What is PHP?
PHP is a general-purpose scripting language used in web development. He has been predicted to die for years, but PHP is still one of the most common programming languages. It is used in 77% of all pages on the Internet, and not all of it is legacy.
The author of the language is a Canadian of Danish origin, Rasmus Lerdorff. PHP is a recursive acronym of PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor (having originally a meaning given by its creators, Personal Home Page). PHP was first released in 1995.
PHP has weak implicit dynamic typing. This means that the interpreter determines the variables during program execution. Different types can be mixed into one expression, and they will be converted automatically.
In practice, this allows the language to be flexible and scalable. PHP code is written quickly, especially since it has a simple syntax. Scripts will work even if they contain blunders, although at the risk of unpredictable results.
As a server-side language, PHP is mainly used for the backend development of websites, web applications, and services of any complexity. Initially used to serve personal web pages, it has long been used in large-scale projects such as Wikipedia, TED, Avito, Yahoo, Badoo, and BlaBlaCar. Facebook also uses PHP.
Sites in PHP are written directly and with the help of popular CMS created in this language, such as WordPress, Drupal, 1C-Bitrix, and partly Joomla.
Advantages of PHP
- Big community. The language has the fifth-largest community on Stack Overflow. If a question or problem arises, then on the Internet, someone has likely published an answer or a ready-made solution. Finding reference information will be fine.
- Simple syntax and low entry threshold. Writing code in PHP takes a little time, and you can make your first site on it after a month of training. PHP is often chosen as the first language.
- Many libraries and frameworks extend the capabilities of the language and automate processes. Among them, for example, Laravel, Symfony, and Yii2.
- Demand. There are a lot of vacancies – only on HeadHunter are there more than 3.5 thousand of them. Also, salaries for PHP developers are growing faster than for developers in other languages.
- Dynamic development. New versions of PHP are constantly released, in which shortcomings are fixed, and new features appear.
Disadvantages of PHP
- Low speed. Due to dynamic typing, PHP code runs slowly and consumes a lot of RAM. In PHP 7 and PHP 8, it has been optimized and made more than twice as fast as previous versions. PHP 8 also introduced the JIT compilation.
- It is easy to make a mistake; you need to be careful. This is the other side of the simplicity and flexibility of the language. Since the language forgives many mistakes, it is easy to make them, but it can be challenging to catch them. However, since PHP 7, it is possible to enable strong typing.
- PHP is slowly but surely losing popularity. If five years ago, according to the TIOBE index, it was in seventh place; now, it is only in tenth. In its niche, it has to compete with other languages, such as Go.
What does and what must know a PHP developer?
The PHP developer is responsible for the development and maintenance of the resource. The primary responsibilities are:
- Creation of sites, individual pages, or modules, as well as testing their performance
- Preparation of technical reports
- Implementation of additional external and internal systems on the site
- Optimizing the web resource and technical support (improving performance, security, etc.)
- Website launch and its further administration
- Search and elimination of operational errors
- Improving functionality
- Interaction with other professionals
A general list of what a PHP developer should know and do is as follows:
- Work with composer – package manager for PHP, a set of ready-made scripts for work.
- Create autotests to check the written code to make sure it works.
- Provide code flexibility and optimization, eliminating “garbage” and making pages run faster.
- Use MVC (Model-View-Controller) algorithms – interface separation models, data distribution schemes, and control logic.
- Know and use at least 3-5 frameworks: Laravel, CodeIgniter, yii2, Symfony, Zend, etc.
- Apply Ajax – building dynamic user interfaces for web applications.
- Implement efficient load distribution.
- Know popular engines (CMS) for creating websites: WordPress, Joomla!, MODx, Drupal, and others.
- Be able to manage the MySQL database: connection, selection, sending commands, and processing results.
- Work with database architecture, normalizing them and creating nested queries.
- Know the main programming patterns, understanding which of them in a given situation solves the problem faster.
Soft skills of a PHP developer
In addition to technical skills, soft skills are also crucial for a PHP developer to have. PHP developer is usually working in teams. Therefore, such an employee must be able to communicate with people, keep in touch and find a common language with everyone. Leadership qualities in the chosen field will also be reasonable.
Here are some soft skills to look for when hiring a PHP developer:
- Communication skills: A PHP developer should be able to communicate effectively with team members, clients, and stakeholders. Good communication skills help ensure everyone is on the same page and that project goals are being met.
- Attention to detail: A PHP developer should have a keen eye for detail and be able to spot errors and bugs in code. They should also be able to write clean, efficient, and well-structured code.
- Teamwork and collaboration: PHP development often involves working as part of a team, so a PHP developer needs to be able to work collaboratively with others. They should be able to share their knowledge, ask for help when needed, and be willing to contribute to team projects.
