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C# vs PHP and the Job Market

Sep29

Written by:
2010/09/29 11:55 AM RssIcon

The rage is still on. Which web development platform is best? So many people argue this from a personal bias. This does not help anyone who is looking to get into web development and wants some good solid advice.

I got a response from one of my readers stating that PHP is the best because big sites like Facebook use it. Let’s face it. The success of a site does not determine the viability of the language it is written in.

There are many many useless and horrible sites written in PHP. As well as C# (.NET). There are also some great sites written in C# (.NET) as well as PHP.

This post is not about which language is easier to use. Nor is it about which language has the best IDE. But which language is most adopted by the corporate. Which language will you find the most jobs for? Which language pays the bills?

The job market

Why did you learn a particular language? For most, in school or college learning PHP is the obvious choice because it is cheap. PHP costs nothing, it is an open source product. Running a PHP website is just as cheap. With cheap hosting costs, free to cheap operating systems. It's a no brainer.

But what does your choice of programming language mean for you when you want to go out and find a job. For me, this is critical. I want to learn a language that has the most opportunity for work. I want to learn a language that has the best salary offers.

Doing some research I can clearly see that the stats show that C# (.NET) is ahead in the job market by a considerable amount. I understand that these stats might not be a 100% reflection, but it gives us a trend to work with.

Here is a quick graph over time to see the trend in the percent of matching job postings for both C# and PHP in the US.

Doing research on various different job portals I find the same trend. Looking at job vacancies might not be ideal. There are also false positives that one needs to be aware of. However, we can draw a conculsion and identify trends. the Graph below shows search data from Indeed.com (US), ITJobsWatchUk, and Indeed.co.za (SA)

C# vs PHP 

  ITJobswatch (UK) Indeed.com (US)  Indeed.co.za (SA)
C#  18 561  51 916  8 933 
PHP  4 521  21 874  2 976 
.NET  20942  119 191  11 285 

 

I did the same search on various other job portals in South Africa and the trend is the same. The trend is very enlightening. In total C# job vacancies are 270% more than PHP, and .NET vacancies, which probably include the likes of VB.net, Silverlight, are a massive 570% more. I know that this is not an accurate sanctioned scientific study, but it does shed a lot of light on the reality of PHP vs C#.

Salaries

I found the salaries very interesting. What I noticed is that both C# and PHP followed the same trend overall. When the economy boomed so did the salaries, when it slumped so did the salaries. But over all C# developers seemed to get paid more. On average in the US C# developers could earn $87,000 per annum, while PHP could expect $78,000. This is probably due to the fact that bigger companies and large corporations tend to have more C# (.NET) positions available, and that they would then pay more for those skills.

The graph below shows a national trend for the US with regards to salaries, comparing C# and PHP.

PHP vs C# salaries

Conclusion

First off, these are not scientific studies whatsoever. Don't bombard me with the accuracy or legitimacy of the figures. I understand all the arguments. What I am trying to show is a trend and possibility of reality.

It is clear from the figures above that C#, .NET and the Microsoft development platform is very dominant. Especially in the corporate world. I sure understand that a very large amount of sites are developed using PHP. Just take the blogging platforms into account, Wordpress, developed in PHP. How many Wordpress blogs are out there. This could really skew the data as one development platform can account for thousands of sites.

I have no data to compare sites developed with PHP vs C# (.net). But if you accept that large companies and corporates drive the economy and the market. It seems that C# is the clear winner.

Smaller countries like New Zealand and third world poorer countries might have a totally different scenario. For example, in New Zealand a great majority of smaller startup companies prefer to go the open source route, that meaning they would probably choose the free and cheaper PHP development environment over Microsoft.

Having said that, Microsoft is making great strides into combating that. Their free express tools and partnership programs are giving start-ups and smaller companies a foothold into the development market at no extra cost.

I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences when it comes to C# vs PHP and the job market. 

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