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Author: Manuel Lemos

Posted on:

Categories: PHP Tutorials

This article presents top tips that may help you getting better PHP jobs.

Also related with the quest of getting better PHP jobs, the PHPClasses site is launching a new search engine with the goal to help employers finding PHP professionals by skill.




Contents

* Search PHP professionals by skill

- Specifying the search criteria
- Browsing the searched PHP professionals
- Specify your professional skills
- Other skills
- Upcoming improvements

* Top 10 tips to get better PHP jobs

1. Qualify yourself to stand out from the crowd
2. Stay upto date with the latest trends
3. Get more exposure to yourself in the PHP community
4. Advertise yourself conveniently
5. Do well on job interviews
6. Get ready to adapt to a new company culture
7. Evolve in your career making your employer profit more
8. Preserve your job
9. Get ready to move on to a better job
10. Other people tips


* Search PHP professionals by skill

Before moving on to the tips for getting better PHP jobs, let me start by the announcement of this new PHP professionals search engine.

As you may recall, last November the PHPClasses site launched a new directory to list professionals available for working on PHP jobs.

http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/71-Launched-the-PHP-Prof ...

That was the first step of a broader plan to make the PHPClasses site a place where all sorts of PHP professionals can meet businesses willing to hire them.

As it was released initially, this directory was not as useful as it could be because businesses were not able to check if the listed professionals had the skills they needed.

Therefore, after a few more months of development, the PHP professionals directory now has a search engine that lets businesses search professionals by skill.

http://www.phpclasses.org/professionals/


- Specifying the search criteria

The search interface consists of a form that lets anybody specify the skills of the professionals they are looking for.


search_professionals_by_skill


The form is split over several pages with tab buttons that the users can click to quickly switch to each of the pages.

On each page you can see several groups of skills. The first page presents a few check boxes that to specify desired activities of the professionals being searched, such as: PHP developer, Web designer, systems administrator, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) professional.

The other pages present several groups of skills to filter the search according to the desired level of experience in terms of years or months experience of the professionals on several aspects like: programming languages, databases, operating systems and PHP frameworks.

Currently, the form only presents skills that are frequently requested by employers. This form may be extended in the future to accommodate other skills not yet listed here.


- Browsing the searched PHP professionals

Once you have selected the relevant skills of the professionals you are looking for, just use the search button to retrieve the results.

A new page will appear with a list of professionals and a map of the world with icons pointing where the professionals are located.


search_professionals_results


This page will show only upto 10 professionals. You may use links that appear on tabs to browse other professionals if the search retrieved more that 10 professionals.

The results show first featured professionals. Those are professionals that have a PHPClasses premium subscription. In case you are not aware, premium subscriptions consist of a package of paid services that provide site users several types of benefits, like being listed first in the professionals searches.

The premium subscriptions were launched last year. Premium subscriptions are not free, but are quite inexpensive. Just go to the premium services page if you are interested in acquiring a subscription or you want to know more about the other benefits of the premium subscribers:

http://www.phpclasses.org/premium/

Alternatively, you can get a lifetime premium subscription for free if you submit an innovative package to the site and you are one of the nominees of the PHP Programming Innovation Award.

Among other prizes, you may get a free premium subscription as a sign of gratitude from the PHP Classes site for making a valuable contribution. Just go in the award page to learn more about the details of participation.

http://www.phpclasses.org/award/innovation/


- Specify your professional skills

Currently the PHP professionals directory has over 1500 professionals from almost 120 countries around the world.

However, if you perform a search for all professionals right now, you only see a few tens of professionals. That happens because the skills search interface was just released and only a few users have specified their skills.

To appear in the professionals search results you need first to go in the page to enter your professional profile details if you have not done it already. Just click on the link that says "Add or edit your professional profile":

http://www.phpclasses.org/professional_profile.html

Then you can proceed to the skills editing page:

http://www.phpclasses.org/professional_skills.html

This page presents a form very similar to the one in the search by skills page. The main difference is that for the skills that the search form asked for experience in terms of years or months, but the skills editing form asks for a year and a month when you started learning the respective skill, like for instance the approximate year and month when you started learning PHP, or PHP 5, or Javascript, and so on.


edit_professional_skills


- Other skills

If you have other skills that you think may be relevant but they are not listed in the predefined skill options, there is a text area below on which you can enter other skills you have.

