PHP is one of the most popular web programming languages. Many web applications and websites are developed in PHP, and it can be said that it is one of the indispensable programming languages.
Due to the high demand and popularity of the programming language, more and more people are aiming to become freelance PHP engineers. This time, I will summarize the basic information that I want to know if I aim to become a freelance PHP engineer.
The situation surrounding freelance PHP engineers
Let’s first understand the current situation surrounding freelance PHP engineers.
What kind of programming language is PHP
To understand the situation of PHP engineers, let’s review what kind of programming language PHP is.
PHP is a web-based programming language and is often used to develop websites and web applications. There are many web programming languages other than PHP, but since it is a programming language that has been used for development for a long time, many people aim to become freelance PHP engineers.
PHP is classified as a relatively easy-to-understand programming language, and there are many cases where frameworks are used. It is a language for developing web applications, but keep in mind that each framework has its characteristics.
Example of PHP engineer’s implementation
In the case of PHP engineers, both freelancers and office workers are similar tasks. Make sure you know what kind of work you may be assigned.
A PHP engineer’s main job is to implement websites. In particular, PHP engineers are active because PHP is required to create websites that include dynamic elements.
Basically, in creating a website, a web designer is finishing the design of the website. PHP engineers code the website by combining the necessary elements based on the design prepared by the web designer.
PHP is also used on websites with dynamic elements, such as search functionality. Implementing such dynamic elements requires design and programming, and may be handled consistently by PHP engineers.
Web application development
There are many cases where we develop web applications instead of websites. The line here is somewhat ambiguous, but a web application is something that provides some kind of function in addition to browsing the site. For example, attendance management systems and inventory management systems used in web browsers.
In developing these applications, we have to design various algorithms. Implementation is necessary to fulfill the user’s request, and PHP engineers are in charge of the design work.
However, depending on the web application, the function may be complicated and it may not be possible for PHP engineers to design it. For such a system, engineers who are familiar with the business are in charge of design, and PHP engineers are only in charge of implementation.
Web application design may be handled by an engineer or by a designer. Unlike a typical website, it is sometimes designed by engineers.
WordPress is a well-known application developed in PHP. Since it is an open-source CMS, it is used not only in Japan but also worldwide.
Since it is open source with a large number of users, PHP engineers are often in charge of customizing WordPress. The core part of WordPress is developed by some engineers, but extensions, etc. are developed by each PHP engineer. Since it can be customized freely, PHP engineers will customize it according to your request.
WordPress is in such high demand that some PHP engineers specialize in it. Since knowledge specialized in WordPress is required, I will work with that knowledge as a weapon. If you can handle PHP, you can’t handle WordPress, but it is a job that is easy for PHP engineers to handle.
3 Skills required for freelance PHP engineers
As a freelancer, PHP engineers must acquire various skills. Among them, I will explain three skills that are particularly important this time.
PHP can be developed from scratch, but there are many cases where frameworks are used. Since several major frameworks have already been developed, we will use these frameworks to reduce man-hours.
There are many frameworks developed in PHP, and a PHP engineer can’t master them all. Therefore, let’s start by learning the important frameworks. For example, the following frameworks are required for PHP engineers.
- Zend Framework
It is impossible to master all these frameworks. However, if you can only support one type, you will feel uneasy. However, if you learn too many, it will be difficult to update the skill, so it is recommended to keep it to three types.
When developing websites and web applications with PHP, most of the cases use databases. Currently, it is almost impossible to build a PHP system without a database, so if you are a PHP engineer, be sure to learn it.
Multiple databases are compatible with PHP, but among them, MySQL and MariaDB are used. Although there are some differences depending on the environment in which the system is introduced, if you learn at least these databases, you can be active as a PHP engineer.
Required skills are database operation and cooperation with PHP. To access the database and exchange various data, let’s understand those methods. As a PHP engineer, it is enough if you can connect data appropriately.
In other words, no database tuning skills are required. This is a part where database engineers play an active role, so you can leave it to them.
PHP engineers may be responsible not only for coding the program but also for coding the design side. In particular, freelance PHP engineers may be entrusted with all processes by themselves, so let’s learn HTML and CSS.
The skills required are minimal to code a website. Instead of having other engineers code for you, you should be able to do it yourself. Designs are typically created by web designers, so let them implement that design.
