I started learning PHP and I was able to get myself familiar with it. Now, I want to explore other programming languages like PERL so that I can compare it myself to PHP. Will I be confused to learn two language? Or are there any disadvantages?

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    How many times do we have to answer this exact question? Jul 15, 2012 at 4:39
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    PHP should take you to the end of your career! no really it should, especially if this is a serious question!
    – user7519
    Jul 15, 2012 at 6:44
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    @FiascoLabs you can build houses out of toothpicks and duct tape, doesn't quantify the quality of the houses or the applications. historial note: PHP originally mean Personal Home Page, they renamed it because of the negative connotations which are still valid, renaming it was a marketing gimmick, it didn't make it any better, just a way to avoid the negativity to the new generation of wanna-be-web-programmers that think HTML is code. Kind of like renaming the Exxon Valdez doesn't change the history behind the vessel.
    – user7519
    Jul 15, 2012 at 7:50
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    @FiascoLabs "PHP is the natural descendent of Perl." you just offended every real Perl programmer in history the present and the future at one time!
    – user7519
    Jul 15, 2012 at 7:55
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    @JarrodRoberson And so you know, I was offended by it as well. I'm in total agreement with your assessment. To word it better? Derivative of? Unholy demon spawn of? Annoying script language that borrowed heavily from? Umm, all meant in fun. Oops now that's really off topic. Jul 15, 2012 at 16:23

4 Answers 4


I would spend some time getting decent at your first language, but once you have done that start exploring. There are a lot of languages out there and a lot of them are nicer then PHP or do something better.

I would take a look at the book "Seven Languages in Seven Weeks" which will walk you threw Ruby, IO, Scala, Prolog, Erlang, Clojure and Haskell which will make you learn a whole bunch of new ways to code.

  • I think that's a good approach. Particularly importantly, it teaches you different languages. Learning Perl after PHP is not going to give you nearly as much insight as learning Prolog or Haskell! Jul 15, 2012 at 4:34
  • qualify getting decent at PHP please? Because getting decent at PHP is way different that getting decent at say C++, Erlang or ASM.
    – user7519
    Jul 15, 2012 at 6:46
  • good enough to get stuff done I guess. in truth my default rule for PHP is avoid if at all possible. One of my least favorite languages
    – Zachary K
    Jul 15, 2012 at 7:09
  • +1 ZacharyK for recommending those languages. Infact, @mattmight in his post What Every Computer Science Major Should Know, recommended learning Racket, C, JavaScript, Squeak, Java, Standard ML, Prolog, Scala, Haskell, C++ and Assembly because they provide "a reasonable mixture of paradigms and practical applications". Put another way, the Programmer's Competency Matrix recommended Imperative, OO, declarative, functional, concurrent and Logic
    – Anthony
    Jul 15, 2012 at 9:17

Short Answer: If you’re just starting your programming career, then I would advise you to focus on learning just one programming language at a time.

This is because there’s little to be gained by listing many programming languages on your resume without really being good or highly skilled in any of them!

As a general rule, it’s far better to learn one programming language and master it well before learning other programming languages.

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    I strongly disagree. Unless by "master" you mean just learn the basics of loops, conditionals, case switches, functional programming, et. al. using your first language, before moving on to other languages. I'd say once you have those basics quite well, you should study multiple languages in a short span of time and independently study up on as much computer science as you can.
    – Wildcard
    Apr 1, 2016 at 6:38
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    I also disagree. Learning some new (even academic) language often improves your skill and programming style in other languages. So learning Scheme with SICP will improve your daily coding in PHP, Java, C or C++ Apr 1, 2016 at 8:49

Learn anything that interests you. If you want to learn Perl instead of studying PHP go ahead. The most important thing is to be learning something. In my opinion, knowing multiple languages at some level makes a better programmer than knowing only one in depth.


I too started out with PHP. It's a good first choice as there is a pretty large community, and there is a good chance you can pick up a job writing it.

I wouldn't recommend picking up another similar language (such as PERL, Python, etc), as ultimately, you won't probably learn much other than more syntax. However, you might take some time and brush up on your javascript. jQuery is great, but that choice is yours. The best part? You can use both at the same time, so you can continue to grow professionally in both directions.

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