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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard nofel's Avatar
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    Testing your own skills

    So i am learning new languages, like php and javascript. I find it hard to come up with a project or a task, to test my skills. I find online for some 'assignment' but cannot find any. How do you guys do it? How would you guys assess your skill level. I know some might say, take up a project. If i do that and don't come up with anything, as php is logical. I can loose a project or client.

    So how to test yourself. How does expert started, how did they fix themselves when gone wrong? Is it a good idea to cheat, like on some website they have challenge and solution, what if someone can't figure out how to solve it, can we jump to solution, if so how would we check our skills level and accountability?
    All those who wander aren't lost.

  2. #2
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    Maybe try to answer to questions of people who need help on Php forums?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by magictheme View Post
    Maybe try to answer to questions of people who need help on Php forums?
    Very good idea. There is no better way to become painfully aware of one's own deficit of understandting than when trying to explain a comcept to another.

  4. #4
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    I know what you mean - it is hard getting motivated if you do not have a goal.

    I started off writing code for galleries and kept improving it. It can be good for php as you can use a database method a flat file or xml.
    You can have different albums and add text and EXIF data. You need to gather your data display it all and come up with a navigation system.

    You can create an upload form, index page, gallery and contact form. This means validating data; resizng images, passing data from page to page ( you could also use sessions/cookies to remember peoples preference ) and use dynamic pages. I currently have one page that will display any of the albums depending what variable is passed to it. You could also have a password protected page.
    You can also learn about GD or Imagemagick for the photo resizing or manipulation.

    Personally I do not like JavaScript but you could include that into the image display and navigation. One thing I was thinking about, was using Google maps to link the photos in my gallery to a location on a google map.

    It is also useful - if you take photos!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard nofel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magictheme View Post
    Maybe try to answer to questions of people who need help on Php forums?
    Thanks, but its a general topic, as its not only limited to php. it can be any language.The point here is, how to make a case(project) where you can test you own skills.
    All those who wander aren't lost.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard nofel's Avatar
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    @Rubble ; yes i agree, but still you must pen down a project and do it step wise. Going here and there, doing things back and forth. You can't get anywhere.
    All those who wander aren't lost.

  7. #7
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    Hi,

    It is very good question.

    I have learnt basic PHP-MySQL about a year ago. I never tried it at home.

    BUT now when I get virtual internship, I realised that I can do better, and this internship is helping me to push my limits. So I will suggest you to solve small assignments.

    This will only work when you have 100% dedication and passion.


    Good Luck!
    Kalpesh

  8. #8
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    I would check out some of your favorite websites, and try to replicate some systems/features that they use. Try to develop something like facebook, just to challenge yourself. Or even create a forum with PHP and MySQL. What are some features of websites that you like but don't know how they are done? View their source code or look for tutorials.

    PHP has some pretty immense capabilities. Maybe you want to create a mini-CMS that is very simple?

    Even searching "best advanced PHP skills/tricks" or "top ten PHP skills you need to know" with Google will give you a myriad of links to explore. The same goes for Javascript, if you have covered all th basics, it's time to jump into the more difficult terrain.

    If you are just looking for a project to build a website for to practice, take your favorite thing and turn it into a business idea/website. You like coffee? Create a website for a cafe that has a newsletter sign-up and more.

  9. #9
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    molona's Avatar
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    We're so focused on PHP!


    But, in general, I agree with others.

    If you see a feature that you like in one website, try to replicate it and improve it.

    Also, try to create small, regular websites like people request often: photo galleries, e-commerce, blog... since you're a programmer, focuse on functionality more than aesthetics.

    Measure the times with different functions and try to improve the SQL queries to gain more speed so you know under which circumstances a query is faster or the connection to the database can be improved

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by magictheme View Post
    Maybe try to answer to questions of people who need help on Php forums?
    I agree with magictheme. Visit PHP forums and try to give answer of different thread. You cal also try your skills in yahoo answer.

  11. #11
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    Do you have old projects done in other languages? I would try looking at one of my old projects and try to re-create it in the language I am learning. That way, I am focusing on how to accomplish said project in that particular language and not trying to figure out the project on top of that. Plus it can give you a better idea of what is easier and harder to do in a particular language.

  12. #12
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    Answer to others questions and see if they are satisfied or not.

  13. #13
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    I usually always try to think of a commercial product that can be either of some value to me or others. Even if the project is beyond my scope, I would usually end up pushing myself to learn new things to achieve the goal of creating it

  14. #14
    SitePoint Zealot ewomack's Avatar
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    A fun one to start with is a pig latin translator. The rules are simple and teach string manipulation, input, display, etc. There are many of these on the web already so you can also compare results. This is a good really VERY BASIC project only, though, but you could expand it with graphical interfaces, sentences, etc.
    Ed Womack
    Get Milked

  15. #15
    SitePoint Enthusiast BoostSoftware's Avatar
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    With any language, immersion & consistent use are keys to becoming fluent. It's helpful to have a native speaker of the language to interact with on a regular basis, and for this reason, I also agree that the PHP forums would be of great help to you. Of course the other issue you mentioned is to figure out your skill level & begin with building a client base. I wouldn't start with clients until you're fairly comfortable in every-day use of the language, but even when you are, there will probably be challenges that require other expert advice. The forums may be able to lend a hand in that situation, as well! Client base building is tricky, but if there are some that you could trust (ie. friends or family) not to take advantage of your kindness, you might be able to start off with a discounted rate so that you have real experience with that particular language...with the understanding that they can notify you of anything that needs to be changed, & maybe even a survey at the end! Good luck! It's always worth learning new things!

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    HI, I am also same to you. I can not get a job, couses I week in skill, I am trying to improve my skill.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nofel View Post
    Thanks, but its a general topic, as its not only limited to php. it can be any language.The point here is, how to make a case(project) where you can test you own skills.
    If you want to do something immensely interesting (at least in my opinion) and useful to the community at large and not embarking on a huge project to test your skills but something more manageable for a smaller time frame then think about this:

    Write a simple web project in PHP (something really basic like a blog), do it again in another language or framework and then share your thoughts on what you liked or disliked about each framework (or language) you evaluated for your project.

    Then measure its performance and memory usage and publish the stats.

    I think if done well you could publish something like that on your web page and its something that could be a good candidate to attract good SEO also. I know I regularly Google for that sort of information but its usually out of date.

    On the other hand you might have to be prepared for a little criticism from people whose favourite framework doesn't score well according to your criteria. However even disgruntled people can up your SEO ranking as I don't think Google can discern that.

  18. #18
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    i guess i totally agree with answering to questions who need help on Php forums. Its a great great idea to master your programming skills.

  19. #19
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    It requires great ability to master these skills. You can start by taking online tutorials and practicing basic fundamentals, reading related books and besides learning side by side try to solve the problems also. Remember such things take time, you cannot expect to have complete proficiency in a few weeks.


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