However, since HTML and CSS are evolving day by day, it is also true that it is difficult for PHP engineers to master them perfectly. If you spend too much time, you will not be able to improve your skills as a PHP engineer, so be aware of the time allocation for skill improvement.
3 ways to become an independent freelance PHP engineer
There are many ways to become an independent freelance PHP engineer. This time, I will introduce a method that can be said to be the royal road among them.
Become independent after gaining practical experience
To become a freelance PHP engineer, it is safe to gain practical experience and become independent. Work as a PHP engineer at a company, etc., and become independent after your skills have increased sufficiently. Working as a freelancer requires various clerical procedures such as contracts, so you acquire clerical experience while you are a company employee.
Also, if you have experience working as a company employee, it will be easier for you to use that experience as a freelancer. For example, there are royal road rules for document creation, so learn those rules. It is a problem to misappropriate things from the company employee days, but there is no problem in acquiring knowledge.
In addition, if you make a network while you are an office worker, you may be able to make use of it after becoming a freelancer. Networking is also important for success in freelancing, so networking is also included in practical experience.
Independent from programming school
Even if you don’t become a PHP engineer as a company employee, there is a way to gain experience at a programming school. Programming schools also have courses for beginners, so I aim to become independent after using such things to improve my skills.
It depends on the programming school, but in many cases, there is a system such as employment support. It is a system that allows you to propose a job where you can make use of what you learned at the programming school. If you want to get a job as a PHP engineer, it would be a good idea to get a job offer.
And if you don’t get a job, we will support you to become independent as a freelancer. Acquisition of projects may be self-responsibility, but if you acquire skills at programming school, you can become independent as a freelancer with practical skills.
Beginning from inexperienced
PHP engineering is not a profession that requires qualifications, so you can be independent even if you have no experience. If you decide to become a freelance PHP engineer today, you can become independent as a freelance engineer.
However, even if you call yourself a freelancer without experience, you will not be able to get a project. If you don’t have the skills, clients won’t ask you for a job, so first, try to improve your skills by self-study. In recent years, PHP skills can be learned through websites and books, so I aim to improve my skills by using them.
However, even if you improve your skills by self-study, it is difficult to get projects without practical experience in the world of freelancing. Therefore, after improving your skills through self-study, try using a crowdsourcing service, etc., to take on relatively less difficult projects. If you continue to work on such projects, you will gradually be able to take on more difficult projects.
Freelance PHP engineer salary
The annual income of a freelance PHP engineer varies greatly depending on the situation in which the person is placed. This time I will explain the average annual income and what you need to do to increase your annual income.
The average annual income is about 6.5 million yen
The average annual income of freelance PHP engineers is about 6.5 million yen. Although there are differences depending on the data you refer to, you can generally think of it as an annual income of this level. Since PHP is a programming language in high demand, the unit price of projects is often high, and the average annual income is also high.
However, PHP engineers tend to change their average annual income significantly depending on their years of experience. For example, if you calculate the annual income from a job that you can apply for even if you have 1 or 2 years of experience, it will be about 3.5 million yen. PHP is easy to learn and the hurdles to entry are low, so it is thought that “short experience = low skill”.
Conversely, when the number of years of experience exceeds 5 years, the unit price approaches the average level. By acquiring additional skills such as frameworks, business skills, and English skills, you can work as an engineer who earns more than the average annual income.
Expect an increase in annual income with years of experience and skills
Japan tends to place importance on years of experience, so even freelancers place importance on years of experience to some extent. The unit price of young people tends to be low, and the unit price tends to be high when you get older. There are some unreasonable parts, but there is no choice but to understand that the point that annual income is influenced by age is Japanese culture.
However, although age tends to be emphasized, skills are more important than freelance. If you have high skills, there is no doubt that you can earn more than the PHP engineers around you. Developing your skills as a freelancer is more important than anything else.
I explained about freelance PHP engineers. PHP is a programming language used for web development and is in high demand. There are many rivals due to high demand, but if you learn it well, you can be active as a freelance PHP engineer.
When going independent, it is ideal to have experience as a company employee, but it is also possible to challenge by a programming school or by an inexperienced. There are many options available, so choose the method that works best for you.
In addition, since PHP engineers are in high demand, the average annual income of freelancers tends to be high. However, since it is also a programming language with many competitors, I would like to demonstrate additional skills such as learning frameworks and being able to speak English to increase my annual income.