How to become a PHP developer (plus example skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

PHP is a widely-used programming language that manages and creates dynamic information, such as databases. You may also use it in building complete websites. If you're interested in a career in PHP development, familiarising yourself with the abilities of successful PHP developers can help you prepare for an interview. In this article, we discuss how to become a PHP developer, highlight some important skills and explore how to enhance and emphasise them when you're looking for a job.

Related: What does a PHP developer do?

How to become a PHP developer

If you've decided to pursue a career as a PHP developer, you may take the following steps:

1. Get a bachelor's degree

Typically, you require an undergraduate degree in an appropriate field, such as programming, software engineering or computer science. Many employers may not require a degree, but they may want proof of prior employment in these disciplines. Even if a degree isn't a requirement, the skills you learn through study can benefit your career.

2. Learn the PHP language

You can start learning PHP as a beginner. Many colleges, adult education programmes and distance learning institutes offer online resources and classes. There are a variety of basic and advanced PHP courses to choose from.

3. Practise what you've learned

Put your new found knowledge to use. As you practise PHP, you may feel more familiar with it. Begin with a simple piece of code, and as your knowledge of the language grows, move on to more complex projects.

4. Get certified

Those who want to be PHP developers can take a course. Certifications are an excellent way of proving that your have desirable skills to an employer. Certifications in PHP specifically or more generalised scripting can be beneficial.

Related: How much does a web developer make? (With related jobs)

Skills for a PHP developer

A career in PHP programming requires the following set of skills:

HTML, CSS and JavaScript knowledge

Developing a working experience of the languages used to generate web pages, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript, can give you a better understanding of how coding languages interact on websites. These languages can also help you get experience in other aspects of web development.

PHP frameworks expertise

You may use frameworks (also known as platforms) to construct PHP applications, which can help you improve your coding productivity and accuracy. When developing an application with a framework, it's common for you to leverage a PHP library's code. These frameworks speed up the development process.

Database languages skills

PHP developers frequently use PHP to construct, update and maintain online databases. Acquiring knowledge of database languages can help you in completing these tasks. A general understanding of data best practices is also beneficial.

Web server knowledge

Web server knowledge is a component of full-stack programming ability. As a PHP developer, this may help you provide information to employers who take a holistic approach to web development. Web server experience can help you gain server-side PHP experience, which can help you land a job as a PHP developer.

Content management systems expertise

Experience and knowledge of content management systems (CMS) can help you in developing and maintaining bespoke apps that streamline a business's content management procedures. You can use your CMS expertise to create responsive plug-ins. Your work with CMS may assist other employees who use the system daily within a business.

Graphic design skills

PHP developers may build visuals for their apps and websites using graphic design tools. You can use these tools to build any aspect of a web application, from the back-end code to the front-end visuals. This skill enables you to work independently for a corporation or freelancer.

Communication skills

Developing PHP requires excellent communication skills, regardless of whether you work alone or in a team. Communication via email and chat might help you convey information more clearly than verbally. It can also improve your ability to interact with other departments.

Related: Web designer vs. web developer: understanding the difference

Project management skills

Management experience shows that prospective employers can track and complete PHP duties autonomously. Here are some other project management skills to consider:

  • Leadership: Ensure that you possess effective leadership skills. This ability can assist you in managing other team members throughout a project.

  • Delegation: This is a critical component of project management. It enables you to delegate responsibilities to others.

  • Risk management: Your ability to recognise and manage business risks is important. It can help you in completing tasks.

  • Cost control: Another critical skill for PHP developers is managing a project's costs. This ability helps you to avoid financial losses.

  • Quality management: This involves you overseeing your work and the overall quality of the project. This skill might help you in managing coding tasks.

Business acumen

Working knowledge of business operations and finances might help you in establishing yourself as a freelance PHP development contractor. It enables you to produce a more attractive cover letter. You can describe how your abilities can help a firm to achieve its goals or resolve an issue.

Collaboration skills

Many PHP development initiatives require the collaboration of different web development professionals. The ability to operate in a team environment allows you to contribute effectively. It also means that you can accept feedback from others and work towards a common goal.

Organisation skills

Web development careers frequently involve meeting deadlines. Organisational skills can help you in writing correct code and delivering it on time. These skills can also help you manage your time effectively.

Problem-solving skills

PHP developers can use their problem-solving skills to debug code issues and guarantee that a website or application functions properly. Problem-solving allows you to collaborate with others to accomplish a web development task. This skill may also resolve issues that arise during the project.

Critical thinking skills

Web development benefits from critical thinking skills in the following areas:

  • Web app planning and design: Critical thinking skills can help in developing a simple project plan. A detailed plan might assist you in avoiding logical flaws in your code.

  • Debugging code: It's the job of a PHP developer to find and fix syntax and logical mistakes in code that does not work. Debugging can be more successful if you can think critically.

  • Adaptability: Critical thinking skills can also help PHP developers to adapt to advances in web development. This skill can also help you adapt to unanticipated coding challenges.

Related: 10 of the most in-demand coding languages and their uses

Ways to enhance your PHP proficiency

The following are some ways to enhance your PHP proficiency:

  • Take a web authoring course: You can enrol in a course to study the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If you've already taken a course, you can brush up on your existing web development abilities.

  • Stay informed of recent developments: New technologies constantly change the web development landscape. As a PHP developer, you can increase your chances of getting a job by keeping up with the latest programming languages, methods and tools.

  • Learn about databases: Enrol in a course if your understanding of database management and programming languages is weak. You can also research these subjects to increase your knowledge.

  • Practise coding: PHP and other programming languages require practice. You can improve these languages by practising often and completing projects.

  • Reflect on your communication habits: Reflect on how you communicate in professional settings and determine where there's room for improvement.

Related: 6 essential backend developer skills and how to improve them

How to emphasise your PHP developer skills in your CV

The following are some ways to highlight your PHP talents in a CV, cover letter or job interview:

1. PHP developer skills for a CV

When writing your CV, you can include some skills that highlight your PHP development abilities. These skills include version control, data cleaning, database design, APIs and model-view-controller architecture. These skills may help you distinguish yourself as the best applicant for that position.

2. PHP developer skills for a cover letter

Here are some pointers on how to incorporate PHP expertise into your cover letter:

  • Show your experience: You can use examples from past projects when writing your cover letter. You can also show, rather than explain, your experience with many languages and methods.

  • Use your CV as a guide: You can write a cover letter for a PHP developer position using your CV as a guide. You can briefly discuss your work experience, accomplishments and abilities.

  • Tailor the cover letter to the position: A personalised cover letter is more likely to gain you an interview than a generic one. Using the job description as a guide, learn about the qualifications for the position and tailor your application to include them.

  • Describe how you're an asset: You can show how your talents may help the potential employer in completing projects, increasing productivity and increasing efficiency. You can show that you're a motivated candidate with a proven track record of delivering high-quality PHP code.

3. PHP developer skills for a job interview

You can send code samples from previous projects to an interviewer before beginning the interview process. When potential employers see this, they can appreciate your PHP and web development expertise. Preparing for a job interview can be easier if you know what questions to expect and answer.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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