How Do You Hire the Best Offshore PHP Developers? The Demand in Market for PHP Developers

May 25, 2017

PHP is an established and widely-used programming language. It’s open source, with great compatibility across almost all servers and databases. Popular amongst websites such as Facebook and WordPress, the general-purpose language is also popular with back-end web developers, as it’s free, uncomplicated, and well documented. Read on to find out how to hire the best offshore PHP developers and explore plenty of PHP-related stats and data.

Are PHP Developers in Demand? 

If you were to look at the Google Trends for the last 5 years, you would see a slight decline in the term ‘PHP development:’ 
 

php-development-trends

 

This data does not really provide any information alone, but it becomes more interesting when we look at the region breakdown: 

php-development-trends-region

From this, we can see that the term is incredibly popular in key outsourcing locations: Pakistan, India and the Philippines. This indicates that the decline in interest is likely linked closely with the offshore PHP developers themselves, and not the employing companies. 

PHP is a simple language to learn, and practitioners are often self-taught. It can be learnt for free, has a huge community, and is open source, so many offshore development locations have a lot of workers looking for PHP development jobs. It has been picked up by so many engineers in outsourcing locations, that less people from other countries are researching it via Google. 

Here are job posting trends for the UK and USA, based on data from Indeed and IT Jobs Watch.

Job Posting Trends, USA | Indeed

indeed-job-postings trends

Job Posting Trends, UK | IT Jobs Watch

php-developer-job-posting-trends-uk

These graphs show a certain decrease in employer interest for PHP developers, and this is because new programming languages are appearing all of the time. Some become more convenient to use, others are simply trendy, and a few become popular for unique circumstances — such as .NET, because many companies utilize Microsoft products. 

However, PHP is still very much in use today: digital staples such as WordPress are built upon PHP, and it’s the first choice for many small businesses and startups. It’s hard to find companies who have not used PHP technologies at some point, and the language’s popularity proves this: 

ieee-languages-popularity

This graph, published by IEEE Spectrum, determines popular programming languages via a multitude of factors, such as job site listings, search trends, and open source hub projects. As we can see, PHP development is still high in the list. 

What Is the Average PHP Web Developer Salary?

PHP developer rates vary between different countries.

PHP Developer Salary in Different Countries 

Country Salary
USA $86,353
Switzerland $73,207
Denmark $71,409
Norway $66,694
Australia $50,269
United Kingdom $48,444
Germany $47,421
Finland $41,977
Israel $39,953
Netherlands $39,447

php-developer-salaries-world

The USA has the highest salaries, averaging at around $86,353. Scandinavia is close behind, with Denmark and Norway having wages of $71,409 and $66,694 respectively. Australia has an average of $50,269, and the United Kingdom one of $48,444. Central Europe differs quite largely, with Switzerland having average salaries at around $73,207, Germany at $47,421, and the Netherlands at $39,447. 

In general, PHP developers are paid less than their peers in other programming languages.

Software Developer Salary by Technology, USA | Indeed

Technology Salary
Python Developer $116,034
C++ Developer $115,622
Ruby on Rails Developer $115,581
JavaScript Developer $110,061
Java Developer $102,049
.NET Developer $92,384
PHP Developer $86,346

php-developer-salaries-usa

This data from Indeed.com is based in the US, and we see PHP development considerably behind the next-lowest, .NET. Java is higher than these, but still lower than languages such as C++, Ruby on Rails and Python, who all share wages in the $110,000s. 

The UK also follows this trend.

Software Developer Salary by Technology, UK | IT Jobs Watch

Technology Salary
Python Developer $74,750
Java Developer $71,500
Ruby on Rails Developer $71,500
C++ Developer $65,000
JavaScript Developer $58,500
C# Developer $56,550
.NET Developer $55,250
PHP Developer $48,750

php-developer-salary-uk

There are some differences between the countries. Java, for example, pays more here than Ruby on Rails. PHP, however, still remains at the bottom, beaten by .NET in a similar margin. 

We also looked at PayScale statistics for the Netherlands.

Software Developer Salary by Technology, the Netherlands | PayScale

Technology Salary
C++ Developer $44,914
JavaScript Developer $43,982
Java Developer $43,937
C# Developer $41,528
.NET Developer $40,556
PHP Developer $39,447

php-developer-salaries-netherlands

And Germany.

