How to Hire the Best PHP Developers
For a web development project to succeed, employers and hiring managers must be able to hire PHP developers who fit the business requirements and the company culture. To do this, they must have at least a basic understanding of PHP and technologies related to it; this will serve as their guide in deciding what kind of PHP developers to find and hire.
This post will help you find the right PHP developer for you. Keep reading as we discuss some of the most essential information you need to know when hiring tech talents and when working on web development projects.
PHP, which originally stood for Personal Home Page, is one of the most widely-used and recognised technologies in web development. Its origin traces back to 1994, when Rasmus Lerdorf created a series of Perl scripts for the maintenance of his personal web page. At that time, he referred to this as “Personal Home Page Tools”. The next year, these tools were repackaged and published as CGI binaries which included support for web forms and database communication.
Since then, PHP has undergone swift development and refinement which led it to become one of the top scripting languages that many companies and organisations use, such as WordPress and phpBB (which use PHP to run a blog or a forum).
PHP is a powerful language that can generate images in a wide variety of formats dynamically. It can also access databases in a multitude of formats. Aside from working with databases and displaying information pulled from them, PHP is also able to perform system tasks in a scheduled manner.
Lastly, it is also important to note that PHP is the last word in the acronym “LAMP”, which stands for “Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP”. A LAMP installation is a common web server configuration that helps developers create robust web pages and manage data efficiently through combining Apache with PHP and MySQL.
Why should you hire a PHP developer?
Businesses today are in a continuously increasing competition with each other to create and offer applications which provide its users with the best value and benefits. With this, plenty of businesses choose PHP when building advanced web applications.
Along with choosing this language, companies are hiring skilled PHP developers to help them get the most of the technology and customise the application according to their business needs.
Here are the benefits you get with a PHP web developer in your web development team:
You can only fully take advantage of the flexibility of PHP with an experienced PHP developer. A professional PHP developer can make use of frameworks such as Codeigniter, CakePHP, and Yii PHP to build stunning advanced web applications.
You get to concentrate on your tasks
When you hire PHP developers or outsource the development of your web application to experts, you let those who are experienced in that department to do their magic. In the same way, you also free yourself from tasks which are not in your speciality, giving you more time to concentrate on things you are good on. While the developer works on your web application, you can work on your content, business strategies, or lead generation. Efficient and productive.
Create user-friendly applications
Highly-skilled PHP developers know very well how to create applications which are not only visually stunning, but are also user-friendly. From their experience and knowledge in the industry, they can offer you recommendations and suggestions as to what should and should not be implemented in your project.
Improve your SEO ranking
Websites that are developed using PHP are SEO-friendly, but not a lot are able to take advantage of this because they lack the professional who knows the ropes. With a PHP developer in your team, you can significantly improve the seo ranking of your site or application, and this can consequently increase your traffic and take your business to the next level.
Skilled PHP developers know PHP inside-and-out, enabling them to help you create better websites and applications based on your business needs. Instead of avoiding extra costs and being satisfied with a half-baked website, investing on an experienced PHP developer incurs you a one-time cost but will definitely increase your ROI in the long run.
What kind of projects can an PHP developer work on?
Here are some projects that a PHP developer can work on:
Web Pages and Web-based Applications
PHP is actually used by over 82% of websites for server-side programming; it is also used in building over 244 million website. Moreover, it is also used to script web-based enterprise applications and a great number of Facebook apps.
This is because PHP is able to offer reliable solutions to achieve features such as a high degree of customisation, a highly-interactive user interface, and database system integration, among others.
Web Content Management Systems (CMS)
PHP supports numerous databases such as MySQL, Oracle, and MS Access. It is also capable of using protocols such as IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), POP3 (Post Office Protocol), NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol), SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), and COM.
Because of these capabilities, PHP is among the popular choices for creating web content management systems (CMS). Some popular CMS build with PHP include WordPress and its plugins, Facebook (user-facing portion), Joomla, Drupal, Moodle, Silverstripe, MediaWiki, Digg, and more.
