Transitioning from a beginner to mid-level in Laravel skills takes dedication, practice, and continuous learning. While the journey requires time and effort, it opens up rewarding career opportunities as an intermediate Laravel developer. This comprehensive 3000-word guide covers the key steps required to level up your skills with Laravel and PHP.
Table of Contents
Build A Solid Foundation In Core PHP:
Before diving into the Laravel framework, it’s essential to have a strong grasp of core PHP. Aim to understand:
- PHP syntax, including control structures like if/else statements, loops, switch cases, operators, and core functions
- Working with variables and datatypes like strings, numbers, arrays, booleans, NULL values
- Defining and calling functions with parameters and return values
- Basic error handling with try/catch blocks and debugging with tools like Xdebug
- Object-oriented programming concepts like classes, instances, inheritance, interfaces, and abstract classes
- Common PHP constructs and features like namespaces, traits, generators, closures
- Handling user input with $_GET, $_POST, and handling output with echo, print
- Connecting to MySQL databases with MySQLi or PDO and running queries
- Security best practices like input sanitization, output encoding, password hashing, prepared statements
- PHP standards like coding style, naming conventions, documentation, semantic versioning
- Tools for dependency management like Composer and version control like Git
Getting comfortable with raw PHP is crucial before adding a framework like Laravel. The fundamentals allow you to understand what Laravel is doing behind the scenes and write Cleaner application code.
Spend adequate time mastering core concepts by reading documentation, completing tutorials, and practicing with simple PHP scripts before moving to Laravel.
Learn Laravel Basics In-Depth:
With a solid PHP foundation, you can now introduce Laravel to your skillset. Make sure to fully understand:
- Routing – defining routes in web.php, controlling using route groups and middleware
- Controllers – single action, resource controllers, dependency injection
- Blade templates – template inheritance, components, slots, custom directives
- Database access – migrations, seeding, Eloquent ORM
- Basic CRUD operations – create, read, update, and delete database records
- Form requests – validation, authorization, input handling
- File storage – local and cloud file system access
- Email – mail driver configuration, templated mail sending
- Authentication – manual, Breeze starter kit, custom guards
- Authorization – user roles, permissions, authorization gates
- Cache – file, database, Memcache drivers for caching data
- Logging – writing log messages, log handling, and rotation
Spending time learning the basics allows you to build simple database-driven web applications. Follow step-by-step tutorials, read documentation, watch video guides, and build demo projects to get hands-on experience.
Master Important Laravel Components:
To move beyond basics, explore some of Laravel’s more powerful components:
- Query Builder – write raw SQL, join tables, advanced wheres
- Eloquent Collections – map/filter for data transformation
- Task Scheduling – schedule cron jobs, commands, closures
- Queues – improve application performance using queues and listeners
- Notifications – send emails/SMS for account activity
- Events/Listeners – implement observation pattern for decoupled classes
- Service Providers – Extend Laravel bootstrapping process
- Service Container – Understand the dependency injection system
- Broadcasting – socket-based real-time messaging
- Horizon – dashboard for queue/job monitoring
These tools enable you to build robust, maintainable applications. Consult the docs, experiment in test apps, and push your abilities.
Follow Best Practices And Project Structure:
Well-structured code is crucial for mid-level developers. Ensure you:
- Modularize code into logical classes, interfaces, traits
- Separate business logic from presentation views
- Use dependency injection and inversion of control
- Validate incoming data from forms, APIs, files
- Implement authorization checks early in the request lifecycle
- Use encryption, and hashing for safe data storage
- Write comprehensive unit and integration tests
- Apply SOLID principles for clean object-oriented code
- Follow PSR standards recommended by the PHP community
- Use GIT for version control with proper commit hygiene
- Comment on non-obvious sections; write documentation
- Structure apps for easy maintenance and extension
These practices demonstrate professional, production-ready code. Make them second nature early on.
Expand Your Web Development Toolkit:
Become a well-rounded web developer by strengthening your abilities with related technologies:
- HTML/CSS – Structure content, craft responsive design
- Vue/React – Construct reactive UIs with these frameworks
- Bootstrap – Quickly build web interfaces and layouts
- MySQL – Manage relational databases and tables
- Git – Version control and team collaboration
- Linux – Install/run PHP/MySQL servers and command line usage
- Docker – Containerize apps for smooth deployment across environments
- Cloud platforms – Deploy and run apps on AWS, Azure, DigitalOcean
A mid-level developer can work across the stack to bring ideas to life. Broaden abilities beyond just Laravel.
Build Portfolio Apps And Websites
At this stage you should have the skills to build fully-featured web apps:
- Content management system – PHP/MySQL CMS to manage posts and users
- E-commerce marketplace – Shopping cart to sell physical/digital products
- Social network – User profiles, posting, newsfeeds, messaging
- Property listing site – Searchable real estate listings, agent profiles
- Event calendar – Scheduled events with RSVP management
- Job Board – Postings, company pages, search, applications
- Restaurant reservation platform – Online table booking, menus, locations
Use Laravel to bring ideas to life. Building real-world projects gives valuable experience and showcases your abilities.
Contribute To Open Source Projects:
Making open-source contributions accelerates growth exponentially:
- Discover improvements to make in real-world codebases
- See how other developers structure and architect applications
- Fix bugs and become familiar with projects you rely on
- Gain perspective on how to build your own reusable code
- Practice version control workflow and collaboration
- Become more engaged with developer communities
Proactively look for PHP/Laravel projects accepting issues/PRs. Start small by improving docs, tests, and incremental fixes.
Never Stop Learning!
The hallmark of great developers is the hunger for continuous learning and improvement:
- Read programming books, blogs, and mailing lists on the latest techniques
- Watch conference talks from leaders in the community
- Experiment with unknown Laravel features by building test apps
- Listen to web development podcasts during your commute
- Attend local Meetup events and conferences to connect with others
- Follow and engage with leaders/experts on Twitter and social media
- Apply to mentor junior developers either individually or with programs like PHPMentoring
- Build your network to exchange ideas and insights with peers
Make learning an integral part of your weekly routine. Continuously expand your knowledge; don’t stagnate.
Conclusion: Your Path To Mid-Level Mastery:
Becoming a mid-level Laravel developer is an exciting milestone in your career. It requires dedication across PHP fundamentals, Laravel expertise, best practices, portfolio projects, open-source contributions, and lifelong learning.
Make steady progress by being patient with yourself, celebrating small wins, and focusing on growth through daily improvements. Don’t compare yourself to others – only to your skills yesterday.
The journey takes time but delivers fantastic rewards. Mid-level skills provide lucrative job opportunities, the ability to handle complex applications, and independence in bringing ideas to life.
Stick with it, leverage available resources, and keep pushing yourself. You’ve got this! Here’s to mastering the skills for an amazing career ahead