According to the forecasts of skeptics, the scripting programming language PHP should have long outlived itself, and other, more advanced technologies should have taken its place. But as practice shows, these predictions were not destined to come true – according to a study of the resource w3techs, 77.6% of all sites with known web programming languages use PHP.
Why has PHP earned such popularity? In this article, let’s look at the features of this language, what it can give your business, as well as how and where to hire a PHP programmer who can use its potential fully.
PHP: Understanding the Concept
Hypertext Preprocessor, or as they used to call it briefly, PHP – a classic scripting language for programming on the server-side (backend), characterized by open source, can be embedded in HTML-document, and is used mainly for web development. An example of code in this language looks like this:
Popular sites written in PHP include Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Wikipedia, Zoom, and many others. One difference is the PHP version of all the resources based on this language. According to w3techs statistics, 71.5% of all PHP-based sites use version 7. PHP 5 is written in 24.3% of web resources, while the remaining 4.2% are the newest version 8 and outdated 3 and 4.
Advantages of PHP Web Development
In 2020, PHP turned 25 years old. Despite such a long history, it still holds a leading position, and the release of each new version increases its performance.
So why have developers chosen this language for over a quarter of a century?
- High speed of development. PHP frameworks, among which Laravel, Symfony, Phalcon, CakePHP, FuelPHP, and others, allow you to create a web app as quickly as possible.
- Ease of use. Even a beginner can manage it. First of all, it is much easier to install than, say, Ruby on Rails. Secondly, its large community, formed during 25+ years of use, provides decent support for junior
- specialists. And third, it is error-prone – a program with a vulnerability in the code will run until it reaches it.
- Cross-platform. It is compatible with most operating systems, including macOS, Linux, Solaris, and the popular Windows. It’s also supported by most servers, such as iPlanet, IIS, Apache, and others.
- Broad integration capabilities. MySQL is the most popular database used by PHP coders. In addition, PHP can easily integrate with other databases, including Oracle DB, Informix, and others.
- High level of security. Those familiar with the early versions of PHP may argue with this statement – there really were questions about code security. But the latest release has a higher level of safety. In addition, you can use Content Management Systems and frameworks that pay special attention to security.
Thanks to the above, PHP remains one of the most well-known development languages. Thus, WordPress, the content management system of a website, was created with its help – the market leader in CMS, based on which 55% of all existing web resources were built.
Areas of PHP Use
Creating easily scalable, dynamic web apps and sites, as well as programs with graphical UI, are areas in which PHP is unrivaled. We can highlight five tasks that this scripting language does best:
- Creation of web resources. To begin with, PHP was originally created for web development. This is indicated by features of its functionality – a close connection with HTML, the possibility of integration with a database, and a high-security level. PHP also allows you to work with graphical objects of various formats using the ImageMagick console image editor. And using tools like Punbb, PHPBB, or vBulletin, you can easily create online forums. Not for nothing, the developers of many well-known resources preferred PHP. For example, the Yahoo! company abandoned C/C++ in favor of PHP in 2002.
- E-commerce apps. The broad capabilities of PHP allow it to be an advanced language used to create CMSs for online stores. Such powerful platforms as Magento, PrestaShop (Symphony framework), ImageCMS (CodeIgniter framework), and others are written in it. The creation of trading platforms is available thanks to the support of CyberMUT, VeriSign Payflow Pro, Cybercash, and PHP CCVS. All these features allow you to create easily scalable, seamless, functional software. And the open-source code of the frameworks used saves on the development of online stores.
- CRM, CMS, and ERP. Corporate software developed with PHP is flexible, easy to integrate, scalable, and has a wide range of payment options. As mentioned above, the most popular CMS based on PHP is WordPress, and also – Joomla and Drupal. In the same language are written commercial CRM-systems with open-source SugarCRM, a free system for non-profit organizations CiviCRM, and many others.
- Databases. No new web app can do without its own database. It stores the necessary information and provides tools to work with it. The creation of a DB in PHP is simplified by supporting more than 20 database management systems, including MySQL, Oracle, MS Access, PostgreSQL and MongoDB.