By utilising PHP frameworks such as Codeigniter and CakePHP, a PHP developer is able to create eCommerce applications from small businesses to large enterprises easily and quickly. In fact, many of the widely-used eCommerce platforms have been created on PHP (e.g. OpenCart, Magento, PrestaShop, Zen Cart, AgoraCart, and Ubercart).
Image Processing and Graphic Design
Aside from building web applications and content management systems, PHP can also be used in image processing and graphic design. Through the integration of image processing libraries such as GD library, Imagine, and ImageMagick, developers can rotate, crop, resize, create thumbnail pictures, add watermarks, and generate output images in multiple formats with PHP.
PHP developers can also utilise PHP to create desktop GUI-based (graphical user interface) applications. Tools such as PHP-GTK 2, DevelStudio, and ZZEE PHP GUI allow scripting in PHP, which, in turn, is compiled into .exe that is capable of running on its own.
What skills and qualifications should you look for when hiring PHP developers?
Ability to work with PHP applications
The PHP developer you should look for must be someone who has a strong working knowledge of PHP frameworks and applications. When this becomes one of your standards when seeking PHP developers for you business, there is a good chance that the developer you will hire will be able to handle most (if not all) the PHP tasks you have.
Here are some frameworks you should take note of:
PHP CMS Frameworks:
Easily adaptable to changes in PHP
A PHP developer who is eager and passionate about keeping up with the latest applications and program updates is often a great addition to the team. Especially since technology is a fast-changing industry, having developers who are aware of changes—and are able to adapt to it—will be beneficial not only to your team but also to your business.
Strong communication and interpersonal skills
Communication skill is a vital skill to have in any industry. While your PHP developer is mainly tasked with writing codes and coming up with solutions (which can be done individually), he or she will have to communicate and collaborate with teammates and colleagues from other departments every now and then. These skills play an important role in your project’s success.
Project management skills
When screening the candidates, it is also necessary to look for time management and organisational skills. PHP developers with these skills are helpful in giving inputs and suggestions when talking about deadlines and the best possible project duration. It will be beneficial for your team to hire PHP developers who can commit, manage, and deliver tasks within the time frame you set.
The ability to work and learn independently
While cooperation and collaboration is important in a development project, it is also equally important for developers to know how to learn and work independently. Especially if you’re a small business, having PHP developers who are able to work well in a team and in a solitary environment can significantly benefit your business.
During the interviews, you can ask questions such as, “How do you approach personal development?” or “What do you do when you come across a project in a technology you aren’t familiar with?”
A PHP engineer who is self-reliant and can manage learning on his/her own, despite lacking in the skills you are looking for, may just be the better choice rather than moving forward with a PHP engineer who doesn’t have the ability to learn and work independently, despite having the necessary skills.
What is the usual rate for PHP developers?
In the table below, you will find a comparison of the average annual salaries and local rates of PHP developers from four different countries: the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia. All figures are taken from PayScale.
|PHP Developer Average Annual Salary||PHP Average Hourly Rate|
|United Kingdom||GBP 28,441||GBP 19.43|
|United States||USD 75,928||USD 40.96|
|Canada||CAD 73,750||CAD 37.82|
|Australia||AUD 95,000||AUD 48.72|
Companies and organisations which are looking to reduce overhead and recruitment costs are now utilising services provided by IT outsourcing companies all over the world.
Here at Cloud Employee, we understand that businesses need to find the right tech talents fast and risk-free to be able to grow and expand their operations. In Western countries such as the UK, the US, and Australia, finding and hiring skilled developers and tech talents at competitive costs have become a struggle, making it difficult for businesses to develop their products and reach their highest potential.
To address this problem, we connect these startups and SMEs to the best offshore PHP developers at competitive industry rates. We help them find the tech talent they need in the fastest amount of time possible.
For more information on software development outsourcing, here’s a full blog on offshore developer rates from different outsourcing regions.
What are the best practices in PHP development?
In this section, we’re listing down some best practices in PHP development. Throughout your interview process (during interviews or technical tests), it may be a good idea to check if your candidates are well aware of these.
