Hiring PHP Prodigy? Key Questions for Your Project’s Success

So you need a PHP developer to handle your next big IT project. But being a non-techy person, the only thing you know about PHP is that it’s a coding language. Because of your limited knowledge, you feel at a loss and are worried about hiring the wrong developer for your business. 

While web surfing can increase your knowledge about PHP, it does not help you measure a developer’s skill in this particular coding language.

How do you know what to look out for and what pitfalls to avoid when hiring a developer for your team? 

How do you know which skills are essential for delivering a seamless PHP development project? 

In this blog, we have compiled questions and tips to help you gauge the skills and expertise of your prospective PHP developer. Read on to learn about the foolproof process of hiring the most efficient PHP developer for your development needs. 

Be Keen to Know Your PHP Developer 

Start off your interview process by getting to know your candidate beyond their resume. Encourage them to share meaningful details about themselves. This will give you an insight into your developer’s personality. 

Discuss the details of the projects they have mentioned in their portfolio. Ask them how they contributed to them and what their role was in those projects. 

Many business owners skip this part and focus only on tech-related skills. But, it can be fruitful to know the behavioral aspects of your developer and also a great way to measure their communication skills. 

Evaluate Their Technical Expertise

Next, you can ask questions about basic PHP concepts. This will give you an idea of how much knowledge the developer has about the PHP language. It’s a good idea to always start with the basics and then move to the advanced questions to better understand your developer’s skills in PHP. 

Some questions you can ask them at this stage are:

  • What is an array?
  • Can you name some basic PHP array and string functions?
  • How many types of loops are you familiar with in PHP?
  • How many data types are there in PHP?
  • Do you have experience with Object-Oriented Programming? 

This basic set of questions should be a no-brainer for skilled PHP developers. If your candidate struggles with these questions, STOP and think again about hiring them. 

Analyze Their Problem-Solving Skills 

Every IT project comes with continuously arising problems, and PHP is no different. Determining whether your selected developer has a problem-solving mindset and is not easily overwhelmed by them is crucial. 

Dealing with problems systematically makes the PHP development process faster and more efficient. You can ask questions about their recent projects and what problems they faced during the development process. While asking these questions, focus on their problem-solving approach, like how quickly they were able to solve the problem and what different ways they used to fix it. 

Evaluating their problem-solving capacity will make your experience of working with your developer much more fruitful and hassle-free. 

Assess Their Coding Skills 

functions development

Image alt text: code for PHP development 

This is a crucial area you should test before hiring your developer. You can assess their coding skills by giving them PHP programming questions and asking them to write the code. 

This exercise will save you both time and money in the future as you will get an idea about the speed and efficiency of your developer early on. Don’t be inclined to ask your future developer theoretical questions instead of taking a coding quiz. Finding the answers and cramming them to repeat during an interview is easy. And this will not give you a real picture of their coding skills. 

When evaluating the coding test, keep the following pointers in mind:

  • What is their coding speed?
  • How clean and easy to understand is the code?
  • How well do they write the comments?
  • Do they follow best practices of coding? 

Test Their Knowledge of Database Languages

A database is required to store all the data associated with a PHP web application. PHP applications produce numerous data like user data, including passwords, images, and addresses or internal data related to management. 

You should expect your PHP developer to know at least one database language. MySQL is the most popular database language that works with PHP, and most developers working with PHP are fluent in this. 

Use the following question list to check their proficiency in database languages:

  • What is a database?
  • What is MySQL?
  • What do you know about different types of keys in MySQL?
  • What are foreign keys?
  • Elaborate on the types of JOIN in MySQL.
  • Can you write a SQL query to make a JOIN between two tables?
  • Which other database languages are you proficient in?

Do They Use Other Frameworks? 

Nowadays, the use of core PHP is not limited to developing only PHP websites and applications. There are multiple PHP frameworks that can be used to complete the development process with ease. Your prospective developer should demonstrate an understanding of trending frameworks and showcase the experience of working with at least one of them. 

To check their knowledge of PHP frameworks, ask them about their preferred frameworks and why they prefer them over others. To get you started, have a look at some of these questions:

  • Which PHP frameworks have you used in your previous projects?
  • Which PHP frameworks have you not worked with so far? 
  • Which is your personal favorite PHP framework and why? 
  • What is MVC?
  • What do you know about Models?
  • What are controllers and helper functions? 

Are they Familiar With API Development and 3rd Party API Integrations?

Although API development is rarely used for PHP development, it can be a game changer if your developer is familiar with it. If your PHP project involves data being sent to different platforms, you must test your developer’s knowledge of API development. 

A PHP developer with sound knowledge of 3rd party API integrations can be a useful asset since most PHP applications involve numerous API integrations. For example, your project may require a payment gateway, social logins, or other information. All these need API integration for your project to be successful. 

Although your selected PHP developer must have prior knowledge of API integration, they don’t need to have experience in integrating all APIs on the cloud. Some key API integrations you can look out for are Google Login, PayPal, and Google Maps. 

You can also use the following questions to have an in-depth understanding of your developer’s API development expertise. 

  • What different APIs have you integrated using PHP? 
  • What do you know about other API methods?
  • What is REST API?
  • Elaborate on cURL. 
  • Can you make a GET and POST request in PHP? 

In a Nutshell

PHP developers are responsible for developing back-end components for PHP-based applications and websites. Hiring the right PHP developer for your IT project is crucial because it affects the integrity of your final product. PHP developers, although many, can be hard to find. 

This is because not every developer will match the required skill set for your unique project. We have covered the basics of hiring a PHP developer with confidence and getting an efficient project delivered without any loopholes. 

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