Imposter Syndrome: PHP Edition

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Andrew Davis
Nov. 28, 2017 • 3m 30s
Imposter Syndrome
Web Dev

Git the Princess Have you seen this cartoon before? The Lisp panel is especially ((((((hilarious)))))). It is fun to mock each eccentricity of a programming language. Unless you are a PHP developer. Apparently, PHP isn’t uniquely flawed like all programming languages, it is just suicidal.

Programming is an amazingly cliquish community. Every developer has a preferred language with philosophical reasoning or performance rankings to back up the choice. I love the variety we have when picking a technology, it keeps the industry exciting and nimble. However, I hate all of the constant derision that many programmers throw at languages they don’t use. I’m guilty. “I hate JavaScript, callback hell is the worst”, “Ruby is just weird”, “C# is for Microsoft groupies” are all sentiments we have heard or thought ourselves. These negative thoughts are born from a lack of understanding of the technology or through an insecure need to validate whatever tool the programmer is already using. In particular, PHP has been the constant butt of the joke.

I started using PHP a couple years ago and currently use it in a full time position. PHP definitely has its flaws, like every other programming language, but I still enjoy its simplicity, development speed and open ecosystem. What I didn’t expect to find when starting PHP, is the constant derision of the language from other programmers and even non-technical people. “I’m Andrew, I mostly use PHP” / “Oh wow, I’m sorry” is a common verbal exchange. After enough of these conversations, the negativity starts to affect you.

Impostor syndrome is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. ~ Wikipedia

Guess who got imposter syndrome? It is really easy to get imposter syndrome when you constantly feel like you need to learn another programming language. It does not matter if you create a successful app in PHP or your contributions are valued by a company. Your next thought will be “I should have written the app in Java”.

One of the cures for imposter syndrome is accepting your own accomplishments and valuing your own expertise. Therefore, I want to spread the word. If you have written an app that is valued by a company, is secure and is easy to maintain, then you are successful, no matter the programming language. If you are a budding PHP developer, don’t be discouraged by all the negativity, just build something great. If you don’t use PHP, I encourage you to look at all the web apps built in the language and give it a chance. Maybe it won’t be so bad after all: PHP: The Right Way.