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Why are good PHP developers so hard to find?

7/2/2017

Have you decided to embark on the start-up adventure? The little light bulb that lit up above your head is a real innovation, a never-before-seen product or service that is out of the ordinary? Have you convinced investors to back you? Congratulations!

If you are reading this article, your business is probably based on an application. As a digital startup, you need to start on a solid foundation. After a comparative analysis of existing technologies, you choose PHP for its robustness and for the dynamism of a community on which you can rely.

However, you still have a challenge: build your team by identifying developers with the skills that will allow you to take off.

#Tension in the digital talent market

The demand for the most talented tech profiles is exploding. It is estimated that it doubles every four years. The most talented people sometimes delete their LinkedIn profile because of the high demand. This tension explains the lack of quality applications that you have surely observed.

Moreover, the digital giants make no secret of the fact that talent acquisition is a way for them to dry up the market and curb any innovation that does not come from their ranks.

#A huge community

The PHP developer population in France is the largest of all programming languages. It is the most represented with around 35% of French tech projects done in PHP, while the Javascript and Java populations are close behind with around 18 and 17% of users. C#developers - formerly in the majority thanks to the reign of Microsoft - are now becoming less and less numerous thanks to the explosion of open-source software.

But there are several reasons why the elephant is so popular with the developer community.

Large community

This is the main advantage for the user (tens of thousands of libraries, numerous docs & tutorials, someone has inevitably encountered your problem before, etc.) but also the main disadvantage for the recruiter who has to identify his or her golden goose in all this community.

Economic

Free of charge and requiring no licence, PHP is in keeping with the spirit of solidarity and mutual aid among developers and thus attracts many users, both beginners and experienced.

Easy to handle

The ease of use of this language is a plus which attracts new code craftsmen in large numbers.

Performance and speed

It is because frameworks like Laravel and Symfony make PHP one of the fastest & most efficient languages that many of the largest high traffic platforms like Facebook or Wikipedialuse it.

The world of training

The web training sector offers everyone the opportunity to retrain for web development jobs in just 3 months. Developer is a job that requires personal research, technological watch and above all experience, and this is why these training courses are rapidly swelling the ranks of the developer population, while lowering the average quality.

Several factors lead to a strong attraction towards this language without necessarily bringing quality to it. This is what causes the average level of PHP developers to drop.

#A rich ecosystem that blurs the lines

PHP - like many other languages - can be used in three different ways:

  1. Purely = without framework
  2. Under a proprietary framework (called in-house framework)
  3. Under an Open-Source framework

Where some languages offer a few frameworks, the trumpet language has a panoply of them: 20+ in the (non-exhaustive) list from Wikipedia. There are the big dominants: Symfony, Zend and Laravel, but also the little stars like CakePHP, CodeIgniter or Yii which keep their heads above water, and finally the little newcomers such as Phalcon, known for its performance and developed under Zephir, a language derived from PHP.

This volume of technology pushes developers to specialise in a framework to become recognised experts. This diversity of development tools within the PHP community divides it into "specialties" which compartmentalise your search for developers: if you get your hands on the PHP developer of your dreams, he or she must be operational on the framework you use ..... STOP!

This is often where we make the mistake... You should know that a good PHP developer is not limited to one framework. It is still necessary to identify the background of the developer in question in order to confirm the fact that he or she will be able to adapt and increase his or her skills, but don't stop at the absence of a technology in the CV of the targeted candidate: you would make the task even more difficult!

"It is important to know that a good PHP developer is not confined to one framework."

#After tech...there's still the human element

Have you found your ideal PHP developer? 7 years of XP including 4 years on the Laravel framework? REST API, clean, maintainable and scalable code? Agile methods and lead experience? Top! It looks like we have the right man for the job! Only now, it remains to verify the human skills of this nugget.

A "good" PHP developer must - as with other web languages -fit in with your company's values and those of your management.

Collective

A developer often works alone at his machine, but rarely alone on a project. Pair-programming or code-review, understanding and communication are essential. His code must fit in with that of his current colleagues and be easily taken over by his successors.

Lazy

Amazing, isn't it? A lazy developer will do everything to avoid repeating functions. He will therefore automate redundant tasks, and create tools that will save him precious time... and therefore for the progress of your project!

Perfectionist

A perfectionist developer develops clean, well-documented code that will make it easy to maintain over the long term. A perfectionist developer will make sure that his code is validated by unit tests but also that it is scalable and robust so that it doesn't crash at the first peak of visits!

Curious

The golden quality of the developer, it is a guarantee of progress and autonomy. The curious developer will search the web until he finds a solution and will do a lot of "personal" monitoring in order to constantly improve his skills. As technological progress is faster than learning, a good developer always has more to learn than he already knows!

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