If you're like me, you probably had a tough time in school, trying to concentrate on what the Teacher was talking about during class. I would literally sit in the back corner so the teacher couldn't tell that I was sleeping...
But times have changed and now I have to deal with the consequences of my actions. So when it came time to learn PHP I had to re-learn how to focus and do my best to concentrate on what I was learning. Call it ADD, call it bad teachers, but just don't call it lack of desire to learn. In fact, I love learning a little too much. I over spend on training courses, books and various other training methods, but that's just how I learn certain things.
But lately I found out why I was having a tough time learning PHP, as far as more advanced stuff goes. It wasn't that the training was bad, and it sure as heck wasn't because I wasn't enjoying what I was learning. It was the lack of trying. Yes, I struggled with convincing myself that I would learn more by putting in the time to do the work and I'm embarrassed to admit that. While I'm always the one telling people that you have to fail to really learn, here I was failing to even try.
So my advice to anyone trying to learn PHP fast is this:
- Learn by studying one area at a time. Rather than focus on learning PHP and MySQL all at once, try focusing on exactly how the books/courses are setup.
- Start out with learning about Strings, then Arrays, then working with files. These 3 are what you really need to master before you get into more advanced topics. Once you master these topics you will become a true PHP Professional (assuming you continue to learn).
- Focus on building real tools and scripts that you could use on a daily basis. A lot of people are worried about spending too much time on stuff that they don't believe will benefit them, or even interest them. Well, that's not a good way to think. Work on anything you can think of and do your best to build it to meet all of your needs.
- Use sites such as StackOverflow or any of the various PHP forums out there to help you with problems, errors or anything else you may have issues with. I really believe that StackOverflow is the best site for getting answers, so I do think you should try them out before anything else. Just make sure you have a true problem that hasn't already been answered, and do not expect others to code your problems for you!
PHP can be a bit of a pain for people who feel a bit nervous about technology, but I can assure you that anyone can learn the basics if they just follow those rules above. You have to learn how to fail before you learn how to succeed, so go out and try things for yourself and I can promise you that you will learn PHP quickly!