Writing a Job Description to Find a Great PHP Developer

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PHP is one of the main languages used in dynamic web development. It’s an older language that’s a common component in the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). If you want to create a website or any back-end web service, PHP is one of the main languages you can choose from. If you need revisions to an existing application that runs on a Linux server, it’s common for the back-end coding to be done with PHP.

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PHP developers are often simply called “back-end engineers.” They’re able to take a client’s specifications and turn them into a workable, tangible product that runs on a web server. Although PHP can run in a Windows environment, it’s more commonly used on Linux servers with Apache running as the web client. Many PHP developers package their applications this way with Linux and Apache to make it easier for the client to host it.

PHP developers code the functionality that brings an app to life. Collaborating with designers, they ensure that the front-end application is appealing to users. You may find that some PHP developers have front-end design skills, but often times, they work with UI and UX designers to create a user interface that’s engaging and supported by solid back-end functionality.

What Can You Expect from a PHP Developer?

Although programming and software development are thought of as science, an element of artistic ability is also needed. A PHP developer should be able to visualize your application and what you need based on your conversations and documentation (if you have any). They should be able to understand your business so that they can provide you with an application that supports your goals and business logic.

PHP developers mainly create two types of applications: web apps with a database background, and APIs that provide your existing software and data to mobile apps and other developers. PHP code powers the back end of a web app, so a PHP developer will design and architect your code and the way it works to support the front end. APIs are often used when developers or apps need to query your internal data, and they allow you to provide this data to the outside world. For instance, your app might pull a list of tweets from Twitter’s API. A PHP developer will read the API documentation and implement it into your website. APIs are also used with some mobile apps to power the app’s data services.

Just like other development areas, PHP developers have a variety of skill sets and levels. Senior-level PHP experts often have several other languages in their arsenal. They should be able to design a full application from the ground up. Junior-level developers have a few years of experience, but they often need to work with, or have their work reviewed by, a senior-level developer to ensure that code is efficient and properly written.


A developer can only do as good of a job as the specifications or information they get from the client. Communication is key so that your PHP developer fully understands your concepts and goals. When you post a project, you must be able to communicate key elements so that you can get the best estimates from the best developers.

Before you post a project request or talk to developers, you should sit down and map out your idea. This can be done using images, presentations, or other types of documentation. For instance, you can draw your own wireframes and then explain each concept in writing. Developers bidding on your project can get a better idea of what needs to be done and estimate far more accurately.

It can be difficult for a client to understand the duration of a project and its cost, but a developer can sit down and discuss project scope, a reasonable timeline, and any deliverables that you can expect during the project’s development process.

Writing a Project Description

Once you determine what you want from your end product, it’s time to write your project description. You need to be concise but provide enough detail to attract top developers. You can attach documents to your project description to help developers better understand your goals.

Deliverables are usually full source code files, but some developers help you upload the code to your web server of choice. If you’re building a website from scratch, it’s imperative that you choose a developer with the skills necessary to tackle a project from the ground up. A senior-level developer will know how to manage a project (they might assign a project manager), set expectations, estimate costs, and give you organized, scalable code that you can work with for years.

Below is a sample of how a PHP project description may look. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post, or any other document that describes the work to be done.

Title: PHP Developer Needed to Build E-Commerce Website

Description: We need a PHP developer to build an e-commerce platform for our website. We have a rough wireframe document that explains the front end and the back end. We need help determining back-end architecture, so we want a developer to determine the way it will be built. We currently have hosting and need help uploading the code after it’s finished. The e-commerce store will host our product catalog, take orders, allow customers to sign up, and then send email reminders to customers that left products in their shopping cart.

You can modify this description to better fit what you’re looking for, but it gives the basic requirements that a PHP development project might have.

Read this article for more tips on how to write a great project description.

PHP projects can take a long time, so expect a big project to take several months. PHP projects may require sit-downs to understand your requirements, design, coding, prototyping, and testing. All of these extend the deadline and can require several months for larger projects. A developer might even add a small percentage of time to the duration to ensure that deadlines are met. As with any project, the more descriptive your post is and the more you communicate with your programmer, the smoother the process will be.

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Jennifer Marsh


Jennifer is a software engineer who writes high-level technical content for companies such as Adobe, Rackspace and IBM. Her expertise is with technical writing, also covering topics such… more