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. from 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.