Hiring a developer in the PHP programming language means taking advantage of software development experts that can create a variety of robust, customizable, and scalable applications. However, there are more than 5 million dedicated PHP developers all over the world to choose from.
This can be a daunting task especially if you’re a non-technical person yourself, but in this guide, we’ll help you determine the technical skill project requirements to look for in PHP developers to hire, hiring options you can choose from, interview questions you can ask, and some tips in hiring the best PHP developers as well.
The programming language is just a means to an end, hiring the top PHP developer who fits our needs will make the software project a success. By the end of this post, you’ll know of a workable process to be successful in hiring PHP developers.
Let’s start by discussing what a PHP developer is and the many things they can do for you.
What Is A PHP Developer And What Can They Create?
Simply put, a PHP developer is a programming language specialist who writes, tests, debugs, and maintains PHP web or app development projects. However, more than just those tasks, skilled PHP developers are also equipped with creative, analytical, and problem-solving skills.
Moreover, especially when working with a PHP web development team, a top PHP developer can easily and creatively collaborate with other backend and frontend experts on the team and share needed insight to enhance the project’s user interface and functionality.
Mainly, they are equipped with the tech skills and knowledge on the PHP programming language as well as the PHP frameworks like Codeigniter, Yii, Laravel, Zend, Symfony, Kohana, CakePHP.
Other tech skills should include:
- Knowledge of HTML and CSS
- Experience with SQL and MySQL databases
- Proficiency in CMS like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla
- Understanding of control systems like SVN and Git
- Knowledge of object-oriented programming or OOP (similar to Python)
With the knowledge and expertise PHP developers have, they can create web projects, desktop applications, do command-line scripting and server-side scripting as well. PHP developers are known to be creators of interactive and responsive software projects for Windows, Linux, macOS, RISC OS, and other operating systems.
When working with custom web applications that are easily scalable, most PHP developers opt for Laravel to be the framework they work with. For a foundational structure to create web apps, they mostly use CakePHP.
PHP developers are capable of building dynamic webpage content. They can create graphical interface apps like Microsoft programs that let users interact through icons. Additionally, knowing command-line scripting language, PHP developers get interactive access to the webserver.
Moreover, since PHP code can be written inside, outside, or near HTML, it can be paired with the latter to structure web text while at the same time, design forms startups can utilize for email marketing and shopping carts for eCommerce business needs.
4 Advantages Of Hiring PHP Developers
There are significant reasons why there are so many PHP developers out there. At the outset, we mentioned over 5 million dedicated PHP developers to date. Here are the reasons why:
1. PHP Developers Have An Easy To Learn And Use Programming Language
The PHP syntax is intuitive. The commands are straightforward and easily correlate with the functions they perform thus encouraging many beginner programmers to start out learning with PHP.
2. PHP Developers Use A Flexible Programming Language
PHP is portable and cross-compatible making it easily accessible throughout various software environments and with its core design, PHP developers are more in control of the software solutions they work with. It also supports object-oriented programming thus making it more efficient.
Additionally, this programming language is written between tags so PHP developers know where they’re writing their code plus they can add or combine HTML tags to make dynamic content.
3. PHP Developers Use A Portable Language
As mentioned just recently, PHP is portable. This means that programmers using the language can create software solutions that are compatible with various operating systems from Mac, to Linux, to Windows also with servers like IIS and Apache.
While it’s highly compatible with full-featured servers like Nginx and Apache, PHP comes with a built-in server you can utilize to locally run PHP applications for a testing phase so you won’t need to configure it with the full-featured servers.
Besides that, it also supports several databases like PostgreSQL and MySQL since it has a built-in module for database connections. Because of this, PHP coders can work on website development with desirable speeds compared to others that take longer database connection and data fetching.
4. PHP Developers Use An Open-Source Programming Language
PHP is open-source and free which means PHP programmers can make quick and easy PHP libraries adjustment and have easy access to common PHP development tools.
