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How to get a job as a PHP developer

About the author: This guest post was provided by YouTeam. We are the world’s first marketplace for rapid engineering staff augmentation backed by Y Combinator and Horizon Capital. YouTeam allows fast-growing tech companies to ramp up engineering by instantly adding several co-located full-time contractors to the team. Check out our post on how to get a job as a PHP developer.

According to Web Technology Surveys, 79.1% of all websites use PHP as their primary scripting language. This percentage indicates that more than 34 million live websites use PHP and for good reason. PHP is an extremely suitable language for web development, especially because it can be embedded into HTML.

According to Stack Overflow, PHP is also one of the top 8 programming, scripting, and markup languages that are used by 26.4% of developers. Although JavaScript, Python, and SQL are extremely popular, PHP is still used by enormous online platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Wikipedia. 

For this reason, we have created this quick guide to the PHP language. We will start with the basics by exploring what PHP is and its similarity to other programming languages. Then, we will dive deeper into the primary responsibilities and skills of a PHP engineer and the average salary of this role. 

Moreover, we will examine the career opportunities for a PHP developer and the most popular frameworks to use. By the end of this article, you will be able to identify the best ways to land a job as a PHP developer. 

What is PHP?

PHP is a server-side scripting language that developers use to create dynamic web pages. It is amongst the most popular and developer-friendly open-source scripting languages. Because it is a server-side language, creating scripts happens at the server’s site. Then, the PHP code generates HTML, which displays on the browser. 

Thus, a PHP file can be used to write HTML code. Apart from that, PHP is compatible with other popular languages such as JavaScript and CSS. It is also the most suitable language to integrate databases like Oracle, MySQL, Sybase, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft SQL Server. As of February 2021, the current version is PHP 8.0.1. Although it is one of the most flexible and powerful computing languages, it is relatively easy to learn, and this is why many engineers use PHP for web development.

How is PHP similar to other languages

In a few words, PHP resembles C, C++, and Java. It’s also quite similar to JavaScript in terms of syntax. However, Python is identical to PHP in usage, which is why many engineers use Python as a substitute for PHP. It is essential to identify the company’s goals and priorities to choose the most appropriate language for a website. You should carefully map the software needs so you can make the right choice. 

Who is a PHP developer?

To start with a generic definition, a PHP developer is responsible for each project’s web-based programming applications. There are numerous responsibilities associated with this role.

The PHP developer is the person who writes the PHP scripts and code according to the client’s needs. Likewise, this type of engineer is responsible for creating safe PHP code and troubleshooting any errors. The developer also needs to understand software creation and website integration. Thus, script and code writing, optimization, and troubleshooting are all part of their development responsibilities.

PHP developer salaries in 2021

According to Glassdoor, a PHP developer’s average base salary in the US in 2021 is $73,506 per year. However, it is important to note that these average rates are influenced by different parameters. For example, PHP developer salaries vary based on the developer’s experience. According to, an entry-level PHP developer earns around $64K per year, while a much more experienced, senior developer has a yearly income of approximately $90K. For more guidance on how to negotiate, check out this guide.

PHP developer salaries in the United States from

In addition, developers with working experience in multiple languages are typically paid more. PHP/MySQL developers have a higher average base pay than PHP developers, earning around $77K/yr. PHP/SQL Web Database Developer can make $73K/yr.

Work areas for PHP developers

As a vast server-based language, PHP developers can work in several areas. PHP can be used in almost all famous operating systems like Linux, Solaris, Windows, MAC, etc. Let’s dive deeper into the different work areas that PHP offers:

  • Command-line scripting: As mentioned above, PHP is used to run the script without the need of a server program or browser. It is one of the most effective career paths in the PHP scripting language.
  • Server-side scripting: All the web-servers, browsers, and PHP parsers are programs included in the server-side scripting. For this reason, scripting is the area of building the foundation of a website. 
  • Desktop application development: PHP as a language can be utilized to develop desktop applications by monitoring performance. It’s where Graphic User Interface (GUI) is used to make efficient human-computer interactions.
  • Open-source: As an open-source scripting language, PHP is great for businesses that lack funds. Thus, web designers, webmasters, and web architects are all PHP candidates, as the community provides all the support needed.
  • Computer programming: Writing code for new products involves usage of C++ and Java languages. When you move to a managerial role, knowledge of PHP would be quite useful to understand the timeline for processes.

