Advise for an Aspiring PHP Developer

A self described “aspiring PHP developer” recently asked me for advise on how to improve his skills since there were no PHP offerings at his school. Here was the advise I gave him.

Welcome to the world of PHP.

I have learned the most by following and participating in the discussion at the
SitePoint advanced PHP forum

There are two coding techniques you can study that will pay great dividends:
Unit Testing (and in particular Test Driven Development, see and and the use
of Design Patterns (see

A project to investigate which combines much of this is WACT

Some good blogs:
and many others you can find through

I would be remiss in not letting you know I have written a book on these
subjects as well :)

Hopefully that gives you something to chew on!

Looking this over, I realize I left out a critical resourse of the PHP Manual and the associated user comments, a great resource for PHP developers.

What advise would you give to an aspiring programmer?