Beginner’s Guide to PHP programming

  • Reading time:11 mins read

In CodeBerry Programming School’s “Programming languages” series, we’ll be answering questions you may have regarding what programming language to choose, how much money you’ll be making, what you can do as a web programmer, and where to start.

Would you like to learn how to code, online? Come and try our first 25 lessons for free at the CodeBerry Programming School.

Beginner’s Guide


Uses for PHP programming

If you’re interested in becoming a web developer, you’ve undoubtedly heard of PHP.

PHP is one of the most useful languages you can learn at the start of your Web Development career, as it’s relatively easy to learn and gives you access to plenty of great jobs from the very beginning. There’s also a high chance that your first projects and part-time gigs as a web developer will involve working with this scripting language. 

One of the main reasons why there are so many opportunities for PHP developers is that WordPress, the web’s most popular website builder, runs on PHP. In fact, over 60 million websites on the internet use WordPress, as well as 30% of the top 10 million. 

Even if you were to learn PHP for the sole purpose of working with WordPress, you’d still end up getting an incredible return on investment. As a PHP developer, you’ll be able to develop and sell themes and plugins for WordPress, which is a great way to make some cash when you’re just starting out. 

However, PHP goes far beyond WordPress; it’s used by a large number of online businesses. In 2018, 83.5% of websites used PHP as their server-side scripting language of choice, including tech giants like Facebook, Tumblr, and Slack. In other words, knowing PHP can really open up a lot of doors for you as a web developer. 



What Is PHP programming?

This server-side scripting language is commonly used in the back-end for tasks such as managing data on servers. 

PHP was originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, and originally stood for “Personal Home Page.” Now, the acronym stands for “Hypertext Preprocessor.” 

PHP can be embedded in HTML code and was created to manage Lerdorf’s personal webpage at the time. PHP was never actually designed, or even intended to be a programming language. Instead, it grew organically. This led to many inconsistencies in the language. 

Since then, many efforts have been made by the community to make PHP cleaner and more consistent—and they’ve been quite successful. 

In addition to having a large community and plenty of job opportunities, PHP is easy to learn and doesn’t require you to start from scratch. With so many available themes, plugins, and websites for WordPress, you can simply take some pre-existing code and edit it to create something new. 

PHP is also extremely quick to set up on your computer and won’t take days like some other programming languages. As if it weren’t easy enough already, most web-hosting sites already have PHP installed on the server, making your job a total breeze. If you ever encounter problems in the future, there’s a large, active community on the internet and plenty of documentation available to help.


the PHP programming language behind the WordPress-sites is one of the most wanted skills nowadays


What Is Programming in PHP Like?

Here’s what PHP looks like using the classic “Hello World” example:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>PHP Test</title>
    <?php echo '<p>Hello World</p>'; ?>

As you can see, the PHP code is embedded within an HTML document. PHP doesn’t have to be contained within HTML, but it just happens to work well together. 

Since it’s not necessary to embed PHP in HTML, we could also write the statement like this:

<?='Hello world'; ?>


How Much Do PHP Programmers Make?

According to data from, PHP developers in the United States make an average of $87,686 per year, which is $7,307.17 per month before taxes and have worked in their current position for less than 1 year. This, of course, includes many salaries from expensive areas such as San Francisco and New York where salaries are inflated for cost of living.



How Do I Learn PHP?

PHP is known as a beginner-friendly and easy-to-learn language. For this reason, many programmers choose to start with PHP immediately after learning languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. That way, they can start in back-end Web Development while they’re already making money and gaining front-end development experience. 

If you’d like to learn PHP, there are a few steps you’ll want to take:

The first step is to sign up for a good online course or coding bootcamp that will teach you PHP. As it is rather simple to read and understand in comparison with other programming languages, one can easily learn PHP without having had a formal education.

The second step to learning PHP is finding good print and digital resources you can study in your free time. There are plenty of books and manuals available out there that can teach you how to program in PHP, as well as online videos and tutorials. Because PHP has been around for such a long time, you might even find some good books on PHP programming at your local library.

The third step is to seek out online communities, forums, and message boards where you can get help from more experienced PHP programmers. Continue to practice and ask the community whenever you get stuck and can’t figure out a solution yourself. Both Slack and Reddit have communities where PHP programmers actively discuss related topics and answer questions.

How Long Does it Take to Learn PHP?

The amount of time it takes to learn a programming language depends on the methods you use, your learning retention, and how many hours you invest per week. It also depends on how you define “knowing how to code.” However, due to its incredible simplicity, you can expect to learn the essentials of PHP in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Even if you don’t have any previous programming experience, you can probably expect to spend anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to achieve a working knowledge of PHP. Learning the additional features and getting comfortable enough with PHP to become a professional developer will probably take around 3 months.



Is PHP Right for Me?

To determine if a programming language is right for you, you first need to figure out how it lines up with your long-term goals. 

Learning PHP is a great place for beginners to start. It allows you to get involved in back-end development and start receiving a return on your investment in the shortest amount of time. 

However, nowadays PHP is mostly limited to WordPress, and in order to achieve maximum employability, we recommend beginners start with more popular languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Learning these three languages will allow you to become a more versatile and well-rounded programmer.

To learn if PHP is a good fit for you, please check out our article, “Which Programming Language is Right for Me?”. There, you’ll learn about a variety of other programming languages and what you can do with them.


In CodeBerry Programming School’s “Programming languages” series, we’ll be answering questions you may have regarding what programming language to choose, how much money you’ll be making, what you can do as a web programmer, and where to start.


Beginner’s Guide

Would you like to learn how to code, online? Come and try our first 25 lessons for free at the CodeBerry Programming School.

Learn to code and change your career!





Not sure if programming is for you? With CodeBerry you’ll like it.