Career advice for PHP Developers

by Heat Recruitment

Starting your career in PHP development? You’re in luck. In a digitally-driven society, the ability to write computer programs is one of the most sought-after skills in business. With numerous studies indicating a serious skills shortage across the digital sphere, web developers are in high demand.

Despite facing increased competition from the likes of Python, Ruby and Javascript, PHP is well regarded as one of the most powerful programming tools for web development; its open-source nature making it a transferrable skill that professionals in this sphere can use across softwares such as MySQL, Apache and Linux systems. Today, more than 20 million domains use PHP with sites such as Facebook and Wikipedia powered by this ever-popular programming language.

For aspiring web developers and software engineers, it goes without saying that learning PHP frameworks can open the doors to a range of exciting opportunities. Whether you’re a self-taught developer, are fresh from graduation or are looking to retrain in programming, the following tips will help to guide you through your career path as a PHP developer.

Learning the language

The first step in your career is to decide in which OS you want to start programming. Operating systems today vary significantly from one to the next, so it’s important to choose wisely. In time, you will likely aim to diversify your skillset and expand to other systems, whether that’s macOS, Windows or Ubuntu.

PHP is used across a diverse range of platforms and therefore, it’s not easy for a budding developer to determine which to specialise in. The most popular platforms include WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, but those who opt for framework could be well-versed in Laravel, Symfony, Zend, auraphpand Phalcon to name but a few. Of course, before you start learning the advanced functions, you’ll want to get familiar with the basics in HTML and CSS as they are closely linked.

If you are unsure on where to start, it’s a good idea to browse through job ads to determine which are the most demanded from employers or get in touch with a specialist recruiter in the industry – they will be able to provide guidance and advice on what skills are needed and what companies seek from junior backend developers.

Building the foundations

Considering the number of industries in which a PHP developer can apply their skills, your career prospects in this discipline are vast. A bachelor’s degree in IT or software engineering is certainly advantageous as most companies will list this as a prerequisite, but it may be possible to secure a role with the right experience. On the other hand, self-employment in this discipline solely requires commitment to self-learning, and a strong portfolio could even speak louder than a degree.

If your heart is set on landing your dream job in PHP, refining your skills through a course that provides you with knowledge in computer science, web programming, object-oriented development and operating systems can set you up for a strong start to your career. With the number of online and classroom-based courses available today, you won’t be hard-pressed to find the learning resources you need to start building your skills.

Progressing your career

If building websites and the designing the dynamic visual elements of applications sounds like an exciting career, becoming a PHP developer could be the right choice. As well as specialist expertise in systems and frameworks, a career in PHP development demands strong maths, reasoning and analytical skills. Since PHP development usually takes place in a team environment, soft skills such as communication and organisational abilities will only make you more attractive to companies in need of digital talent.

Upon graduation or completion of a training course, it’s usually a good idea to gain experience in a junior development role where you can learn the basics before deciding whether you want to climb the career ladder in employment or start building a portfolio in preparation for a freelance career.

Remember, the more strings you can add to your bow, the more eager a company will be to take you on board. As such, developers looking to take the next step in their professional career should boast a knowledge of APIs, extensive experience with responsive design frameworks and proficiency in other key programming languages such as HTML5 and Javascript.

by Glen Pearse