How to Become a PHP Developer

How to Become a PHP Developer: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a PHP developer, you first need to determine if this career path is well suited to your skills and interests. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a PHP developer:


• Do you enjoy learning different coding languages used for creating websites?

• Do you enjoy having a high level of independence in your work?

• Do you have technical skill and a creative spirit?

• Do you enjoy visualizing and mapping complex processes?


Those who become PHP developers are typically self-motivated learners who enjoy learning new coding languages. They have a natural aptitude in information technology, as well as a creative side to their personality. Successful PHP developers also have the intellectual capacity to visualize complex processes, and the patience and diligence to write clean and concise code to map out and execute those processes.


A career as a PHP Developer is one that is well suited for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as those who are interested in working for start-up or established organizations; this career offers you the ability to contract your services for projects that interest you, start your own software or web service company, or work for well-established and reputable organization.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a PHP developer. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a PHP Developer

The educational requirements for becoming a PHP developer largely depend on what your career goals are. If you want to become a PHP developer that works for a small, medium or large company, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering or software engineering.


If you want to become a self-employed PHP developer that works as a freelancer, then you will likely only need to be able to demonstrate competence in PHP programming and development, rather than having a degree.


Success Tip: There are plenty of online resources you can use to gain basic and advanced hands-on skills in PHP development. There are many organizations that offer online classes and tutorials that teach skills such as writing PHP scripts, variables and data types, and PHP strings. 




PHP Developer Job Description

PHP developers are responsible for using their knowledge of coding and scripting languages to write concise, clean and well-documented code for websites, software or web applications.


In addition to writing code, PHP developers may also design website wireframes and layouts, work with online databases, test websites for technical problems and provide advice to a team of web designers and developers.


What is PHP? PHP stands for Hypertext Preprocessor. It is a general-purpose script language that works on the server side of web development that is often used along with Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) to create interactive websites and web applications.



PHP Developer Job Duties

• Build new websites or web applications, or maintain and improve existing websites

• Provide excellent code in PHP and/or Javascript using standardized development frameworks, procedures and processes

• Find practical solutions to problems assigned

• May provide technical support to clients 

• Work with other team members to specify, update, and prioritize software system requirements according to business objectives

• Test and verify that your solutions meet the assigned requirements

• Observe usability tests to qualify the success of implemented solutions



Who Creates Jobs for PHP Developers?

PHP developers are hired on a part-time, full-time and contractual basis by a variety of small, medium and large organizations. They may also be self-employed, working as freelancers for clients that range from individuals operating small websites, to large software development companies.


Organizations that hire PHP Developers include:


• Individual web entrepreneurs and hobbyists

• Software design companies

• Web design and development companies

• Computer system design firms

• Video game development companies

• Internet application companies

• E-commerce application development companies

• Colleges and universities

• Small, medium and large private companies

• Non-profit groups

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government agencies


Experience Needed to Be Hired as a PHP Developer

In order to be hired as a PHP developer, whether as an employee or as a freelancer, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have worked on previous PHP projects. Employers and potential clients will want to be confident in your skills, and the best way to instill such confidence is by demonstrating the results of past projects.


To demonstrate your past work you should create an online portfolio that you can show a prospective client or employer. Your portfolio can include links or previews of previous projects, as well as project overviews and outcomes. Such projects can include projects you worked on for school, your own websites, small freelance projects, frequent participation in an online PHP development forum, your PHP related blog, or other projects.


Success Tip: PHP Developer jobs often require a wide knowledge base of web programming; having experience in areas such as database development, page formatting languages and web design can be highly beneficial to your career.




Work Conditions for PHP Developers

Work Setting: Many PHP developers work in offices, and work directly with other team members on large projects. However, there also many PHP developers, particularly those that work as freelancers, telecommute to work.


Working Hours: PHP developers may work a wide variety of different schedules; some work a typically 40-hour workweek, while others may work on their own schedule from home. Many PHP developers are required to put in long hours from time to time, in order to perform maintenance on websites and applications, or to meet tight deadlines.


Work Environment: PHP developers may work in a positive, gratifying and rewarding environment, such as when PHP developers have the chance to work closely with other passionate and experienced developers, as this serves as a great opportunity to exchange ideas and expand their knowledge base and skill set. Their work may become stressful when complex coding is needed, when deadlines are approaching, or when the client or manager is not happy with the results of their work.



Skills and Traits Needed to Become a PHP Developer

In order to become successful in a career as a PHP Developer, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, as well as effectively handle the challenges of this career.


Personal Characteristics


• Enjoy learning computer languages

• Enjoy the challenge of dealing with complicated processes

• Self-reliant learner


Soft Skills


• Diligence and patience towards work activities and learning computer languages

• Technical aptitude

• Able to listen to a client and gain an understanding of their needs


Hard Skills


• Strong Object Orientated PHP development skills

• Strong knowledge of JavaScript, CSS and HTML

• Proficiency with content management systems such as Drupal, WordPress or others

• Able to use the language in combination with HTML and database query languages

• Knowledge of SQLite, MySQL or MariaDB, or PostgreSQL, MSSql or similar server technology

• Understand common web application security attacks and how to prevent them

• Able to write consistent, clean, concise, and well-documented code



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PHP Developer Salary

The salary level of PHP developers can vary depending on their personal qualifications, the size and type of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many other factors.


PHP Developer Salary Alberta: Albertans working as part of the Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers occupational group earn an average of between $27.52 and $45.98 per hour, according to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey.


PHP Developer Salary Canada: Canadians working as part of the Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers occupational group earn an average salary of $53,589 per year, according to Service Canada.


PHP Developer Salary United States: Americans working as part of the Computer Programmers occupational group earn a median salary level of $74,280 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. 



Careers Similar to PHP Developer

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to PHP Developer, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Computer Programmer

Flash Programmer

Graphic Designer

Software Engineer

Video Game Developer



References: How to Become a PHP Developer

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a PHP Developer.


Occupations in Alberta:Computer Programmer.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 7, 2020.

Computer and Information Technology:Computer Programmers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved January 7, 2020.

Research & Development Jobs:What Classes to Take to Become a PHP Developer.” Lindsey Thompson (n.d.). Houston Chronicle website. Retrieved January 7, 2020.

Career Advice:PHP Developer.” (n.d.) website. Retrieved January 7, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a PHP Developer

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a PHP Developer can be found on the following pages:


Computer Engineering Scholarships

Computer Science Scholarships

Software Engineering Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a PHP Developer: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a PHP Developer. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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