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I've been doing PHP for 4 years now. 2 years at school and 2 years at work. But I feel like I'm stagnating. Here are some things that I currently know about PHP:

  • Basics (variables, control structures, arrays, loops, sessions, cookies, file manipulation)
  • Database Integration (MySQL)
  • OOP - I only know of the basics (creating classes, inheritance, objects, private, public and protected class variables)
  • MVC
  • A few frameworks (CodeIgniter, Laravel)
  • PHPUnit (Assertions)
  • Templating (Smarty)
  • Using PHP with AJAX
  • Building Wordpress plugins
  • API Integration

That's pretty much it. My question is what's next? What do I do to level up my skills as a PHP developer. What are the things that you can recommend that I would do in order to improve (Books, tutorials, etc.). What other PHP tools you can recommend that I should try and use.

Thanks in advance!

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2 Answers 2

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Learn some other languages. Every time you see another implementation of a concept you know from one language, it'll teach you more about the essential concept, how good/bad the implementation is in your language of choice and how best it is used. You'll also encounter entirely new concepts.

This is particularly true of OOP, but goes for all the concepts outlined above.

Forgive me for saying that PHP's implementation of many of the above is substandard.

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If you don't know what to work on, pick up an interesting book. If you don't know what to read, start working on an interesting project. Do something. In the process of reading or working, you'll encounter things you don't know or things that you find interesting, and you can follow those threads to expand your horizons.

The dictionary says that to stagnate is to cease developing; become inactive or dull. If you don't want to stagnate, do the opposite: Be active. Learn things. Make things. Exactly what things you should learn or make are entirely up to you, and nobody here can tell you what they should be.

If your goal is simply to not stand still, then it doesn't really matter what you do provided it's something new or different. But you probably want to do more than just move, you want to move in a particular direction. Decide on a goal -- the place where you want to be in 6, 12, or 18 months. What skills do you need to reach that goal? Write them down. Choose activities that will help you develop those skills, and cross each skill off your list as you acquire it to help you chart your progress toward your goal.

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