Keep in mind that those other skills and your contact information will not be visible to all other site users unless you are a premium subscriber. However, potential employers that are premium subscribers will be able to see your other skills and have access to your contacts even when you are not a premium subscriber.

In the future the site will add more skills to this form, so then can be used as search criteria. Regularly the site will send you optional reports by e-mail with statistics of access to your profile.

If there were any new skills added after the last time you updated your profile, the statistics report message will let you know about the new skills, so you can come to the site and keep your skills upto date.


- Upcoming improvements

This is the first release of the skills searching interface. Upcoming improvements include using AJAX to minimize the time that it takes to update the search results pages.

Another improvement will be made to the search form to let you restrict the searched professionals by country. For now, you can go to the page that lists all professionals of a given country and perform the search from there. In that case, it will only retrieve professionals from that country.

In the future the site will also provide an efficient means to let businesses send job proposals to the available professionals. That will take some time though.

If you have suggestions for other improvements, please follow-up with comment to this article.


* Top 10 tips to get better PHP jobs

1. Qualify yourself to stand out from the crowd

Once in a while I see PHP developers complaining that the market does not pay PHP developers very well, there is a lot of competition, and the developers of other languages, like Java, are better paid.

It seems to me there are some misunderstandings. The job market follows the law of the offer and demand. This means that if there are too many job candidates for a few job openings, candidates tend to compete in price and accept lower salaries to take take the job.

However, the reality is that PHP is the leading language for Web development. There is a very large demand for qualified PHP developers. There is no shortage of businesses willing to pay good salaries to well qualified developers.

The same goes for Java. The Java job market in average tends to pay more because Java applications tend to require the knowledge of more complicated application frameworks and tools. It is not unusual for Java jobs to require that candidates have a college degree to qualify.

If do not have a college degree in computing science or in a similar area, you should consider very seriously to get one. If you have given up because it was too hard or too expensive, consider trying to get back and finish your degree as soon as possible. It is not easy, but if you can make it you will not regret the sacrifice.

If it is not viable to get a degree, there are plenty of PHP training courses and certification exams you can take to qualify yourself. It is not the same as taking a college degree, but it is better than not have any qualification to make you outstand from the crowd.


2. Stay upto date with the latest trends

The Web development is evolving and every year there are new technologies and approaches to develop Web applications.

AJAX and Web services APIs are no longer the new thing. The new thing is taking Web applications and make them run offline with a network connection. There are technologies like Google Gears, or Adobe Air and other similar products for that purpose.

http://gears.google.com/

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/air/

Try to learn about these technologies and how they can be used to develop better applications, so you will be ready to get on the next job that will require them. Since those are new technologies, very few people are qualified to work with them. Therefore, jobs that require knowledge on these technologies tend to pay better.

Still these new things will become old news sooner rather than later. But you do not need to despair if you never know what is the new new thing to pay attention.

There are plenty of good blogs that talk about Web startup companies are working on, like for instance TechCrunch or GigaOM. Subscribe their news RSS feeds to stay upto date with the latest trends in Web technologies and application development.

http://www.techcrunch.com/

http://gigaom.com/

If you want to focus more on PHP development, keep up with the latest news and PHP buzz following sites like PHPDeveloper.org, Planet PHP, Zend DevZone, Dzone, or listen to PHP podcasts .

http://www.phpdeveloper.org/

http://www.planet-php.net/

http://devzone.zend.com/

http://www.dzone.com/links/tag/php.html

http://www.phppodcasts.com/


3. Get more exposure to yourself in the PHP community

Another way to stand out from the crowd is to participate more in the activities of the PHP community.

It is great if you can afford attending to several PHP events, local user group meetings and conferences that happen world wide. The PHP site has a calendar of such events that you may consider to follow:

http://www.php.net/cal.php

Better than attending to such events is to participate as a speaker presenting a project, a technology, a library or a methodology you have been working on. If you participate as a speaker with an interesting presentation, the organization of some events may even cover for your expenses.

Another way to get greater exposure is to participate in initiatives on which you are required to develop a project of exceptional interest, like for instance the Google Summer of Code or even the PHPClasses Innovation Award. Participation on these initiatives is important enough to be mentioned in your resume.

http://code.google.com/soc/2008/

http://www.phpclasses.org/award/innovation/


4. Advertise yourself conveniently

If you want to get a better job you need to let the potential employers know that you are available.

