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India will become number 1 source of PHP developers soon

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Categories: Interviews, PHP User Groups, Gamification

The number of Indian PHP developers has been growing at a large pace in the last few years, when compared to other countries. A few years ago, India was just one of the top ten countries with more PHP developers. Now India is number 2 and is almost surpassing United States, which is still number 1.

This article presents a reflection about why this growth happened just in the latest years, as well what it means for the PHP world.

Sandeep Kadam, a leader of the PHP community in India gave an interview to help clarifying this subject.

Loaded Article

- The size of the Indian PHP market

- PHP developers available for taking jobs

- Certified PHP Developers

- PHP user groups

- PHP Programming Innovation Award - *updated*

- Interview with Sandeep Kadam

- The size of the Indian PHP market

Currently, India is the number 2 in terms of PHP developers that logged in the PHPClasses site in the latest 30 days. Indian developers represent 10.5% of the logged users, against 11.8% of developers from the United States, which is still in the lead. ...

It is true that we are still in a month that is typically when people go out on Summer vacation in the North hemisphere. Still the difference between India and United States audience has never been so small.

A few years ago the United States represented about 20% of the audience. Germany was second with about 12%. India had less than 3%. Something has happened that caused this huge growth of the India PHP developers in just a few years.

- PHP developers available for taking jobs

The directory of PHP professionals available for taking PHP jobs of the PHPClasses site is lead by India:

1. India - 15.7%
2. United States - 8.7%
3. Brazil - 6.8%
4. Italy - 3.5%
5. Germany - 3.0%
6. United Kingdom - 2.6%
7. Indonesia - 2.4%
8. Argentina - 2.3%
9. Spain - 2.1%
10. Mexico - 1.9%
11. Russian Federation - 1.8%
12. Canada - 1.7%

- Certified PHP Developers

On the other hand, the growth of certified PHP developers from India does not seem to have grown at the same pace as the number of India PHP developers in the market.

Mauricio Garcia, a Zend Certified PHP developer of ProPHP, a group of PHP professionals from Brazil, has been keeping track of the growth of certified PHP developers over time.

Despite Zend Engineer certification is available in many countries, according to Mauricio's research, United States is still by far the leader in the number of certified PHP developers. In India there is only about 10% of the total number of certified PHP developers in the United States.

Mauricio was kind enough to provide up to date figures of Zend certifications obtained by developers of different countries. As of July 2009, here follows the top countries with most Zend certifications. It accounts both PHP 4, PHP 5 and Zend Framework certifications. So it is possible that different people took multiple certifications.

1. United States - 25.0%
2. Germany - 10.2%
3. Netherlands - 8.2%
4. United Kingdom - 6.6%
5. Canada - 5.3%
6. France - 4.9%
7. India - 3.2%
8. Brazil - 2.3%
9. Australia - 2.0%
10. Japan - 2.0%

You may find more details of Mauricio's research in this slide show (in Portuguese) of a presentation that he gave in Brazil early this year. It is about a post-graduate PHP course that Mauricio is a teacher in São Paulo. Jump to slide 60 for the relevant rankings over the years.

- PHP user groups

PHP user groups in India are also very popular. India is the country with most active user groups listed in the PHPClasses site user groups directory, right after Brazil.

Here is the current top 10 countries with most user groups that are considered active:

1. Brazil - 11.4%
2. India - 10.5%
3. United States - 5.7%
4. Spain - 5.2%
5. Romania - 4.8%
6. Italy - 3.5%
7. Argentina - 3.1%
8. Germany - 3.1%
9. Ukraine - 2.6%
10. China - 2.2%

- PHP Programming Innovation Award - *updated*

As you may be aware, the PHP Programming Innovation Award is a contest that happens every month since 2004.

Despite only since 2006 India started appearing in the top ten ranking of the countries with most innovative authors, in 2009 India is already the leader, as you see in the winners ranking pages:

- Interview with Sandeep Kadam

India has always been a great market for companies that work for foreign businesses in outsourced projects.

However, some developers living in other countries still see India as a threat to their jobs because Indian outsourcing companies charge very low prices.

On the other hand, outsourcing companies in other countries see this as business opportunity. Some of them take outsourced projects from local customers and hire outsourcing companies from India to actually implement them. The customer deals with the local company, and that company deals with the outsourcing company in India. This way every company gains.

Whether customers deal with outsourcing companies directly or via a local intermediary company, all this helped the India outsourcing market to grow a lot, especially after when Internet access became widely accessible.

But the Internet boom started in the mid-late 90s. The accentuated growth of the India PHP development market only became noticeable in the last 3 years. What happened since then?

That is the question that we would like to answer. Hopefully we can learn some valuable lessons that help growing the PHP market in other countries.

To answer that question, Sandeep Kadam, a leader of the PHP community in India, was invited to give an interview on this subject.