Software Developer Salary by Technology, Germany | PayScale

Technology Salary
C++ Developer $53,631
Java Developer $48,370
.NET Developer $48,290
PHP Developer $47,421
C# Developer $46,708
JavaScript Developer $46,321

 

php-developer-salaries-germany

These countries are some of the highest paying for software development, and boast a large demand for related projects. Both, on average, pay C++ and Java developers higher salaries than PHP developers. Germany breaks the trend slightly, with their PHP developers earning around as much as Csharp and .NET engineers, but The Netherlands is similar to the USA and UK. 

Why Is It That PHP Developers Are Paid Less Than Other Developers?

It’s definitely true that PHP software developers experience a lower salary than those skilled in other programming languages. This isn’t because of PHP development decreasing, but for several other reasons: 

Junior Developers or Insufficient Experience

Companies simply have many options when it comes to hiring PHP developers. The demand is high, but the supply is even higher; college students are learning PHP en mass due to simplicity and the sheer amount of tutorials available online. Many PHP engineers are young, self-taught and self-employed, with no real-world experience; they often feel the need to undercut ASP.NET firms in order to secure work. All of this causes an average decrease in salary, despite good PHP developers (which are hard to find) getting good salaries. 

A Low Barrier for Entry

As well as the aforementioned reasons for PHP being highly accessible, it’s also incredibly cheap to get involved with. Entry costs for budding developers are low, as PHP has many informative resources and is open source. The barrier for someone to enter the field as a PHP developer is very low, creating inequality; the average Java or .NET developer is going to be more experienced, producing better code in comparison to the majority of PHP programmers.  

Investment

Larger companies invest more resources into fields such as Java and .NET. Therefore, we see higher salaries for these fields, because a company will want the job done right, and be able to pay for it. Many smaller companies use PHP, so when compared, we can start to see some of the underlying issues when comparing languages. 

The Best PHP Developers Are Skilled in Other Languages

Knowing solely PHP is not too functional; it’s a language that becomes useful through other ones, so a good PHP engineer needs to have experience with the programming fundamentals that come naturally with others. The best will have knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, in order for their PHP talents to be effective, as PHP needs to be enhanced with them. By itself, it’s easy to use and is not as complex as .NET or Java, but it is never used alone. 

What Are Good Locations to Hire Offshore PHP Developers?

Offshore development for PHP is found in many countries: Pakistan, the Philippines, China, Egypt, South Africa, Indonesia and Bangladesh all have pools of offshore PHP developers, and so do countries like Colombia in Latin America. India has one of the largest offshore development industries, and PHP is a common skill there  — but the feedback that exists shows low levels of management, impeding cultural differences, and issues with work quality standards. 

There are also many offshore developers in Eastern Europe that are skilled in PHP: Russia, Belarus and Ukraine show high managerial ability and Western work ethics. These countries have wide tech pools, stemming from lots of physics and mathematics universities that train young people in engineering. 

Here at Daxx, we also ran some research on LinkedIn. We found that Ukraine has the third highest amount of IT professionals, who put PHP developer in their job title:

php-developers-ukraine

Ukraine also had the most C++ / Unity3D professionals, and was second only to the USA for expertise in JavaScript. India had many Python and ASP.NET developers, whereas the United Kingdom had the highest amount of Scala engineers.

What Are Offshore PHP Developer Rates?

Offshore development rates differ depending on the region you decide to outsource to. Asia is a popular destination for this, with many options. This is reflected in their rates, which are equally varied  — India, for example, averages at $18-25 per hour, whereas countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia are usually nearer $30 per hour. For more experienced engineers, this price can be closer to $40, which is a wage commonly found in Nigeria and South Africa. Other African outsourcing regions are much cheaper, with Egypt and Morocco costing around $20 or less. 

