March 5, 2009 by Amit Bakshi

We're going to start blogging about the skill sets that are really hot in our marketplace. The demand for tech skills evolves rapidly, and a smart freelance professional is always looking for the next step in his or her growth. We think the best way to kick this series off is with PHP.

PHP, a scripting language that delivers customizable content on web pages, is all in sorts of popular sites — Yahoo, Digg, Facebook ... If you’re on the web these days, that’s probably PHP in the background. It's flexible, stable and free — and extremely popular with Web 2.0 developers.

The language was developed in 1994 and has relentlessly expanded ever since. These days, PHP 5, powered by Zend Engine II, is no longer the up-and-coming iteration - it's now fully mainstream.


In early 2008, there were just over a thousand PHP jobs posted per month on oDesk. A year later, it's 2,000 and climbing, a 75% percent year-over-year increase. There's not a lot in today's business world growing at that rate, is there? But the global economic meltdown doesn't seem to be turning this growth curve around. We've been talking about PHP for a while now — back in December, we listed PHP as the web developer skill in most demand, and highlighted its meteoric rise: from 800 jobs posted in November 2007 to 1,800 last July. Clearly, PHP is a skill with legs.

If you’re a PHP developer there is every indication you skills will remain marketable for the next decade. As with any technical skill, maintaining and increasing your skill set should be part of day to day living. PHP training is available online and in formal classes if you are not one to learn as you go. The PHP development page is an obvious good first start and w3schools offers some excellent tutorials also.

Once you have the basics down, it might be time to visit Zend's website for some more in-depth training, with an eye towards certification. Certification from Zend will carry weight in any interview and establishes a formally measured minimum level of competence. Now that PHP is fully mainstream and the level of competition has increased, certification can be expected to be a given as opposed to a bonus like many other mainstream technologies. Certification will give you an advantage over developers who are not in this competitive job market. Once certified, you can join our own Zend Group as a location employers will look to find fully certified PHP developers as an added resource for your job search arsenal.

Amit Bakshi

Vice President of Marketing at LawPivot

Amit Bakshi is the Vice President of Marketing at LawPivot. He formerly served as Product Marketing Manager for oDesk.

  • http://www.chitchat.org.uk Daniel Offer

    I totally agree here with the article sentiment - PHP offers real value offer ASP. Moreover, as a purchase of PHP programming services - certification is a fantastic way for me to distinguish between different developers. After all, you know how good you are - but how else do I know?

  • pfinder@odesk.com

    An Indian programmer cheated me nearly 1000 dollars on a project and refused to return my money.

    I need someone in India who can help me get my money back.

    His contact info is as below.

    Ramesh Kr. Prasad

    ** Edited by Admin: Personal information removed. Please submit a Help Ticket for disputes.

  • http://melissa-brandon.com Brandon Hansen

    Good luck with building the next Facebook. It can be done, but it is not easy. First, you need to learn to write basic php, then OOP, then learn all about SOAP and REST, and security, and templating, caching. It can be done, and if you do it, more power to you. Just be prepared before you start writing the code.

  • http://potpolitics.com John Sullivan

    Great article. As a blogger who got bored with cut and pasted code I set out to TRY and learn PHP it's like Chinese but the resources that you listed was just how I started and it's been hard but will be well worth it when I build the next Facebook but not as LAME LOL

  • http://blog.thinkdiff.net Md. Mahmud Ahsan

    Zend certification is really a great achievement. To achieve this certificate you've study and practice hardly and by this way you will build a good foundation on php and web technology. This will make you more confident and help you to get better job.