If you participate in community events and other activities as suggested above, you may even get potential employers to ask you if you are interested in working for them. If you are not able to do that, you need to find alternatives.

Posting your resume in job boards is usually the way to go for people looking for a new job. Adding yourself to the PHP professionals directory as explained above is also another way to advertise yourself.

http://www.phpclasses.org/professionals/

However, if you are already in a job and you do not want your current employer to know that you are willing to move to another job, advertising your availability under your real name, may not be convenient.

That is why the PHPClasses site allow you to list yourself in the professionals directory under a different name entered the "Business name" field. This way you will not take the chance to be noticed by your current employer.

Alternatively you can just watch the newsletters or RSS feeds of new jobs that job boards or other sites like PHPDeveloper publish.

http://www.phpdeveloper.org/

This will take you some time to keep track of the new jobs and you may need to wait for a while until a new opportunity of your interest arrives. But it is still a solution to get new jobs without letting your current employer know.


5. Do well on job interviews

Once you find a new job opportunity, usually you need to go to an interview before you are accepted.

What you say and the way you behave in the interview is often very critical to succeed and get the job. If you are not experienced with job interviews, you may loose the opportunity if you behave or say things that hint the interviewer that you are not the right person for the job.

The obvious tip is not never lie or be caught in contradiction. Employers usually deposit a significant level of trust to their employers about private details of their businesses. If you lie or make contradictory statements in your job interview, the interviewer deducts that you are not trustworthy and you may loose the job opportunity.

Some companies hire human resources consultants to perform certain tests that evaluate your psychological profile. One type of tests is handwriting analysis. They ask you to sign or write a text in a paper by hand during the job interview. Then your handwriting is analyzed to detect traces of your attitude that may be inconvenient to the company.

Another kind of test is the psycho-technical exams. There are many variants of this type of exams. One of the variants consists in asking you many questions about different topics. Often the same exam asks the same question in different ways. If you provide contradictory answers, that may hint the job interviewer that you may not be trustworthy and you loose the job opportunity.

So, other than not lying, do not try to be smart and guess what the interviewer wants to know beyond what is being asked. Just be objective and answer the question with confidence.

Another problem of failed job interviews happens when candidates express that they have goals that do not interest the companies.

For instance, usually businesses want to hire somebody that work on a project for as long as it lasts.

When asked why they want to get that job, some candidates tell that they want to get more money and add that company to their resume. This may be a problem to the company because you may be hinting that you will leave the company in the middle of a project if you find a better paid job. So, you may not be the right candidate for the job.

It is very important that not only you say it but also feel that you will like to work in that company, not just for the money or improving your resume.


6. Get ready to adapt to a new company culture

You should try to learn the aspects of the business and culture of the company that you like and emphasize that in the job interview as a great motivation to want to work there.

You also should express that you are willing to adapt to aspects of the company culture that you are not familiar. Never try to push your own preferences unless that is a good thing for the company's business.

For instance if the company develops applications with framework X, do not try to push framework Y just because you prefer it. Refactoring applications to switch from framework X to Y is often inconvenient because it costs time and money to refactor the applications.

If you realize that the company works with libraries and tools different from your preference, but you really want to work on that company, emphasize that you are willing to adapt in the job interview.


7. Evolve in your career making your employer profit more

Once you are working in a company, it is up to you to make it as good as possible. If you do well, you may evolve your career even within the same company.

Companies are for-profit businesses. Therefore the more you contribute to the profit of the company business, the more valuable you become to the company.

Profit is revenue minus expenses. So you have two ways to contribute to the company's profit, either by improving the company revenue or reduce the company expenses.

If you working in a technical position like being a PHP developer, it may seem that you cannot influence much the company revenue or expenses.

However, there are plenty of a ways you can influence. For instance, if you develop tools or libraries that makes the company Web applications spend less memory, the company may need less servers to handle the same level of Web site audience.

Another example, if the company's Web sites need to be secured, you can suggest tools to audit the security of the Web site servers. There are plenty of security audit services, but to perform basic audits that may find common vulnerabilities, there are Open Source tools like Nessus that may help finding and closing existing holes.

http://www.nessus.org/

There are some security audit companies that use Open Source tools like this to sell auditing services. However, if you do some research and find tools like this that you company can use, you may save a lot of money in needless expenses.

