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There may come a time in the life of your company’s online presence where you have one or more business-critical PHP applications, and you realize that your current talent base lacks sufficient PHP programming expertise. When you get to that point, you are faced with deciding between three choices, PHP outsourcing, hiring PHP developers, or training your existing staff.
In this blog we'll discuss how to determine if you have a need for additional PHP expertise, and the pros and cons of PHP outsourcing, hiring PHP developers, or providing training to your existing staff.
A PHP skills needs analysis is of paramount importance for companies planning, developing, or managing PHP applications, as it enables you to pinpoint the precise technical expertise needed for your specific projects and business goals.
By conducting a thorough assessment, you pursue a targeted approach that maximizes your return on investment in developer skills that also fosters a more efficient, successful organization and productive work environment.
Here are six steps to get you started:
1. Assess website and application requirements
Evaluate the current state of your company's digital presence and identify areas that could benefit from PHP development. This could include website functionality, e-commerce platforms, or backend systems.
2. Determine project scope and objectives
Establish the goals and desired outcomes for any PHP-related projects, such as improving website performance, integrating new features, or increasing security.
3. Identify skill gaps within the team
Review the current skill sets of the in-house development team and pinpoint any gaps in PHP knowledge or experience
4. Evaluate available resources
Assess the budget, time, and personnel constraints to determine whether hiring a PHP developer or outsourcing is the most effective option.
5. Consult with stakeholders and experts
Speak with relevant team members, such as project managers and IT professionals, to gather input on the need for PHP skills and how they can be incorporated into your overall business strategy.
6. Research PHP frameworks and tools
Explore popular PHP frameworks (e.g., Laminas, Laravel, Symfony) and tools (e.g., Composer, PHPUnit) to understand their capabilities and how they can address the company's needs
Following these steps lets you effectively analyze your need for PHP skills and make informed decisions to ensure the success of your digital projects.
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Outsourcing PHP application development offers numerous advantages for companies seeking to optimize resources and achieve their project goals efficiently. By tapping into a global talent pool, you can access a diverse range of expertise tailored to your specific needs and benefit from cost savings associated with reduced overhead and the flexibility to scale resources up or down as required. Furthermore, outsourcing enables you to focus on your company’s core competencies, while the development partner manages the technical aspects, ensuring timely delivery and adherence to best practices.
Outsourcing PHP application development, while offering numerous advantages, also has its downsides. One major concern is the potential loss of control over the project, as the external team may not share the same priorities or understanding of your business needs. Additionally, communication and collaboration challenges can arise due to geographical, cultural, and linguistic differences, potentially leading to delays or misunderstandings.
There's also the risk of compromised quality, as the outsourcing partner might not adhere to the same standards or possess the required expertise. Furthermore, data security and intellectual property protection may become vulnerable when working with an external team. Consequently, it is essential to carefully weigh the potential disadvantages against the benefits when considering outsourcing PHP application development.
Keeping PHP application development in-house offers several advantages, including maintaining full control over the development process, fostering seamless communication within the team, and ensuring the quality of the final product. In-house developers are likely to have a deeper understanding of the company's goals and values, which can result in the creation of tailored solutions that align better with business objectives.
Additionally, in-house development teams can promptly respond to emerging needs or issues, allowing for agile decision-making and efficient project management. And, possibly most importantly, keeping sensitive data in-house can mitigate potential security risks associated with outsourcing.
Hiring PHP developers is a great way for teams to invest in their applications. With extra PHP development staff, teams can better execute on developing new features that add value to the business and better manage the security and compliance of the applications that can help to minimize the risk of security breaches and downtime. Building upon existing teams also decreases the chance for technical debt, which can be a big risk for teams outsourcing PHP talent.
However, when looking at hiring PHP developers, there are a few additional considerations teams will need to make — with the most important considerations centering around budget and timeline. Due to the increasingly competitive market for PHP developers, finding and onboarding qualified talent can be a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. While not as long of a process as training can be, and experiences can vary by the compensation being offered for you positions, hiring PHP developers is neither an inexpensive or overnight fix.
As noted above, in-house approaches like training your existing teams, or hiring PHP developers will have a number of benefits over outsourcing. However, these approaches can take longer to execute.
Training your existing talent, for example, means you are working with known quantities who understand your company and your systems. If they're on your team currently, chances are that they have shown skill and even expertise in their domain areas. With the right training, they can likely develop the skills needed to maintain or develop PHP applications for your company.
However, training and development don't happen overnight. Learning advanced PHP development takes time and real-world experience. Teams will also need to account for the time spent on training and how that impacts ongoing projects and priorities.
When deciding between training existing developers on PHP or hiring new PHP developers, leaders should consider a variety of factors, including cost, time, complexity, capacity, and additional factors noted in the table below.
Compare the expenses involved in training current employees versus hiring new developers. Consider factors like training fees, lost productivity during training, and recruitment costs for new hires.
Assess the urgency of your project and determine whether your existing team can learn PHP quickly enough to meet deadlines, or if hiring experienced PHP developers would be more efficient.
Evaluate the current skill set of your existing developers and their ability to learn PHP. If they possess strong programming foundations, training them might be more feasible.
Analyze the complexity of the project and whether it requires highly skilled PHP developers or if your existing team can manage it after training.
Consider the impact of introducing new team members on your existing team's dynamics and productivity, as well as the potential benefits of diversifying skills within the team.
Determine if your PHP projects will be ongoing or short-term. If you have a continuous need for PHP skills, investing in training or hiring dedicated PHP developers may be more practical.
Consider the potential for employee turnover. Training existing employees can increase their value and commitment to the company, reducing the risk of losing them to competitors.
Assess how well new hires would fit into your company culture and whether training existing employees would better maintain the current cultural dynamics.
Does your existing team have the capacity to take on the additional workload of learning PHP while still fulfilling their current responsibilities?
Using these evaluation criteria, you can make an informed decision that best suits your project requirements, budget, and overall strategic goals.
At the end of the day, the best advice we can give you on the question of whether to hire or to train, it to use the guidelines we covered in this article to determine what’s best for your business.
It’s also worth considering that your business needs might not be so cut-and-dried. In many cases you might end up following a hybrid approach that combines two or all three of the strategies we’ve outlined. Stay flexible, keep on top of technology trends, and be sure to occasionally reassess your business needs.
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Senior Technical Trainer, Zend by Perforce
Doug Bierer has been hooked on computers since his first program, written on a DEC PDP-8 in 1971. In his wide-ranging career, Doug has been a professional contract programmer since 1978, having built applications in BASIC, PL/I, assembler, FORTH, C, C++, dBase/FoxBase/Clipper, Pascal, Prolog, Perl, Java, Python, and PHP. He deployed his first website in 1993 while living in San Francisco. Doug has been doing technical PHP training since 2009 and has written a number of technical books including PHP 8 Programming Tips, Tricks and Best Practices and the PHP 7 Programming Cookbook (Packt Publishing Ltd). He is fluent in three languages, has traveled extensively, and now resides in Thailand.