PHP has been and still remains the most rational and popular choice for web development. In 2021, PHP empowers 79.1% of the world’s websites and is ranked among the top 10 most popular programming languages in the world.
What makes PHP so attractive when it comes to creating web solutions? It’s simple to learn, runs on almost any web server, has an extensive number of frameworks, and can boast of a tremendously large community.
Many web developers agree that PHP is easy to pick up, however, to build robust and effective PHP web solutions you might need a real professional. In this article, you’ll find out what is included in a PHP programmer skill set and how to hire top PHP developers for your web app development.
What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a PHP Developer?
PHP developers have an expensive range of responsibilities and tasks in web development projects. They usually include but not limited to:
- development and deployment of web apps efficiently, meeting all the deadlines;
- handling compatibility issues including various platforms, browsers, or software program versions;
- cooperating with all the project stakeholders and working in a team on app development according to the product requirements;
- adding new features to the existing apps or scaling them up;
- provision apps’ support and their timely updates;
- improving their skills and keeping up with the latest and most advanced programming practices and technologies.
The Main Skills of a PHP Developer
Those businesses that want to hire PHP programmers but don’t know where to start should first define proficiency levels for their candidates. These levels can be divided into three categories.
Beginners are just making their first steps in PHP development. They know the programming language basis and can develop some functionalities. Usually, beginners work well in teams – they have a chance to study while being supervised by their more experienced colleagues.
Beginner-level PHP developers suit well for simple and medium-sized projects. They have low development rates and can be hired for fulfilling some monotonous work.
Basic beginner’s skill set includes:
- PHP and HTML programming languages;
- main PHP functions and MVC design pattern;
- working with Content management systems (CMS);
- knowing one of the major PHP frameworks.
Mid-levels already have some development projects in their portfolios and can build effective web apps. These developers are quite autonomous and can work on an app without explicit monitoring.
Mid-level developer’s skill set is:
- knowledge of more than one PHP frameworks, like CodeIgniter, Laravel, or CakePHP;
- analysis of product requirements;
- implementation of various databases;
- adding back-end features for improved app performance;
- code troubleshooting;
- implementation of object-oriented programming (OOP) in PHP;
- following some development standards, like Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) for easy code refactoring and debugging.
PHP experts work in specific areas, using the latest web development technologies and practices. They can analyze product requirements well and suggest how to make it more effective and secure. Besides that, they can give advice on which features to add to your app, and how to improve product source code.
Experts’ skill set involves:
- knowledge of the most PHP frameworks;
- expertise in advanced technology, like PHP for IoT, Blockchain, Machine learning, and other solutions.
Sources to Hire Best PHP Developer
As you’ve defined the type and number of PHP developers you need for building a successful product, it’s time to search for them. There are several sources for hiring PHP developers, the main ones are:
- PHP developer networks
PHP has a well-established community that helps its members to solve tough project issues or shares ready-made features and programming solutions. These communities unite PHP developers with various levels of expertise and experience. The most widespread of them include Github, PHP forums such as CodeProject, CodeGuru, and others.
- Freelance sites and portals
There is a wide range of specialized sites and portals that offer freelance PHP development services. Freelance developers work great for small and short-term projects which require developing some app functionality without much wrapping in the whole project. Major freelance platforms include Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal, and others.
- PHP development company
PHP development companies provide businesses with experienced PHP developers in various spheres. They include custom development of procurement management systems, e-commerce, social network development, HRM, E-learning, and many other solutions.
When choosing a PHP development company, businesses obtain a team of professionals who can build even the most sophisticated infrastructures. Moreover, these companies often provide full-stack PHP developers for creating full-featured, robust, and secure web apps.
Technical Questions to Check the PHP Developer’s Capabilities
To define the level of PHP developers’ expertise, business managers usually check out their reviews on freelance platforms or PHP development company’s sites. However, nothing works better than a face-to-face interview. For an effective interview with PHP candidates, you need a list of questions and a well-organized video conference.
A list of questions for a hiring interview with PHP developers:
- What is your practical experience in PHP development? What projects have you participated in?
These questions will help you to identify the working experience of a candidate and understand their skill level.
- What were the most interesting projects and why? What technologies did you have to use when working on that project?
This will help you to understand better the tech-stack of a software developer and find out the most interesting areas of work for them.
- Which technologies and frameworks do you know? Which of them do you use in your daily work?
These questions specify the tech stack and all the tech skills a developer has. For example, knowledge of most wide-spread frameworks like Yii, Laravel, CodeIgniter, object-oriented PHP programming, code versioning tools like Git, Mercurial, CVS, and databases like relational and NoSQL is a must for a good PHP developer.
- What was the most challenging development issue in one of your projects? How did you solve them?
These questions show a software developer’s course of action in case of unpredictable situations.
- What was the most creative solution you implemented in your past projects?
This question shows how creative a PHP developer can be in their work. The more they blend technologies the more unconventional and modern a product can be.
What Costs You Need to Incur When Hiring a PHP Developer
There are many factors that influence PHP software developers’ hiring prices. Therefore, instead of opting for the first solution, businesses need to examine the market proposal and consider all the factors.
Here are the key elements that determine pricing in PHP development.
Type of Cooperation
Hiring freelancers is always cheaper than onboarding an in-house team or referring to an outsourcing development company. However, with freelancers, you may run into further expenses if a project appears to be too complex, require deep engagement, or extensive expertise.
If you’re hesitating between an in-house team and an outsourcing company, study all of their pros and cons for your project. For example, in-house teams work great for long-term projects with high participation levels. While outsourcing providers can offer lower PHP developer hourly rates, wider access to a PHP developer’s talent pool, full-cycle development projects, and many others.
Proficiency Levels of PHP Developers
Beginners have the lowest rates, while professional developers get seriously expensive. Therefore, business managers have to evaluate their projects and decide how many developers they need and which level of expertise they should possess.
It’s obvious that the complexity of an implemented technology determines the price of the final product. If you decide to embed a complex solution in your web app, you need to decide first if it drastically affects your app’s functionality or if it is just an additional feature.
To understand how well one or another technology will suit your product, you need to perform a deep project and product analysis. Most of the development companies provide this service to their customers, calculating expenses, selecting the best technologies for an app, and gathering the best development teams.
Using the PHP programming language for building web apps has been a long-lasting tradition in web development. In 2021, PHP remains relevant and supports 79.1% of the world’s websites. Therefore, building web apps with PHP is an optimal and effective solution for many businesses.
When hiring PHP web developers, businesses need to consider several factors to avoid exceeding their project budgets and build effective and secure apps. These factors include PHP developers’ skill sets, whether they hire freelancers, in-house teams, full-time PHP developers or opt for outsourcing companies, developed technology, and others.