Zend Certifications Tips & Tricks – Hear It From Zend Certified Engineer Lorna Jane Mitchell

Purpose Of This Interview

Zend Certification Tips

This is the 2nd set of Zend Certification Tips and Advice to help anyone taking either of the two Zend Exams powered by Zend Technologies: the Zend PHP Certification Exam and/or the Zend Framework Certification Exam. The aim being to help people who want to sit for those exams and inform them what it is all about & what to expect by hearing it from (pro) PHP Guys who have already been through it, that is => Hear It From Zend Certified Engineers!

7PHP Zend Protip Series also has a group on FB and G+, do join us there!

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Keywords Used Throughout This Article

Refer to:

  1. ZCE as Zend Certified Engineer
  2. ZPC as Zend PHP Certification
  3. FC as Zend Framework Certification

Hear It From Zend Certified Engineer Lorna Mitchell

>> Tell us a bit about yourself

Lorna Jane Mitchell - Project Lead Of Joind.in
Lorna Jane Mitchell – Project Lead Of Joind.in

I’m Lorna, an independent web development consultant from the UK. I work with a variety of different teams to improve their LAMP projects, both as a developer and as a trainer, specialising in PHP tools, APIs, and the ZCE. I’m the author of two books, PHP Master from Sitepoint and PHP Web Services from O’Reilly (which will be available in the next few weeks) and since I love to write you’ll also see me published in php|architect, netmagazine, and web and php magazine from time to time – and of course I write regularly for my own blog http://lornajane.net. I can often be found speaking at conferences and user groups, I’m the organiser of the PHP room at FOSDEM this year, and in my spare time I lead the joind.in open source project.

>> Which of the certifications did you take?

I have ZCE 5.3 (and also ZCE 5.0)

>> Can you briefly give us an idea of what ZC is about, what it tries to achieve?

ZCE covers a wide PHP-specific syllabus and tries to take advantage of your programming knowledge to demonstrate how many of those areas you are familiar with.

>> Benefit you see after having completed the exams

You can say “yes” when people ask if you’re ZCE!

>> How did you prepare yourself for the Zend Certification exams

For the 5.0 exam, I was a mid-level developer and I had the study guide published by php|architect, and I studied pretty hard! Also for 5.0 there were sample exams available and I bought and took a number of those. For 5.3, the resources are much less good (most of the 5.0 study guide is still relevant though, just ignore the PHP 4 section!), but I put together my own sample exams set that you can buy from my site http://www.lornajane.net/project/zend-certification-questions-pack and I also curate a bundle of links to great articles on the topics you need for ZCE: http://lrnja.net/LUzcMp

>> Can you give us an idea of what need to be studied and what kind of stuffs we should expect..etc

Check out the syllabus listed on Zend’s site: https://www.zend.com/services/certification/php-5-certification/

>> Parts of the modules that you think is more complex and one should pay special attention to?

This depends completely on your experience. For example when I took my first certification, I didn’t have much experience with XML and found that area really tricky. Since I had to study though, I could use those skills when working with XML later on.

>> Things that one should do to prepare for a successful exams (Your tips to pass the certification)

Make use of the resources available, work on any weak topics, and set aside a couple of days beforehand to just look through the manual and try to take in as much detail as possible – I always advise especially to look at strings and arrays, there are questions on these topics individually, but they also show up in other more complex topics too.

>> Your precious advice would be..?

Keep calm on the day. Anything you don’t know, just skip it. When you get to the end of the exam, you see a grid of all questions and any that you have flagged or not answered are shown. My advice is to use the time to answer all the questions you feel good about, then go back through the others. There’s no negative marking so make sure you offer an answer to each and every question, even if you are guessing.

>> Your views with the way the exam questions were set?

The exams are marked by a computer, so that you get your result immediately and it isn’t terribly expensive to take the exam as you don’t have to pay a human examiner. With that in mind, the questions are tricky but I don’t see an alternative approach.

>> Can someone pass the ZPC & ZFC exams without spending money on the paid Zend’s certification products?

Yes, definitely. I would say that if you’ve worked with PHP for 2-3 years, it should be possible to look up anything that isn’t familiar, take a sample test, refresh anything that you didn’t know in that, and pass the exam. ZCE is aimed at experienced programmers.

>> Did you buy any learning material from Zend, how useful and critical were they? Would you have passed your exams without them?

Since becoming certified myself I’ve been teaching preparation courses for ZCE and I think that it really does help people to pass the exam. These courses (Zend offer one which I sometimes teach, I also offer my own both to private clients and as a public course here in the UK) cover the material, offer additional resource suggestions, and also cover what to expect on exam day. I think they are valuable if you do have the budget for a course.

>> Do you think studying for the ZPC exam will necessarily make the guy a better PHP programmer?

Yes, I certainly found that was true personally. I also find that while teaching the preparation courses, sometimes topics become really clear to people who were using PHP but not really understanding parts of it well. The syllabus is comprehensive and covers lots of useful topics so I think most people will learn something along the way.

>> Do you recommend PHP guys to get certified?

Yes! Some employers like it, and it makes us think about the language and learn some new things. I encourage people to challenge themselves to become a ZCE.

>> How does it help in getting employed?

Some employers recognize it, also it shows that an individual is doing more than going to work and coming home to watch TV!

What’s More? – PHP Interview With Lorna Jane Mitchell

I also did a similar interview with Lorna Jane Mitchell but totally geared towards PHP and The PHP Community, feel free to jump to: PHP Interview With Lorna Jane Mitchell The Project Lead Of Joind.in – Get started! Stop reading! Start doing!

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4 Comment(s)

  1. Very interesting. Specially this: What are the benefits after having completed this exam? “You can say “yes” when people ask if you’re ZCE!” 😀 Otherwise thanks for the interview. Keep it comming. You definitely have top material.

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