The Soon to be PHP Boom

April 27, 2006

You can almost feel it in the air. You can almost sense that PHP hasn't even come close to hitting it's peak in the world. Jobs man, I'm talkin jobs. I remember 3 years ago getting my daily emails from on PHP positions open in my area and maybe I was lucky to see one every couple of weeks. Fast forward to today and there are no less than 5-10 per day! I mentioned this on the PHP podcast interview I did last with with Marcus and I noted how this quick explosion in PHP positions could be troublesome if trained coders aren't there.

Yahoo, McAfee, Panasonic... all big time players looking for skilled PHP workers. All looking for on-site PHP workers. It's really great to see PHP take off like this and if you caught the wave just right you're doing quite well in this job market. However, I know from having to hire PHP developers that in most cases the skill levels just aren't there yet. So for you up and coming PHP'ers here are some tips from someone who has interviewed quite a few PHP developers on what can set you apart from the pack. While these tips won't automatically get you hired, they will definately help you rise above.

1. get your Zend Certification - becoming a ZCE gives you an immediate boost over non certified engineers, studying for it will bring your back to the nitty gritty bits of the language itself.

2. contribute to an open source PHP project or have a project - this shows you have a general interest in programming and you're passionate about what you do. It also helps show you can work on team projects.

3. know what you've abstracted! - This is a biggie for us all. Almost everyone gives some sort of PHP test these days and alot of questions are basic questions that we've written wrapper functions for long ago. So if you're interviewing for a postion make sure you know how you could work a database without an abstraction layer behind you, open files, all those little tasks you forgot the syntax for :)

4. get on google - If I search for your name and don't find anything it makes me worried. Why a web programmer would be invisible on google? Having alot of hits relating to PHP with your name attached is a big big plus. Show's your know how to get to the community, get answers, help give answers and a general good feel for the PHP world.

5. interviews, major php contributions, etc - Shows people value your opinion on PHP and so should I. Offer to write for some of the PHP magazines or PHP websites out there.

It may not be possible to do all of those things but any combo of those items will really help your resume stand out from the crowd.
good luck


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  1. Douglas Clifton says:
    April 30, 2006 @ 17:26 — Reply

    I googled my name plus the keyword PHP and got about 454,000 results. Think that's enough Ben? Make that 454,001. ;-)

  2. Douglas Clifton says:
    April 30, 2006 @ 17:29 — Reply

    Oops, sorry Jim. I followed a link here from Ben Ramsey's site.

  3. Ben Ramsey says:
    April 30, 2006 @ 21:16 — Reply

    But does your site and/or your work with PHP come up in the first 1 or 2 pages of results? Well, I've just Googled you and it does, so you're cool. I don't think the number of results matters so long as people can sort of figure out your involvement in the language by doing a quick look at the first few pages of search results -- whether that involves mailing list or forum posts or blog posts or resumes, it doesn't matter. What matters is that they can find you and piece together a good overview of your involvement. Actually, when I made my post, I tried to trackback Jim's post, but it doesn't appear to have worked.

  4. Shaun Mitchell says:
    May 1, 2006 @ 08:04 — Reply

    I've got my ZCE but I just can't seem to find the time to be a major contributer to any open source projects. After I do my day job I go home and work on my own clients projects. I guess I should find the time :)

  5. Mike Kelley says:
    May 2, 2006 @ 08:34 — Reply

    Very very good advice. I've lost out on a couple very good jobs because they've asked extremely basic syntax questions for functions I abstracted years ago. Now to just find extra time...

  6. Jean-Paul Cozzatti says:
    May 5, 2006 @ 15:42 — Reply

    impending? ;)

  7. David says:
    May 18, 2006 @ 06:03 — Reply

    Thanks for the great advice.

  8. Anita CM says:
    October 10, 2006 @ 10:50 — Reply

    You have hit the bulls eye with very few words... Great advice for any PHP beginner/starter.

  9. yury says:
    January 23, 2007 @ 14:22 — Reply

    I am looking at and I see that the most active forum is PHP Jobs - looks like the author is quite right. We also see a real surge of PHP users at in the past year

  10. ganu says:
    August 20, 2007 @ 01:51 — Reply

    wow!! the same here. I started my work in PHP and I was worried, that what is this what kind of language I am working. and now its all changed, I am getting calles for job change, and waht the point you have mentioned is all good the the point 1 is my target now. thnx for awesome post. its like boooooost-UP.

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