My Experience with Team Treehouse Intermediate PHP Course: A Review


I started with almost zero PHP knowledge beyond copying and pasting snippets of code into WordPress. Team Treehouse’s Beginner’s PHP course gave me the fundamental background on how PHP, and programming in general, works. The Intermediate PHP course gave me the nitty gritty deep dive into the intricacies and quirks of PHP.

Before I started this track, there was virtually no reviews on the specific course so hopefully, I have something to contribute.

What I Learned

The Intermediate PHP goes through seven courses. The SQL portions taught by Andrew Chalkley and the PHP portions by Alena Holigan.

  • SQL Basics
  • Reporting with SQL
  • Integrating PHP with Databases
  • Browser Persistent Data with PHP
  • Modifying Data with SQL
  • Crud Operations with PHP
  • File Handling with PHP


For the SQL courses, you go through the basics of writing SQL queries and generating reports. By the end of the Reporting with SQL course, I was able to understand ordering, limiting, and working with dates. This would come handy later on for building filters and pagination for search results. The courses were easy to follow, if not too basic.


For the PHP courses, the biggest benefits I got were from Integrating PHP with Databases, Browser Persistent Data, and CRUD operations. I learned the basics of PDO, proper ways to treat data in PHP, as well as creating cookies and sessions.

With the knowledge learned from this course, I was able to create a basic To Do list app from scratch. Which I recommend anyone going through the track do. It gives you the training to build out a database, create, read, update, and delete records, create a search function and search filters, and user login.

What I Hoped Was Different

This is personal preference, but I found Andrew’s SQL courses to be far too step by step where a module was repeated multiple times before moving on to the next concept. It is a basic level course but reading a summary blog post and practicing them on my would have saved me a lot of time. It’s only my stubbornness to follow through the track exactly that made me sit through and finish every single lesson.

Inversely, Alena’s PHP courses were at times felt rushed and hard to follow. It felt more like she, knowing the material ahead of time, was coding by herself and me as a student supposed to copy her code. Which to an extent is how we’re learning here. I would frequently have to pause and go through the code to catch up, make sure why I’m writing a certain line, or look up syntax I’ve never seen before. She does her best to address what she’s writing but the course doesn’t directly address some of the syntax, best practices, or the why of every line. This can be frustrating. Some lessons you just have to strap down and go along with it.

Where to go from here

I’m thinking about cleaning up some code on my past projects. But the obvious next step for me is the Object Oriented PHP basics track which I’ve already started. Hopefully, that will get me ready for learning Laravel.


I really enjoyed going through the Intermediate PHP track. As a 15 hour track, it took me a little longer to complete. I didn’t time it but I’d guess at least 30 hours. But I do take separate notes for myself. The instructors were friendly and do their best to address each step. And I feel like I achieved a milestone.

Before knowing anything about PHP I thought by the time I finished this track I would be a step above novice, a somewhat competent PHP programmer. But I can tell you that is not the case. I would say, in the overall picture, I’d still categorize Intermediate PHP as beginner level PHP. Although I would say, the most important part being the experience you have writing your own code.

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