6 Extra Skills Every PHP Developer Should Have

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PHP development is hot right now, but there are also lots of people in PHP development. If you want to make it as an independent PHP developer you’ve got to know more than just PHP. Here are six other essential skills you need to succeed as a PHP developer.

1. JavaScript, HTML, and CSS

It isn’t enough these days to just know how to write PHP code. If you want to start a PHP business, you’ve also got to know how to properly code websites using HTML and CSS as well. Chances are likely that in your projects you’ll have to fix mistakes that designers make, so you’ll need to know how to do that – and how to do it well. If you don’t know these other languages along with PHP, you’re going to be outbid for many jobs by contractors who are much more well-versed in web development than you are.

2. Knowing What You Don’t Know

As important as it is to make sure you can do as much as possible towards developing websites, it’s also important to know what you don’t know. This is a skill some new PHP developers seem to forget when starting out in a market where it’s hard to find entry-level PHP development jobs. You’ve got to understand how to read proposal requests and how to put in bids on jobs that you can do competently. Otherwise, you’ll end up over committing yourself and damaging your reputation in the long run.

3. Business Communication

As a freelance or contract PHP developer, you’ll be the one communicating with all your clients. Learn how to use a phone to ensure that email messages are received, and learn how to communicate like a professional. Lots of techie types have trouble with basic business communication (which is probably why they choose to work at home by themselves in the first place). If this is you, go take a class on business communication, or talk to a professional about how you can improve these skills.

4. Business Finance

Again, as a one-man (or woman) business, you’ll be managing your own business’ finances. You don’t necessarily have to learn how to do your own taxes, which can be tricky for independent contractors, but you should certainly learn how to manage the day-to-day finances of your business. This includes learning how to set a fair rate for yourself based on the market rates and the taxes that you’ll have to pay out of your business income.

5. Project Management

As an independent contractor, you won’t have anyone over your shoulder begging you to get a project done by a certain deadline. You’ll also most likely be juggling multiple projects and multiple clients at any given time, so make sure you know how to manage your own time, write proposals, and manage the scope of your projects so that you can commit and deliver and build a great reputation for yourself.

6. Networking

Networking with other freelance PHP designers – and web development freelancers in other niches – can help you find more jobs and get referrals. Use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to network with other developers, as well as with clients you work for or have worked for in the past. Networking skills can be invaluable in a competitive job market. According to Elance.com
– one of the leading freelance sites for web developers and freelancers in many other niches – 2011 was a record year for online freelance work. Online hiring has more than doubled since 2010, and the number of businesses who are hiring on Elance more than doubled, as well. That spells good things for PHP professionals who have the skills they need to succeed. These six skills are essential for most freelancers, but if you’re a PHP developer, they may be even more important. Web development is an extremely competitive field, and breaking in at the lower levels is tough. Once you’ve gained these skills and gotten your career rolling, though, you can enjoy exciting jobs, flexibility, and great pay as an independent PHP developer. Image via Dmitriy Shironosov / Shutterstock.com

Frequently Asked Questions about PHP Developer Skills

What are the essential skills a PHP developer should have?

A PHP developer should have a strong understanding of PHP language. They should also be proficient in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as these are the building blocks of web development. Knowledge of SQL is also important as it is used for database interactions. Additionally, a PHP developer should have a good understanding of object-oriented programming (OOP) concepts, as PHP is an OOP language. They should also be familiar with PHP frameworks like Laravel, Symfony, or CodeIgniter, which can speed up the development process.

How important is knowledge of databases for a PHP developer?

Knowledge of databases is crucial for a PHP developer. PHP is often used to interact with databases, so a developer should be comfortable with SQL, which is used to interact with databases. They should also understand how to design and normalize a database, as well as how to perform CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations.

What is the role of JavaScript in PHP development?

JavaScript is a client-side scripting language, which means it runs in the user’s browser. It can be used to create interactive elements on a website, such as form validation, animations, and AJAX calls. While PHP is a server-side language, knowledge of JavaScript can greatly enhance a PHP developer’s ability to create dynamic and interactive websites.

How can a PHP developer benefit from understanding web servers?

Understanding web servers is beneficial for a PHP developer as it allows them to troubleshoot and optimize their code. Knowledge of how a web server processes PHP scripts can help a developer write more efficient code. It can also help them diagnose and fix issues related to server configuration.

What is the importance of version control systems in PHP development?

Version control systems like Git are essential tools for any developer. They allow developers to track changes to their code, collaborate with others, and revert to previous versions of code if necessary. Understanding how to use a version control system can greatly improve a PHP developer’s workflow.

How does knowledge of PHP frameworks benefit a PHP developer?

PHP frameworks provide a structured and efficient way to build web applications. They include built-in functions and libraries for common tasks, which can speed up the development process. Knowledge of a PHP framework can make a developer more efficient and can also make their code more maintainable and scalable.

What is the role of testing in PHP development?

Testing is a crucial part of any development process. It helps ensure that the code works as expected and can help catch bugs before they become a problem. A PHP developer should be familiar with different types of testing, such as unit testing, integration testing, and functional testing.

How important is problem-solving skill for a PHP developer?

Problem-solving is a key skill for any developer. A PHP developer will often need to find solutions to complex problems, whether it’s debugging a piece of code, optimizing a database query, or designing a new feature. Being able to think critically and solve problems efficiently is a valuable skill for a PHP developer.

What is the significance of communication skills in PHP development?

Communication skills are important for a PHP developer as they often need to work as part of a team. They need to be able to clearly communicate their ideas and understand the ideas of others. Good communication can lead to more effective collaboration and better end results.

How can continuous learning benefit a PHP developer?

The world of web development is constantly evolving, with new technologies and techniques being introduced all the time. A PHP developer should be committed to continuous learning in order to stay up-to-date with the latest developments. This can help them improve their skills, become more efficient, and provide more value to their employers or clients.

Daniela BakerDaniela Baker
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Daniela Baker frequently writes about web development and design related topics. She is a social media advocate with the business credit card comparison website CreditDonkey.

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