Hiring guide for PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) Engineers

PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) Developer Hiring Guide

PHP/FI, an acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, is a widely-used open-source scripting language specifically designed for web development. First released in 1995 by Rasmus Lerdorf, PHP has evolved significantly over the years and is now maintained by The PHP Group. The language is noted for its ability to be embedded within HTML code and its compatibility with various web servers and operating systems. As per the TIOBE Index, it consistently ranks among the top 10 most popular programming languages worldwide. Its extensive use in server-side scripting, command-line scripting, and coding applications makes it a versatile tool in the realm of web development.

Ask the right questions secure the right PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

How would you define PHP?
PHP is a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language.
What are the main error types in PHP?
The main error types in PHP are: Notice, Warning, Parse Error, Fatal Error, Core Error, User Error, User Warning, User Notice, Strict, Recoverable Error, Deprecated Error, and User Deprecated Error.
Describe the difference between GET and POST methods in PHP.
GET displays the submitted data as part of the URL, whereas POST does not. In terms of security, POST is slightly safer than GET because the parameters are not stored in browser history or in web server logs.
How would you prevent SQL Injection in PHP?
To prevent SQL Injection in PHP, we can use prepared statements and parameterized queries. We can also use the PHP Data Objects (PDO) or MySQLi for this purpose.
What are PHP sessions and how do they work?
PHP sessions are a way to store information (in variables) to be used across multiple pages. Unlike a cookie, the information is not stored on the users' computer.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of PHP?
What is their familiarity with SQL databases?
Does the candidate have experience with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS?
How well does the candidate understand object-oriented programming?

Next 20 minutes

Specific PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

Describe the difference between echo and print in PHP.
Both echo and print are used to output data to the screen. The differences are small: echo has no return value while print has a return value of 1 so it can be used in expressions. Echo can take multiple parameters while print can take one argument.
How would you handle exceptions in PHP?
In PHP, exceptions can be thrown and caught within PHP code. The try, catch, and finally blocks are used to catch exceptions.
What are magic constants in PHP?
Magic constants are predefined constants in PHP which change depending on where they are used. For example, __LINE__ returns the current line number of the file.
Describe the difference between require and include in PHP.
The require statement is identical to include except upon failure it will produce a fatal error and halt the script whereas include will just give a warning and the script will continue.
How would you use the ternary operator in PHP?
The ternary operator is a shorthand way of writing an if-else statement. It's written as (condition) ? (if_true) : (if_false).
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor).

What does the following PHP code do?
This code declares a variable called 'var' and assigns the string 'Hello, World!' to it. Then it prints the value of 'var' to the output, which will be 'Hello, World!'.
What will be the output of the following PHP code?
The output will be 'False'. The '===' operator not only checks if the values of the variables are the same, but also checks if their types are the same. Here, $x is an integer and $y is a string, so the condition is false.
What does the following PHP code do?
This code multiplies each element of the array by 2. The '&' before '$value' means that '$value' is a reference to the original item in the array, not a copy. So when '$value' is doubled, the original item in the array is also doubled.
What will be the output of the following PHP code?
The output will be '012'. The 'static' keyword means that the variable '$x' retains its value between function calls. So the first time 'myTest()' is called, '$x' is 0. The second time, '$x' is 1. The third time, '$x' is 2.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

What are namespaces in PHP?
Namespaces are a way of encapsulating items so that same name items can exist without conflict. It's a way of organizing code and preventing name collisions between code.
Describe the difference between == and === in PHP.
The == operator compares the values and ignores the data type. The === operator compares both value and data type.
How would you use a static function in PHP?
A static function can be called directly - without creating an instance of a class. Static functions are declared with the static keyword.

PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) application related

Product Perfect's PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in PHP/FI (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.