Main Skills To Look For When Hiring PHP Developers
Earlier, in the first section of this post, the main tech skill sets to look for in a PHP developer were already discussed. In addition to what was already mentioned, PHP developers candidates should be able to:
- Analyze website requirements to streamline the development process
- Test and troubleshoot code
- Carry out database solutions
- And introduce additional back-end features to enhance the application development
The years of experience and expertise also categorize PHP developers into three:
I. Beginner PHP Developer
Beginner PHP developers commonly work with more experienced developers for supervision and additional training. They should be able to be:
- Knowledgeable with PHP, HTML, and MVC design pattern
- Knows at least one major PHP framework
- Create simple or medium-sized projects
- Can develop some basic functionalities
- Has experience working with content management systems
II. Mid-Level PHP Developer
Mid-level PHP developers are already able to work independently. They’ve already finished a couple of development projects like effective web apps to add to their portfolios. They are also:
- Equipped with the skills of a beginner PHP developer
- Knowledgeable of more than one PHP framework
- Can already analyze project requirements
- Can implement several databases
- Can troubleshoot code
- Back-end development skills include adding in features for better performance
- Implements OOP
- Already follows development standards like Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY)
III. Expert PHP Developers
Expert PHP developers should be up-to-snuff with the latest web development practices and techs. They should already be able to advise on features to include in a web or mobile application project and know how to improve product source codes. They should also be:
- Equipped with the mid-level PHP developer skills
- Have expertise in PHP for blockchain, IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other software solutions
Whether they are a beginner, a mid-level, or expert PHP developer, they should:
- Meet deadlines efficiently and cooperate with PHP project stakeholders
- Handle compatibility issues on browsers and software program versions
- And eventually, scale features for existing apps
- Provide app support for maintenance and updates
- Keep on improving their tech and soft skills
Now that we’ve considered the skills you should look for as you hire developers, let’s now consider the work arrangements options you have.
3 Types Of Cooperations When Hiring PHP Developers
A. In-House PHP Developers
This refers to PHP developers who you require to physically work in the office. They usually work on a full-time basis but in rare cases, can also arrange for a part-time contract.
B. Freelance PHP Developers
These are PHP developers who you can hire on a per-project basis. They get paid for the whole project or as a milestone or phase is finished. These coders can either be sourced nearshore or offshore.
C. Outsourcing To A PHP Development Company
You can opt for this arrangement if you have little to no technical knowledge. The outsourcing company will find the developers work on the project, plan the project development, handle the full-cycle development, monitor the progress, and keep you updated, then turnover the software solution to you as it gets completed.
Working with us at Aloa allows you to take advantage of this arrangement. We vet PHP developers based on your preferences and business needs providing you with only the best and proven PHP experts. We also have a project management platform so getting updates on the project’s development will be more transparent for you.
Where Can You Hire PHP Developers?
Hiring PHP developers with us at Aloa assures you you’ll work with PHP experts who can deliver PHP solutions as to how you envision them to be. The PHP developers we present to you for final selection will have been through a meticulous vetting process to ensure their expertise and the quality of projects we can build for you.
2. GitHub Jobs
GitHub Jobs in an online job board for a Git repository site. In it, you can post job ads complete with all the requirements you’re looking for in a PHP candidate. However, listing a job ad with this platform can be a bit pricey at $450 per ad. So if you’re looking to post a job ad on this platform, it’s best if you’re looking for a full-time and long-term PHP developer to maximize your resources.
Another way you can take advantage of GitHub is to explore their repository for PHP projects that are somehow similar to what you’re looking to create. This will give you a list of possible candidates to reach out to in case you find paying for a job listing to be too much.
StackOverflow is a famous online community for PHP developers and programmer experts of various languages. In it, users can seek help, pose questions, spark discussions, and offer answers and answers. If you’re looking for a well-experienced PHP developer on this platform, keep your eye on those who consistently provide expert insight on questions and concerns.
It also comes with a job board where you can post a listing. To do this, you need to sign up before you can create a job listing. Make the listing as detailed as possible by outlining the skills required, level of expertise, type of cooperation preferred, and other pertinent details.
