5 Key Skills A PHP Developer Must Possess

5 Key Skills A PHP Developer Must Possess

PHP, a server side programming language powers most websites in the world today. A server side language runs on the server that is hosting your website. It is one of the oldest programming languages active today and powers many popular websites. Apart from being a veteran programming language, it also powers website building frameworks like WordPress.

Ever since the building frameworks have come to existence, developing a website has become relatively easier. This leads to a misconception that you can develop a whole website without having in-depth knowledge about the programming and coding. With PHP now being used in over 77% of the websites worldwide, there are some de facto aspects that you must have in your website and for that, you are going to need a developer that knows more than a few drag and drop tools.

Must Have For a PHP Website

With technology taking giant leaps, constant and continuous innovation is the key to stand out from the herd. There are some intuitive features that can define your brand as a whole. Of course you will need a thorough understanding of both programming as well as designing for that. Keeping all the modern day trends in mind, here are some things that you must have in your website.

AI

One of the best features available across platforms and languages is the ability of the program to learn things on its own. It is an automated system that aligns the algorithm based on the user inputs and offers best suited solutions. Offering customized and personalized products, services or even content based on the user behavior is a unique feature that your website must have. 

AR/VR

Predominantly a hardware driven feature, Augmented or Virtual Reality is the new way to showcase your products or services. This is a very useful tool for online retail websites where they can showcase their products in real surroundings. Social media platforms have created a parallel world with the help of AR/VR and we will definitely see more brands getting on board with this phenomenon.

Auto Chat

Probably one of the most used features in the last few years is the auto chat option. This is an automated program that recognizes popular user inputs and responds to them with pre-written answers. This helps brands create an identity and offer quick responses to some very common queries. What it also does is that it gathers user information as users are more likely to drop their contact details in a chat rather than in a contact form. 

APIs

Many functionalities on a website are borrowed from other sources. Third party interfaces like plugins and themes are an age old concept. What has done the rounds in recent years is the integration of popular application programs. Features like weather, geographical navigation, pincode based search, payment gateways and embedded windows are some popular examples of APIs. You can inherit state of the art programs in your own website without having to do the coding or hosting of them. Moreover, you only pay for the services for the time you acquire them as the charges for most popular APIs are based on sessions.

Knowing these features is almost a must for your agency. A thorough documentation can ensure you cover all the basic yet trending features in your website. One fine way to judge an agency offering php web development services is to discuss having these features on your project. The response on each can help you gauge them better.

Skills Required From a PHP Developer

Skills Required From a PHP Developer

There are some key skills that all developers must possess. Based on the niche, there are also some dedicated skills that a developer may have. Agencies often claim to offer you full stack development services but there is no way you can ever determine whether they have separate teams for separate aspects of a project or they actually have all-in-one developers. Based on the market trends, here are some skills that we believe any aspiring PHP developer must have.

Knowing Frameworks

Frameworks have acted as a huge milestone in our journey towards programming. A framework is a software that has a default language and a range of different tools that make the development easy and convenient. Most frameworks come with drag and drop tools that make your design aspect very easy. PHP has a plethora of popular frameworks that optimize the potential that PHP as a programming language has.

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Some of the most popular PHP frameworks are Lavarel, Slim & CakePHP. These frameworks maximize PHP’s potential and offer intuitive features that make the overall experience of developing a website or an app very easy. It is almost a given that developers that work on these frameworks have a superior grip on the development than the ones that work on dated platforms. 

Knowing Libraries

There are many common functions that we perform on almost all websites. These functions are very much similar in nature and do not need extensive deep coding. Developers maintain a library of such codes that are easy to drop on an existing code with little or no change at all sometimes. These pre-written codes and their sets are called libraries. These libraries are very essential in a PHP developer’s project lifecycle.

Knowing the right libraries can save a lot of time for a developer. It also preserves a lot of energy and efficiency for the developers as they don’t need to emphasize on comparatively smaller and regular functions. A PHP developer not knowing PHP libraries is like a developer offering wordpress web development services not knowing plugins and themes. PHP has a huge library and knowing where to find your codes is an art that very few developers possess. Knowing the right set of libraries can change the entirety of your project lifecycle. 

Troubleshooting

One of the biggest issues while developing a project is its troubleshooting phase. The set of programs may conflict with each other. A developer needs to be very agile while executing these programs together. If an error is encountered, it must be dealt with patience and accuracy. 

These errors could be anything from non-compatibility of plugins with your programs or your codes simply crashing down. Having the ability to identify issues and solve them on time is a key quality that a PHP developer must possess. Doing the right troubleshooting at the right time not only saves a lot of time for the developers but also ends up saving a lot of money for the clients as the development costs are mostly on hourly basis.

Being Full-stack

When it comes to web or app development, we have so many tools and frameworks that it is very common to find a developer who has mastered a programming language or a particular tool. This limits their possibilities and keeps them restricted in a certain ecosystem. Ideally, a developer must explore other technologies throughout the whole project lifecycle. Key elements of a project are HTML as the markup language, CSS as the style sheet management tool, JavaScript as the dynamic programming language and MySQL as the database management system.

It is practically impossible to know all the languages and tools but there are some key programs that you can learn and get a grip on almost any tool. For any PHP developer, apart from knowing the language alone, having a good knowledge of JavaScript, CSS, HTML & MySQL takes them very close to being a full stack developer. Although they will need to have a substantial amount of experience before they can earn the tag of being a full stack developer.

Business Acumen

This may sound a bit of an add quality to find in a technical person especially a PHP developer. But regardless of their roles in any organization, any developer must think like both a businessman and a consumer. Ultimately all the products and services they offer are going to be for a business. As a developer, one must keep eyes wide open and ears at alert to get the knowhow of business.

Having a sense of how a particular industry operates can give them an edge over the others. There is no bigger cliché than having a technically superior developer possessing no knowledge of business or trade. Continuous research and reading can help a developer stay updated about the latest trends in the trade. Even if the segment is very specific or niche, the least a developer can do is to keep an eye on the web and design trends of that segment to offer the best solutions for the client. 

Conclusion

Merely knowing the programming language may have been just enough a few years back. With the emergence of advanced development tools and a world that is so densely connected with each other, developers need to have a wide range of qualities to stand out from the herd and to offer unique and leading solutions to their clients. If you are a business owner looking to hire a developer or an agency, note the aspects mentioned above that your website must have. Once you go through them, make sure you go through the list of required qualities we have mentioned for a PHP developer in today’s times.

Author :

My name is Nandan, the Owner at Gtech Web Infotech Pvt. Ltd.. I'm also a designer and developer. I've been working in the web development field for last 12+ years. Developing and implementing small to large-scale projects and everything in between. Currently working on a lot of CMS, dev-tooling projects. Furthermore focusing on combining Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning with emerging technologies.

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