The popular scripting language PHP, has been in the market for 25 years. Like Python, PHP is also a programming language developed by Rasmus Lerdorf as his side project in the 1990s.
Although language usage may have been declining over the years, Stack Overflow has shown that PHP is still among the top ten scripting, programming, and markup languages available.
It is used by major websites such as Facebook and Wikipedia and the world’s most significant open-source projects, such as Drupal and WordPress.
PHP development is trendy now, and many freelancers are involved in PHP development. You may be curious to know about How to become a PHP Developer? But If you want to be a successful independent PHP developer, you need to understand more than just PHP. Here are six essential skills you need to succeed as a PHP developer.
Knowledge of Other Programming Languages
Familiarity with these languages will also help you better understand how they affect the ultimate goal of most programming projects (which is the user experience).
Understanding the database (primarily MySQL but common alternatives such as Oracle and PostgreSQL) is also essential. In short, acquiring and maintaining comprehensive technical skills is a meaningful way to become a valuable development team member.
You can be a genius with PHP code, but if you do not know how to communicate with others, it can be challenging to work effectively on a team project.
You need to be able to talk to your clients, bosses, and colleagues to understand your project or business goals, ask questions and describe how your work fits into a broader range of products.
Remember that even if you are most comfortable when behind a screen, good communication requires speaking over the phone, through video conference, or in person, as well as through messaging apps and email.
Problem Solving Skills
Learning the “hard” technical skills is one aspect of becoming a leading PHP developer, but you cannot be at the top without the right combination of “soft” skills.
One of them is problem-solving, which is the foundation of all web development. PHP developers face unexpected problems that need to be solved. How you address these problems plays a vital role in the value of the development project.
Critical thinking (where you can analyse and evaluate different solutions to a problem to find the most effective solution) is also vital for writing high-quality code.
Get Comfortable with Composer, PSR, PHPUnit
These are some of the tools that make you a better PHP developer. Composer is a dependency manager that manages libraries, functions, and classes, making it easy for you to install different versions of each on a per-project basis.
Composer checks for new versions of these libraries and updates them as needed. You can find a list of ready-made packages compatible with Composer. The PHP Standard Recommendation (PSR) is a PHP specification that aims to standardize PHP programming concepts and improve the interoperability of PHP frameworks and components.
It is published by the PHP Framework Interoperability Group (PHP-FIG). There are currently 13 recognized standards, each with its purpose. PHP developers must learn and follow these standards to reduce unnecessary variants in their PHP code.
At the same time, PHPUnit is a popular unit testing framework for automatically testing small units of code based on expected results. Unit testing is a good practice for a PHP developer like you and can be used in a Test-Driven Development (TDD) approach where tests are run even before the code is written.
Networking with other freelance PHP designers and web development freelancers in other disciplines can help you find more referrals and jobs. Use Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to connect with other developers and customers you work or collaborate with in the past. In the highly competitive job market, networking skills are invaluable.
Get Grip with PHP Best Practices and Design Patterns
Design patterns are very useful in all software development, including PHP. You can speed up development by providing repeatable solutions to common problems.
It also helps improve the readability of the code by identifying patterns used by other developers. Some of the most common design patterns in PHP applications include Factory, Strategy, and Singleton, but many other problems exist.
More generally, when using different PHP frameworks, you can save time by looking for best practices. The language has existed for more than 20 years, and behind it is a huge community. Make the most of this language so as not to make the same mistakes as others did.
What is the Future of PHP?
According to DAXX statistics, there were more than 5 million PHP developers worldwide in 2013, but this number increased to 5.5 million in September 2018. For comparison, the number of software developers worldwide reached 23 million in 2018, 26.4 million in 2019 and expected to reach 27.7 million by the end of 2023, regardless of knowledge of the software development language. New languages may emerge, but PHP is always there, especially if it continues to evolve into more modern languages.
PHP Developer Salary
PHP developers are well paid for their jobs, and there are huge opportunities for you to grow.
According to the Glassdoor survey, in the United States, the annual salary of PHP developers is US$74,126, while in India, the annual salary of PHP developers is Rs 265,507.
According to the Glassdoor article, junior PHP developers (inexperienced and just getting started) can make an average of $74,000 per year.
In contrast, senior PHP developers can make an average of $114,000 per year. Keep in mind that these salaries may be higher or lower, depending on the company’s size, local needs, location, etc.
These six skills are essential for PHP developers. Web development is a highly competitive field and breaking in at the lower levels is challenging. Once you master these skills and start your career as an independent PHP developer, you will enjoy exciting jobs and high salaries.