Programming - - By Harry Fuecks

PHP Job Trends (?)

[Warning / Disclaimer] Dubious statistical “analysis” ahead (pinches of salt not included)…

Have to confess I’m an avid watcher of Jobserve.com, a job search listing primarily focused on the UK but with a growing number of blips from Eurupe, the States and OZ.

Jobserve is old (going back somewhere to 1994 if I remember right) and was originally focused purely on IT jobs. From the start, had the same principle as Google – keep it simple and, thankfully, hasn’t lost it. Those advertising on it tend to be “headhunters” / agencies, which means they’re generally tuned into the right keywords (even if they don’t know what they mean) which helps keeps searches focused while reflecting the going rate salary-wise. Listings tend to clear within a week so it’s a pretty good “snapshot” of the IT job market (at least in the UK) at any given time.

Anyway – PHPwise, Jobserve is telling nothing but good news…

Back in November 2002 logged the number of results returned for a search for “PHP” at 79. Two years later the result is consistently twice that – right now 155 matches for PHP. And things haven’t exactly been rosy for web developers the last couple of years…

Another interesting phenomenon is the growing number of “pure PHP” jobs. Back in 2002 you’d mainly see either designer jobs like “Flash with PHP” or techie jobs along the lines of “Java + PHP nice-to-have” or “Perl and a touch of PHP”. The picture in 2004 is more employers demanding specialized PHP developers (+ web standards and some DB of course) and more interesting, seems they understand exactly what PHP is (vs. “Excellent Javascript + PHP nice-to-have” two years ago). Take this listing for example (NOTE: the link probably won’t work in a couple of days);

PHP Developer (PHP V5 or PHP V4) with strong Object Orientated experience. In addition you will ideally have a good understanding of DHTML, XHTML, CSS and MYSQL. This is an ideal opportunity to join a leading interactive TV company offering excellent career prospects.

PHP version 5 hasn’t exactly appeared on the front cover of IT Directory Weekly but here’s a company asking for it.

The third “trend” I’ve observed over the last couple of years is PHP salaries on the rise. In the UK a guess a “decent” or “average” IT salary is about 30k UK Pounds a year (about 55,000 USD / 45,000 Euro). Going a couple of years back PHP salaries (typically for web designer-type jobs) were hovering around the 20k mark – above 25k was rare while 15k at “will hack PHP for food” end of the scale wasn’t so rare.

Right now the average wage for PHP seems to be around the 30k mark (normalized with other IT jobs) with 25k seemly the bottom bracket and blips like this paying a PHP developer 40k-47k pa (73 – 85k USD) … and it’s basically a pure PHP job.

Other interesting searches include “php oracle”, which suggests at least a few organisations with deep pockets hiring PHP developers and “php soap” – was surprised to find anything.

Also Python note: last time I looked (about a year ago) was less that 5 jobs matching – today we’re hitting 34.

Anyway perhaps those are optimistic “indicators”. Perhaps it’s worth hacking some screen shaping tools to automate? Or perhaps just an indicator of where my mind is right now… ;)

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