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Five signs you need a PHP contractor

By Jamie Mercer

Reports indicate PHP powers more than 80% of the web, and with many businesses now prioritising the language as key part of their application infrastructure, we’re seeing the demand for skilled developers outweigh the supply.

Choosing the right developer in a limited talent pool can be testing, especially if you’re new to web development. If you’re looking for some tips and tricks, here are the major things you should consider when hiring a PHP contractor.

Hiring a PHP contractor: what you need to know

Developing a successful PHP application will take time. Before committing to a project, you’ll need to make sure you have the developers in place to complete every task.

The decisions made here will often be influenced by the frameworks or development tools you select as part of the coding and testing process. If you choose to implement a specific PHP tool or a web framework which requires technical expertise, remember it can limit the developer availability, so plan ahead and leave yourself time to conduct a thorough recruitment drive.

Begin your search by looking for developers who have PHP listed a key skill on their CV and follow that up by checking how much practical experience they have using the programming language. Theoretical knowledge is a great fall back, but practical expertise is a vital telling point of their technical prowess.

For a developer to have an impact, it’s also not just enough to know PHP. Question their knowledge of HMTL, CSS, and JavaScript. Someone who is well versed in more than one of these makes for a more-rounded programmer.

Rushing the process and bringing in people without the required skills can be a costly mistake. However, putting a plan in place can avoid this and give you a more cost-effective development route.

What should I be looking for in a PHP contractor?

During the recruitment process, you’re likely to come across some developers who won’t have the necessary skills and know-how you require to develop and deploy an application.

While many developers will feel they can fulfil your software requirements, they won’t have the training or experience working in a business scenario, and if you’re faced with this dilemma, call in the cavalry and hire a PHP expert.

Specialised PHP web developers are a rare breed. A fountain of precise knowledge, they’ll have the expertise to pick out the frameworks and tools to get your application up and running—a trait that makes them very much in demand.

As a language, PHP is always evolving and to take full advantage of all the new changes; you’ll need a contractor who keeps their finger on the pulse.

Hiring a contract PHP developer who can quickly adapt to these changes and implement them into your business should be a top priority, as not only will they have the skilled needed to complete an application, but they can also future-proof it.

A top-class contractor is worth their weight in gold, and those who can code cleanly and effectively could be the perfect developer for your business.

But there are times you’ll require a PHP developer with a particular skill set, and in the permanent space, these can be hard to find. Opening yourself up to a contractor can solve this problem as they can close skills gaps in your business as and when they arise.

Regardless of whether you’ve chosen to go down the permanent or contract route, before having your developer sign on the dotted line, you’ll need to consider if they fit well in your business and work well with other developers on your staff.

Invite them for a chat with the rest of your team or ask them to join a hackathon event. Not only will this give you an indication of their coding skill, but they’ll also have the chance to get to know the rest of your business.

Securing the services of a top-class developer can be difficult, and if you’re struggling to find someone who matches your needs, there are expert recruiters on hand to ease your burden.

When should I hire a PHP contractor?

If you need to add experience to your team

Finding a developer with the expertise and skill set for your business can be tricky if their chosen language doesn’t rank as mainstream

But there are occasions where you’ll need a developer with years of experience to lead your team through tricky stages of product development, or you’ll need a level head to guide your team in the right direction.

A PHP contractor can be the perfect solution for your business if you need to add new skills to your team. Not only will they have the skills to fix current issues, but if it’s a legacy app, they’ll have the technical know-how to drag it into the future.

These type of developers will also be up to date with the newest PHP updates giving them all the tools they’ll need to future-proof your application, which can lead to better business productivity and increased profit.

This ability to fulfil these highly intricate and specialist tasks can set contractors apart other developers in your team. Often they’ll come into your business with a broader set of skills and more technical experience which will benefit not only your application, but also your junior developers as they can turn the development into a teaching process.

