PHP programming has become an essential factor in today’s software development field and in business fields. Each and every organization today is need of a website or web application of their own and a lot of them use PHP as their scripting language.

But, we all know how hard it is to hire a good PHP developer because let's face it, there is a huge lot of responsibilities for a PHP programmer.

So we decided to interview one of our top PHP developer and expert, UdhayaKumar, who has been in this domain for the last 7 years. Udhaya is a Full-Stack developer who has consulted with multiple startups and presently works as a Freelancer. In this short interview, Udhay talks about the tricks to hire an ideal PHP developer for your organization. Also, he talks about several interview tips with his favorite interview questions for hiring an ideal PHP developer.

hire PHP developer, PHP programming interview tips

Why did you decide to go into freelancing?

There are various pros which come with freelancing. It allows you to have flexible working hours which helps to balance personal life and professional life. Besides that, it gives a great opportunity to learn through work and provides an excellent opportunity for advancement. Also, the best part, you get the opportunity to work with a lot of new people and learn new kinds of stuff.

I hadn't really started off with PHP programming, but once I got the touch of it, it seemed pretty interesting to me.

If you want to hire an ideal PHP developer, how should his portfolio look like?

Portfolio of any developer whether PHP or not should be properly structured so that all the information are clearly visible and understood.

-It should have an easy to reachable contact information
-A brief introduction to the developer
-First priority is to be given to the PHP programming projects that he has done and then he needs to explain about other programming projects that he has worked in
-Each PHP programming project should have a title and description regarding the client it was built for, and details about the project with relevant URLs/Screenshots
-Instead of including all the skills, just include the strongest skill that you have used
-Include your professional links like Linkedin, GitHub etc. This part is very important as it helps the hiring manager to get a glimpse into your public profiles.

Which is the most popular PHP framework now?

To compare amongst the PHP frameworks, Laravel stands as the first frame which is getting popular, which is followed by CodeIgniter and Symfony.

PHP programming

While interviewing for a typical PHP developer position which are the key areas that one should focus on to vet a candidate?

There are various interview tips that I have relied on while interviewing the PHP developers. Following are the key areas that any hiring manager needs to focus on while vetting a PHP developer:

We need to check the candidate’s basic understanding of installing web servers and configuring them. It helps them understand what to do if some errors arrive while deploying the code and also will help to fix server related errors.
We need to check how good the candidate is in terms of logical and analytical skills.

Even for a beginner or intermediate PHP Developer, we need to check the candidate’s problem-solving skills. Also, this applies for any developer, be it.NET, Ruby or Java. Good problem-solvers will do well if they are placed in a challenging environment also will not take much time to do coding. Besides, a good PHP programmer should have a strong understanding of data types, statements, loops, etc and should have a basic understanding of creating DB and designing a DB. Should have a better understanding of DB queries and how to store data in DB.

Another quality of a good PHP Developer is that he also should think about scalable solutions not the temporary solutions for problems. He should write scalable and modular code and also should follow best practices like DRY, naming conventions, object-oriented programming, caching, etc. He should have a basic understanding of HTML tags and how to use them and should know what is javascript and how it works for the client.

He should know what is rest API and create API endpoints.
Need to avoid tightly coupled front-end code with back-end code, by doing this will help us to change the Frontend and Backend technologies without affecting the other.

While interviewing a PHP programmer, what is the typical flow of interview that you follow?

I’ll start with candidate’s resume/portfolio and will go through his experience from the start and will try to understand his contribution to the projects he has worked till date. i.e is he an individual contributor or has worked with a team? How good is he in working with a team or leading the team?

Find out how much time has he spent on the skills which he has mentioned on the project. Did he face any challenges while working on the projects? if so, what is the challenge and how did he find a solution to the challenge, etc. By doing this I hope I’ll get to know the candidate even by say 30-40%.

After this, I will go through basic/intermediate questions from primary and secondary skills and then ask advanced PHP related programming questions from the primary skills and test his problem solving and logical skills.

How does the interview differ for a senior position as compared to that of an intermediate position?

For an intermediate position, we evaluate a candidate’s knowledge about how good he is in basic concepts and how good he is in intermediate concepts. Considering above 70% and 50% as the basic constraint for basic and intermediate concepts respectively. But for an advanced position, the candidate should have a very good understanding of basic, intermediate concepts and should have a better understanding of advanced concepts. And also should have a better understanding of best practices.

How do you make sure that the resume of the candidate aligns with the job skills mentioned in the job description?

The best way is to go through the projects and find the primary skills and match them with the JD. For example, if I am looking to hire a PHP developer, I would look for related projects on his resume.

How would the interview be different for a typical PHP position and a Fullstack PHP position(using frontend technologies)? How do the cards change then?

For a PHP position we need to check the candidate’s knowledge primarily in PHP and Database but for a full stack developer, we need to his knowledge in terms of front-end, back-end, database and server configurations.

Is PHP slowly fading away?

Not really, but it seems the interest for PHP is decreased these days. But definitely, it will not fade away in the next 5 years.

We have also created a curated infographic on "How to hire a PHP Developer?". Besides, if you are looking for PHP interview tips or a PHP expert, you can request a free Demo Consulting session from here.