What Skills Are Required to Be a PHP Developer?

Becoming a Successful PHP Developer

A successful PHP developer is someone who has the skills and experience needed to execute a variety of PHP-based projects that meet quality and functionality requirements set out by stakeholders. Typically, these skills include technical know-how, the ability to productively solve problems, the ability to work well with others, and a desire to create quality products. 

Here we explain what PHP is and what it’s used for, and describe the qualities of a good PHP developer in more depth. 

Client Value Creation

What Is PHP?

PHP is a general-purpose coding language that is particularly good for creating web-based content. PHP code can be embedded within HTML, rather than commands that output to HTML, as with C or Perl. PHP is also different from client-side JavaScript in that the code is executed on the server, which generates and sends HTML to the client. 

PHP scripts are used in three main areas:

  • Server-side scripting
  • Command line scripting
  • Writing desktop applications 

PHP can be used to collect data, send or receive cookies, generate dynamic page content, and much more. PHP is simple for beginners to learn but also includes advanced features that make it a good choice for experienced software engineers as well. 

A PHP developer is typically responsible for the following roles:

  • Choosing the most effective design tools, programming languages, and applications.
  • Creating website applications quickly and efficiently.
  • Identifying and fixing compatibility issues with other languages and among different platforms and browsers.
  • Exploring architectural considerations related to the system design process, including usability, performance, and database design.
  • Communicating and working with other teams and managers to set priorities, choose the best solutions, and solve problems. 
  • Recommending performance improvements and developing plans for keeping websites updated.
  • Keeping up with the latest programming practices and technologies.

Technical Savvy

A PHP developer should be well-versed in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Many resources are available for people who want to learn these skills. Engineers can learn them at a university, within a B.A. program in computer science, computer engineering, or related fields. They may also learn from a combination of self-teaching and online support. 

Employers vary in terms of what kind of background they want. Some may require a formal education, others might look for a certain amount of hands-on experience, and still others will focus on skills and abilities without concern for how they were acquired.

PHP developer certifications are also available from Oracle, Java, and Zend. For those who are self-taught, one or more certifications may assist with job searching and career progression. But whether any given individual should get one depends on their specific situation and needs. Generally, engineers who want to learn new skills, set themselves up for smoother job searching, or increase their salary should consider becoming certified. 

Eye for Quality

In addition to technical ability, a PHP developer must be able to know high quality when they see it – and work toward that goal. High quality is important for everyone involved, from the client or other stakeholder to managers and developers. 

A lack of quality can cause problems for the client, who must suffer the consequences of a poorly executed product. If their reputation takes a hit, so does that of the developer. Additionally, poor quality can lead to financial costs when revenue is lost, or projects need to be redone. 

Quality products are those that do what they’re supposed to do flawlessly and securely. They also feature clean code that other engineers can easily understand. A quality product is also one that has been thoroughly tested throughout and after the coding process and updated when needed. 

Engineers often use a particular methodology to ensure high quality. For example, BairesDev chooses from among several methodologies, including Scrum, Agile, DevOps, Lean, Prototype, XP, and RAD, depending on the needs of each project.

Troubleshooting Ability

A good PHP developer is a good problem solver. No project will proceed without problems, so engineers must be able to patiently, logically, and methodically determine what the problem is, what caused it, and how it can be solved. 

Many engineers actually welcome problems as interesting challenges to overcome and some may spend hours on end working on a solution. They may use some of these specific problem-solving skills: 

  • Articulating the concern, determining why it’s a problem, and creating a goal to work toward.
  • Separating the problem into smaller, more manageable issues to deal with individually. 
  • Drawing the problem to more easily visualize a solution.
  • Figuring out a solution before touching the code.
  • Creating steps to update the code.

Teamwork Mentality

A PHP developer must be able to collaborate well with clients, managers, and teammates. Professional communication is key for all phases of a project, including requirement gathering, designing, coding, testing, and troubleshooting. The importance of this “soft skill” can’t be overstated, as teamwork is essential to the success of any project. 

Additionally, a PHP developer should be open to learning from others they work with and from other sources as needed. Those sources can include formal education, professional mentors, teammates, and online forums. Education shouldn’t be something engineers seek out just when they’re prompted by others. Instead, they should actively keep themselves informed of the latest developments in PHP, technology, and the industries in which they work. 

Ability to Work Independently

While teamwork is highly important, working alone at coding is another big part of being a PHP developer. So, these professionals must be able to do both equally well. Coding requires concentration, focus, and patience. 

Some engineers may choose to work as independent contractors, which makes this skill even more important. While contractors must still collaborate with clients and others to fulfill all project requirements, they make more of the important decisions about direction and problem-solving. 

In addition, engineers who work for themselves must gain other skills, such as finance, project management, and marketing. Some of these duties can be farmed out but small operations may want to save costs and perform many of these tasks on their own. 

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