I met Sandeep when he asked to have PHPCamp event in India of last year announced in the featured initiatives section of PHPClasses newsletter. This year, he asked me to get his event listed again, so I invited him to this interview.

By the way, if you are helping in the organization of a PHP event in your country and would like get as much exposure as possible to attract more people to the event, feel free to contact the PHPClasses site. This is a free service that the PHPClasses provides to help regional PHP communities grow. ...

PC = PHPClasses (Manuel Lemos)
SK = Sandeep Kadam

PC: Sandeep, can you please start by telling us what do you do, where do you live, and what is your job?

SK: Hi, I'm Sandeep Kadam from Pune, India. Originally I worked in Nasik but our company moved to Pune. Later I changed to another company also in Pune. I graduated in the Pune University. Currently I am pursuing distance learning MBA from ICFAI University, Hyderabad. I work as a team leader in a Web development firm based in Pune. ...

PC: Did you learn PHP in college as part of your education curriculum, or did you learn PHP because you need it for your a project?

SK: No, it was not part of college study because PHP was not covered then. But recently it has been added to the college curriculum. I have learned PHP by myself. I found it very easy and interesting.

PC: Can you tell us bit about the structure of the PHP communities in India, PHP user groups, PHP events, and the PHP job market?

SK: The PHP communities are growing day by day. Each community is full of discussions related to new techniques, and people helping to solve problems of newcomers. Some people are constantly dedicated to the groups, always replying and active.

There are forum sites and job portals available specifically for PHP jobs, like for example dedicated to PHP jobs in Pune and for PHP jobs in the whole India.

User groups based on specific cities are growing a lot, many of which are listed in If you see the India page there are many user groups created by enthusiasts that manage the groups in different cities. ...

Last year we organized an event in Pune named PHPCamp, which we never had before. It was the first time in India we had an event like this. We were just expecting 300 users for the event, but we got over 700 users, which was quite unexpected. It was one of the biggest unconference events in India.

PHP market in India in full swing. If you just search for PHP on India's job portals, you will get many PHP job openings. Also there are no issues regarding salaries. Despite there is still a recession in the United States and other countries, in India there is still a lot of demand for PHP professionals.

PC: In some countries, there are organized non-profit groups that promote the cooperation of different PHP user groups and promote local PHP events. For instance in Germany there is the PHPUG:

In Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg, there is PHPBenelux:

In Brazil there is ProPHP, which is a non-profit group of PHP professionals that helps organizing national PHP events. There is also PHP Brasil Comunidades which promotes the cooperation between different regional user groups:

Is there anything in India similar to these non-profit groups to promote the PHP communities? If not, do you intend to create similar organizations?

SK: Currently there is no non-profit organization to promote PHP in India like those. For now there are only online communities and forums created by PHP enthusiasts.

I am willing to create similar organization in India. We have given the initial steps in that direction by organizing the PHPCamp event in India for the first time.

PC: You are a local India PHP leader that is involved in that PHP event in Pune. Can you please tell us a bit more about that event, how many people do you expect, what activities will take place? Any well known PHP developers coming to those events?

SK: PHPCamp was initiated by Amit Singh, one of the PHP enthusiasts of Pune which got more support from user groups listed on

Last year there were various PHP sessions given by about 10 speakers on different topics. Some speakers were employees from Satyam (Bangalore) and Directi (Mumbai).

We also arranged a small code lab to exhibit practical examples online. That was interesting as we got a good response. The audience was from all ages, from young students to older people. There were many college students attending this event, which helped them lot.

The event was sponsored by renowned local companies from Pune like Persistent systems, PuneITlabs and 01synergy.

You may find more information about the last year edition of the event here:

This year we are expecting more than 1300 attendants. Right now we are making contact to get support and speakers from Yahoo (Bangalore). We also expect some speakers from Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad and near cities. Registration for this year's event has already started. It is free.

PC: Is it difficult to organize that kind of events in India? What are the main difficulties and what is your motivation to work on these events basically as non-profit?

SK: It is not that difficult to organize events in India. But as the community grows, your expenses increase. Too make a successful event you really need some funds. For that you need good sponsors.

Our motivation is as follows:

1. To increase the awareness on Open Source and its advantages

2. To make it comfortable for newcomers

3. Make time to get together techies and have some formal or informal chit-chat on Open Source and upcoming technologies

4. To create a dedicated group and a community which will work on national level to help the community grow everywhere

PC: Regarding the growth of the PHP Indian market, did you also note that growth that happened mostly in the latest years, when compared to other software development markets?

SK: Yes, that was amazing. All of the sudden IT was in a boom and all was about the Internet. Lots of people became aware of forums, social community sites and other tech sites.

