The plight of the PHP Developer…

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So, you’ve spent the last 5 years getting super good at programming PHP have you? I know I have and I’m really kinda proud of the knowledge and progression that I’ve achieved too. PHP is a very broad skillset that if you truly want to be a good PHP developer, you need a thorough understanding of programming best practises in general. You also need to know what to use and what not to and why. For example, in PHP a singleton is rarely appropriate due to it only using one thread unlike other languages such as Java. You also need to know what will increase your overheads and what will reduce them. You also need to be able to design systems REALLY well in order to program them well. There’s so much more to scaled PHP development than the language itself… though of course that is rather important also.

My point is – Java developers do all of this and deal with how their development effects the servers they run on, some database stuff (essential really in most programming tasks) and the requirements that dictate the systems they build. I know all this due to the fact that I’m marrying one! I wouldn’t expect your average web developer to really grasp the concept of systems architecture or design patterns… why would they need to? So my question simply is: why must PHP developers become experts in client side development too? We don’t want to thanks. You can keep your messed up views of OO.

Maybe it’s time I learnt Java properly….

5 Comments on “The plight of the PHP Developer…

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The plight of the PHP Developer… - Kirstie Haxby's Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. You make a fair point. Most large organisations like the BBC & Yahoo! bundle PHP developers into a ‘client side developer’ role where they have to be as strong in Javascript, XHTML and CSS as they are in PHP.

    Most PHP devs work for smaller companies and wear many hats – so add some Linux knowledge they’ve acquired through server administration too.

  3. Perhaps so, but rather than us all being a jack of all trades, some of us like to work with our expertise rather than do a lot of things averagly and that’s the point I’m getting at.

  4. When I first got into web development, I didn’t even realise there was a distinction between back-end and front-end roles. As I looked for my first 100% web role in 2009 (prior to that my role was a hybrid of Windows and web dev), I realised I needed to choose between back-end and front-end. Truth is, I had difficulty choosing, as I can do both. But since I started specialising in back-end development, I’ve found it’s a lot easier to develop my skills than it was when I tried to do front-end too.

    I think it’s good for a back-end developer to have a good understanding in both sides of the coin. Even with a front-end developer assigned to most of my work projects, I do write a fair bit of HTML and Javascript to get the site working – especially with stuff like AJAX, or unconventional form controls (which tbh I’m not a fan of, but sometimes that’s what you end up building).

    Being too black and white about the split between front/back can slow things down quite a bit, mostly with things like variable names, which really the back-end dev needs to supply. And I really have to keep an eye out for front-end devs changing div IDs and breaking the scripts…

    So, while I do agree we can’t be an expert in everything… I do think it’s good to understand front-end dev even if you work on the back-end only :)

  5. Pingback: Hiring PHP Developers – Silicon MilkRoundAbout | KirstieHaxby.com

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