This will narrow down your selection to only those who are qualified, saving your time and theirs. Posting an ad here also comes with a fee but there’s no set pricing so you have to get a quote from a sales representative.
This developer hiring platform is home to software development professionals as well as creative designers and project managers. Toptal also does a vetting process and allows you to build a team of PHP developers like Aloa.
5. Freelance Marketplaces
Upwork and Fiverr are places to look for freelancers for different jobs including PHP solution development. You can post a detailed job ad and wait for candidates to reach out or manually look for potential candidates to work with. However, the talent pool here doesn’t undergo a thorough vetting process so you will need to do an extra rigorous interview, a skill test, and maybe even a trial period.
Once you shortlist potential candidates, you can then schedule an interview with them. So next, we’ll consider possible questions you can pose in this stage.
4 Technical Questions To Ask During An Interview
Here is are 4 questions you can ask to assess the level of expertise of each PHP developer candidate:
- What is a PHP session and where is it stored? How is it different from a cookie:
Answer: a PHP session is a means to store data for each user. It’s sent to the web browser through cookies to retrieve session data. Cookies on the other hand are a way to store end-user browser information for tracking purposes.
- What are a constructor and deconstructor?
Answer: Constructor is a special function that’s called when there is a class object formation. Deconstructor on the other hand is a function called when an object gets out of scope or if it’s deleted.
- What are the different PHP error types?
Answer: Parse error (syntax error), Notice error, Warning error, and Fatal error
- How is unset () different from unlink () function?
Answer: Unset () is for variable management, unlink () is for deleting files.
8-Step PHP Developer Hiring Process
- Define project requirements
- Create a detailed job ad
- Reach out to PHP developer hiring platforms
- Shortlist potential candidates
- Schedule an interview
- Go through with interviews and ask technical and soft skill questions along with experiences and projects they’ve been part of. If needed, do a skill test.
- Select a PHP developer or several to work on the project and inform them. Inform those who didn’t qualify as well.
- Onboard the new PHP developer hires
Tips When Hiring The Best PHP Developers
- Steer clear of cliche questions like: “what is PHP?”, “who created PHP?”, and “when is the first PHP release”. While it’s good to know this information, they do little to gauge if the candidate is qualified for the job.
- Ask technical questions to evaluate their prowess like: “how do you encrypt data with PHP?”, “how can you set cookies in PHP?”, and “what additional programming languages and PHP frameworks do you know and have experience on?”
- Ask about their previous projects. Deep dive into the past software projects they've worked on and ask for a brief description of the project and the role they played in its completion. You can also ask how the development process was developed and what blockers they have encountered. These questions will determine if they have the needed experience to get the PHP project done.
- Ask for a portfolio as well as referrals and client testimonials to vouch for their project accomplishments and work ethics as well.
- Evaluate their knowledge base and newly-learned information and skills. Asking these questions will determine if they are competent enough for the level of complexity of the project or not and if they continue to scale their skills by keeping up-to-date with the latest information, tech, skills, and trends.
- Appraise their communication skills. Especially when working with offshore PHP developers, evaluate if they can communicate and comprehend your language well. Accurate communication for both parties will ensure the success of the project as well as the efficiency of its progress.
- Assess their work culture and attitude. Tech skills are major considerations, but work ethics and attitude should be examined as well. No matter how well-experienced the PHP developer is, if their work culture and attitude don’t match with yours or the company's, the project development process won’t be a seamless experience and will be bound to have many bottlenecks along the way.
Whether you work with a freelance PHP developer or outsource the whole PHP project to development services, it’s best to get a basic know-how of the technical requirements, type of cooperation, and how the development process works.
This will ensure that whatever project you plan to work on, whether it be web development or a mobile app solution, the project development process will go smoothly knowing you hired not just a well-equipped PHP developer but also someone whose work culture goes in line with you and your business. If you need more information about hiring a PHP developer or want assistance in finding the top PHP developers to work with, feel free to shoot us a message at [email protected].