How should a PHP web developer spend $5,000 in professional development?

If you were given $5,000 to spend on increasing your professional development as a web developer, how would you spend it?

Which books would you buy?
Which conferences would you attend?
What certifications would you pursue?

I’ve been given this option but frankly I’m not sure how to spend the money! Thanks for the help.

Are you already a qualified programmer?

If so, no matter which language you have a qualification in, learn another language.

If you have not passed an examination in any language, then I suggest you make that priority #1.

e.g. learning python is pointless if your chosen language is PHP and you are “shaky” when it comes to arrays.

The money resource is not as important as the time off you are given to study, you can get an awful lot for nothing on the web.

Personally? I’d go to university if I had the chance, maybe you can do this part time.

But, like Tmapm says, if you cannot tell us where you are up to then this is just guesswork.

I would go for seminars and conferences. Books talk about the past while seminars and conferences focus on the future. That is if you are already pretty proficient with PHP. Besides you get the added benefit of networking on your companies dime at events.

It might be beneficial, for your sake, to tell us what your current experience level is at: Languages, what type of things you’ve done, areas you know you need improvement, goals that the company may have for you. It’s hard to plan a roadmap if you don’t know where you are going.

Thanks for the replies. I’ve been programming for a couple of years, mostly working with PHP, Javascript and SQL databases to build custom web applications. I’ve been working with HTML and CSS for many more years than that.

I’m studying computer science in university already and will be learning more languages in the near future. I’ve already dabbled a little bit in C#. I’m also very familiar with Wordpress and Drupal, among some other things. I do not yet have any certifications or qualifications outside of work experience.

What are some of the bigger and better web developer conferences?


It sounds as if you really have your stuff together and you are in for the long haul.

I wish I had known about IT when I was younger, but there we are.

Many IT careers seem to do with betting on the right technology, and making sure you are skilled up to dovetail with the demands in 2-3 years.

Here’s my take, fwiw.

If there was one thing that you should, as a web-dev know about which may not yet be part of main-stream CS in uni, it would be the burgeoning Semantic Web.

My recommendation is that you carve out a hunk of this cash and start watching out for catch-up tutorials and conferences on the technologies which make up semweb.

If you already a good programmer, Use $5000 to make you happy with your work. Allocate that budget to give you incentives whenever you get achieved something… I did this in fast. It will definitely improve your quality & satisfaction.

I give a small treat ( Chicken with a beer ) when i get some achievement :wink:

Be Happy :slight_smile:

Hey Alex,

Thanks for the suggestions and especially for the link to the Smashing Magazine article. I found a similar but smaller list on another site and used it as a guide.

I finished my budget and picked a conference in NYC. I also decided on Zend certification (which you mentioned) and MySQL too. I picked up some memberships to ACM, IEEE, and others. I also have budget for some training materials to start learning new languages (C or Java, probably).

It depends as to whether you want general web design conferences or specific programming ones (and where in the world you are willing to travel). As for me, If I had that amount of money put by for education, I would spread the knowledge in various ways… attending conferences and getting certified (with stuff like Zend) might be good ways to boost your confidence around other developers, but I also recommend books and web based training (like videos) which depending on your skill level may help you get to grips with specific skills that you perhaps want to pick up in your spare time. I think the main point to highlight is spend that money wisely!

This list may be particularly helpful on the conference front:

Haha, nice ideas! Unfortunately I don’t think I can get beer authorized by the company. :rofl:

I’m very happy with my work, with or without beer. So no worries. :smiley:

Thanks for your great suggestion. Many of my coworkers are already doing some stuff with Semantic Web and the whole team is starting to learn more about it too, so I think we’re on a good track!

I am relieved you agree (honestly). Good books on this are still few and far between, and as you’d expect the level of gravy-training, BS and nonsense being put out are starting to reach alarming levels. There are some key names which have been in this for many years and they are the voices to watch and read up on.

I still think its more a time resource than money you have to invest at this stage.