- Time management: A PHP developer should be able to manage their time effectively, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines. They should be able to balance multiple projects and tasks while still producing high-quality work.
- Problem-solving skills: A PHP developer should be able to think critically and solve problems creatively. They should be able to identify and troubleshoot code issues and find efficient and effective solutions.
- Learning mindset: A PHP developer should have a growth mindset and be willing to learn new technologies and techniques. They should be able to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in web development and be committed to continuous learning and improvement.
- Stress resistance: Web development can be a high-pressure environment, with tight deadlines and competing demands. A PHP developer who can remain calm and focused under pressure can help keep the project on track and ensure deadlines are met. They should be able to prioritize tasks, manage their time effectively, and not be deterred by setbacks.
- Self-discipline: PHP development requires a high degree of self-discipline, as developers often work independently and need to manage their own time and workload. A self-disciplined PHP developer can set goals, manage their time effectively, and stay focused on the task at hand. They should be able to work independently, without close supervision, and still deliver high-quality work on time.
By looking for these soft skills in a PHP developer, you can ensure that you hire someone who is technically proficient and a valuable team member who can contribute to your project’s success. A PHP developer can not only be a highly effective team member but also help ensure your project’s success. When hiring a PHP developer, look for these skills and technical proficiency to ensure that you hire someone well-rounded and capable of working in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment.
Finding a good PHP developer
Finding a great programmer is a big problem. One does not meet the qualifications, the other delays the deadlines, and the third does not respond to messages. Many commonplace things are skipped by recruiters, even in large companies. And if you’re interviewing without an expert in the proper discipline, or if you have a small startup trying to hire one of the first suitable employees, everything becomes twenty times more difficult. Finding a worthy and experienced specialist without extensive knowledge in the industry is not a trivial task.
But first, if you want to avoid training a developer from scratch, you need to look for candidates with at least 2-3 years of experience (better, of course, 5). So that they can create a new product themselves, take responsibility, and make architectural decisions. Ideally, the employee you call for the first interview has already worked in large firms, participated in large projects, and received the necessary mentoring. If you hire a freelancer, he must have several sites in his portfolio (worthy or not – we will check this now).
The excellent candidate must do the following things:
- Focus on security issues. Your backend is your everything. A great developer not only solves the task assigned to him but also protects the product from potential dangers. He needs to know about SQL injections, XSS attacks, session hijacking, CSRF, etc. Talk to him about these topics, and everything will become clear.
- Application of frameworks. Only those who are entirely “starred” refuse them because their use increases the purity of the code and allows you to complete the task much faster.
- Using ready-made solutions. Again, there is nothing shameful in this; on the contrary: it saves time, and their high-quality adaptation to your project may be more successful than writing new code. If you are looking for a programmer for a startup team, this is all the more useful.
- Constant learning. Backend development is constantly evolving. New technologies appear PHP1 changes to PHP 7.0. A candidate at the forefront of technology just a few years ago may now be in the dustbin of history. If a person reads profile sites, visits Habr, and studies new frameworks, this is a big bonus for him. A conservative web developer living only in technology five years ago is not your candidate (even if you are working for them now).
Top Tips for hiring a PHP developer
Hiring a PHP developer can be challenging, especially if you need a technical background. Here are some top tips to help you hire the right PHP developer for your project:
- Clearly define your project requirements: Before you start looking for a PHP developer, you must clearly understand what you want to achieve with your project. This will help you identify the skills and experience essential for the PHP developer you are looking for.
- Check their portfolio and references: Ask for examples of their previous work and references from their past clients. This will give you an idea of their style, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Conduct technical interviews: Conduct technical interviews to assess the candidate’s knowledge of PHP and web development. You can ask them to write a small program or ask them to explain the process of developing a particular feature.
- Consider cultural fit: It’s essential to hire a PHP developer who fits well with your company culture and has good communication skills. Look for candidates who are passionate, motivated, and have a positive attitude.
- Evaluate problem-solving skills: Evaluate their problem-solving skills by asking them to solve coding problems or provide solutions to real-world problems. This can give you an idea of their approach to problem-solving and their ability to think creatively.
- Hire based on potential: Finally, it’s essential to hire a PHP developer based on their potential to grow and learn. Look for candidates who are eager to learn new technologies and are committed to professional development. This will ensure that your project remains relevant and up-to-date in the long run.
In conclusion, hiring the right PHP developer can be challenging, but with the right approach and preparation, you can find the best candidate for your project. It’s essential to clearly define your project requirements, look for experience and skills, check the candidate’s portfolio and references, conduct technical interviews, consider cultural fit, evaluate problem-solving skills, and hire based on potential.
By following these tips, you can identify the best PHP developer for your project who will bring value to your team, positively impact your business, and ensure the success of your project. Remember that finding the right candidate takes time and effort, so be patient and thorough in your search and only settle for the best.