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Building better PHP programmers, part 2

I have no “findings”, no “conclusions”, but I have some thoughts on my continuing goal to help bad/nominal PHP programmers become better PHP programmers.

The first question I asked is “Is there really a shortage of good PHP developers?” While I didn’t get a specific answer the general jist of it is that yes, there is a problem with finding good PHP developers. Now, some of that may that the people responding ARE the above-average PHP developers and so there can often frustrations in figuring out how to work with developers who don’t yet have the chops that they do.

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Getting good PHP programmers

One of the interesting conversations I had during Zendcon was while talking to a recruiter. She asked what questions she could ask to help guage how strong a PHP developer is. The best one I could come up with was “name 6 of the 10 variable types in PHP”. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to interview several people for working at Zend and that is usually one of the first questions I ask and I can usually get a good feel for how long the conversation will be after that. It’s an esoteric question but by asking it I can guage a) how well that person knows PHP, and b) how easy it will be for me to work with them. If they know the answer (and correct it) they know their PHP. If they don’t know the answer but get flustered or angered by it, then they will probably be harder to work with.