Have you ever been on a man-hunt to get an PHP app/website developed for your organization?

Did you map out a clearly defined requirement that a particular type of Developer is expected to fill?

Most firms are looking to get their websites/web apps built with the right developers. However, many are unsure on what kind of developers or development team to opt for. Going by popular trends, they search for either .NET, PHP, Java or a very basic HTML/CSS developer to fulfil their requirements.

That might be a naive approach in getting your app/website established. Deciding on the developer you need is the result of an elaborate process wherein you need to evaluate your requirement. First, you need to figure out the PHP development services you need. Then come up with prospective platforms and frameworks and narrow down on the most feasible ones.

The very last stage of which is deciding on the kind of PHP developers you should get on board.

Why PHP?

Why are PHP development services rampant in the field of Web development? Why is PHP such a popular language and why should you opt for PHP in the first place?

PHP is a backend programming language, used frequently for server-side scripting. It is identified as a general-purpose programming language with a vast ecosystem of PHP developers contributing to its frameworks and libraries.

  • Around 80% of the top 10 million websites use PHP
  • Quicker load time
  • Easy to understand due to enhanced readability
  • Flexible – doesn't have stringent rules,goes easy on the Compiler
  • Vast Communities of PHP Developers
  • Multipurpose – Server-side scripting, Command-line Scripting, Desktop applications

And finally, the popular websites using PHP are Facebook, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Tumblr, to name a few. The dominance of prominent businesses relying on PHP ensures that there will be a marginal investment in PHP ecosystem, and the existing PHP developer forcewon't let it get outdated.

Qualities of a PHP Developer

Having set your mind on PHP. It is time to deep dive into finding the perfect PHP Developer who will make your PHP applications feel right at home. Evaluating any developer is both easy and difficult, based on the quantifiable and unquantifiable aspects of assessment.

Years of Experience –

PHP development services have been around for a while. Based on the depth of expertise required you can evaluate the project experience a PHP developer must have. The years of experience translates into the hands-on experience in core PHP and familiarity across frameworks and libraries. The project management experience also comes in handy when you need to evaluate a framework to be used based on the development methodology.

As an example, if you finalize on Agile methodology to fulfil your PHP development requirements; a person with extensive experience in PHP can identify that PHP Laravel, CakePHP, Zend and CodeIgniter are amongst the top php frameworks which align with Agile methodology. Hence enabling you to work better.

PHP has a very low learning curve. If your project permits the time for cross-training or Hiring freshers, PHP permits that with its easy readability and core functions. The syntax for PHP is not stringent and enables overcoming compiling errors quite easy.

Problem solving/critical thinking –

The most basic trait of any developer is their ability to analyze a problem and come up with multiple alternative solutions. This doesn't mean that the developer can resolve a problem at hand immediately, but this involves -

  • Comprehending the problem
  • Recognizing the alternatives
  • Identifying the feasible solution
  • Plotting the best way to implement it

Since we have such an extensive base of PHP libraries, it opens multiple pathways to reach a solution. Problem solving ability accompanied with critical thinking helps evaluate these alternatives to arrive at an efficient and effective solution.

The simplest way to analyze a PHP developer's coding ability is providing him/her with a day-to-day scenario of a PHP project. The alternatives he can present gives and overview of his idea generating ability and knowledge on the feasibility of solutions.

PHP Frameworks –

Each PHP framework has its own nuances, and in some cases, we wouldn't want resources who are confined to a particular Framework or Library. It is always appealing to have people who have worked over multiple frameworks across platforms. But that might be true when recruiting PHP developers on higher positions wherein the PHP programmer is required to act as an expert, overlooking multiple projects and providing recommendations.

When you hire PHP developers for a single project, wherein he/she is confined to predefined frameworks and platforms, it is better to look for an individual with in-depth experience on a particular platform.

  • As frameworks evolve their functionalities advance, hence having marginal improvements over the previous versions. Keeping up with the intricate changes is an expert task.
  • Each PHP framework comes with its own benefits which they market as a USP. According to your requirement the features which you utilize will be specialized.
  • PHP Libraries that enable you to work on ML and AI are a unique stream of competency demanding expertise.
  • Very few applications need you to work on multiple PHP frameworks at the same time.

HTML/CSS and JavaScript  –

PHP does work as a backend framework but doesn't work independently. The intercommunication with the Frontend is of utmost importance for it to function. Most Frontends comprise of HTML/CSS and JavaScript, or customized variants of these. Hence, it is important for any PHP Developer to have an overview of these Frontend technologies in order to streamline the communication between them.

For example, JavaScript is a single threaded language and is event-driven while PHP is multi-threaded and is capable of multiple I/O task concurrently. Utilizing the capabilities of both effectively requires an all-knowing PHP developer. With the best mix of relevant technologies results into an efficient and responsive application.

Communication Skills –

This is a generic quality that all developers must possess. Communication across diverse teams and with the client is an important aspect of a project. To understand and comprehend the requirements, estimate the feasibility and present alternatives, the PHP developer requires effective communication skills. Further the development teams need to work hand-in-hand with the Quality Audit, Deployment and End user Acceptance testing teams. This requires prompt, accurate and clear interaction between them.

For this the PHP developer needs to have the following traits:

  • Empathy
  • Believe in Teamwork
  • Keep Patience
  • Be Open-minded and Accepting
  • Accountability and Ownership

Hire, Out-staffing or Freelance

Once you generate the guidelines to hire a star performing PHP Developer, the core question that lies ahead is whether to hire a PHP Developer from the sea of expertise? Get a Freelancer for a short term? or Outsource the project to an external firm.

Hiring inhouse involves identifying the technical traits that a PHP developer should possess. For which the evaluation should be conducted by an expert from the same domain. You can get in touch with external hiring firms for this cause, but that would involve an additional cost.

Hiring a Freelancer is a cheaper option if you know what aspects to look at. Always ask for a portfolio of the freelancer which gives you an idea on the type of applications the PHP developer has worked on previously. Is the freelancer fine with working as per your schedule, and has no problems with periodic status updates? And the most important aspect is whether the Developer is willing to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and would not go absconding in the middle of the project. Hiring a freelancer is a quicker but risker option.

Outsourcing the entire project is also a feasible option. The other way around would be to hire php developers from outsourcing firms which offer their inhouse developers to work on your project. This model is known as Out-staffing.

The PHP developers would be with you for the term of the project acting as your employees, while charging you on a daily/weekly or hourly basis. This gives you the flexibility of retaining control over the project, executing it as per your specifications, and skipping the overhead of the hiring process and added expenses. Further you get the option of scaling the team size as per your requirement. In case after a while if you feel the need to upgrade/downgrade the PHP developer you won't need to start from scratch. Substitute PHP developers with varying years of experience are readily available at out-staffing firms.