As someone who started with PHP as a self-described "WordPress hacker", I had a hard time finding the path to becoming a knowledgeable programmer. Having now stumbled a short way up that path, I think we can make it easier for anyone who's interested in finding it. I'll share a brief overview of the tools and concepts I wish I'd known getting started with WordPress, and how PHP can shockingly make you better at anything (as long as it's written in PHP).