CIAT Resource Library

What is PHP, SQL, and MySQL?

PHP text overlayed on a laptop computer background

The field of software development continues to grow as economies integrate with web-based applications to participate in e-commerce. With such a positive trend in the demand for web developers, education and certification in MySQL and PHP remains a critical basis for obtaining a rewarding career.


PHP (or “Personal Home Page”) is the most popular scripting language for the web. Nowadays, it is used as an alternative to Microsoft’s ASP (“Active Server Pages”) technology. It is free, ­­open source, and server-side (which means that the code is executed on the server), used to make dynamic web pages. MySQL is a Relational Database Management System, or RDBMS (which is software that is used to store, manage, query, and retrieve data in a relational database), that uses what’s called Structured Query Language (SQL). SQL is also open source, and is the most popular language for compiling, retrieving, and managing data in a database. It is known for it’s accessibility, speed, reliability, flexibility, and ease of use.  Just about every open source PHP application uses MySQL to function, and the PHP language provides functions that make communicating with MySQL extremely simple. The PHP functions are used to send SQL queries to the database. Since the PHP handles the details, you’ll only need to know the SQL queries and how to use the PHP functions.

Combining  PHP and MySQL provides limitless opportunities to create just about any kind of widget or website, from a simple contact form in a mom-and-pop shop website to a large corporate portal. Some of the most common examples for PHP & MySQL-based scripts are WordPressJoomla! 3.x, and Drupal.

If your goal is to land a career as a software developer, learning PHP and MySQL should be at the top of your list. While there are many free tutorials on the web already, getting certified elevates you to a competitive level where you can rise above other job applicants with your degree.

What Types of Jobs Can I Get with PHP and MySQL?

Software development is a vast field full of specializations that require knowledge of PHP and MySQL that span from a wide range of different industries, from healthcare and finance to transportation and technology, and much more.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks the median pay for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers to be over $110,000 per year. The job outlook is much faster than average, and according to U.S. News puts future growth of Software Developer jobs at a 9 out of 10.

Here is a short list of some of the types of jobs you can obtain with a certification in PHP and MySQL:

  • Website developer
  • System engineer
  • Computer programming
  • Business systems analyst
  • Cable systems engineer
  • Engineering technician
  • Program analyst
  • IT project manager
  • Wireless surveyor
  • Desktop support analyst

How Do I Learn PHP and MySQL

There are many ways to learn PHP and MySQL. However, most free tutorials merely scratch the surface when it comes to the depth and breadth of software development. Since so many industries rely on PHP and MySQL so extensively, a general knowledge is not going to necessarily qualify you for any career paths related to PHP and MySQL.

For example, you can learn quite a lot about PHP and MySQL on Udemy, W3Schools, Lynda, and Coursera, to name a few. Many of these programs will instruct you in the subject and then guide you towards applying your knowledge in the form of creating your own website, for example. These online courses work best as a supplement to a degree program. They can help you practice your skills, create your portfolio, and provide additional learning resources as well. At the end of the day, a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Development is your best bet when breaking into a new career as a software developer.

At California Institute of Arts & Technology, we train our students with the knowledge they’ll need to succeed in the web development industry as a whole, but we also focus on other areas of development as well. CIAT prepares students for the real-world challenges and issues that arise while on the job, so that they can hone their troubleshooting skills and build their confidence, and are prepared to dive into real-world applications and making an impact from Day 1.

How to Land a Position in Web Development

Competition for web development positions is fierce, especially with more and more companies moving to a web-centric operating model. E-commerce drives much of the demand for software developers, especially those who can not only stand out from the rest in terms of their skills and certifications, but also leverage their knowledge to push companies ahead of their own competitors as well.

CIAT offers new students the chance to master PHP and MySQL with our software development programs, including web application developmentmobile app development, and data analytics. You’ll learn how to build web pages, manipulate MySQL databases, and problem solve for real-world challenges you’re guaranteed to face, and build a portfolio of these skills to demonstrate to employers that you have what it takes to land the position. 

Take the first step.

Building a strong coding portfolio takes hard work and dedication. Whether you’re just starting in the field or advancing your career, learning how to create an education plan that aligns with your career goals saves you time and money. This also delivers the most significant return on your investment.

Career Planning

You’ve chosen an education plan with a goal in mind, and now you’re focused on making the most of your educational resources to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success in the job market. The most impactful recommendation we give to all new CIAT students in the tech field is not to wait until graduation to start their IT career planning. When you begin your career planning steps from day 1 of your program, you graduate career-ready and are more likely to find your first job quickly, with competitive salary ranges.

Let us help you achieve your career goals.

When landing your dream job, CIAT supports its students every step of the way – ensuring you graduate with more than just a degree. Our IT career services team focuses on both your professional and personal development to help prepare you for a career in web development, mobile app developmentinformation technology, cybersecurity, networking, and more.

Get certified, earn your degree, and start your path to a new career with:

  • Personalized career coaching
  • Industry certification workshops
  • Resume building
  • LinkedIn profile optimization
  • Mock interview practice
  • Job placement support
  • Dedicated job board
  • Specialty career-building workshops
  • Technology career fairs and employer “meet and greets”
  • Work study and volunteer opportunities

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