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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist superuser2's Avatar
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    PHP Professionalism?

    I am a PHP person. I consider myself to be at an intermediate level and my code well-designed and organized. I can write fairly complex applications easily. However, the general feeling I'm getting about PHP is that there are so many people who call themselves PHP developers, who are in fact not very good at all, and write horrible code dependent on register_globals and such. Because of this the level of professionalism of PHP seems to have gone down.

    There are good developers, but I'm not quite sure the market feels that.

    So - what I'm asking is this: either what language can I learn that would be more likely to get me taken seriously and land a good job, or how can I do the same with PHP?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru rockit's Avatar
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    well i don't think necessarily using another language makes you any more of a "professional". the fact of the matter is that many organizations choose what technology they run or implement based on business decisions.

    if you're looking for a job then a suggestion would be to use the language they seek. go online and check your local newspapers to see what skills are in demand. the quality of your work and experience solving challenges is what makes you a professional, not what tool you used to do it.

    just be well versed in your skills and have an idea of what's going on out there. at the end of the day, most principles of programming are the same across many languages, some just have a bit of different way of doing it.

    if you go into an interview or speaking to a potential employer, let your IT Professional speak and not the computer geek in you.

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    I understand your point of view on this superuser2 b/c I am in the same situation. My cousin is an ASP.NET developer and he has worked for a few different companies and based on his experience he tells me he thinks to be a web developer working for others or developing for others you should probably go with ASP.NET b/c more companies use it since it is a Microsoft technology. Personally I like PHP and plan to continue doing PHP sites but I may learn ASP.NET so if a customer prefers it since it is a Microsoft Technology I won't lose business from them. I think it all boils down to being very versatile.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast Azmeen's Avatar
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    Regardless of whatever language you're proficient with, the main thing is that you should have a portfolio of projects that you're especially proud of.

    In each showcased project, highlight your contribution (if it's a multi-developer project), unique points, and benefits and/or return on investment.

    Businesses always look at the bottom line. Therefore, regardless of how flashy or sweet the eyecandies are, if it doesn't generate income or at least some sort of buzz, it's just a flashy web project. Anyway, you're hoping to land a development job, not really a web design one.

    And as mentioned by rockit, clearly identify and showcase the business problems that your projects have solved.

    And when doing that, always use past tense... and not unclear and unconfirmed statements such as; "this project will hopefully solve the bottleneck arising from bla bla bla".
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy devbanana's Avatar
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    I totally agree with your assessment of the market, and it's rather distressing really. I think part of the problem is that PHP is very simple and so there are tutorials out there to get anyone started, then they falsely think they can do anything, and never think about security, etc.

    I use PHP anyway. Mostly because many smaller companies use PHP, and right now that's for whom I work. My advice then would simply be to differentiate yourself, show your past work, always give off an air of professionalism, which is usually lacking from those whom you have described.

    If you really are looking for another language, it depends on the platform. If you don't mind Windows, then ASP.NET (if you want to focus on the web) is excellent. Again the only reason I'm not using it is because most of my clients are on Linux servers with PHP installs, and its cheaper for me to host on Linx as well, plus I have more experience with that.

    Otherwise Java is also excellent, though I could never figure out how to set up JAVA EE.

    But really PHP's just fine; you just have to differentiate yourself.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist superuser2's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reassurance. I guess no matter what the language... working examples speak volumes...

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard stereofrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superuser2 View Post
    So - what I'm asking is this: either what language can I learn that would be more likely to get me taken seriously and land a good job, or how can I do the same with PHP?
    I think you're more likely to get a better job if you know Java or NET.

  8. #8
    dooby dooby doo silver trophybronze trophy
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    I have to agree with Sterofrog, Java or .NET developers can command higher wages than a PHP developer because as you correctly summised - PHP is a damn easy language to learn and everybody has a son, cousin, uncle who can build a working app.

    Depressing really when you look at it like that
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy kyberfabrikken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spikeZ View Post
    I have to agree with Sterofrog, Java or .NET developers can command higher wages than a PHP developer because as you correctly summised - PHP is a damn easy language to learn and everybody has a son, cousin, uncle who can build a working app.

    Depressing really when you look at it like that
    That's missing the point IMHO. Java or .NET developers can command higher wages, because they are more in demand. They are so, because businesses have chosen .NET or Java as their platform. It's a simple matter of demand and availability.
    That also means, that by chosing a language, you also chose the type of organisation, you're most likely to get a job with. There's a big difference between the type of organisation, which will chose PHP as a platform, and those who will chose .NET.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Cups's Avatar
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    So does anyone think achieving Zend certification makes a difference?
    Off Topic:

    (stands well back ...)


    There also seems to be a line drawn in the sand on whether as a developer you use any "industry accepted practices", I say any - not all.

    php best practices

  11. #11
    SitePoint Guru
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    There is more to this issue than PHP's low barrier to entry or professionalism. I think that the companies that make up the employers in the Java & .Net area are used to spending money for software. While companies that choose open source and thus PHP often do so for financial reasons. Cheap hosting means lower wages by association. Frugal folks find PHP particularly prudent.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Guru
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    heh. What kyberfabrikken said 20 minutes ago.

    Regarding Zend Certification ... I didn't think much of the exam, but I do think it helps from a standpoint of marketing your services and for business to screen out fakers and the oblivious.

    One problem is that not everyone understands the relationship between PHP and Zend.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=Cups;3414245]So does anyone think achieving Zend certification makes a difference?
    Off Topic:

    (stands well back ...)



    Well, the Zend exam is relatively cheap, and requires some sort of knowledge of PHP, so it can't be a bad way to at least separate some wheat from the chaff....

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Cups's Avatar
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    @selkirk - but was that the PHP4 or PHP5 exam?


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