Top PHP web developer skills

PHP engineers utilize core scripting technologies, which are crucial for the creation and maintenance of websites. However, due to web apps’ complexity, it is rare for a PHP developer to use ‘vanilla’ (pure) PHP. There are numerous technologies a developer can use for different projects. Let’s have a look at those skills separately:

  • JavaScript/CSS/HTML: Front-end knowledge of web development is a crucial skill for PHP developers. Thus, experience with the fundamentals of websites (using a combination of PHP, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS) is a great advantage.
  • MySQL: MySQL knowledge is crucial, as PHP developers often have to work with the database.
  • Git: This is an essential tool used for version control.
  • jQuery: Developers use this for the creation of libraries, plugins, and visual effects.
  • APIs, Unix/Linux: PHP is compatible with Linux administration. Thus, maintaining Linux services can set the system to run PHP code.
  • Version control: Using CVS for version control and performing version control of software is crucial for the software development life cycle.
  • Soft skills: Apart from their development skills, a great PHP developer should have excellent soft skills. The collaboration between a PHP developer and other development team members is constant, and thus this person has to be a great team player. 

The most popular PHP frameworks/tools to use

A PHP framework is a platform where developers create PHP web applications. Likewise, the best PHP frameworks offer numerous code libraries to help developers avoid writing the mainly used functions inside code. It is a smart way to cut down the time PHP developers spend on writing the original code. Here is the list of the most reliable frameworks for 2021:  

  • Zend: Zend is a framework specially created for complex, enterprise-level projects. That is why large organizations and companies like banks prefer it.
  • Symfony: Symfony is the best choice for the developers of large-scale projects. It’s also one of the easiest to use and most flexible platforms on the list. 
  • Laravel: Laravel is probably the most popular PHP framework on the market. It includes everything a PHP developer needs and it is faster than most frameworks.
  • CodeIgniter: This is one of the best frameworks to develop dynamic websites due to its vast collection of prebuilt modules.
  • Yii: This is probably the easiest, high-performance framework available for web applications. 

How to land a job as a PHP developer

There are certain things a business looks at when hiring PHP developers. We have categorized those things to help you land a job as a PHP developer in no time. 

Create a well-organized resume 

The first thing you have to do is create a well-organized software engineer resume and make sure you include all your previous experience, skills, and client recommendations. Adjust your resume according to the job description so that you can put a higher importance on relevant experience.

Soft skill assessment

When hiring a PHP developer, interviewers are looking into technical skills and soft skills. Thus, it would help if you prepared something to share about your work experience, communication, and teamwork skills. Take into consideration that now most companies have remote work opportunities, or they are outsourcing. It would be helpful to prepare interview questions about remote work experience as a software developer. In addition, make sure to practice these software engineer interview questions from top tech companies.

Online coding tools

Although your soft skills are essential for a company, verifying your hard skills is crucial too. Many companies use online coding tools to assess your skills through real-time tests, like Codility, HackerRank, and ChallengeRocket. Thus, you could have a look at those platforms to be prepared.

In this article, we explored PHP developers’ roles, responsibilities, skills, and average base salaries for 2021. Ultimately, we analyzed all the career opportunities in PHP, the most popular frameworks to use, and the best tips to follow to land a PHP developer job.

Pathrise is a full service organization that helps people land their dream job in tech. We work extensively with software engineers by providing technical workshops, 1-on-1 mentoring sessions, and pair programming sessions. In addition, we offer guidance on other components of the job search, including resume and portfolio optimization, LinkedIn optimization, behavioral interview preparation, reverse recruiting strategies, salary negotiation, and more.

Apply today.

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Derrick Mar

Before tackling the challenge of building the technical infrastructure of Pathrise as the CEO, Derrick was a software engineer at Facebook, where he was one of the founding engineers of the team responsible for the first ever 3D Facebook posts. Before that, Derrick explored the intersection of AI and education, founding AI Grading, a platform that optimizes the grading and analysis of student practice exams in the test prep industry, and also working as one of the earliest software engineers at Gradescope.

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