A blog for the work-at-home professional by a work-at-home professional.


I have worked as a transcriptionist for nearly two years now. However, these past few months, I’ve been thinking about a career change. I would like something more challenging, something that requires more creativity and lateral thinking.

A few months ago, Arpee, a 23-year-old web developer, moved into our apartment complex. He’s a great guy, who's very kind and generous — he let my entire family stay in his unit when a big flood came with the typhoon that hit our province last year (Our unit is on the ground floor; his is on the second floor). While we were staying in his unit, he encouraged my sister and me to study PHP and MySQL and showed us where to find resources to help us learn.

I admire this fellow. He was part of the Mambo CMS development team (Mambo is quite well-known among web developers) and now, he works with the Mia CMS development team (CMS is content management system, something that is used to build and maintain websites). He’s a college grad, but he didn’t learn PHP from school — he has a degree in Agricultural Engineering (I don’t think he learned how to develop web applications while taking soil samples). He is largely self-taught and says Google helped him a lot and so did joining discussion forums.

He is married and has a four-year-old daughter (who studies in a private school). His beautiful wife is a housewife who takes such good care of their pretty little girl and keeps their home tidy and clean. He owns a van and they live comfortably on the salary he earns. He earns twice as much as I do, so naturally, I got very interested in web development and since I started studying it, I’ve been hooked ever since.

Want to study PHP and MySQL? Well, first you need to have a working knowledge of HTML (hypertext markup language). HTML is actually very easy and really fun to learn. After learning HTML, you may proceed to PHP and MySQL.

So what do you need to do to learn PHP and MySQL?

1) DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL XAMPP - So what the heck is this? This a open source cross-platform web server package. You're going to need this because if you're going to study PHP and MySQL, you would need an Apache server, a MySQL database and a PHP interpreter. XAMPP has all of these. Don't worry because XAMPP is free. You can download XAMPP from here.

2) SURF THE INTERNET FOR WEBSITES THAT OFFER HELPFUL INFORMATION - There are a lot of web sites that offer tutorials in web development and design. Among the websites I've found very helpful are:

W3 Schools
Killer PHP (Would you rather watch videos? Then this site is for you.)
PHP Official Site
HTML Dog (for those who have yet to learn HTML)

3) JOIN ONLINE FORUMS - You may need someone to help you understand some concepts or you may have questions that need to be answered. You'll be surprised that there are many people who are more than willing to help. Here are some online forums that you can join:

PHP Builder Forums

PHP Developer's Network
The Official PHP User-Group in the Philippines
(Recommended by Arpee. This would be a great site to join if you're a newbie and a Filipino. PHP mavens can answer your questions in Taglish!)

4) DOWNLOAD E-BOOKS OR BUY BOOKS ON PHP AND MYSQL - Books and e-books present information in a more organized and comprehensive manner. They would be good to have for reference and in-depth learning.

These are the books I recommend:
(Click on the images for more info.)

For Newbies in HTML and Web Design:

There are available free e-books all over the Internet. Just Google the terms "free e-books" and "PHP" together. However, from experience, I've found that some of those books are either outdated or not very good, and some files contain viruses and trojans (Be particularly wary of those in .exe and .chm format). They're free, but download at your own risk.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy learning PHP.