How to Hire PHP Developer: Best Practices, Interview Questions, Locations, and Rates

php

Hiring a capable programmer is always a challenge as finding out one’s true talent and resourcefulness is often possible only once he or she starts working for your company.

However, professional recruiters of Qubit Labs know many secret hacks that will allow you to hire a PHP programmer hassle-free and in full compliance with your company’s needs.

Read on to learn where to find PHP developers at affordable rates, what a reasonable PHP developer salary is, and what interview questions may give you a hint at the true expertise of your candidates.

Who Is a PHP Developer?

First, let’s get clear about what kind of specialist a PHP developer is.

This is a person able to develop programs, applications, and web resources with the help of the PHP programming language.
PHP engineers may be universal or specializing in software development/web development only.

As in any other field of programming, PHP coders may be specialists of junior, middle, and senior levels.

So, you need to be perfectly sure about the level of expertise needed for your project since the senior PHP developer salary may be times higher than the remuneration of a mid-level specialist.

Here is a quick snapshot on the duties of PHP developers of each seniority level:

Junior PHP developer:

  • Time management, teamwork, effective communication
  • Analytical thinking, strategic planning, problem-solving, multitasking
  • Ability to write PHP code, conduct testing and debugging
  • Implementation of front-end interfaces from design mockups
  • Realization of technical solutions upon business requirements
  • Collaboration with designers on code customization
  • Solid knowledge of the server-side processes and programming
  • Design of web page mockups and their transformation into functional pages

Middle PHP developer:

  • Over 2 years of PHP development experience
  • A good command of HTML, CSS, JS frameworks, jQuery, and parsing XML
  • OOP skills
  • Practical expertise in MySQL, PostgreSQL, Kanban process, code refactoring, unit tests writing
  • English language proficiency
  • Ability to work on projects of varying scale and size
  • Ability to produce and update technical documentation
  • Task estimation and timely completion, effective team communication, reporting to superiors

Senior PHP developer:

  • 6+ years of practical experience with PHP, MySQL, and the LAMP stack
  • Advanced OOP skills
  • Practical expertise in work with Git, JS frameworks, Laravel, WordPress
  • Advanced skills in heavy PHP resources’ customization
  • Quick learning and adaptation to new technology
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science/Technology (mostly optional).

Is PHP Still Alive?

Today’s technology market is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and many critics fear that the times of PHP are long gone.

So, is there sense in investing in PHP and creating PHP resources, or are they doomed to becoming obsolete in the near future?

octoverse 2019
Popular programming languages according to Octoverse 2019

Though many new technologies are quickly gaining momentum, PHP still remains in the top 10 languages of programming worldwide, as GitHub and TIOBE rankings suggest.

The GitHub rating suggests that PHP remained on its stable 4th place throughout 2015-2018, which implies its stability and points at the relevance of its use in today’s projects.

TIOBE’s experts gave PHP the 8th place in the February 2019 ranking (as compared to the 7th place in February 2018), which also suggests that the language is still popular and demanded globally.

tiobe 2019
Progamming lanugage rating by TIOBE 2019

The reasons for which PHP remains high in popularity and demand are as follows:

  1. Its open-source, user-friendly nature
  2. Universality and total flexibility of PHP hosting
  3. Its perfect compatibility with a variety of Apache, IIS and MySQL interfaces
  4. Its comparative ease for learning by beginners
  5. Independence from platforms
  6. High level suitability for the web development
  7. Ability to host numerous helpful CMS platforms including Drupal and WordPress
  8. Extendibility and a high level of control for the web developer
  9. Low costs for development and maintenance combined with high performance and impressive reliability
  10. Advanced OOP support.

All these benefits speak confidently in favor of PHP’s continued use in technology projects, which means that it’s high time for you to find a PHP coder for hire.

Where to Find PHP Developers?

There are numerous ways to hire a PHP developer you need, and numerous places to search for required specialists.

Here is a brief review of most popular approaches:

Job Boards

The easiest way to get into direct contact with PHP coders across the globe is to search for relevant PHP developers’ resumes on the job boards or to place your vacancy on the corresponding job board.

However, such a search may be too overwhelming given that job boards may include literally thousands of resumes and jobs.

So, we recommend narrowing down your search and selecting the job boards specifically for the country in which you are looking for a specialist.

You may find a helpful list of job boards here.

The bonuses of such recruitment include the direct contact with candidates and ability to find affordable rates, while the minuses of this model include its lengthiness and cost of time you waste on resume reviews and interviewing.

Freelance

You may also find numerous PHP coders at freelance platforms.

The largest international resources for the freelancer search include:

Freelancer.com
freelancer_com

It’s a huge global platform where you can find proper talent for any work that can be completed distantly.

To date, it boasts over 14 million completed projects and over 30 million trusted users collaborating on the platform to find specialists or get hired.

Upwork
upwork

Upwork emerged as a symbiosis of two large freelance platforms – Elance and oDesk.

