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How to Become a PHP Developer

If you have advanced computer skills, are a good problem solver, and your coding skills are top-notch, becoming a PHP developer is a great way to use your skills to advance your career.

PHP developers are responsible for the back-end development of many popular websites, writing code using Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) scripting languages to ensure websites function as they should and that they meet all the requirements of the client. PHP developers need good interpersonal abilities as they typically work with other developers, graphic designers, and project managers to create a well-rounded web product. They also need to be able to think independently and must be creative thinkers. 

Writing effective code is at the heart of a PHP developer’s skills. They need advanced computer skills to develop and code back-end components that connect to web services. PHP developers work closely with front-end developers to ensure their modules integrate seamlessly into the application. A high level of understanding of PHP programming is essential to excel in this role. Good working knowledge of front-end technologies, such as HTML and JavaScript is also needed. PHP developers must be good at troubleshooting issues with applications and code. Testing is an important part of a PHP developer’s responsibilities.

Sample job description

We are looking for a PHP developer to manage the back-end of our website. You will be responsible for ensuring that all code is well-documented and meets all our clients’ needs. Job responsibilities include coding, debugging, maintaining existing systems, and improving current applications. Required skills include knowledge of MVC design pattern and strong OOP background, 5+ years of relevant experience, expertise in PHP and related frameworks, and excellent communication skills. If you have this expertise, you could be the perfect fit for [Your Company Name]’s PHP developer position.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Responsible for writing and maintaining code
  • Work with a team of developers to create a well-rounded web product
  • Prepare and execute tests
  • Troubleshoot and debug code
  • Write clean, well-documented, and efficient code
  • Evaluate and implement new technologies

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or equivalent work experience
  • 5+ years of PHP programming experience, with 3+ years of experience on large-scale web applications
  • Experience with MVC design pattern, HTML5, JavaScript/jQuery, and CSS3
  • Knowledge of database management systems such as MySQL and related technologies

Required skills and qualifications

  • Self-starter who can work independently
  • Capable of working effectively in a team environment
  • Passion for learning new technologies and staying on top of industry trends
  • Good communication skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience with CMS frameworks, Symfony preferred
  • Knowledge of PHP frameworks, including Laravel, CodeIgniter, and CakePHP
  • Experience with Amazon AWS
  • Knowledge of unit testing tools, such as PHPUnit and Selenium

Typical work environment

The typical work environment for a PHP developer is an office setting. However, some developers may work remotely. They will typically work with a team of other developers, graphic designers, and project managers.

In an office setting, PHP developers will typically have a cubicle or an open area where they can work on their computers. They may also have opportunities to attend meetings and collaborate with their team.

Typical hours

The typical hours for a PHP developer are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. However, some developers may work non-traditional hours, especially those who freelance.

Available certifications

There are many certifications available for those who want to become experienced PHP developers. Some of these certifications include:

  • Zend Certified PHP Engineer (ZCE) Certification. The Zend Certified PHP Engineer is an industry-wide standard that recognizes PHP expertise and is a measure of distinction that employers use to evaluate prospective employees.
  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Certification. You’ll learn the Scrum framework and gain an understanding of team accountabilities, events, and artifacts as well as how to guide your team to apply Scrum.
  • Certified Software Testing Professional (CSTP) Certification. The Certified Software Testing Professional certification is for software professionals who want to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the area of software testing.
  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Level. AWS Certified Solutions Architect is an entry-level certification designed to validate technical expertise in designing, deploying, and managing applications and systems on the AWS platform.

Career path

PHP developers can move up the career ladder by becoming senior developers, lead developers, or architects. They can also move into other positions, such as project manager or system administrator. PHP Developers are the backbone of many web projects.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1257

2020 Employment199,400
Projected Employment in 2030224,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 13% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift25,500 increase

The trend for PHP developers is to move towards more full-stack development roles. This means that they are responsible for not only writing and maintaining code, but also working with other team members to ensure that the application meets all requirements.

PHP developers who are able to keep up with new technologies and trends will have the best job opportunities. They should also have expertise in at least one specific area of development, for example, security or databases.

The job outlook for PHP developers is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be a 13% increase in jobs for web developers from 2020 to 2030. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.