Not sure if I have chosen correct group, apologies in advance. My story short. I have studied CS, got bachelor degree, got job in marketing department where I was developing websites with the use of PHP, JS, CSS no use of frameworks, all vanilla for one year.

Then emigrated got a job where I needed to learn ASP.NET that lasted 6 months, then got another job where I had to learn ColdFusion as a main language and that lasted for 2 years. Then life happened and I was out of job, I have convinced myself that if I push myself to get PHP Zend Certification that would help me land new role in PHP.

I selfstudied, pass the certification but at that point my self-esteem was so low I didn't believe I could convince anyone that I would be good employee (on a personal level let's say traumatic stuff happened and I felt low for very longtime). That was round 10 years ago.

I loved working with PHP, I love this language I know quite well Laravel and VUE (I would love to work with those frameworks). I self-study. I would love to work full time as a web developer again, frontend is not something I love but if needed I can do but backend is my favouriteenvironment.

But because of the gap I have - 10 years - things probably moved on, and I have no idea how to even be relevant on the job market, what can I do to be considered for the job. I feel like I'm starting from zero, I give myself 6 months to transfer to IT field (as for the last 10 years I wasn't working in IT). Please help, advice. Thank you.

  • 1
    what's your current job If we may know? What industry?
    – DarkCygnus
    Jun 29, 2022 at 0:00
  • Office, admin job for a wholesaler of office supplies. Jun 29, 2022 at 0:13
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    Slightly confusing that you "want to get back into web development" yet "frontend is not something I love". All web sites of any substance tend to have a massive back-end that runs the business with the website(s) being a thin view onto various slices of that business. Sounds to me like you want a job as a back-end developer for a system that may or may not be web-exposed, not a web developer at all. Jun 29, 2022 at 8:15
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    There are nice resources for getting an overview of the technologies, for example the YouTube channel Fireship. There are too many technologies, but as far as I heard, knowing a few main ones (for example Node.js) can be enough. You might want to check what job listings ask for.
    – root
    Jun 30, 2022 at 9:46
  • Job_September_2020 That's a great idea. Thank you! Jul 1, 2022 at 8:28

3 Answers 3


Learn A JS framework. React is pretty groovy. Loads of excellent jobs you could do with that. There are youtube videos that will teach you. You get quality video tutorials on Udemy, Lynda.com, Pluralsight, and Skillshare as well. No excuse to start learning.

Get some starter projects up on Github. Write a CV and start applying for jobs. Put your GitHub account in your CV. You got a CS degree so with that and some practical examples of work you should be set.

Accept a junior salary if you have to. Start working as soon as possible. It really has never been easier.

You are not too old you still have at least 25 years of your working life left. You have to consider it in relation to the rest of your life. If coding is something you enjoy then go for it. You may have a different skill set that employers could use than the average 22-year-old tech graduate but that is fine

Maybe you end up in some consultancy role or you use your knowledge to manage a team in whatever way. Who knows exactly what the future may hold for you? As long as coding is something you WANT! to do then the change is meaningful and positive.

  • Thank you Neil, I needed to here this. This actually gives me faith that it's doable and I shouldn't put myself down yet. Thank you. Jul 1, 2022 at 7:15
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    But JS is front-end... React is technically front-end too. Yes, I know NodeJS but OP already has PHP background, so that's not really a necessity, plus NodeJS as a backend is, IMO, an abomination...
    – Nelson
    Jul 7, 2022 at 8:17

It is always possible to get into the Web Development field. At this point, you might be considered to be a "beginner" again. That is not a big problem unless you want to be paid as someone with 10 years of experience. That won't happen.

Learning always costs. We pay tuition either in free time spent learning something new or in costs to have someone teach us or in reduced earnings for being a "beginner". On a platform such as UpWork, beginners are competing with people in low-cost parts of the world and the only way to get work is to take low hourly renumeration. But that is one way to get experience and build a portfolio.

There are many different paths where you can combine other work with learning including volunteering to help charities. If you need a higher income now, then looking for a position where your main job is one thing but you have the opportunity to do some development on the side would be a way to move ahead.

But there are too many paths available that we can't give you THE way to get into backend Web Development.


The experience you have of particular frameworks will inevitably carry more weight than saying you have a PHP Zend qualification. I say this as I have never, in 15 years of web development, met anyone who has the qualification. Nor has such a thing ever been asked or raised in interviews.

For PHP specifically, the most common/popular framework is Laravel. So the quickest route here would be to start reading how Laravel works, and how it interacts or is integrated with the Symfony framework. This alone will put you in to contention for at least an interview.

What is increasingly required by firms hiring is evidence that you are contributing to the general ecosystem of web development. This constitutes attending programming meetups in your local area, contributing to projects on Git - whether this is testing, code contribution etc, and generally being proactive in the world around you when it comes to web development.

The last 10 years have been monumental in terms of the landscape of web development. It isn't so much that PHP is the be-all and end-all now of back end development. Things have moved on in terms of serverless computing, using Node.js (as an example) to build asynchronous applications which constitutes learning both how Node.js works for the front end as well as the back end. We have things like npm and composer which you'd use to bootstrap applications together and get something running fairly quickly. There is also docker and how that is used during development, and telling your lead dev that using docker in production is a stupid idea.

The downside of all of this is that most of the jobs at the moment have, and seem to always be, centred around "creative" agencies. There is nothing creative about these companies, except for of course trying to get you to shoehorn 10 hours of testing and development inside 6 hours. They are modern day, legalised sweatshops where you will be constantly firefighting, constantly bodging something together to get it out the door so that the company can bill the client. You are given some chance to get yourself up to speed, but that's a relatively short period of time. That's been my experience.

Inevitably, given the industry you want to work in, learning to handle pressure and your time is the most important thing. This includes looking after your mental health, which will get battered especially as you're junior and will be on the back foot in terms of learning. Do not assume that you will be given time by an employer to catch up, there will be an expectation to catch up on your own time (regardless of what is said at the interview), and this can be a shock to the system.

Failure to do this will impact you mentally, and it's not always easy to recover from. If I was told this 15 years ago my career would've been different, my health would've been different, yet I learnt all of this the hard way.

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