PC: In your opinion, what is due to this sudden growth? Could it have to due with the fact that PHP has gained momentum in the enterprise world that typically outsources projects to Indian companies? Could it have to due with the global economic crisis? Could it have to due with the growth of the local PHP communities? Or, do you think it is due to something else?

SK: According to my opinion PHP has gained momentum in the enterprise world because PHP became a more interesting technology when all of the Internet giants (Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Digg, etc..) started using Open source technologies like Linux, Apache, Memcache, etc. with which PHP and MySQL worked great, and they became hot technologies.

There was a lot instant problem solving and knowledge sharing on communities and forums, which attracted more developers to PHP.

Also nowadays blogs are becoming an interesting part of everybody's life. All like to write on their own blog. So Wordpress boomed, which is also due in great part to PHP.

Like Wordpress there are several others like Joomla, Drupal, Zencart, Oscommerce which were free and user friendly applications using PHP and MySQL.

PC: OK, but why did the growth happen just in the last years and Indian PHP developers increased much more than in other countries?

SK: In my opinion, India is one of the outsourcing destinations which is well known worldwide. A lot of projects are outsourced to India. This has been increasing the demand for developers.

Many PHP programmers are being hired by the outsourcing firms for Web development activities and for their businesses.

Flexibility and low cost are main attributes of the PHP programming language. This is the main reason behind extensive usage of this programming language by the programmers in various Web development activities for the outsourcing companies.

All sorts of companies can easily hire PHP professionals as an offshore service by companies that are providing these services at affordable prices.

PC: OK, but that has been that way for decades for all types of software developer. In your opinion, why only in the last years happened this boom with PHP?

SK: Because of lots of companies are working on Web development now. That has created a large communities of Open source developers in India.

PC: Right, but PHP is 14 years old and Open Source boom started in late 90s. Do you have any other explanation for this recent PHP boom in India?

SK: Yes, going back to my answer about Internet giants that started using Open source technologies. This got the attention of companies worldwide to these technologies, which was only noticed previously by a few companies.

As the international clients also demanded all projects to use Open Source technologies, it also gradually increased the demand for Open Source professionals. Professionals from off-shore companies are providing best customized services to their clients due to experience of working with international companies from different industries.

PC: Despite the growth of Indian PHP developers, the number of those certificated by Zend did not grow so much. Nowadays, India is one of top 10 countries with most certificated PHP developers, but with about 10% of the United States, which is at the top.

Why do you think the number of certificated PHP developers did not grow as fast? Could it be a reflex that the job market is not requiring PHP certified professionals? Is it easy and affordable for an Indian PHP developer to take the certification preparation and exams?

SK: Yes, the market is not requiring that you are a certified professional. The main requirement is that your core knowledge is good and you should be aware of the latest Web functionalities.

The certification process is moderately affordable to some Indian developers.

PC: Some businesses are afraid to outsource projects to companies to India as they are not sure the projects will be well implemented.

What precautions do you recommend that businesses considering outsourcing projects to Indian companies do to make sure the PHP projects are well implemented by capable companies in India? Is there a way to verify the reputation of a Indian company before outsourcing projects?

SK: Here follows some important points which you should verify:

1. Technically strong team
2. Good management team to tackle the business
3. Have communication with offshore development team
4. Review portfolio and samples of work done
5. Monitor progress and project review
6. Evaluate the technique of handling project
7. Before starting the work, some legal documents should be prepared as required by law

PC: OK, other than that, are there any third-party institutions that provide evidence of the reputation of an Indian company to take outsourced projects?

SK: Yes, STPI - Software Technology Parks of India - is an institution established by the department of communication and information technology of the government of India.

Companies registered with STPI have to provide detailed information about their activity like what company is about, what kind of work will be done, what are future prospects, what is the background of directors and owners of companies, and several other details the companies have to provide if they want to be STPI approved.

You can contact to ask to STPI for further information:

PC: What are your plans for continuing to promoting the PHP Community in India?

SK: Here is an overview of the my plans:

1. Have a dedicated online community with some moderators to keep all developers in touch and helping to solve the issues
2. Arrange camp events in all major cities
3. Have a quarterly meeting with all the leaders of city groups in person and discuss the next plans for increasing the community
4. Arrange some events of guest speakers from, Yahoo, Facebook or any other big giants on interesting topics
5. Coding, sharing and creating a good social project out of India PHP community

PC: What do you recommend that other PHP developers in India should do to take part of your activities?

SK: For now I recommend that they register to participate in the PHPCamp event. We already have PHPCamp group in Google Groups, on which participating users can interact, as well in other social network sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc..

PC: Sandeep, thank you for the interview. Best of luck on promoting PHP in India.

SK: Thank you. Manuel you have also been of great help.

If you want to contact Sandeep directly you may go to his site:

If you want to ask questions or make comment regarding these topics, please post a comment here.

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