8 PHP Frameworks That Make You Money as a Web Developer in 2023

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This article will show you the most interesting PHP frameworks to build your career on in 2023 and beyond.

Let’s start right away with a tabular overview of the income potential of the addressed PHP frameworks:

PHP Framework DeveloperIncome Low ($/year)Income High ($/year)
General PHP Developer$44,000$97,000
Laravel Developer$40,000$150,000
Symfony Developer$68,000$119,000
Laminas/Zend Developer$80,000$143,000
CodeIgniter Developer$58,000$117,000
CakePHP Developer$67,000$98,000
FlightPHP Developer$70,000$95,000
Lithium (li3) Web Developer$44,000$97,000

Okay, ready to dive into the weeds?

General PHP Developer

Before we look at an individual PHP framework, you should know the basics of PHP. This may not yet be very profitable but it is the baseline skill you can use as a fundament of your whole career. So, don’t skip it!

The average annual income of a PHP Developer is $65,590 according to PayScale (source) ranging from $44k (10th percentile) to $97k (90th percentile).

If you decide to go the route as a freelance PHP Developer, you can expect to make between $20 and $35 per hour on Upwork (source). Assuming an annual workload of 2000 hours, you can expect to make between $40,000 and $70,000 per year.

A PHP Developer specializes in designing, testing, debugging, and implementing software code in the PHP programming language — mainly used for server-side applications to serve dynamic web content.

Do you want to become a PHP Developer? Here’s a step-by-step learning path I’d propose to get started with PHP:

🌎 Learn More: Read the full article with income and opportunity of this career path on the Finxter blog.

Laravel Developer

Let’s have a look at the definition from the official Laravel website:

“Laravel is a PHP-based web application framework with expressive, elegant syntax. […] Laravel strives to provide an amazing developer experience while providing powerful features such as thorough dependency injection, an expressive database abstraction layer, queues and scheduled jobs, unit and integration testing, and more.”

Ya, well, this is marketing speak for Laravel handles the back-end part when building websites with PHP.

The average annual income of a Laravel Developer in the United States is between $40,000 (25th percentile) and $150,000 (75th percentile) with an average of $92,000 per year according to Kinsta (source).

🌎 Learn More: Read the full article with income and opportunity of this career path on the Finxter blog.

Symfony Developer

Let’s have a look at the definition from the official Symfony website:

“Symfony is a set of reusable PHP components and a PHP framework for web projects.”

So, it’s a framework supporting your PHP backend development efforts.

The average annual income of a Symfony Developer in the United States is between $68,000 (25th percentile) and $119,000 (75th percentile) with an average of $96,000 per year according to Ziprecruiter (source). Top earners make $129,000 and more in the US!

🌎 Learn More: Read the full article with income and opportunity of this career path on the Finxter blog.

Laminas/Zend Developer

Let’s have a look at the definition from the official Laminas/Zend website:

“Zend Framework is a collection of professional PHP packages with more than 570 million installations. It can be used to develop web applications and services using PHP 5.6+, and provides 100% object-oriented code using a broad spectrum of language features.”

A Zend/Laminas Developer creates, edits, analyzes, debugs, and supervises the development of applications written in the former Zend and current Laminas programming framework based on the PHP programming language.

The average annual income of a Zend framework (Laminas) developer in the US is $90,000 with an expected range between $110,000 and $143,000. Top Zend/Laminas developers make $200,000 and more per year in the US.

Learning resources:

🌎 Learn More: Read the full article with income and opportunity of this career path on the Finxter blog.

CodeIgniter Developer

Let’s have a look at the definition from the official CodeIgniter website and the docs:

“CodeIgniter is a powerful PHP framework with a very small footprint, built for developers who need a simple and elegant toolkit to create full-featured web applications.

In particular, CodeIgniter is an Application Development Framework – a toolkit – for people who build web sites using PHP. Its goal is to enable you to develop projects much faster than you could if you were writing code from scratch, by providing a rich set of libraries for commonly needed tasks, as well as a simple interface and logical structure to access these libraries. CodeIgniter lets you creatively focus on your project by minimizing the amount of code needed for a given task.”

The average annual income of a CodeIgniter Developer in the United States is between $58,000 (25th percentile) and $117,000 (75th percentile) with an average of $90,635 per year according to Ziprecruiter (source). Top earners make $142,000 and more in the US!

🌎 Learn More: Read the full article with income and opportunity of this career path on the Finxter blog.

CakePHP Developer

Let’s have a look at the definition from the official CakePHP website and the docs:

“CakePHP is a free, open-source, rapid development framework for PHP. It’s a foundational structure for programmers to create web applications.

CakePHP takes the monotony out of web development. They provide you with all the tools you need to get started coding what you really need to get done: the logic specific to your application.

Instead of reinventing the wheel every time you sit down to a new project, check out a copy of CakePHP and get started with the real guts of your application.”

The average annual income of a CakePHP Developer in the United States is between $67,000 (25th percentile) and $98,000 (75th percentile) with an average of $84,000 per year according to Ziprecruiter (source). Top earners make $123,000 and more in the US!

🌎 Learn More: Read the full article with income and opportunity of this career path on the Finxter blog.

FlightPHP Developer

Let’s have a look at the definition from the official Flight PHP website:

Flight is a fast, simple, extensible framework for PHP. Flight enables you to quickly and easily build RESTful web applications.

A Flight PHP developer creates web apps in PHP. According to ZipRecruiter, freelance PHP developers make an average of $89,000 per year or $43 per hour. Codementor reports that freelance PHP developers make on average $61-80 per hour. (source)

🌎 Learn More: Read the full article with income and opportunity of this career path on the Finxter blog.

Lithium (li3) Web Developer

Let’s have a look at the definition from the official Lithium website:

li₃ is the first and only major PHP framework built from the ground up for PHP 5.3+, and the first to break ground into major new technologies, including bridging the gap between relational and non-relational databases through a single, unified API.

A Lithium developer is a PHP developer. Thus, our estimation for the average annual income of a Lithium Developer is $65,590 according to PayScale (source) ranging from $44k (10th percentile) to $97k (90th percentile).

🌎 Learn More: Read the full article with income and opportunity of this career path on the Finxter blog.

Summary

The most profitable PHP framework is Laravel — if you have mastered it you can expect to earn up to $143,000. The easiest PHP framework to make a relatively high amount of money with on the low end is Laminas (Zend) due to its unique business value for many companies. Per comparison, a general PHP developer makes between $44,000 and $97,000 per year.

Here’s the overview table again:

PHP Framework DeveloperIncome Low ($/year)Income High ($/year)
General PHP Developer$44,000$97,000
Laravel Developer$40,000$150,000
Symfony Developer$68,000$119,000
Laminas/Zend Developer$80,000$143,000
CodeIgniter Developer$58,000$117,000
CakePHP Developer$67,000$98,000
FlightPHP Developer$70,000$95,000
Lithium (li3) Web Developer$44,000$97,000