The Marmite shortage of 2012 was tough. We’ve had some difficult banana droughts too. But New Zealand is currently in the throes of an even more severe scarcity – PHP developers. The cause of migraines for agencies and recruiters alike; thanks to PHP, it’s the perfect time to purchase shares in Panadol.
Where are they all? Our universities are churning out BAs faster than students flock towards free beer. And with the popularity of teaching qualifications, you’d think apples were better than sex. Sadly, those earnest young graduates may well find themselves sporting a McDonald’s shirt, while developers’ desks across the country remain empty. With a number of excellent institutes offering courses that cover PHP, it seems a shame that there aren’t enough graduates wanting to work in it to fill the gap.
A massive majority of websites are coded in PHP (82.2% according to one survey), and new aspects of our lives move online each day. So unless a new language stages a sudden aggressive takeover, the demand for PHP developers is only going to increase. We all know how tight the timelines of agency projects can be, so a delay in finding someone to code that award-winning site can lead to an increase in grey hairs and tequila consumption amongst management. Luckily, razzbri’s always on hand to rustle up a freelancer or two – but wouldn’t it be nice if there were a few more to choose from?
It must be a great time to be a PHP freelancer. With a pretty tough stereotype to fight, developers don’t always get the social recognition they deserve. But in a shortage, any contractor who comes riding to the rescue (even if they’re wearing jeans-with-running shoes and a Yogscast tee) is sure to be popular with the suits. In fact, any employee with PHP skills and an opportunistic streak is probably in for a good time. That daily bowl of pre-shelled pistachios may no longer be considered an unreasonable request. Or at the very least, pay rates might inflate a little.
Keen to cash in? If you’re a developer with agency experience, a bit of home study and a pet project might be all it takes. There’s a useful ebook here to get you started. Once you feel you’ve got a reasonable idea of what you’re doing, and there’s something in your portfolio to prove it, razzbri would love to hear from you.
And if you’re already PHP capable but are working in something else, now could be the perfect time to switch sides. Careful though, a steady stream of contract work does wonders for the wallet, but that does make it harder to keep that shoe (or Star Wars figurine) habit under control.
Perhaps the problem could be approached from a different angle, too. Although contractors really need to be able to hit the ground running, when it comes to employing permanent staff, do they really need specific PHP experience? Vend recently changed their hiring philosophy, and decided to focus on finding great developers, rather than experts in one thing. We’re impressed by their attitude. Good staff are an investment, and good developers’ skills should transcend their coding language. Here’s hoping more agencies catch on soon.
In the meantime, we’ll keep up our rain dance for the duration of the drought. But we do hope it starts to rain PHP people soon – we’re starting to wear out the carpet.