PHP or Python — Which Language Should You Learn in 2017

2017 is the year of web apps and API’s. Instead of reinventing the wheel every time, developers make use of scaffoldings and third-party libraries to ensure that the projects are ready for live deployments within days.

While the RESTful API’s and cross-platform libraries have made web development easier, they haven’t solved the age-old question that still stumps and (bitterly) divides developers, managers and customers alike.

PHP vs. Python?

This question remains an important discussion point because of development and project budgeting considerations. However, this question is particularly important for beginners who wish to make it big in web development. PHP and Python are the most popular web development languages today. In fact, these two languages power most of the popular websites on the internet today.

Beginners have a very different set of requirements from experienced developers. Seasoned developers have little trouble picking up a new language. In contrast, beginners have to fight two related battles. They have to understand the programming constructs and then learn how to implement these constructs in the programming language of their choice. They have to master syntax that often makes no sense at all for the beginners.

A related issue is the bias of experienced developers. Talk to a PHP developer and they will tell you that there is nothing better than PHP. Talk to a Python developer and they will start highlighting all the good things you could do with Python. In general, very few developers would have good things to say about the language they do not use.

Therefore, instead of mentioning the pros and cons of both PHP and Python, I will discuss three areas that beginners should consider when selecting their first programming language. The following discussion centers on these three areas in the context of PHP vs. Python.

Popularity

There is no question about the popularity of both PHP and Python. Even when these languages do not power a project, the project managers and the client do consider them. At the moment, PHP overwhelmingly dominates the internet with more than 80% market share.

PHP powers some of your favorite websites including Wikipedia, Flickr, Tumblr and Yahoo. Initially, Facebook was completely powered by PHP. Since then, the social media giant has transitioned to a PHP framework that incorporates all the features that the Facebook developers need for platform and app development.

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