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Should You Hire Dedicated PHP Programmers or Local In-House Developers?

PHP is officially the most popular server-side programming language throughout the world. Resent research shows that its frameworks are used by over 80% of websites. Not to mention market’s biggest players like Wikipedia, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, WordPress which were developed on PHP base. It has grown from procedural to a mature object-oriented language with lots of highly structured, ready for use frameworks. That is helpful when you require a well-functioning solution for your business without an expensive process of coding application from scratch, or an exhausting stage of bug fixing which can take a considerably long period of time.

According to w3techs.com
TechnologySites Use, %
PHP 82.9%
Static Files1.5%
Jetbrains statistics for 2017
PHP FrameworkSites Use, %

While this article focuses mainly on hiring dedicated PHP developers, industry tendencies described here are applicable to software development professionals of other branches.


PHP engineers are greatly demanded in the US and the UK. However, assigning an in-house staff there would take a decent amount of company’s yearly budget. Below you can see the statistics of the latest USA and UK job offers for PHP programmers listed online:

Based on indeed.com October 2017 search
Company nameCompensation, USDBenefits Offered
Ultra ShipTMS70,000 to 112,000 AnnuallyMedical, Life, Dental, 401K2
Cybercoders100,000 to 140,000 AnnuallyBenefits package
Compu-Tecture90,000 to 100,000 AnnuallyMedical, Dental
Better Life Holdings40,000 to 70,000 AnnuallyMedical

Full stack (PHP and JS) developers based within one’s company should have not only thorough knowledge of various PHP frameworks but also expert knowledge of HTML, CSS, SQL, Javascript, JQuery and more.

When it comes to bringing an abstract business idea to reality, there is something more to it than simply engaging code writers. Web developer is a person who should understand business rules, innovative ideas, quality standards. Qualified PHP engineer is able to compile all those into technical syntax that works smoothly as a web application. So, the ability to communicate effectively becomes one of the most valuable skills. This is when a company-based developer or a local freelancer is a good choice.

Major benefits of employing local programmers:

  • Excellent communication. No cultural or language barriers. This person has the same attitude as yours, social role models that defined his or her personality which allows perfect understanding.
  • Live working process. Developer is always available during the working hours. No time zone differences or internet connectivity issues.
  • Up to date knowledge. Same information field that you’re living in shapes an overall approach to IT market. Again, you are on the same page, knowing the corporate path where you going.

Some cons:

  • High costs. You must keep up with average salary rates, at the same time providing all necessary benefit packages, required by local law.
  • Maintenance expenses. Another paragraph in your budget would be overhead costs including office rent, utility bills, hardware outgoings and so on.


if_Sed-18_2200613With delegating some of your tasks or the whole project to someone situated in another country, you can save nearly half of your budget. Software is a product that doesn’t require performing logistics or customs difficulties. Internet connectivity makes it easy to establish a working process no matter what is the location of communicating parties. By carefully choosing a remote dedicated team, you can get your project done without any compromise in value. Well-known IT-outsourcing places, such as Ukraine, India, Philippines have a broad pool of professionals with a solid education and work experience. A new term ‘nearshore’ means that you pick specialists that live within 1 to 3 hours difference from your main office. This helps much when negotiating possible solutions and delivered results during Agile iterations as well as sprints in Scrum methodology.


if_php_282805Many will agree that Ukraine is the most popular country for web development outsourcing in Eastern Europe. More than 1000 IT-companies are operating there. Ukrainian programmers are easy to deal with, they are always informed about top-notch technologies and used to working hard. Regional management, analytics, testing and accounting teams are also proved to be highly organized, with a fluent English.

Considering high dollar to grivna (local currency) correlation, even senior developers salary rates in Ukraine are much lower than in Europe or Silicon Valley. Keep in mind that you don’t trade quality for cost here. Most of the international companies who failed to find an understanding from local IT-specialists turn to Ukraine for complicated solutions and facing challenges. This happens because of a strong (like a military) discipline and engineering background as a residue from Soviet Union. Ukrainian programmers would fight with the code until they find the best possible solution in the most difficult situation.

Please find the table below with some examples of PHP job openings in Ukrainian-based IT companies.

Based on jobs.dou.ua search in October 2017
Company NameMonthly Salary, USDAnnual Salary, USD
Mobile Labs700-15008400-18000

Note that IT-companies, based in Ukraine practice so-called Cost+ billing model, which adds to unit’s value price some amount of a markup cost. It is usually a fixed cost which includes overheads such as office expenses, workspace, hardware, HR, taxes and other administrative outlays. Average overhead amount may vary between $800 and $1200, added to each of the developer’s salary. Even though, total cost would be highly acceptable for big or small budget.

Advantages of hiring Ukrainian dedicated developers (not only PHP):

  • Big pool of highly motivated professionals and relatively low cost of talents.
  • Creativity. They can think out of the box where people of other origin (especially Asian who prefer more strict rules) would stop trying.
  • High accuracy, good at science, plus they learn new things fast trying to keep up with market trends and needs. Aggressive approach to problems. They don’t stop until they solve the problem.
  • Country infrastructure is good. It is easy to get there. For example, Americans don’t need a visa
  • It is safe no matter political situation. Kyiv (the capital) has proved to be stable over the years of unrest in the East.
  • Absence of culture barrier (European mentality)
  • Where others would better get the pay for hours not caring much about the outcome plus may not interpret tasks right (problems with understanding English), Ukrainians are willing to get the project done in the best way possible in order to keep client happy and their reputation clean.
  • Well-structured and managed teams. They are familiar with Agile model.


  • Time zone difference may lead to delaying important questions and inconvenient working conditions like staying up at night or having to wake up at 4:00 in the morning.
  • Legal risks and concerns. Money transfer may take effort and time.
  • Some older developers can write in English but not very good at speaking which may cause problems with communicating.

Note: This article was updated on October 9, 2017.

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  1. Allie
    January 10, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    This was very helpful. Our company is considering hiring a PHP programmer or a development company since we’ve grown so much. This article provides me with great info to argue for hiring one, and how much funds we would need to budget to hire them.

    Reply »
  2. Mason
    October 8, 2014 at 3:44 am

    These are great suggestions. Do you have any advice for how to vet or narrow down a list of potential PHP programmers/development companies? That’s what I’m trying to figure out right now and I’m clueless as to how to do that.

    Reply »

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