How to Test Junior Laravel Developer Skills: Sample Project

Tutorial last revisioned on August 18, 2022 with Laravel 9
While expanding my team and working with potential junior developers, I've come up with a few tasks to test their practical knowledge. There's not much value in quizzes or interviews - let them create one simple project. From start to finish. So here's an example of such project, you can use it for your own needs. We need to test basic Laravel skills, right? So the project should be simple, but at the same time touch majority of fundamentals. Also, it should be possible to do within a day or so - in some cases, you would even pay them for spending their time. With that in mind, here's a project I came up with.

Adminpanel to manage companies

Basically, project to manage companies and their employees. Mini-CRM.
  • Basic Laravel Auth: ability to log in as administrator
  • Use database seeds to create first user with email admin@admin.com and password "password"
  • CRUD functionality (Create / Read / Update / Delete) for two menu items: Companies and Employees.
  • Companies DB table consists of these fields: Name (required), email, logo (minimum 100x100), website
  • Employees DB table consists of these fields: First name (required), last name (required), Company (foreign key to Companies), email, phone
  • Use database migrations to create those schemas above
  • Store companies logos in storage/app/public folder and make them accessible from public
  • Use basic Laravel resource controllers with default methods - index, create, store etc.
  • Use Laravel's validation function, using Request classes
  • Use Laravel's pagination for showing Companies/Employees list, 10 entries per page
  • Use Laravel's starter kit for auth and basic theme, but remove ability to register
company-crud Basically, that's it. With this simple exercise junior developer shows the skills in basic Laravel things:
  • MVC
  • Auth
  • CRUD and Resource Controllers
  • Eloquent and Relationships
  • Database migrations and seeds
  • Form Validation and Requests
  • File management
  • Basic Bootstrap front-end
  • Pagination
Guess what - most of the basics web-applications will have these functions as core. There will be a lot more on top of that, but without these fundamentals you cannot move further. So this task would actually test if the person can create simple projects. And then it's practice, practice, practice on more projects, each of them individual and adding more to their knowledge base. From my own experience, different developers are "creative" in different code places - some don't use Resource controllers and put Route::get everywhere, some don't validate forms, some don't test their code properly etc. That's exactly the things you want to spot as early as possible.

Extra Task for "Advanced" Juniors

If you feel like this task is too small and simple, you can add these things on top:
  • Use Datatables.net library to show table - with our without server-side rendering
  • Use more complicated front-end theme like AdminLTE
  • Email notification: send email whenever new company is entered (use Mailgun or Mailtrap)
  • Make the project multi-language (using lang folder)
  • Basic testing with phpunit (I know some would argue it should be the basics, but I disagree)
Do you agree with such task? What would you change or add to this? And have you had any experience with giving similar tasks, what were your impressions?

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