Latin America is another popular offshore development destination, and wages range between $30-50 in places like Argentina and Brazil. Eastern Europe has similar prices  Ukraine, Russia and Belarus all provide good English skills and high educations, so rates often start between $25-35. This can grow to be $40 and above, depending on the expertise and location of the developers. 

it-outsourcing-regions

Here’s a recent article by us, that details this information further. As mentioned before, often PHP developer rates are lower than other fields of programming; remember that this average is due to the large quantity of lower-skilled PHP web developers, and the PHP developer salary of a senior, experienced engineer is higher. These statistics are averages for offshore developers in general, and specific information regarding PHP will be best received when you have clear project criteria in mind.

How to Hire the Best Offshore PHP Developers

Hiring the correct PHP developer for your needs is a momentous task. Your entire project can rest upon the work they fulfil, and it is very difficult to pinpoint the perfect PHP professional. Here are some of our best tips for the process: 

Get Help

Someone well-versed in programming may know exactly what they are looking for when seeking a PHP developer, but many people will not. The PHP market is filled with many inexperienced software engineers engineers you do not want for your important projects. It can be beneficial to hire advisors, who will then analyse your needs. Good companies who offer this service will transform your overall goals into a list of incredibly clear criteria, through which they can then offer talent from a prescreened list of professionals. From there, you’ll be able to interview and piece together a team much more efficiently.

The Interview

Speaking of which, it’s going to be very important to make sure you have the correct types of questions to ask. Some basic, entry-level ones can be useful when looking to hire offshore developers: 

  • What is the difference between an Interface and a Class in PHP? 
  • What is polymorphism? 

From which you can then expand into questions that test actual working knowledge: 

  • What is MVC? 
  • How does a PHP session work? 
  • What are the visibility keywords of a property or method in PHP? 
  • Explain the difference between $_POST and $_GET. 

You should look for responses with deep explanations, not just definitions; if a potential developer can show they understand HTTP extensively via that last question, it’s a positive sign. 

Checking specific expertise by asking things such as: 

  • How do you load classes in PHP? 

Or:

  • What does ob_start do? 

Is useful, as these features of PHP are widely used in many frameworks. A good tip is to ask seemingly simple questions such as: 

  • Is multiple inheritance supported by PHP? 
  • How do you increase the execution time of a PHP script? 

So that the candidate can offer practical knowledge, or show their understanding; don’t push for this, but allow them to offer it themselves. A good candidate will be eager to display such things. 

Another good way to check for enthusiasm, is to ask questions like: 

  • What changes has PHP gone through in recent years? E.g, what is the difference between PHP3, PHP4, and PHP5? 
  • Name PHP design patterns you have worked with. 

As well as double-checking the engineer’s past history with PHP, this also gives them a free canvas to display how interested in the language they are. The best candidates will be able to talk above and beyond your expectations about their past work, or how their personal development has expanded along with PHP itself.

Find Out About the Candidates Themselves

This aspect of a potential employee’s personal development can be crucial beyond the act of programming PHP. StackOverflow outlines some of the key forums developers talk about PHP on, and these are incredibly useful resources for discovering what exactly your future staff will desire, enjoy doing, and be motivated for. Determine what type of culture your company should hold for PHP programmers, or triple-check your outsourcing vendor will be a happy place for them. If they are allowed to be part of an engaged, positive team, this resonate well throughout the final product.

Be a Good Employer

This goes without saying, however it is incredibly important. Beyond the aforementioned company culture, you should also think about things such as the wage you are offering. When hiring professionals in an environment where they are hidden behind many inexperienced developers, you need to appeal to those professionals. You’ll attract many if a realistically priced, beneficial wage is offered, which takes the necessities of the job into regard.

A Solution to Your PHP Needs?

Hiring PHP developers is very tricky; as we’ve covered in this article, it’s clear that finding them is not the problem  it’s finding professional, experienced and skilled ones, who will actually benefit your project instead of hinder it. 

Here at Daxx, we help businesses on a global scale, assisting them in outsourcing Ukrainian development teams via our offices in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Dnipro. We help retain these teams, handling facets such as payroll, taxes, team retention and HR, whilst you can focus on the creative development of your product. Our recruiters can help you determine what exactly you are looking for in your PHP developers, piecing together a detailed list of criteria, which we will use to search our database of Ukraine’s best software professionals.

You are then free to personally interview the candidates which show the most promise, and are welcome to visit our offices. If you have any other questions, or simply wish to start your journey to find the perfect PHP developer, please fill out the form below.

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