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How to Become a PHP Developer

by Administrator /  Useful Resources

How to become a PHP developer intro image

The choice to become a PHP developer is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make.

It’s a career path with rather demanding requirements, but also great rewards. Thanks to the widespread popularity and broad range of applications of the PHP programming language, PHP developers will continue to be in high demand.

But what exactly is a PHP developer and what is it that they do? In this article, we will answer these and other questions to help you plot your course to becoming a PHP developer.

What is a PHP Developer?

A PHP developer specializes in the development and implementation of software, applications, or websites using the PHP programming language. PHP developers are often referred to as web developers or software developers.

PHP Developer Training

To become a PHP developer, you’re going to need some training. 

Typically, you would need to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related discipline. A degree is particularly important if you wish to work as a PHP developer in a corporate setting.

In addition to relevant training, employers and clients value candidates that have proven industry experience. So, to get better opportunities and working conditions, you should gather as much hands-on experience as you can.

As a developer, you can start acquiring experience with the PHP programming language already when you’re a student. For example, you can go through internships, various university projects, or vocational training. You can also acquire skills through online courses and job platforms.

Companies are always searching for affordable PHP developers and many offer opportunities to acquire practical experience on a project-by-project basis, which can be a good way for you to start gathering work experience before moving on to bigger projects.

PHP Developer Skills

To really succeed at PHP development or PHP programming, developers require specific skills and expertise. These include both hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are “learned abilities acquired and enhanced through practice, repetition, and education.” They are the types of skills that show up on professional resumes. As a PHP developer, the hard skills you need, include:

  • PHP programming
  • PHP development
  • MySQL
  • Knowledge in CSS, HTML, and JavaScript
  • jQuery
  • Unix/Linux, APIs, and MVC framework architecture
  • PHPUnit
  • CakePHP
  • Experience using design tools such as Photoshop

Soft skills are “character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person’s relationships with other people. In the workplace, soft skills are considered to be a complement to hard skills.” One way to remember the distinction is that hard skills constitute what people know while soft skills have more to do with who they are.

Here are some of the most critical soft skills that you’ll require as a PHP developer:

  • Communication. This includes the ability to speak clearly and listen to what others are saying.
  • Teamwork. No matter what specific role you’re playing as a PHP developer, you will need to work with other people at some point. Whether it’s other developers, designers, or those without a technical background, developers need to work well in a team setting to achieve success.
  • Open-mindedness. One of the benefits of teamwork is the opportunity to share knowledge. To benefit in this setting, as a PHP developer, you must be receptive to others’ ideas and viewpoints.
  • Time management and organization. In today’s economy, PHP developers increasingly work in unstructured environments. To achieve the same efficiency as in a traditional work setting, you’ll require excellent organization and time management skills.

Although soft skills are supposedly related to who a person is, they can still be learned and developed. So, don't let a lack in any of the skills above hold you back from becoming a PHP developer if that's what you desire.

PHP Development Job Responsibilities 

Before you become a PHP developer, it’s important to understand what a PHP developer does. While job responsibilities can vary greatly depending on the type of development work that a PHP developer handles (i.e., software versus web applications), some common PHP developer tasks include:

  • Developing, implementing, and maintaining PHP web applications.
  • Identifying and resolving compatibility issues involving HTML, CSS, and scripting.
  • Evaluating business requirements and researching architectural considerations relating to design, performance, and usability.
  • Testing websites and web applications across devices to ensure adequate performance and usability.
  • Writing object-oriented PHP and SQL.
  • Documenting both non-technical and technical specifications and procedures.
  • Developing client-specific interfaces, workflows, and data analysis libraries.
  • Addressing all PHP-related development issues.
  • Collaborating with other stakeholders to ensure quality and timeliness.

PHP Web Development Tools

PHP developers use a broad range of web development tools in their everyday work. Some commonly used web development tools include:

  • PHPJabbers. PHPJabbers offers a full spectrum of web development services to clients located around the world. Their website also provides a massive virtual library of PHP scripts, software solutions, and free web tools, and other webmaster resources that help PHP developers to build great websites and applications.
  • Zend Studio. Zend is a PHP integrated development environment (IDE) for PHP 5.5 and newer. It provides a broad range of features including intelligent code editing, interoperability, debugging, and profiling, and makes it easy to deploy apps on private and public clouds.
  • NetBeans. NetBeans is an IDE for Java. The web development tool provides useful editors, wizards, and templates to help Developers create applications in PHP, Java, and other programming languages. NetBeans can be installed on any operating system that supports Java, such as Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • PHPStorm. PHPStorm is also an IDE that works well with a broad range of PHP frameworks such as Zend, Symfony, CakePHP, and Laravel, as well as leading Content Management Systems (CMS) including WordPress and Magento.
  • AngularJS. AngularJS is a JavaScript-based open-source web framework that is used to develop single-page applications. AngularJS is maintained by Google. After December 31, 2021, Google will no longer update the web development tool to fix security or jQuery issues. After December 31st, users should upgrade to Angular V2+.
  • Eclipse. Eclipse is one of the most powerful and robust PHP web development tools. Developers can select from a broad range of plugins to simplify the development process. And a cross-platform PHP editor helps Developers to streamline their work on large-scale PHP projects.

