I’ve been teaching Web Development and PHP at the U.P. Information Technology Training Center and I often encounter students asking me what’s next after learning PHP and getting introduced to the basics of the language.
This “Now what?” quiz is really an issue of career development, technical decisions and some level of prognostication because, frankly, there are a myriad of next steps after learning how to create a CRUD web application. Here’s a handful of tips I give my students:
- Learn a framework – Yes, I know, there a huge debate what framework is best (CakePHP? CodeIgniter? Symfony?) but there is also the debate of whether using a framework at all. I say learn a framework because it has its benefits (like faster development) but it also makes you comfortable dealing with other people’s code, something you deal with at some point in your development career.
- Get certified – A developer would consider this often: I want to take this cert exam, but there seems to be no one taking it. Here’s what I say to you Mr. Developer: take the exam. Whether it’s the PHP certification, Java, .NET or even the Adobe Developer exam, take the cert because you want to validate what you know and get recognized for it. Also, I believe that the preparation process itself is good training in honing a developer mindset.
- Build a web app – When I was learning PHP, I thought the best way to exercise my knowledge was to do a guerrilla-type of project– something I would consider as a pet project, not really useful at work but can extend my development range. The result was 100 Random Colors, a nifty little web app. That app serves as my sandbox for learning new stuff (like PHP then, and AJAX now).
I’m sure there are a lot more tips I can give my students but I’m sure the PHPUGPH community and its members have some good nuggets of wisdom they can share. So, “Now what?”
Regnard Kreisler C. Raquedan is an advocate of web standards and usability. Aside from being a member of PHPUGPH, he is the User Group Manager of the Adobe User Group – Philippines and Local Ambassador for the UXNet in Manila.