’s generally easy. For example, some could argue that HTML and CSS are much easier to learn than PHP.
It’s not the easiest skill to acquire by any means, but its flexibility and looser rule sets make it more manageable for both beginners and experienced programmers.
How to Approach Learning PHP
There is some good news when it comes to PHP. The internet is filled with resources that can help anyone start learning the code on any device with a decent connection.
You can find more free knowledge on PHP on the web than with high-end gated knowledge of other programming languages. This is a great perk because it enables people to learn at their own pace and from the resources they find easiest to understand.
But here’s the kicker. Even if learning PHP is easier than C++ or Java, it still takes a serious commitment.
Most people that try and fail to learn PHP don’t necessarily fail because they can’t memorize commands or understand the basics of programming. It’s a matter of not making a long enough commitment.
It’s essential to avoid correlating a lower entry-level of difficulty with the speed at which you can master a programming language.
When trying to learn PHP, it’s always best to stick to one learning method. It can be tempting to jump around because resource information on PHP is readily available. But this is both a pro and con to learning PHP.
Sure, you have tons of written and audio video resources online. Some are free, some cost money, and others even come with accreditations if you’re able to complete the course.
If you want to do it right, it’s vital to maintain your focus. Bouncing around between multiple educational resources will work against you. It splits the attention and potentially exposes you to conflicting information.
Spend extra time researching courses and tutorials, pick one, and stick to that method. Also, practice working with PHP outside of formal lessons is invaluable.
Learning PHP entirely from freemium resources is possible despite the many paid tutorials and courses available. Tons of developers use the DIY approach and refer to podcasts, YouTube videos, articles, and free online documentation to unlock the true potential of PHP code and frameworks.
And depending on how well you can handle programming in general, it can be just as fast as being taught by a professional in one-on-one classes.
Besides, PHP comes with many free-to-use frameworks like Laravel, Codelgniter, Symfony, etc. These platforms streamline PHP coding with their extensive libraries that make your job easier. Leveraging frameworks enables you to write less code, defer to libraries for common tasks, develop apps faster, and keep up with the best coding practices.
Is PHP Worth Learning for You?
Learning a programming language shouldn’t be determined by its complexity. Each language serves a specific purpose. If you can’t accomplish your personal or professional goals using that code, your time could be better spent learning a different skill or programming language.
PHP scripting is flexible enough that it translates into many desktop applications. However, it’s mostly designed for web development. If your interests lie in this field, then PHP is definitely worth the effort, no matter how big or small your role in the development process.
It’s also a language you can learn with minimal financial investments and hardware requirements. It makes it attractive for coding passion projects, programmers already heavily invested in other fields, or people on a tight budget.
PHP – A Great Introduction to High-End Web Development
It’s important to understand that PHP is a must-have skill in the world of web development. Over 70% of all websites rely heavily on PHP code.
Whether you’re talking about personal blogs or social media platforms like Facebook, PHP accounts for a lot of the code that makes up the backend.
Is learning PHP easy? Yes and no. It depends on your background, desire to learn something new, and need to understand PHP problem-solving syntax.
If you’re planning to venture into the world of web development, PHP can help you go all the way from creating the simplest sites to complex interactive platforms. Just don’t expect to learn it at a meaningful level overnight or in a matter of a few weeks.