yet another g33k blog *sigh*

php4 and php5 certification

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At the beginning of 2009 I found myself a bit idle. A new year in a new company always starts out a bit slow. I decided that the best use of this abundant time would be to get PHP5 certified.

Not the first certification

Back in early 2005 the Zend certification first became available for PHP4. At that time I had roughly 2 years php experience. No South Africans were certified at that time. Barely 100 certified engineers worldwide. What a great achievement if I could join the elite few.

PHP4 certification process

I signed into and ordered the certification voucher, exam study guide and practice exam book. Zend were very accomodating and offered a generous discount on pricing.

The php4 certification guide provided adequate preparation for the exam. Along with that I gained a deeper understanding learning many things along the way. And I’m grateful for that.

The practice book is excellent. One could simulate at least 5 exams from the pool of questions in the book. It also provides the explanations to the answers which again was a real plus. Once I was ready I booked the exam with Pearson Vue at a nearby testing centre.

From purchasing the certification goods all the way to writing the exam it was a smooth experience and most worthwhile.

Fast forward to 2009

PHP5 certification process was a little different. Not nearly as smooth. This time around I ordered the pdf version of the certification study guide and instead of a practice exam book Zend now offers mock tests thru Vulcan.

Shortcomings in the study guide

PHP5 study guide lacks the depth offered by the php4 study guide. Perhaps its because PHP5 is a “bigger” language with additions such as MySQLi, PDO, Tidy, SOAP and all new XML extensions. Not forgetting the complete rework of the OOP model. Did I miss anything?

Vulcan needs work

To phparch and Zend’s credit they have devised a smart online mock testing platform but it needs refinement.

  • I had a vulcan token which was valid for 10 mock tests but a few tests later the token become invalid.
  • Questions were very poorly phrased. I couldn’t tell if they were trick questions or just a result of poor english.
  • Vulcan didn’t offer explanations for the questions that you got wrong. It didn’t even tell you which questions you got wrong. Boo

Exam time

Exam format is 70 multiple choice questions in 90 minutes. Some code samples to interpret, some theory questions, some function names to type in but nothing too hardcore. The real exam also had some oddly phrased questions which often required a double-take. No sweat. I finished 40 minutes early and got my test results immediately. Pass. Yay!

In the end I missed my goal of becoming the first South African to be zend certified in 2005 and I also missed becoming the first php5 certified engineer. However, at time of writing I am the only South African to hold both php4 and php5 certifications. w00t!

Thats an achievement but that isn’t my motivation for getting certified. I revel in proving to myself that I’m a competent and capable PHPer. Things grow, change and evolve so quickly one must always make room for learning.

Written by phpslacker

February 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Posted in php

Tagged with , , , ,

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