What programming language should i learn first? The question every new or aspiring developer asks themselves. I dread to think how much time i wasted trawling, websites, blogs and Quora trying to find the magical answer.
Unfortunately, there is no magic answer. There is no correct answer, the answer is different for everyone. The answer to YOUR question depends on YOUR goals, the part of the world that YOU live in and ultimately, what YOU enjoy the most. I just don’t have the answer…Sorry.
However, what i will do in this post is give you an insight into how i chose the language that i did, how it helped me get a job and why i enjoy it. Hopefully, my experience can help you find the answer to your own question.
I’m a junior PHP developer. Please, don’t stop reading now, it really isn’t that bad! Ha! I had been learning to code for about 9months when i landed my job and PHP had been my language of choice when i first opened my code editor. If i’m honest, it was the only programming language that i had heard of at the time!
I’d made the decision to learn to code, i’d heard of PHP, so full of enthusiasm i went to Google and asked for ‘learning PHP’! It wasnt long before i’d signed up to Codecademy and i was on my way.
After i had completed the brief course, i thought this was it, i can do this. If/else statements, arrays, for loops, functions…i got this!
A bit of googling later and i had installed MAMP and was well away. I managed to add a simple log-in form to a static html website that i had built. A few more tutorials and i was working with a database to build my own blog. I didn’t know about Object Oriented Programming or any of the various frameworks, i was writing crappy inline Procedural PHP…BUT…I was BUILDING things and i was becomming more and more hooked. The point? The barrier for entry with PHP is so low that a few months into my programming journey and i was building some decent projects, building confidence and building a foundation of knowledge that i could improve upon. Im not saying that PHP is the best and that everyone should start with it, but if you are complete beginner, new to coding, you can get up and running fairly easily and with so many resources available and massive community, its a great place to experiment with server side code!
I started to analyse my local job market and see where the demand actually was (when i say local, i mean the UK).
At the time i made the decision to jump careers, i was earning a really decent salary as a time served Heating Engineer. I was fed up with the long hours, uncertainty in contracts and lack of mental challenge but i was helping to provide a decent lifestyle for myself and my family. This meant that money was obviously a consideration when i started looking at careers in tech. I actually had to be able to learn a relevant skill and be competent enough for someone to pay me to do i. I expected that i would have to take a big pay cut but i was looking at my long term future.
Finally, i just want to say, that i really enjoy working with PHP. At work we use the Symfony framework and it makes it really easy to write great code. Its not the language that produces bad code…its the developer. Whatever technology you choose, stick with it, be confident in your choice and master it!