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PHP

Interviewing a PHP Developer: A Survival Guide

PHP is a back-end scripting language that was designed and built exclusively for the web. Companies that produce applications for Facebook and WordPress are in constant need of PHP developers because Facebook and WordPress are PHP-based. Besides, many websites still use PHP as a core language, despite the fact that it is considered a bit “old school” nowadays. PHP is chosen for its transparency, modern frameworks, and ease of use as compared to other server-side languages.

However, please note that you should be extremely attentive when interviewing a PHP developer. The reason is that PHP is very easy to learn; therefore, today’s market is full of PHP programmers who write low-quality code. In this article, we are going to outline the key technical skills that should be considered during the interview.

How to Identify a Qualified PHP Programmer

A qualified PHP programmer should be able to demonstrate the following tech skills:

  • Front-end technologies, such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. The PHP code is tightly integrated with the front-end, so it is crucial to know it as well.
  • Database basics. Familiarity with databases is needed to integrate PHP with database management tools, such as MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB, etc.
  • PHP frameworks and libraries. It is important to have solid knowledge of PHP frameworks and libraries, such as Zend, Laravel, CodeIgniter, Yii, etc.
  • Servers. PHP development typically takes place on Linux platforms with Apache server, so an understanding of these technologies is also vital skills for PHP developers.
  • Security. Though PHP is a secure language because of isolated requests in Apache that prevents “bad requests”, there can still be vulnerabilities in the software with which it is integrated. Therefore, a rockstar PHP developer should be aware of possible security issues in the code, such as SQL Injection, XSS, and CSRF.
  • CMS frameworks, such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
  • E-commerce platforms, such as Magento or Zen Cart.
  • Principles of object-oriented programming (OOP).
  • Understanding of the fully synchronous behaviour of PHP.
  • Understanding of MVC design patterns.
  • Understanding of RESTful API and data formats, such as JSON and/or XML.
  • Familiarity with limitations of PHP as a platform and possible workarounds.

We hope that questions on these skills will help you spot a qualified PHP developer who will be a valuable addition to your dream team.

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