- Mobile apps. PHP is used, among other things, to create the inner part of the software for mobile devices. It is made possible by recent updates to PHP and supported frameworks. For example, the Zend framework offers users the Zend Server and Zend Studio platforms, which can be used to create external program interfaces and APIs. Symfony and Laravel frameworks are also often used to program the backend of mobile software for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.
The extensive community, rich functionality, and variety of frameworks all extend the capabilities of PHP, making it available not only for developing web programs and sites but also for the server-side of mobile software. In addition, it supports all operating systems, most servers, and databases. All this makes it a universal scripting language. Take advantage of its benefits, and you can hire PHP developers and get a dynamic, easily scalable product.
PHP Developer: What to Look at When Hiring
Hiring can be challenging if you lack the technical knowledge and skills. Therefore, firstly, it is essential to understand the competence of the PHP programmer.
Such a specialist works with the internal part of the software that is responsible for creating the basis for a web app or website. But to perform their tasks well, PHP developers should have an idea of the frontend development – it allows full communication with all team members.
Responsibilities of PHP-coder:
- Developing web programs and websites using PHP language and creating server-side apps for mobile devices as needed.
- Designing the service architecture, working with the code’s architecture, and making the site’s core.
- Testing the created software, bug fixing, and post-release support.
- Working with PHP frameworks: Laravel, CodeIgniter, Symfony, Zend, and others.
- Making changes to existing projects.
- Collaborating with other team members to find the best solutions in software development.
To successfully perform their main responsibilities, a developer must have a certain list of hard and soft skills, which is important to mention when creating a vacancy and testing at the first interview.
Required hard skills
The phrase “ability to develop web apps in PHP” gives too general an idea of what kind of specialist you need. Therefore, specify the mandatory requirements for a candidate in a more detailed way:
- Ability to work with key databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and others).
- Experience with common design patterns (Factory, Strategy, Singleton, etc.)
- Knowledge of PHP tools: Compose dependency manager, PSR specification, PHPUnit unit testing environment.
- Experience in REST API development.
This list can be expanded depending on the needs of the specific company. For example, your project may require knowledge of microservices architecture, Doctrine, Eloquent or other ORM technologies, Docker software platform, GraphQL data query language, etc.
Required soft skills
The development of any software involves, first and foremost, well-established teamwork. Therefore, in addition to technical knowledge and skills, the ideal candidate for the PHP developer position should have certain personal characteristics.
- Good communication skills. Developers have to communicate with team members, customers, a project manager, and senior management. If communication is a problem – this is not your candidate.
- Ability to solve complex problems. The ability to analyze a problem, find alternative solutions and make decisions can be critical to the entire project’s success.
- Ability to adapt. This trait is especially important if you decide to hire a dedicated PHP developer. An unfamiliar team, which may have its own traditions and manner of communication, can be a real stumbling block to the success of a new specialist.
- Easily trained. It is impossible to know absolutely everything. So if a potential new PHP developer has never worked with JS or PHPUnit before, it doesn’t mean they are not good and won’t do the job for you.
- Successful projects in the past and a willingness to improve speak in favor of such a candidate.
The list of soft skills can also vary at the manager’s discretion. For example, if you need a team leader, you can add to this list the ability to make plans and schedules, influence team members, and make crucial decisions.
How to Hire Good PHP Developer: 6 Steps to Success
You come across if you think you can find a good specialist in the field of backend development by simply visiting the first online job search platform. This is far from it. This process should be approached more thoroughly. Here are a few steps that will allow you to find a perfect developer:
- Analyze your project and determine its features and key requirements. Based on this information, you can create a list of requirements for the candidate.
- Create a vacancy text. Do not forget to mention the necessary technical requirements, desired personal qualities, requirements for work experience, and knowledge of foreign languages (as a rule, for any developer, knowledge of English at the Upper-Intermediate level is a must).
- Decide on the channel of the applicant’s search. You can hire a freelancer, turn to outsource companies, or hire an employee on staff. We will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each method below.
- Make a list of several candidates who best fit your requirements, and schedule interviews with them.
