PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, usually shortened to PHP, is a scripting language that works on the server side and is often used along with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) to create interactive websites. A PHP developer writes PHP code but also may design website layouts, work with online databases, test websites for technical problems and provide advice to a team of web designers and developers. To become a PHP developer, you must understand PHP and be able to use the language in combination with HTML and database query languages. You also may need a bachelor's degree for some jobs, and experience in PHP is crucial.
The first step if you want to become a PHP developer is to learn how the language works and to practice writing code. There are many places online that teach PHP, including the language's official website, web design and programming tutorial sites, and forums for programmers and developers. Many websites show sample code and provide an explanation for the terminology and syntax of PHP. If you prefer having more guidance and are new to web development, there also are plenty of short online courses that include projects, tests and contact with an instructor who can provide advice if you have problems with a certain concept.
Although it may not be true in all cases, employers often look for competency in PHP rather than a specific college degree; however, employers who require degrees usually prefer a bachelor's degree in computer science, programming, web development or software engineering. Whether you will need a degree highly depends on the type of developer you want to become. Freelance programmers and other self-employed professionals may not need a degree if they can demonstrate their PHP programming skills, but programmers who want to work in large corporations may need a degree to become a PHP developer and to pursue jobs with more responsibilities.
Experience working on PHP projects is critical if you want to become a PHP developer. It is a good idea to keep any projects you work on and to create a website of your work that you can show to potential employers. PHP development jobs often require a wide knowledge of web programming, so you also may find it useful to gain experience in database development, page formatting languages and web design. You can gain these skills from free tutorials on the Internet, traditional courses or books. If you have absolutely no work experience that relates to programming, an internship also would be useful.