Whenever a discussion starts that involves PHP, on Twitter, Hackernews or Reddit or real life, it usually quickly devolves in a barrage of criticism.
A big part of this issue is that the barrier to entry in PHP is so … low, almost everyone can start hacking wordpress templates. For many people, PHP is the first programming language they try without formal education.
We’ll tell you that over 50% of the web is built in PHP, Facebook uses it sucessfully and has even gone as far as making a new, faster PHP implementation. We might tell you we’re paying our bills with PHP, we’re successful with PHP, love the commmunity, love the new wave of PHP, fueled by composer and those things would all be correct.
I’m a “getting the job done” kind of person and I live by the ideas of “Worse is Better”, so PHP is a great fit for that. I would recommend many new people who have a new business idea to start prototyping with PHP, because it’s simple and pretty easy (and cheap!) to find developers for.
The problem I have with PHP has nothing to do with the language, it’s its reputation. I can’t count the times I’ve started a conversation with a programmer who upon finding out I primarily do PHP got awkward with me.
We’re not taken as seriously, and we’re being paid less. The 2016 StackOverflow Survey puts PHP developers as the least paid. Hilariously that position is shared with “LAMP” and “Wordpress”, both of which are also PHP. We’re also among the “most dreaded”.
And to anyone considering programming as a career, or trying to get into it… stay away from PHP. There’s lots of fun, interesting languages out there that also get the job done quick, but with a better reputation and this will have an actual effect on your future career options.