Before you set out to hire PHP developers, it is important to know the basics, nuances, and functions of PHP. The popular server-side scripting language is an acronym for ‘Hypertext Preprocessor and is widely used to build a variety of applications and solutions. PHP is compatible with most databases and is built for the web. It is best suited for websites and web application development as it can be embedded with HTML5.
The open-source language is fast becoming an industry favorite while creating dynamic and standard websites due to the affordable and high-performance solutions it offers. Its popularity stems from the flexibility it offers, the extensive number of frameworks it has, the easy learning curve, and the fact that it runs on almost any web server.
Utilizing PHP ensures that websites are more dynamic, modern, responsive, and functional. This is why many websites that require text-based applications rely heavily on PHP. It is used to create a multitude of applications across all markets, like Retail Apps, Finance or Payment related Apps, Health/Fitness Apps, Education Apps, Hospitality Apps, Fashion Apps, IoT Apps, and Ecommerce Apps. And as Nikita Popov proclaims, “PHP is phpantastic!”
What Tasks Do PHP Programmers Engage In?
Many of today’s websites seek more interactive features like emoticons, feedback, fun games, comments, chatbots, forums, etc. PHP can be used to integrate these features along with creating online calculators for websites, different types of converters, cookies, excellent CMS’s, and much more.
PHP developers are constantly juggling a multitude of tasks like:
- Creating, testing, and deploying new, innovative website applications and features
- Shipping products on time
- Recommend technologies and strategies to improve the performance of the website
- Test websites on all sorts of browsers (mobile, web, tablet) and address issues identified by customer feedback
- Constantly scale, update and experiment with new technologies and features that may be implemented on the website
- Keep an ear on the ground for the latest developments in the PHP and related technologies
As they are burdened with many responsibilities, it is pertinent to pay close attention to specific qualities when we hire PHP developers. When we set out to find PHP developers, making the right choice can tip the scales drastically in our favor. This is why we have listed 13 of the essential ones down below:
Skills To Consider When You Hire PHP Developers
1. Exceptional technical skills
This one is a no-brainer. Having talented PHP programmers will only serve to further elevate the quality of your website, thereby leading to a better user experience. Due to the overflowing pool of talent, it may be difficult to find PHP developers that meet the mark. So what technical skills of PHP developers should recruiters look out for?
- Strong basics are a must, like – how to make a loop, variable, strings, constants, an array, functions, command line practices, knowledge on payment gateways, echoing and commenting, and so on. The candidate should be capable of flawlessly executing error handling, string, array, mail, cookies and sessions, filesystem, math, FTP, and directory functions. Knowledge of database abstraction layers like active-record, eloquent, doctrine, propel, etc., are also important skills of PHP developers.
- Database concepts – PHP developers must have good command over various databases and methodologies to integrate PHP with various database management tools such as Oracle, MongoDB, MySQL, SQL, etc.
- Understanding of frameworks – A solid understanding of frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, YII2, CodeIgniter, Zend, and CakePHP is absolutely necessary. Even if the PHP developer is not competent with them all, it is crucial that they understand at least one of these frameworks.
- Put security in mind – Security is ALWAYS a critical aspect of any website or program. As such, having impenetrable security must always be a top priority of PHP developers. The candidate should be well-versed with the concepts of web application security like Password Hashing, Data Filtering, Configuration Files, Register Globals, and Error Reporting, among other things.
- Object-oriented programming – Knowledge of OOP (object-oriented programming) makes it easier for developers to maintain, modify, and debug code, thereby allowing them to construct fully reusable apps with less code and less time.
- Design patterns – A design pattern is a general repeatable solution to commonly occurring problems in software design and makes it more efficient for developers to communicate with each other.
- Knowledge of CMS – A PHP developer with hands-on experience in CMS like Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, and other E-commerce CMS’ such as Magento, Prestashop, Opencart, etc., is the ideal candidate for any organization.
2. Adaptability, comprehension, and implementation skills
A skilled PHP developer must be quick on his feet. They must be capable of quickly comprehending the existing code and different testing techniques used. They must integrate their skills with current practices and initiate changes wherever possible while debugging and scaling PHP web applications.
3. Knowledge of best practices and design patterns
This one applies not just to PHP developers but to all software developers. Being user literate is extremely important. While coding, developers often overlook the user’s requirements and code without considering them. Developers frequently discover that the ‘trendy’ apps they created may not achieve the intended level of popularity simply because the concept did not resonate with users. The ability to build something that gets used with high retention is an invaluable skill that recruiters must consider when they hire PHP developers.
