Key Factors To Consider Before Hiring Offshore PHP Coders

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PHP is one of the most popular frameworks out there.

According to w3techs, PHP is used by 77.7% of all websites with a known server-side programming language.

And over 21.98% of developers worldwide use PHP extensively for their everyday work.

But the average salary of dedicated PHP developers in the U.S. comes up to a whopping $93,651 per year.

So hiring offshore PHP developers has become the need of the hour if you want to cut costs while still getting the best of talent. 

Hiring offshore can save up to 50% of your costs, depending on where you hire from…

But how do you ensure you find and hire the best offshore PHP coders for your project?

These are the 8 key factors to consider before hiring offshore PHP developers 

1. Understand your exact needs

When you want to hire a dedicated PHP developer, you should be crystal clear about your exact requirements. Without having the baseline requirements in place, you will flounder about your hiring process, or worse hire the wrong developers.

So take the time to first ask yourself the following questions:
  • What is the scope and timeline of your project?
  • What is your budget for the hire?
  • How many dedicated PHP developers are you looking to hire? (Hiring a single freelance developer vs an entire offshore dev team/agency)
  • Do you need the developer(s) to work in your time zone?
  • Is there any specific background or expertise you would like them to have? 

Having these priorities decided will not only make your hiring process easier, it will also help you find the best-fit PHP developers for your project. 

2. Check for convenience of location

Next, based on your requirements decide which global zones you want to narrow down your search to. 

Your decision should be based on the following factors:

  • Time zone differences: 

If you want someone who will be full-time in your time zone then be sure to look only at countries that are geographically close to you. If you are able to strategically coordinate with your developer during overlapping hours, and let them work in their own local hours… Then the world is your oyster.

  • Average local salary range: 

Every country or region of the world will give you a slightly different pricing range based on the local cost of living. For a better understanding, take a look at the approximate salary of developers across the world.

  • Infrastructure setup for remote support: 

No matter which country or city you are hiring from, be sure to see if they have the infrastructure set up for remote work. And key among them is access to a consistent, high-speed internet connection.

  • Language compatibility: 

You can hire a remote developer halfway across the world to flawlessly execute an end-to-end project, with just a few calls and emails over a couple of months. But none of this is possible if they don’t speak or understand the same language as you. 

  • Exposure to international business etiquette: 

This might not be a contract-ending issue. But it is much easier to work with an offshore developer or agency, that is already conversant with your local business etiquette, processes, and customs.

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3. Filter based on experience and expertise

When it comes to hiring an offshore PHP developer, don’t pick the cheapest option. Experience and industry expertise matter.

The more nuanced and complicated your project is, the more experienced developer you probably need. 

But remember, it’s not always just the number of years or number of projects that matter. 

Also consider the kinds of projects they’ve worked on in the past and the kinds of critical problems they’ve had to solve. This will give you a better idea of their breadth of expertise with PHP.

If you’re hiring dedicated PHP developers through an international agency (or outsourcing it to an offshore company altogether), then also be sure to run a quick background check on the organization. 

  • How many years have they been around? 
  • What scale and complexity of projects have they handled?
  • What is their staffing capacity? 
  • How many dedicated PHP experts do they have on board? 
  • Will they be able to support you with a larger team if the project expands in the future? 
  • Look for Trust Pilot or Clutch reviews. 
  • Run through their list of previous clients and talk to a few of them if possible.

4. Review their portfolio for a clear picture

No matter how many testimonials or pitch decks you go through, you will never have a full understanding of their capacity and experience, until you’ve reviewed their portfolio. 

So dive in and check their past work to get an idea of the scope and complexities they’ve executed on. 

You could even ask them for their GitHub or Stack Overflow profiles to get an in-depth view of the quality and thoroughness of their coding.

5. Ensure compatibility of workflow

When you’re working remotely with an offshore developer, ensuring that you have workflow compatibility is crucial to the success of a project. 

Be upfront and get into it during the interview process itself. 

You could ask them things like:

  • How do they normally approach a project?
  • What is their communication protocol?
  • What do they do when they’re stuck while coding? How do they problem solve?
  • How flexible are their working hours? 
  • When and how are they available for client discussions?
  • Are they comfortable with an NDA?

Specific to agencies: 

  • How do they allocate developers to the project?
  • Can they expand the team’s capacity during the course of a project?

6. Ask them the right technical questions

While you’re running workflow compatibility checks in an interview, don’t forget to get into their technical expertise.

Get a better understanding of the depth of their PHP expertise by asking them a few basic questions, like:

  • How do PHP sessions work?
  • What is the difference between an Interface and a Class in PHP?
  • What is the difference between the include() and require() functions?
  • What are the main error types in PHP, and how do you handle them?
  • How does inheritance work with PHP?
  • What is the difference between $_GET and $_POST?
  • What are the visibility keywords of a property or method in PHP?
  • How do you load classes in PHP?
  • What does ob_start() do?

Or you could ask them more project-specific questions for a more personalized insight into their knowledge base. 

For example: What classes would you use to create to build a basic “Twitter-style status system” with OOP?

7. Have a mini coding test to get the real picture

Just to be thorough, go beyond basic interviews. 

See how they walk the talk when it comes to a PHP coding assignment. 

Once you shortlist the developers to your top few candidates, use a quick coding test to finalize the hiring choice. 

You can use specific examples from (or similar) to your project to see if they can handle the nuances of your needs.

Doing this will also give you an idea of how well they are able to understand and translate your ideas into reality.

Pro tip: If you’re sharing real-life examples of your project during the test, then be sure to have them sign an NDA beforehand. 

8. Check for clauses on ownership of source code

Finally, before you close the deal and sign the contracts, have a conversation about the ownership of source code

It is almost unnecessary to say that you should always have ownership over the source code. 

It is the more fundamental component of your website, and having it with you safeguards you against any issues that may arise in the future. (Like if you decide to switch developers but realize you don’t have access to the source code.)

The cost of ownership of source code is often included in the original quotation sent by the offshore PHP developer or agency.

But sometimes, agencies charge an additional fee for granting you sole access to the original source code. So clear out the details beforehand to avoid any nasty surprises down the line.

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