Here, both businesses and independent professionals collaborate on a range of projects.

As of 2019, Upwork has over 12 million registered freelancers from all corners of the world servicing over 5 million clients.

You may also use an option of limiting the job to only U.S. or only UK candidates.

Hubstaff Talent
hubstaff talent

This platform is a relatively new actor in the freelancing market; it’s 100% free and does not take any commission from clients or freelancers, which is a significant bonus for users.

However, Hubstaff also does not feature any internal work; it only helps clients and workers get in contact with one another, while communication and collaboration takes place directly.

The benefits of this approach include a vast choice of specialists worldwide, but the major disadvantage is that in most cases, you will be able to hire only a freelancer, while most tech companies still prefer to have in-house coders for easier management and coordination of the development project.

Project-based Outsourcing

This type of collaboration with PHP programmers presupposes outsourcing of a concrete project to a developer or a team outside the company’s main staff.

Such a model is suitable for short projects in which the product/outcome matters much more than a team completing it.

However, the minus that every employer should take into account is the illusion of choice; while you select the outsourcing company, it still has a ready team to work on the project, so you don’t have an opportunity to compile a team according to your preferences and requirements.

Dedicated Team

This mode of recruitment is more suitable for long-term development projects.

Coders are hired specifically for the client’s project needs and in compliance with specific project requirements with full regard to the candidate’s soft and hard skills.

The only disadvantage of this hiring model is that it requires time to find PHP developers fitting a specific set of requirements.

However, this minus quickly pays off: all clients report it is much easier and more enjoyable to work with custom-recruited teams.

How to Hire a PHP Programmer: Step-by-Step Instruction

Hiring a PHP coder is process, and the success of its outcome depends on taking a set of concrete steps:

  1. Compose the job description (requirements on the experience, technology knowledge, and the number of needed developers)
  2. Stipulate the team structure (i.e., the number of programmers, whether a project manager is needed, or the client will manage a team on his/her own)
  3. Choose a vendor based on your requirements (such as time zone, country, work terms)
  4. Sign the contract and NDA
  5. Get acquainted with your recruiter and account manager (these may be two separate persons or one specialist)
  6. Explain to the recruiter which developer you are looking for (i.e., soft skills, professional knowledge and experience)
  7. Stay in touch with the recruiter and conduct a regular review of PHP coders’ resumes
  8. Hold job interviews
  9. Hire the candidate
  10. Conduct the onboarding meeting to introduce the new team member to the team and get him/her up to speed.

20 Interview Questions for PHP Programmers

As soon as a number of job candidates are found and the time to interview them and make hiring decisions comes, you’d rather prepare for this seriously.

The job interview is the best opportunity to find out more about each candidate, to assess their true competence, and to understand whether they are the right fit for your development team.

Here is a short list of guiding questions that may help you out:

  1. What is PHP?
  2. With which programming languages does PHP share commonalities?
  3. What do you like PHP for?
  4. What limitations of PHP do you know and how do you usually address them?
  5. What does PEAR stand for?
  6. Which tag is most commonly embedding PHP into HTML?
  7. Which types of errors happen in PHP and how do they differ from one another?
  8. Is PHP an OOP language?
  9. Can maximum execution time be set in the PHP script?
  10. How can you export data from PHP into Excel?
  11. What is the difference between “get” and “post” commands?
  12. How can error reporting be activated in PHP?
  13. What do you need to use the image function in PHP?
  14. How can you display text with a PHP script?
  15. Can you connect to a MySQL database from a PHP script? How is this done?
  16. How can you check whether the given variable is empty?
  17. Can you remove HTML tags from the data?
  18. How do you initiate a PHP session?
  19. Can you use the COM component in PHP?
  20. Can you destroy a cookie in PHP?

Keep in mind that these are only some initial questions to check the candidate’s general knowledge of PHP and his/her attitude to the programming language.

You can add a series of more specific/more advanced questions depending on the seniority level of the candidate and give them some practical coding problems/tasks to verify their competencies.

How Many PHP Developers Are There In The World?

It goes without saying that recruitment is much more convenient in locations with an abundant supply of specialists.

It may be cheaper to hire a PHP coder in a small country or city, but if you are directed at growth and expansion, the choice of proper specialists may be limited some time soon.

According to LinkedIn estimates, the following countries are leaders in the PHP coder supply:

  • Ukraine – 9,014 specialists
  • USA – 8,796 specialists
  • UK – 5,162 specialists
  • Germany – 2,544 specialists
  • Canada – 2,337 specialists
  • Australia – 1,906 specialists

Other countries can boast a much smaller number of available PHP coders (e.g., there are only 819 PHP experts registered on LinkedIn in Israel; 367 experts – in Switzerland, 300 experts – in Sweden, etc.).

So, we recommend taking a closer look at the markets with a more abundant talent supply and to select the host country with a perfect combination of education/expertise and pay rates.