4. Project management skills and self-awareness
When it comes to hiring PHP developers, having amazing project management skills is a great plus. Prior project management experience often indicates the developer’s ability to juggle multiple projects and multiple clients at any given time. Developers with this experience are usually self-aware. They know what solutions to apply where, when, and the right way of executing tasks. These abilities are invaluable when writing proposals and maintaining project scopes because they provide developers with a clear image of what they must commit to and deliver.
5. Experience in PHP development
Knowledge is power, and experience is the best teacher of them all. Prior professional experience is a game-changing factor. PHP developers who have years of experience in the field have certain know-hows and intuitions that can only be cultivated through time and a process of trial and error. While hiring PHP developers, recruiters must carefully evaluate their existing knowledge base and learning skills. Real-world experience while coding websites and applications can save a ton of effort and time for both companies and developers.
For example, PHP developers must know how to intervene in applications and make corrective maintenance after deployment. However, in order to make this process easier, they will have to carefully document their code. All this knowledge stems from years of experience and rigorous discipline.
6. Time management skills
Respect for deadlines is a must. PHP programmers must code with speed in mind. It’s one thing to build an app; it’s another to code a decent app (or website) while working under a serious time crunch because performance and speed go hand in hand in many ways.
Developers will have to juggle pressing deadlines and last-minute changes while also keeping client and business requirements in mind. It may also happen that they are working on multiple projects and multiple clients at any given time. This makes time management skills the basis of a good programmer.
7. Know when a solution is ‘Good Enough for now
As stated in the previous point, shipping at the designated time is important. There will always be room for improvement but it is important for PHP developers to not get hungover perfection. Delivering a product at the right time is crucial, and thus they must have the foresight to recognize when to apply the breaks.
8. Constant thirst for learning more
This is the defining factor that sets apart an exceptional PHP developer from an average one. When developers stop trying to develop their skills, they become stagnant. As such, the ability to constantly learn more and self-train is a critical skill that PHP developers must build and retain throughout their professional life. There is constant innovation taking place in PHP programming, so it is essential that developers stay in tune with all the latest trends and hacks that make their way into the market.
9. Innovating and updating the existing website/program
Based on all the new technologies or strategies that they have recently picked up, the PHP developers must continuously put forth innovative suggestions and implement them successfully. They must ensure the follow-up of the sites throughout their life in order to be able to intervene and manage updates and possible bugs.
Excellent communication can make or break a team. Lack of communication can not just be frustrating but can also cost organizations critical time and resources. Lots of developers struggle with professional correspondence. As such, organizations must make great communication skills a priority when they hire PHP developers. The developer’s excellent communication and interpersonal abilities will also make the entire process more pleasurable, less time-consuming, and much easier to traverse from beginning to end.
While juggling both non-technical and technical audiences, a PHP developer will be entrusted with expressing the specifications of every area of a project – from client expectations and technical requirements to addressing the adjusted solutions and implementations carried out on the website.
11. Collaboration skills and attitude
PHP programmers will be working extensively with various stakeholders, cross-functional teams, project managers, and clients. They will also be catering to customer requirements while keeping technical and business practices in check. This makes efficient collaboration a necessary skill among developers that should not be overlooked.
The ability to work and learn independently, while also maintaining a great rapport with team members is essential. This is why the developer’s attitude plays a key role in maintaining a positive and collaborative environment within the team. To get the job done right, especially if you’re a small business, it can come down to choosing a skilled PHP developer who can work in both a team and a solitary environment.
12. Problem-solving skills
There will be times when things don’t go as planned, and during such situations, quick thinking is the way to go. Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills are a dire prerequisite for PHP developers. Risk management, researching skills, the ability to think out of the box, and critical thinking skills are all essential prowess that a programmer must possess.
Consistency is key while building long-term, sustainable and innovative websites. If you hire PHP developers with prior experience, you are less likely to have a rookie make a mistake while building the website. An experienced web developer will know what to look for, how to keep your brand consistent, communicate requirements, and how to keep track of all activities within the provided time frame.
To sum up, hiring the right PHP developer is a daunting task due to the staggering number of skills that need to be carefully vetted and evaluated. The performance, quality, and user experience of a website rely on the recruiter’s ability to find PHP developers that fit the company’s requirements. Hence, it is important for hiring managers to assess a developer’s technical as well as non-technical skills to ensure the project’s success.