Reducing the expenses is good but improving the company revenue is even better. Nowadays there are several ways that companies can use to generate additional revenue from their sites. If your company is not aware of these, you can do your research and find which ways can be used to generate more revenue.

For instance, you may have heard of Google AdSense program. This program lets Web site owners generate revenue from advertising that appears on site pages or search result pages.

AdSense is great. A good part of the PHPClasses site revenue comes from Google AdSense. But just putting AdSense ads just by itself it may not work as well as it could. There are plenty of small tips you can apply to maximize AdSense revenue. Sometime ago I have published some of those tips in this page:

http://www.phpclasses.org/tips.html?tip=site-revenue

Another important aspect to maximize Web site revenue is related with search engines. Search engines are responsible for sending a lot of traffic to Web sites. That traffic may convert to more product sales or more advertising revenue to the company.

However, to maximize the number of visits sent to your company site pages they need to be well ranked in search engine sites, so they appear first in the result pages. There are plenty of things to do in this area, which is called Search Engine Optimization: SEO.

If you have good SEO experience, your SEO skills may improve your company revenue significantly. SEO consultants tend to be very well paid because of that.

There are plenty of resources from which you can learn and obtain good SEO skills. If you want to get a good book to get started or improve your current SEO skills, you may want to read the "Professional Search Engine Optimization with PHP" book that was reviewed in the PHPClasses site some time ago.

http://www.phpclasses.org/reviews/id/0470100923.html



8. Preserve your job

Nowadays, for most people a job is not forever. Often companies go through periods of crisis and need to layoff part of the employees. It is common to see regularly 10% of the work force of a company being laid off. This is normal, it is called pruning. Under periods of more severe crisis, companies may need to layoff much more than 10% of the personnel.

Currently it is said that the United States is near a recession period. That may force companies to lay off some of their employees. Some analysts say that things may get worse because after the Olympic Games China may reduce their imports.

China has been investing a lot on infrastructure to appear well in the Olympics. So after the games it is possible that they reduce the imported goods. This may affect significantly the economy of many other countries that export to China.

Regardless if the worse happens or not, you must be ready to eventual job cuts in your company. Loosing a job is often very traumatic. So, you would better do what you need to do to not be one of the people that may be laid off.

If you do well what was suggested above and contribute to the maximize the company profit, that may save you from loosing the job. But there may be other factors.

If you show consistent dedication to your company, you may not be the first to be sent out. You can show dedication by being a good colleague to your fellow co-workers and especially the manager that is your boss. If you provide them valuable input to help them doing their job better, rest assured that they will not want you to leave even in a period of crisis.


9. Get ready to move on to a better job

If you are not satisfied with your current job, there are several things you can do to improve that situation. One of the things is to talk about your problems with your manager. If you have shown dedication, contributed significantly to make the company profit more, and you feel you deserve a better position and a better salary, tell your manager that.

If you did that and there seems to not be much hope to improve your situation, you may need to seek a better job. If you find a better job, make sure you leave the previous job without causing harm to the previous employer.

If you are near the end of a project, it is nice from you if you remain their until the end. If possible, trying to find a capable person that can fill the position that you are about to leave, it is also nice of you.

If you are nice to the companies you have worked when you left, someday that pay up. You will leaving a door opened to return later and occupy a better position as you wished.


10. Other people tips

Well these are just a few tips that I felt it were important to share due to my past experience working in several companies.

I understand that other people may have gone through their experiences and may have other tips to share. If you would like to share your tips on getting better PHP jobs, just post a comment to this article.

Stay tuned to the comments posted to this article so you may learn from tips provided by other people.

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Comments:

4. Accuracy of profile statistics - PHP-4-Business (2008-04-28 08:46)
Do the statistics include search engine crawls?... - 3 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

1. Priorities - Jason S (2008-04-01 22:04)
Improve PHP Classes before introducing new features... - 2 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

3. Top 10?... More like top 5... - jacob fogg (2008-04-01 20:30)
Top 10?... More like top 5...... - 1 reply
Read the whole comment and replies

2. Windows started in 1985 - PHP-4-Business (2008-04-01 19:39)
Why Professional Skills only allows Windows dates after 1995?... - 2 replies
Read the whole comment and replies


Trackbacks:

1. Top 10 tips to get better PHP jobs (2008-04-10 23:39)
Berikut adalah 10 tips buat programmer PHP didapat dari sini:...


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