Cal Evans Discusses Communities, Nomad PHP & Zend Technologies

by Ahmed Khan  November 10, 2015

For me, there is no better representation of the vibrant PHP community than Cal Evans, the godfather of PHP community! He is a living legend with more than 35 years of field experience.

Cal has been working to make the life of developers much easier. He penned the famous book Culture of Respect which was written as a guide for finding, hiring, and retaining PHP developers. He is also an author of books: Signaling PHP, Iterating PHP Iterators, and Going Pro.

Currently, he is working as Technical Manager (Training and Certification) at Zend Technologies. He has shared his life experiences, tips for hiring new developers, and a glimpse of his personal life interests.

Cal Evans Interview

Cloudways: Cal, I am honored to have you for the interview today. Let’s start by introducing you to our readers. Tell me something about yourself. How did you start your career in development?

Cal: When I was 14 years old, I spent the night at a friend’s house. He had a brand new TRS-80 Model I. (Yeah, I’m that old.) He showed me some code he had written that would allow you to draw on the screen a character at a time. I was hooked. From that point on, I knew I wanted to program computers.

Professionally, I’ve been doing it now for around 35 years and have no plans of stopping.

Cloudways: You provide consulting services to companies hiring PHP developers. What criterias have you set as benchmarks for hiring a PHP developer? What’s your way of checking the credibility of a developer?

Cal: I don’t have a set of questions or a code test that candidates have to complete. My process is simple. You have to hold a conversation with me about PHP and related topics for 30 minutes. Usually, if you can talk PHP with me for 30 minutes, I can tell whether you actually know the topic, or are just bluffing.
Cloudways:  You also run a PHP community, Nomad PHP. What was your main idea behind creation of such a community website? How is this group contributing to the PHP community?

Cal: My goal with Nomad PHP was to make the sessions that a lot of us see at conferences, to the vast majority of PHP developers who never get to attend a conferences.

As to how we contribute back, it has been out great pleasure to introduce a few new speakers to the community. community as well. Not only do we put on 2 meetings a month, we also record 2 lightning talks each month and post them on YouTube. Our goal is to broaden the Speakers Pool in the PHP community.

Cloudways: VOE is a place where experts of PHP world are interviewed. Would you like to share any special experience of yours? Would you like to mention anyone you like the most at VOE?

Cal: The are all special to me. I think the one that was the most fun to record has to be The PHP Ecosystem. We recorded it this year at LoneStar PHP and had a blast. Beyond that, if I started naming names, I would never stop. 🙂

Cloudways: You have worked in Zend Technologies for about 7 months. How was your experience over there? Would you like to share some special memories about Zend? Would you share something special about your working experience with Zeev?

Cal: I love working at Zend. This is my second time here and I’m having even more fun this time than last. I get to develop training courses that help developers take their career to the next level. It is an awesome opportunity.

I think my most special moment at Zend was ZendCon 2008. I was the host and I knew that it would be my last ZendCon. As I wished everyone safe travels home and waved goodbye to the crowd, I teared up a bit. I hope no one noticed. It is a moment that stuck with me.

Cloudways: On which PHP frameworks have you worked the most? Which is your favorite framework to work upon and would you like to recommend any specific framework that is easier to work on and more organized for a beginner?

Cal: I am a post-framework programmer. I use pieces from different frameworks but I don’t build with any specific framework. Composer has made it possible not to have to worry about which framework I use.

Cloudways: Moving away from PHP, what are you hobbies and interests? Do you like music? Which type of music do you like the most?

Cal: I am a scuba diver that programmers to pay for air. 🙂  Both my wife and I dive. We recently relocated to Florida in the US, so we could just dive more often. As much as I love programming, diving is my true passion.

Cloudways: Every successful person have some inspirations. Would you like to mention people who have inspired you the most in PHP community?

Cal: Michelangelo van Dam, Paul M. Jones, Adam Culp, and “The Elizabeths”—Elizabeth Naramore, Elizabeth Smith, and Elizabeth Tucker Long.

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About Ahmed Khan

Ahmed was a PHP community expert at Cloudways – A Managed PHP Hosting Cloud Platform. He is a software engineer with extensive knowledge in PHP and SEO. He loves watching Game of Thrones is his free time. Follow Ahmed on Twitter to stay updated with his works. You can email him at ahmed.khan@cloudways.com

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