If your current team lacks specific PHP framework knowledge

The world of PHP is packed full of frameworks that if your business chooses to go for something very niche, you’ll a developer with the right expertise to come in and steer the ship

Selecting the framework and tools to complete your application will take significant planning. But if you already have something in mind, it can ease the hiring process and help you to find the perfect person.

Failure to have a clear vision can lead to added complications and make the task of pinning down a developer with the necessary skills nigh on impossible, as without a clear specification of must-and nice-to-haves, you’ll struggle to find someone who fits the bill.

After you’ve got a plan in place, and if you decided on the framework to accompany your PHP development, it’s time to bring in the person who’ll do the hard work, and if it turns out you need specific expertise, then the contractor marketplace should be one of the first places you explore.

There are many frameworks your business can implement to improve the performance of PHP; not every developer will be familiar with all of them. When hiring it’s important that you set out which development tool are part of your tech stack. Otherwise, you’ll receive irrelevant applications.

Both Laravel and Zend have become popular choices for businesses over the years. But as new developers breaking into the sector flock towards Symfony, this could be your starting point when looking for a contractor.

There will be developers available if you require something even more specialised, such as Magento, but these developers are difficult to pinpoint, and you’ll need to delve deeper into the PHP contractor space and raid the coffers to secure their services.

If you have your project vision and goals already in place, and know what tools you’ll need to implement, it will become easier to find a developer to suit your needs.

If you want to offset long-term development costs

Building and future proofing an application will come at a cost for your business. You’ll not want something that becomes outdated within a few months of going to market as it’ll be a costly mistake to fix.

Contractors can also be the more cost effective option if you need something fixed quickly, as can take just a matter of days to solve a problem. Keep in mind as well you can also bring them back into your business for future work.

If you need a developer in your business quickly

Time is money where web development is concerned, and every member of your team will have their part to play to make sure an application is created, tested and deployed correctly.

Unfortunately, not every member of your team will commit to your business for the long haul, and if your current PHP expert decides it’s time to move on, you may need to call in a contractor to get the job done.

Web development has become a top priority for many businesses as they try to stay ahead of the competition. But if your business is left in the lurch, a contractor will have the ability to come in, complete all the tasks, and leave without causing upheaval.

Even though you have a dev team in place, you may not have a developer on hand to fill the temporary skills gap, and searching for a new permanent hire can take more time and money.

But choosing to bring in a contractor will allow you to fill the gap instantly, as many are available to start within a few hours. By having the ability to bring in someone quickly, it can keep your development on track.

PHP contractor rates

Opening yourself up to the world of PHP contractors will offer you access to a new level of expertise. But before introducing a new developer to your development floor, you’ll need to understand the cost your business is likely to face.

When choosing a developer, it’s vital you decide on the level of seniority you need; this is true whether you decide to hire contract or permanent staff.

From experience, we know there aren’t many junior PHP developers available for your business to hire. That isn’t to say they won’t be out there, but it may just take a little more digging to discover them.

Because of this, you’ll need to start your search a little higher up the developer experience ladder, and bring in a contractor with more practise, but who will ultimately be more value for money.

The completion of some simple web development tasks shouldn’t break your budget with a cost of £300 per day. But as you move higher up the echelons of PHP development, you can expect that cost to skyrocket to closer to £500 per day if you bring in a PHP expert.

That said, you should never hire a contractor without checking their background and technical knowledge. Do the extra research into their expertise, and if you’re struggling to pin down the right person, call in the experts.

An expert recruiter can assist the hiring process by opening up a larger talent pool of developers, and if you’ve failed to find source a person who meets your requirements, can speed up the process.

What you’ll need to remember is hiring a PHP contractor will be a huge decision for your business. Choosing the perfect developer should help your business cut down on the development team and save you money.

Whether you’re looking to start a project from scratch or the development has already begun, a good contractor will have the necessary skills to come in, complete all the tasks at hand, and help your business to meet project deadlines.

Looking for your next dream PHP contractor job? Browse our available contract jobs today.

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