November 21, 2017
One question I get often, is which programming language should you learn?
… I’ve been getting this question for years!
Things change in the programming world, languages come and go. But the good news is that the basics, the core concepts and techniques, are 90-95% the same in all the modern programming languages:
- Java for web apps or Java for Andriod
…. What that means, is that your programming language choice, isn’t nearly as critical as you’d think. Why? Well, once you know one programming language, it is easy as apple pie to switch to another!
How to choose between PHP and Python?
The key to choosing a language comes down to two things: market viability of the programming language and what KIND of programming you want to do.
Kinds of Programming
You have many choices in terms of marketable programming languages … there is plenty of work for the languages listed above. Each language though, means a different kind of programming, and that often means a different type of person would enjoy programming language ‘A’ vs programming language ‘B’.
For example, PHP programming is focused on web development, and that’s all you will do with PHP. In fact, PHP is the most used server-side web app programming language today.
On the other hand, Python is a general purpose language that is used in many areas:
- Data sciences
- Ai and ML
- Web application
- Server automation
… Python strength is the flexibility of the language. PHP’s strength is that it is the best at building web apps, all things considered.
Choosing your language
The key is to explore a little on your part, check out which TYPE of jobs you can get with Python, and the type of jobs you can get with PHP.
Again, different programming languages mean a different type of job.
The good news is that you don’t need to worry about your choice too much, because you can always switch languages later. It’s easy to switch over, because all the above languages share about 90-95% of the same principles and concepts. The code looks different, but learning the code is the easy part.
Suggested first programming languages?
I would suggest Python if you want to get into Ai and ML, and PHP if you want to create web apps or work with WordPress in a serious way.
Hope that helps!
February 26, 2017
With all the talk about Ai (artificial intelligence,) people are wondering if Ai will rush in, making human coders obsolete. Short answer: maybe in 25-50 yrs!
Ai is slowly being developed, but there is a way to go! Though true Ai will take a while before it is realized. As it develops, you will start seeing the simple jobs replaced by Ai long before it finally gets to coders.
The 3 Categories of Ai
The scientist have divided Ai into three categories:
- Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI)
- Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)
- Artificial Superintelligence (ASI)
Today we have lots of examples of ANI Ai: Siri, Google search and self driving cars. This type of Ai can only do a few simple things. A long way off from coding!
The second type of Ai (AGI) is what will eventually replace human coders. AGi can think, learn, plan ahead and communicate. When that happens, Ai will replace all jobs, not just coders.
Coders need to Communicate with Clients
Coding has a lot to do with being able to communicate with humans, since you have to speak with people to figure out what they want in their websites (or apps) that you are building. That’s one thing new coders/developers often overlook – the importance of being able to interact with people. Good social skills is a big part of being a great coder.
Of all the skills that Ai will have to learn, the nuances of human communication will be the most difficult. So long before Ai will start coding, it will replace construction workers, truck drivers, accountants, maintenance workers and many other jobs.
… Ai represents a huge change in our society and likely our culture. Nobody can say with certainty how it will all play out. But what is clear, is that the simple tasks will be replaced with Ai before coding … given how complex coding can be.
Some of the world’s smartest people are sounding the alarm bells about the birth of Ai, this includes people like Bill Gates, Elon Musk
and Stephen Hawking. I think as we get closer to true Ai (Artificial General Intelligence – AGI) rules and restrictions will be put into place and Ai will likely be tightly controlled. This will further slow the adoption of full Ai in any field. So this will further slow the replacement of live coders with Ai.
Ai will change the Role of Coders
As primitive Ai begins to come online over the next 20yrs, you will first see Ai change the role of coders/developers. So as we use frameworks and code libraries (ex: jQuery, Bootstrap) to speed up development today, primitive Ai will slowly works its’ way into development in an assistive role. Instead of replacing coders outright, Ai will merely allow us more freedom to work on the higher level conceptual aspects of an app.
… Sounds good to me!
Finally, given all the experts seem to think true Ai will only be invented in 50 yrs, I wouldn’t be too concerned. In fact, the fabric of society will change radically (due to Ai) long before coders/developers will be replaced.
Thanks for reading!
December 11, 2014
The new year approaches and once again I will give you my assessment of where PHP will be in 2015. You might think me biased given killerphp is the name of the site … but you would be wrong. I am always ready to throw out a technology that no longer deserves my attention.
… That’s why I know 8-9 languages. And to be totally transparent, I’ve logged many more programming hours with Java than I have with PHP. That said, where goeth* our lovely PHP in 2015?
PHP in 2015
These days I hear the young nerdlings are all enamoured with Python. Yes, Python is a fine language and worthy of praise. But is it better than PHP? And what about the jobs – how much Python work is out there to be had?
Let’s start with the most important number: over 80% of dynamic sites run on PHP! Not Python, not Ruby. Nope, little old ugly PHP runs 80% of web apps in the world! From what I hear, web development firms have lots of PHP work but are finding it increasingly difficult to find PHP programmers.
… With scarcity comes higher prices.
PHP Frameworks are sooo 2015
Like all the mature languages out there, PHP has a nice selection of web frameworks to choose from, and ultimately, you as a budding web developer will have to learn at least one. In 2015 Code Igniter is out (although there are many legacy CodeIgniter apps that will have to be maintained) and Laravel is in.
… Anyway, once you learn one PHP web framework, learning another is not too hard. They are all MVC based and so they all work pretty much the same way. That said, some are better than others.
In a future article I will put my finger to the wind, and get into WHICH PHP framework is probably best in 2015.
Happy new year!
Goeth defined: archaic third person singular present of go.
December 9, 2011
As a web developer or web designer, you have to mindful of who your audience is when you are putting up a new web site or web application.
Back in the 1990’s when I started, you had to consider which web browser but you were pretty safe to assume that people would be visiting your website on a desktop computer and 95% of the time, it was Windows.
… Things have changed and will continue to change.
Check out what a well known hedge fund analyst is saying – Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners told CNBC:
The explosion of mobile platforms, particularly iOS and Android, means that Windows will account for less than 50% of all Internet-connected devices in 2011.
Now that doesn’t mean 50% of the people visiting your site will be using iOS or Android … at least not yet. But it does speak of a powerful trend that will not stop. That trend is toward smartphones, tablets and the death of the desktop. Since Windows on the smartphone and tablet is a non-starter, I think as a web application developers, we have to see Android and iOS as being the future.
What does that mean for PHP developers?
I think PHP programmers are going to have understand the new front end … the mobile device. As such, PHP’rs are really going to have to get into the client-side technologies because they have an impact how we write PHP code. I’m thinking:
– HTML 5
– CSS 3
… You better understand how these technologies work with PHP if you want a job (or contracts) as a PHP programmer.
July 20, 2011
I recently wrote an article on killersites.com about outsourcing and how to protect against it. Besides my rant against crony capitalist, I pointed out that PHP is the language of choice, for those who don’t want to get their jobs shipped overseas.
PHP is used much more often in small projects by small business; they tend to prefer local talent than to outsource. Please read the article I linked to for details.
Read more about PHP’s Prophylactic qualities … when it comes to outsourcing your web programming job.
That’s all for now … too hot today to do much work.