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PHP Programmer: Career Profile

Sep 11, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a PHP programmer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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PHP programmers typically require a bachelor's degree with a specialization in computer science. An up-to-date knowledge of industry developments is also essential for success in this career. Keep reading to learn about what to expect in terms of job growth and median salary in the field.

Essential Information

PHP programmers design, build, test and debug database-driven, Web-based applications in the PHP scripting language. These applications are dynamic, and users can interact with them. PHP programmers usually need a bachelor's degree in a computer science field, and they should also know how to code in other programming languages and work with database packages. Individuals may opt for certification in a variety of programming languages.

Required Education Bachelor's degree related to computer science
Required Skills Programming skills and familiarity with database packages
Certification Voluntary certification through software and other technology organizations
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -7% for all computer programmers
Average Salary (2018)* $89,580 annually for all computer programmers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

PHP Programmer Overview

PHP is a server-side scripting language that enables users to interact with databases underlying web pages. Most PHP programmers supplement their skills with knowledge of software that PHP works with to make Web pages dynamic. This software includes HTML code, other scripting languages and some of the essential programming languages. Working mostly with database and storage applications, accomplished PHP programmers are also familiar with database packages such as MySQL and Oracle.

Job Duties

A PHP programmer is responsible for designing and implementing website functions by writing PHP script code and templates. The programmer combines PHP with other programming protocols to design, build and manage such application packages as report generating protocols, games or e-commerce shopping carts. The PHP programmer uses testing and debugging skills to ensure that these and other Web applications are running smoothly.

Education Requirements

Although many employers specify that job candidates should possess a bachelor's degree in such areas as computer science, just as many require two years or more of experience. Voluntary certification is available through colleges as well as software- or industry-specific organizations for:

  • C++
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • Visual Basic
  • Perl
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • Linux
  • Apache
  • XML/AJAX

Salary Expectations

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported $84,360 as the mean annual wage for computer programmers as of 2015. Programmers working for software publishers averaged $102,480, while those working for state governments averaged $70,840 (www.bls.gov).

Job Outlook

The BLS reported that job growth for software developers should be excellent from 2018-2028 with a projected job growth rate of 21%. The field of computer programming will experience a decline, with a projected growth rate of -7%. By expanding their knowledge base of newer technologies, such as cloud computing and programming languages, PHP programmers may become software engineers with careers that could advance into managerial positions.

In addition to holding a bachelor's degree related to computer science, there are many industry-specific certifications a PHP programmer may be required to obtain. These certifications include topics like C++, Perl and JavaScript. PHP programmers can find work in a diverse range of industries, from information services to software publication.

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