Use the current version
This is the first and the most important among the others: always use a current version of PHP (as of writing, the current version is 7.3.x) Sometimes, due to shared hosting restrictions, little to no budget and time for upgrade testing, and the lack of keenness to change defaults, the PHP binaries tend to get left behind.
Aside from using the current version, it also helps to schedule regular updates of both PHP and the extensions or libraries used with it. Upgrades can provide new language features, improvements in speed and memory use, and security updates.
Set sensible defaults
PHP already does a great job of setting good defaults out of the box, thanks to its php.ini.development and php.ini.production files, but to further enhance this, here are some recommended settings:
- date.timezone - You can pick from this list of supported timezones.
- session.save_path - Set this to something outside of /tmp, especially if you will use files for sessions and not some other save handler. /tmp is typically wide open in terms of permissions, so leaving this as /tmp can be risky especially on a shared hosting environment.
- session.cookie_secure - If you are serving your PHP code over HTTPS, turn this on.
Bonus: Use a tool like iniscan to test your configuration for common vulnerabilities, scan a php.ini file for common security practices and receive results.
One of the best practices for writing PHP code is, surprisingly, to write less of it. While one of the best ways to improve in programming and get familiarised with the language is to code and code, it is a different story when the aim is efficiency and productivity.
The large community has solved a large number of problems when it comes to development with PHP, such as routing, basic input validation libraries, unit conversation, database abstraction layers, and more. As you browse through PHP package repositories, you are likely to find solutions to problems you’re trying to solve that have already been tested as well.
There is nothing wrong with writing your own framework or library, or writing all the code by yourself especially as a learning experience. But using existing frameworks and libraries, especially those which are tried and tested, can make you more efficient.
Using Composer, particularly, can make the work easy for you. It lets you define a JSON file that lists your code’s dependencies. Then, it will try to resolve the requirements for you by downloading and installing the necessary code bundles.
Unit testing, as its name may suggest, is the practice of writing small tests that verify the behaviour or small units or the code. Unit tests are extremely valuable tools that improve your code by helping you make sure your code is doing what you intend it to do, and by providing useful design feedback, too. If a piece of code is difficult to test, then it most probably has design problems.
You can ask these two questions to your potential PHP developers:
Q: Name at least one PHP automated testing framework.
A: PHPUnit is the best-known framework for writing Unit Tests for PHP apps which can be used via the command line. This provides a useful TestCase class which can be extended according to one’s needs. PHPUnit also allows developers to use pre-written assertion methods to
PHPUnit can be installed by downloading a PHAR file directly, or by having it installed with composer. It can also be installed as a dev dependency with the following command:
composer require --dev phpunit/phpunit
Here are 9 other PHP automated testing frameworks that your interviewee might mention:
- Codeception – enables developers to write not only Unit Tests but also Functional and Acceptance Tests. Codeception is integrated with many PHP development frameworks such as Symfony, Laravel, Yii, Phalcon, and the Zend Framework.
- Behat – a behaviour-driven PHP testing framework (StoryBDD subtype) in which the tests look like stories rather than code.
- PHPspec – also follows a behaviour-driven testing approach like Behat, but the other subtype which is SpecBDD. Inspired by a Ruby testing framework called RSpec, developers have to first write the specifications that describe how the application code will behave.
- Storyplayer – a full-stack testing framework perfect for testing an entire platform. Storyplayer makes it possible to write end-to-end tests, and it has support for creating and destroying test environments on demand.
- Peridot – a lightweight and extensible testing framework which allows testers to easily customise the framework through its event-driven architecture as well as plugins and reporters.
Q: What are the characteristics of a good unit test?
A: Here are some points you can expect your PHP developer to answer.
Good unit tests…
- Run in milliseconds.
- Still pass with no network access.
- Limit file system access (which speeds up and adds flexibility when deploying code to other environments).
- Do not have any dependency on the database server or any external resource
- Test only one thing at a time
- Are well-named
- Are mostly fake objects. The only “real” objects should be those that are tested; the rest should be some form of test double.