- Conduct the interview. During the face-to-face meeting, be sure to check the accuracy of the information given in the resume. A few questions about a particular project will immediately let you know if the applicant has actually dealt with the mentioned tech stack in practice or has only heard about it at the university.
- Find the ideal candidate and start developing!
It’s a good time to discuss choosing a channel for finding a PHP developer.
Where to Find “Your” PHP Coder
We have already mentioned several ways to hire a developer – take a new employee on staff, use the services of freelance specialists or go to an outsourcing company and hire a dedicated PHP developer. Can’t decide which way to choose? We’ve put together a complete guide for you on each of them.
Do you already have a development team just missing a PHP specialist? Planning to create several products in this language and support them after the release? Then this option is for you. It is good if you have the technical knowledge to find a candidate on your own, or a professional IT recruiter can do it.
Advantages of hiring a PHP programmer for an in-house team:
- Control of development remains with the head of the company. Employees are available at all times. Even when working remotely, they can visit the office for retrospectives and other meetings.
- Team members are familiar with each other, which often eliminates communication problems.
- All employees work in the same time zone and speak the same language.
Disadvantages of the method:
- Additional costs for fixed salaries, space rental, and recruiting agency fees if you don’t have your own HR.
- Time costs – choosing a full-time employee can be quite time-consuming, especially if you don’t have the necessary experience.
Plus, a new full-time employee may also not work well with the team or take too long to get accustomed to it.
Freelance exchanges are a rather popular channel for selecting IT specialists nowadays. Developers who offer services on such resources work unofficially and are unlikely to be suitable for long-term cooperation.
- Relatively low cost of services.
- Suitable for small projects and short-term cooperation.
- Difficulties with assessing the qualifications of the freelancer – such cooperation involves a remote format and excludes a face-to-face interview.
- Unofficial employment does not provide the client with any guarantees – so that the project is not at risk of failure. You have to rely on the decency of the developer.
- One freelancer can work on several projects (and more often than not, this is the case). The development quality can suffer from this.
Our advice – it is better to turn to freelancers to perform small tasks that do not affect the performance of the entire project.
Dedicated PHP coders
Hiring a dedicated developer combines the benefits of working with freelancers and in-house hiring and eliminates these methods’ risks. Specialized outsourcing companies search for such specialists. They choose candidates following your request and interview them. And they often allow the customer to take part in this process themselves. The main thing in successful cooperation with an outsourcer is to choose a proven company with many years of experience and positive reviews.
Advantages of dedicated developers:
- More loyal prices for services compared to in-house specialists. Turning to outsource, you can expect to reduce costs by up to 40%. And the ability to choose a specialist from another country allows for additional savings – the difference in hourly rates in different countries can be as much as $40.
- SDLC reduction. Finding a dedicated PHP developer takes three times less than hiring a staff member. And the faster you staff your team, the sooner users see your product.
- You can count on long-term cooperation with a dedicated programmer, unlike with a freelancer. It means the ability to support the product after its release, including the ability to make revisions or fix bugs.
Despite the apparent advantages of working with outsourcing service providers, this method also has its risks:
- Communication difficulties. In addition to the interpersonal relationships between employees, several other problems are relevant for outsourced specialists from abroad. These include time differences, language barriers, and cultural differences.
- Possibility of data leakage. When working through an outsourcer, all the information about the project becomes available to third parties – the service provider and third-party developers.
Any risks in working with outsourcers can be avoided if desired. For example, the time difference is successfully used by some companies to provide 24/7 technical support. And to ensure information security, it is important to record this point in the contract with the provider.
How Much Does Backend Development in PHP Cost?
Probably because PHP is easy to learn and very widespread, the labor of PHP developers is paid more modestly than professionals in other languages.
So which country is the cheapest to hire a PHP specialist from?
The cost of PHP programmer services depends not only on the region of residence but also on experience and knowledge of additional tools.
Do you have an idea for a cool product and need a PHP developer to implement it? Contact Glorium Technologies – we will find a specialist specifically for your project. With us, you can save money without losing the quality of software!