Hiring a bad PHP developer will end up costing you more money and productivity than any savings you may have made. Not sure how to evaluate a candidate? Never fear, with this full guide to evaluating PHP developers, we have you covered.
Hiring a PHP developer can be an exciting (and sometimes scary) process.
For one thing, there are many individuals and firms out there claiming their expertise in this field to be able to develop outstanding applications and websites using the PHP programming language.
How does one go about vetting these professionals?
To find out, we’ve prepared a list of things to consider before hiring your next PHP developer.
- What is the framework that you’re looking for?
- Local or remote team member?
- Skill level required: beginner, intermediate, advanced?
- Type of tasks needed – e.g., back end development, front end development, problem-solving
- Must work in an office or can telecommute?
- What is the budget for this project and how much do you want to spend per hour on a developer?
Factors to Consider Before Hiring a PHP Developer
Local or a remote team member?
Working with a local firm or individual is advantageous because this allows for more one-on-one interaction. However, if you’re looking to hire an overseas PHP developer who already has his/her own shop in place then hiring remotely may be the best option for you.
Skill level required: beginner, intermediate, advanced?
If you know that your project is going to require a lot of hands-on work and have tight deadlines, then it’s best to hire an individual with the most experience possible. For example, if your goal is to create a web application using PHP Laravel framework then hiring someone who has worked on these types of projects for years will provide the best results.
Type of tasks needed – e.g., back end development, front end development, problem solving?
If you know exactly what it is that you need done then hiring a person specifically for this type of work will ensure that your project runs smoothly and quickly without any troubles along the way.
What type of benefits does your company offer to the employees you hire? Is it something that’s a must for all applicants or is there room for negotiation?
This should be one of the first questions asked before beginning any hiring process–including when trying to find a PHP development firm. Knowing what you’re looking at spending will help narrow down your search by only selecting firms who are willing to work within these parameters/budget restrictions. It also helps in understanding what salary range would provide optimum results given these constraints, which can make life easier as well!
How to identify a good PHP developer
The challenge of sorting out the talent –
Cracking open the PHP developer job market is not a task most can complete alone. Besides, how can you hire for a position without defining what characteristics and competencies you are looking for?
Our list of areas you need to cover will help you identify what kind of PHP developers are worth hiring before you start worrying about inundating your inbox with applications.
This formula has served us well since it’s very easy to spot the strong PHP developers among a sea of candidates.
You need a developer with experience in PHP development and who has been through the whole process from start to finish many times before.
Following are a list of skills and proficiencies that can be looked for in a PHP developer:
- PHP development proficiency
- Experience with Laravel framework (or other frameworks)
- Web services experience (e.g., REST, JSON)
- Proficient knowledge of object oriented programming, which includes the ability to work with class inheritance and abstract classes
- PHP frameworks experience (e.g., Laravel, Symphony, YII2)
- Database experience (e.g., MySQL, SQL)
- Web development experience (HTML, CSS)
- Good understanding of control systems like Git or SVN
- Good understanding of the Full Stack Web Development process and workflow (e.g., what makes up a “back end” job, what makes up a “front-end” job)
- Experience with CMS’s such as WordPress or Drupal
The proof of work.
The reality is, it’s difficult to know what a PHP developer can do without looking at their work. Developers aren’t going to be able to tell you about their skills and experience without any proof.
This is where a developer’s portfolio comes in handy! Showcasing all of their PHP developer’s skills and abilities.
The portfolio should include examples of work in the following areas:
- Projects completed, with a description and timeline for each project.
- Examples and descriptions of their work with frameworks (e.g., Laravel, Symphony)
- Look out for projects similar to your own and see if the developer has successfully completed similar projects in the past.
- The portfolio should also include a description of their qualifications, including years of experience, certifications and education.
- The portfolio can also include a list of references for those looking to take the extra step in verifying their work.
Reviews and Testimony
Okay you’ve found a guy whose portfolio ticks all the boxes or someone who can’t stop talking about how great they are in PHP, but how do you know if they are any good?
We find it tough to find the same level of transparency in all industries.
One way to go about this is to check out their reviews and testimony!
Many companies are willing to provide feedback for previous projects and are happy to share their experience with hiring a developer.
Some key points you should be looking out for when reading reviews:
- Have there been previous projects where they have failed to deliver the work?
- Did deadlines get missed or delayed?
- How happy was the client with the end result?
In addition to their site(if any) look for reviews on sites like Stack Overflow, GitHub or LinkedIn.
In order to get the most out of a developer, you need them to be able to work with you or your team and follow through on their commitments.
This is why communication skills are so important!
The best PHP developers will be able to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. They will be able to understand your needs and work with you to deliver the best possible product.
An important note, make sure they can communicate in your preferred language.
It’s not just about being a good communicator, they need to be able to work with you in the way that you work. If you’re not a chatty person, make sure they don’t rely on messages and chats to communicate with clients or team members!
It’s also important that they are willing to provide ongoing support for your project, this means responding to emails and phone calls in a timely manner when they arise.
It can also mean providing updates on the project as you go, and a willingness to spend extra hours on the unique aspects of your needs.
This doesn’t mean that they’ll be available all day every day, it’s important that they have the time and space to do their work.
A good developer will be happy to provide customer support as needed, and will be proactive in providing updates to you.
You need to make sure they are a good fit for your company. This is where an interview can be helpful.
Ask as many questions as you want – it is crucial to seek clarity from the onset
Some points to cover in your interview:
- What is their history and experience, particularly with PHP?
- What are their technical strengths and weaknesses with the language? Do they specialize or generalize?
- How do they work with clients?
- What is their process for the project, and how do you fit into it?
- How are deadlines and milestones set?
- What are the common challenges with projects in this area of expertise and how do they overcome them?
Where to find a top class PHP Developer?
Now that you know what to look out for, the next step is to find a top class PHP developer!
The first place to start is with referrals from your network – go on LinkedIn and search for PHP developers in your area.
If you don’t know anyone and need to expand your search, try searching sites like Upwork or GitHub where there are many freelance PHP developers.
Once you’ve found a candidate, it’s important to interview them. Also, you might want to have them complete a short programming test.
The test should be related to the technical specification of your job, and could include things like basic PHP foundational skills. It’s a way to make sure they’re not wasting your time.
Tips to help you hire the right PHP developer
- Seek clarity in the interview process to make sure they’re a good fit
- Consider candidates in the same time zone as you to avoid time differences
- Consider a remote worker if your company doesn’t have an in house developer and the role is not location specific.
- Create requirements before you hire, it will make the decision easier!
- Do not pinch pennies when it comes to hiring a PHP Developer, top talents are worth the investment.