How can Cloud Employee help you?
At Cloud Employee, we provide startups, SMEs and large firms access to top-notch IT professionals in the Philippines. Through our simple recruitment process, we help you find and hire offshore PHP developers without the risks and hassle.
Simply send us your IT staffing requirements such as years of experience, skill sets needed, and other necessary information. Our team scouts for available PHP developers who fit your needs. Afterwards, we give a shortlist of candidate CVs from which you will select the candidates who move on to interviews and free technical trials. Our process ensures that no commitment will be made until you are fully satisfied with your offshore PHP developer.
Upon hiring, your offshore PHP developer becomes a part of your team working the same office hours as you. Your offshore PHP developer reports directly to you and uses your preferred tools and standards making them an effective member of your team.
Meanwhile, Cloud Employee provides your offshore PHP developer with on-site supervision, workspace set-up, and full IT support. We also handle everything else such as workspace facilities, licensing, permits, payroll, taxes, HR and general admin, leaving you free to focus on running your team and business.
With Cloud Employee, you can hire offshore PHP developers with a broad range of skill sets: databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL, Oracle; PHPUnit testing framework; web frameworks such as CakePHP, FuelPHP, Laravel, Phalcon, CodeIgniter, Slim, Symfony, Yii, Zend; popular CMS such as WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal; e-commerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, ZenCart.
What is the dedicated developer model?
Here at Cloud Employee, we employ the dedicated hiring model wherein we provide clients with dedicated tech talents, equipment and resources tailored specifically to their project’s requirements. The clients pay only for the services they need, and the single sum of money they pay already constitutes the outsourced developer’s monthly salary and the outsourcing provider’s fee.
The biggest advantage of our model is that it is able to integrate the outsourced developer or development team into the in-house team seamlessly and painlessly. Since our dedicated developers work 100% exclusively on one project at a time, they are able to focus on the project and they have a good grasp of the client’s objectives and expectations.
- Perfect setup for long-term projects, even with initially unsettled requirements and a frequently changing project scope
- Can accommodate projects without a definite project scope as long as there is a predictable budget
- As the client, you gain full control throughout the process: from recruitment, selection, up to management of the outsourced dedicated team
- The outsourced developer or development team works exclusively for you and uses only the tools and standards you use
- The outsourced developer or development team gains a good understanding of your business goals and expectations
When is it best to use the dedicated outsourcing business model? It is perfect for clients who…
- Prefer to have a dedicated team to work on the project
- Want to cut down on hiring and recruitment expenses
- Want flexibility in terms of workload and scalability, especially during the development
The dedicated PHP developer you hire with Cloud Employee works at your working hours, allowing you to work together at the same time. This significantly reduces communication issues and inconveniences you may meet with traditional outsourcing setups. Moreover, since your dedicated PHP developer uses only your preferred tools, software, and standards, they become an effective and efficient extension of your in-house team.
Along with 20 years of experience in the IT outsourcing industry, our business model has become a truly unique and effective hiring solution which addresses the tech talent needs of startups and SMEs from all over the world. We simplify the hiring process and make work practices and processes flexible, all at competitive industry rates—a cost-effective and smarter way to outsource compared to traditional outsourcing.
WHY HIRE OFFSHORE PHP DEVELOPERS WITH CLOUD EMPLOYEE
- Access to the best tech talent in the Philippines
- End-to-end Client Control from custom-recruitment to direct developer management
- 100% Dedicated Developers working at the same time-zone
- Full Client Support with our After Care Team
- Savings of up to 65% or more
"Been with Cloud Employee for years and I’m very happy with Clarence, he is doing great. He is very polite, and confident in giving suggestions and feedback."
Steven Brown, Justfone
"It was such a pleasure having Roi and Dennis here in Sweden. It was a great idea inviting them here as we got to know them a lot better. They’re doing so well and they’re very easy to communicate with, never had any problems with them."
Martin Augustsson, QLogic AB
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