Salaries by Country

Now let’s dwell on a more sensitive topic – the PHP developer salary. We all want to save costs and get a perfect employee for a reasonable pay. But what rate is reasonable for each seniority level? And how do PHP development rates differ by country? Here is a quick snapshot into the geography of PHP coder salaries:

PHP Developer Salary in Germany

In Germany, the PHP coders’ rates are considerable, with junior PHP coders charging from $52,000 to $56,000 on average, and the middle-level PHP coding rates constituting $64,000-65,000.

Expect to pay more to a senior-level PHP programmer; here, such specialists charge $72,000-$78,000.

CityJunior PHP DeveloperMiddle PHP DeveloperSenior PHP Developer
Berlin$55,000$64,000$76,000
Frankfurt$52,000$65,000$78,000
Munich$56,000$64,000$72,000

PHP Developer Salary in UK

If you intend to hire a PHP engineer in the UK, be ready to pay them $20,000-$33,000 per year (price fluctuate considerably depending on the city of the coder’s residence).

Middle-level PHP programmers cost $31,000-$62,000 here (with the highest rates in London), while the senior-level PHP programmers earn $42,000-$55,000 per year on average, with the London rates again standing out significantly ($98,000 per year).

CityJunior PHP DeveloperMiddle PHP DeveloperSenior PHP Developer
London$33,000$62,000$98,000
Liverpool$31,000$43,000$55,000
Edinburgh$25,000$38,000$51,000
Glasgow$20,000$31,000$42,000
Birmingham$30,000$40,000$51,000

PHP Developer Salary in Israel

Israeli PHP programmers charge highly competitive rates, and a junior-level PHP specialist may cost your company around $20,000 per year.

Middle-level PHP expertise is valued at $40,000-44,000 here, while senior-level specialists charge times more, around $58,000-$61,000 per year.

CityJunior PHP DeveloperMiddle PHP DeveloperSenior PHP Developer
Tel Aviv$20,000$40,000$61,000
Jerusalem$29,000$44,000$58,000

PHP Developer Salary in Canada

Canadian PHP coders charge from $22,000 to $35,000 for the work of junior level, while middle-level specialists cost $48,000-$52,000 per year.

You can also find a senior PHP engineer in this country for $66,000 (in Montreal), but in other cities, their rates exceed the $70,000 threshold.

CityJunior PHP DeveloperMiddle PHP DeveloperSenior PHP Developer
Montreal$34,000$50,000$66,000
Ottawa$35,000$52,000$74,000
Toronto$22,000$48,000$75,000

PHP Developer Salary in the USA

The U.S. rates of PHP programmers also range broadly depending on the geography.

In NYC, a junior-level PHP coder may cost you $40,000 per year, while a programmer in San Francisco may charge $64,000 for the same work.

The same situation is observed with middle-level PHP salaries ($81,000 charged by Chicago coders and $120,000 by San Francisco specialists) and senior-level specialists (here the rates range broadly from $119,000 per year in Seattle to $180,000 per year in San Francisco).

CityJunior PHP DeveloperMiddle PHP DeveloperSenior PHP Developer
Atlanta$47,000$84,000$122,000
New York$40,000$101,000$152,000
Los Angeles$51,000$93,000$135,000
Chicago$39,000$81,000$123,000
San Francisco$64,000$120,000$180,000
Seattle$55,000$87,000$119,000

As you can see, the highest rates are charged by PHP developers in Germany (and many other European countries that this research did not cover), the UK, and in the USA.
When considering these salaries, please bear in mind several factors that affect the PHP development rates:

  • Location
  • Number of developers in the country (the fewer, the higher they evaluate their work)
  • Experience and development skills
  • Mode of recruitment (freelancers may charge lower rates, but hourly payment makes it impossible to estimate the project’s budget precisely. So, if you hire a specialist with the help of an IT staffing vendor, you may be totally confident about the pay rate).

Resumes

Recruiters of Qubit Labs are ready to provide professional assistance in finding and reviewing PHP coder CVs in compliance with your project requirements. Here you download and study several samples of resumes of PHP specialists to understand the expertise and skills they possess.

PHP Developer resume 1

PHP Developer resume 2

PHP Developer resume 3

Conclusion

If you are struggling to find a proper PHP coder to your team, no need to search anymore.

Qubit Labs is at your service with competent recruiters, a solid expertise in tech experts’ recruitment, and a ready package of time- and cost-efficient solutions for all kinds of businesses.

Let’s compile your dream development team together, in record time and within your budget!

Contact us today to get detailed consultation on all questions and to start a productive partnership on PHP developer recruitment.

Elena Kononchuk
Recruiting Team Leader
Elena is a recruiter and head hunter with experience in providing full cycle of recruiting process, managing candidates pipelines, creating and executing multichannel sourcing strategy to find candidates meeting client’s needs.