PHP Developer Salary

As a PHP developer, you can earn a very decent salary. According to ZipRecruiter, as of August 2021, the average annual salary for a PHP developer in the United States is $86,003 per year. There is, however, a significant variation between the top and bottom earners. Most PHP developer salaries range from $65,000 (25th percentile) to $119,000 (90th percentile) per year.

Your salary can depend on many factors. For instance, the size of the employer or client, location, deliverables, and job responsibilities.

How to Become a PHP Developer

If you have read the above and become familiar with the work of a PHP developer and you’re still interested in becoming a PHP developer, then it’s important to follow a concrete framework for success. Here’s a 3-step plan to help you get started on your new career path.

Step One: Learn the PHP Programming Language 

A thorough understanding of the PHP programming language is crucial to your success as a PHP developer.

As mentioned above, PHP developers typically earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject, such as computer science or software engineering. But what if you’re many years removed from school and the idea of returning to earn a degree doesn’t appeal to you all that much?

Well, then you can always learn on your own.

The best way to learn PHP is to gain practical experience. There are many online resources that help you learn the PHP programming language, through tutorials and how-to guides. For instance, PHPJabbers offers many free tutorials and tools to help you learn PHP and gain hands-on experience. You can start practicing with simple coding and work your way up to more sophisticated applications.

Step Two: Gain Experience and Create a Portfolio

While you also need formal work experience to bolster your resume, it’s important to practice on your own in order to gain as much hands-on development experience as you can. This is especially true if your resume isn’t very long yet.

So, in order to help you increase your chances of landing steady PHP development work, you should create a portfolio based on the projects you have worked on. Your portfolio should include the paid work you’ve done for clients, but you can build your first portfolio with the practice projects you did to gain experience. 

If your resume isn’t very long yet, it may be possible to find a position that places more weight on relevant work experience. This is where your portfolio could come in especially handy.

And keep in mind that even if you have a bachelor’s degree, it’s still important to acquire practical development experience – there’s just no substitute for experience.

Step Three: Get Certified 

Once you have learned the PHP programming language and acquired practical experience, you should get certified. A PHP certification is a formal credential that shows you’re an expert in the use of PHP and therefore can help you land a job. The minimum requirements for becoming a certified PHP developer are a high school diploma or GED – and of course thorough knowledge of the PHP language itself.

To get certified, you should first select a certification program. Many organizations that offer PHP certifications also offer educational courses, so you can learn PHP and get the certificate in one go.

Some of the most popular certifications include Zend Certified PHP Engineer, W3Schools PHP Certification, and a PHP Developer Certification from LinkedIn Learning. When choosing the best PHP certification program, consider the learning format, time commitment, cost, and appropriate skill level.

Regardless of the program that you choose, you will need to earn a passing grade on the certification exam. It’s important to study throughly to ensure that you’re comfortable with the material and prepared for the test.

Final Thoughts 

The decision to become a PHP developer will set you up for an exciting and challenging career. The popularity of the PHP programming language virtually ensures that your services will always be in demand. If you feel like you do not currently meet the requirements to become a PHP developer, do not let that overwhelm you. PHP developer job requirements and responsibilities can vary greatly by employer. The important thing is to develop a plan of action and take incremental steps to achieve your dream.

Make use of the tools and resources that are available to you. PHPJabbers is a great resource for both beginners and experienced PHP developers. Use the platform’s free tutorials, tools, scripts, and web templates to improve your skills and further your career.

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2 Comments to "How to Become a PHP Developer"

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justyourguy / November 20, 2022 at 02:56 am

There do not seem to be any free php tutorials on your website as your blog states . . .

"Make use of the tools and resources that are available to you. PHPJabbers is a great resource for both beginners and experienced PHP developers. Use the platform’s free tutorials, tools, scripts, and web templates to improve your skills and further your career.

Are you no longer offering them?

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