One of the key skills that highly successful business leaders have shared over the decades is the ability to recognize the areas in which they’re less skilled and to identify the most skilled people available to help them fill that gap.
From Thomas Edison and Andrew Carnegie to Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, no matter how intelligent and talented these leaders were, their ability to surround themselves with talent was one of their greatest abilities.
For those whose business aspirations include the development of an app or web service, hiring the dedicated PHP developer can mean the difference between an average or even troubled web application and one that’s extraordinary.
Where can you find qualified PHP Laravel developers?
Theoretically, you can find web developers nearly anywhere. There are literally thousands available in most population centers and a quick online search will reveal hundreds of thousands available if you don’t see the need to meet with them face-to-face.
Web development is by far the most popular career aspiration for new professionals graduating with a Computer Science degree, so the numbers will only rise. And, PHP is one of the most popular programming languages used today for web development, with Laravel being among the most popular PHP frameworks, so your options are many.
That all being said, just firing off a general Google search and hoping for the best is akin to throwing a dart at a dart board the size of a barn with no targets marked on it. Sure, you’ll hit something, but who knows if it’s what you were really shooting for?
The reason for this is simple: the web developer who shows up highest in search results is either personally skilled in SEO or has hired a professional who is. Neither of those factors have any bearing on their skill as a web developer.
A much better option is to start your search by reaching out to your network for referrals from colleagues you trust who have had a good experience with one developer or another. It’s a real win-win for everyone involved: you start your process with a short list of names that come highly recommended, your colleagues have the satisfaction of being able to help, and your future developer is reaping the reward from his or her hard work for your colleague by landing more business as a result.
What qualities should you be looking for in a PHP Laravel developer?
Software development is a balanced mix of science and art. Logically, then, the right developer or development firm is going to display both sides of that coin in the work they do and in the way they approach your project.
You need a PHP developer that is:
- Up to date on the latest Laravel framework and set of best practices (as well as being an expert on PHP and Object Orientation principles).
- Willing to explain their code and development process thoroughly and step you through it as needed.
- Willing and able to provide references and/or examples of their work.
- Comfortable in providing estimates and time frames (and truly committing to them).
- Open to listening to your ideas, concerns, and needs.
- Has reasonable rates and availability to meet your needs.
As you do your research, if the developer you’re considering is seriously deficient in any of these areas, we recommend not just running away, but running away quickly.
Now, as noted in the previous section, the first requirement on this list is very easy to come by: there are thousands of web developers out there and PHP/Laravel is the language and framework of choice for many of them. But, in this case, there is not safety in numbers.
In fact, the sheer volume of knowledgeable candidates makes your job harder. It also makes the importance of the other listed qualities even more important.
Probably the most important factors in the list are those regarding the potential developer’s willingness to clearly communicate: to listen closely to what you’re looking for, and effectively explain how their process can meet your needs perfectly. If you can find a developer or agency that can do that and offer quality services at a reasonable price, you’ve found a winner.
<h2>What questions should you ask a prospective PHP Laravel developer?</h2>
Once you’ve done your preliminary online research (reviewing various developer’s websites, checking reviews and social chatter,) and collected recommendations from trusted offline sources (such as business colleagues and networking groups) you should be able to narrow down your top choices to a handful or less.
Your next step should be to arrange a brief in-person or phone interview to discuss your project and get a feel for how the developer will handle it.
Some topics and questions you should definitely discuss with your prospective PHP developers are:
- Your specific project requirements – Rather than just providing the typical “Here’s what I need” list, concentrate on discovering, “How would you approach these needs?”
- Required functionality – Again, don’t just say, “I need my application to do this or that,” but “Here is the functionality I’d like … is there a better way to do that?”
- Required business purpose – Not just “Can you do this and understand it“, but “Do you really understand the reason the client want this in the first place?”
- Ideas for design and construction – Beyond confirming “Does this make sense?” be sure to ask, “What would your approach be to putting together an architecture for this project?”
- Testing procedures – The fact that testing will occur is a given, so instead of asking, “Do you check to confirm everything works?” try, “How do you implement testing procedures?”
- Delivery dates and cost – While you certainly need to know, “How much will this cost and how long is this going to take?”, you’re going to get a lot more valuable information out of asking, “What is your approach to determining cost and ensuring delivery dates are met?”
- Ongoing management – A better option than asking, “Will my in-house team be trained to support our software?” is to ask, “What is the process to getting enhancements made to my application?”
- Warranties and guarantees – While “Do you warranty your work?” provides you with a Yes/No answer, “Specifically, how does your warranty work? What is the timeframe of getting support work completed?” lays a foundation for a solid, collaborative effort.
All of these questions are just examples you should adapt to your particular project needs and personality, but the basic principles are sound:
To hire the dedicated PHP Laravel developer for your unique project’s needs, you need to go beyond the canned answer that every developer who wants to stay in business has effectively polished to a high shine, and instead dig deeper to reveal their true attitudes, aptitudes, and abilities.
Then, simply choose the developer that impresses you the most throughout the hiring process.
If you have any questions about hiring a PHP developer, whether it’s Laravel, CodeIgniter or some other framework, we’d love to hear from you.