Category: Zend PHP

The Zend PHP Certification Exam Journey


Zend PHP Certification Exam PHP Engineer

I passed the Zend PHP Certification Exam on 6th Sep 2013. My profile has been added to the Zend Yellow Page and I am now an official Zend Certified Engineer.

I have been a web designer and developer for over 8 years and PHP is my favorite backend script. As I am not studying IT related subjects in my university education, I would like to have some sort of certifications to testify my coding ability. Zend PHP 5.3 certification examination is the one and only choice in the market.

Wish you ZCE success!

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Edward Chung, PMP, PMI-ACP, ITIL Foundation, ZCE

 

First thing first: is it worth?

I would definitely recommend taking the PHP Certification Exam if you are into PHP. The certification exam has helped me to:

  • brush up my knowledge on PHP (including the latest changes) as I have to read through the whole PHP manual
  • add a little logo to my CV
  • advance the search result ranking by adding a valuable link of my website on zend.com

Note that Zend has upgraded the PHP Certification Exam version to PHP 5.5 on 4th October, 2013. A few changes have been made to the syllabus to reflect the updates in PHP 5.5. Details of the syllabus can be found here. But most of my study notes of PHP Certification Exam is still applicable to the new exam syllabus. You can use my notes as a reference for your PHP Certification Exam study. I have got dozens of emails from PHP engineers taking the PHP 5.5 Certification Exam stating that they still find my notes useful.

How to study?

As this was the first time I sat for a coding test, I have set aside quite a long period of time for studying (around 9 months). I used Evernote to drop down notes while browsing the Certification Guide by Zend (you will need to create an account at Zend.com to download the document), PHP manual (the most important resource) and other reference texts on PHP/mySQL. Now all the notes have been transferred to this blog for future reference, you may find the links further down the page.

I have also purchased a courseware from UCertify for test simulations. A few weeks before the exam, I constantly scored over 80% in the five mock exams in the courseware and I was quite confident. However, the level of difficulty is not quite on par with the actual exam. The actual exam is way more difficult.

 

PHP Certification Exam Topics

The official topics covered are list below. You may click on the links to go to my study notes on the topics.

PHP Basics

PHP Basics – PHP Certification Exam Series [1]

Introduction: This is the first part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. PHP Tags Standard Tags – best solution for portability and backwards compatibility, because they are guaranteed to be available and cannot be disabled...

PHP Functions

Functions – PHP Certification Exam Series [2]

Introduction: This is the second part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. Function Basics <?php function name( $arg1, $arg2, … $arg_n ) { } name( $arg1, $arg2, … $arg_m ) { }   // when calling the...

PHP Format and Pattern

Strings and Patterns – PHP Certification Exam Series [3]

Introduction: This is the third part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. String Basics delimited by single or double quotes double quotes is used when parsing variables is needed or special characters (\n) are used, no difference...

PHP Array

Arrays – PHP Certification Exam Series [4]

Introduction: This is the fourth part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. Array Basics Array is a way of ordering data by associating values to keys Indexed arrays (enumerative arrays): numeric keys, either auto assigned (1 larger...

PHP Input and Output

I/O – PHP Certification Exam Series [5]

Introduction: This is the fifth part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. Files Provide a simple temporary or permanent data store. There are two major types of functions: f* () :  Functions that work with a file...

PHP Security

Security – PHP Certification Exam Series [6]

Introduction: This is the sixth part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. PHP Server Security Measures CGI Binary Prevent Accessing System Files: PHP doesn’t interpret command line arguments passed by the interpreter (e.g. http://my.host/cgi-bin/php?/etc/passwd) Prevent Accessing Private Documents:...

PHP Database

Databases – PHP Certification Exam Series [7]

Introduction: This is the seventh part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. Facts PHP no longer ships with the MySQL extension, instead MySQLi is included. The MySQLi extension makes some of MySQL’s more recent functionality available, things...

PHP OOP

Object Oriented Programming – PHP Certification Exam Series [8]

Introduction: This is the eighth part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. Basics Slower than procedural code, but allows complex tasks to be understood more readily Objects are now dealt with by reference rather than by value,...

PHP Data Format

Data Formats & Types – PHP Certification Exam Series [9]

Introduction: This is the ninth part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. XML (Extensible Markup Language) important for data exchange, e.g. RSS a sub-set of SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) Entity: a named unit of storage, e.g....

PHP Web

Web Features – PHP Certification Exam Series [10]

Introduction: This is the last part of my study notes for the Zend PHP Certification Exam. You can read more about my PHP Certification exam journey here. Zend PHP Certification Exam: Web Basics When an HTTP request is made to the PHP server, the intended PHP script will run, producing a set...

Zend Certified PHP Engineer

Passing the Zend PHP Certification Exam

I passed the Zend PHP Certification examination on 6th Sep 2013. My profile has been added to the Zend Yellow Page and I am now an official Zend Certified Engineer. I have been a web designer and developer for over 8 years and PHP is my favorite backend script. As I...

$_SERVER[‘user-agent’] to check for IE (including IE 11)

$_SERVER[‘user-agent’] to check for IE (including IE 11)

Summary: The user agent for IE 11 does not contain MSIE any more, which is a tactic deliberately set by Microsoft IE team. Although browser sniffing is NOT considered as a best practice for web development, it is sometimes a must owing to various practical reasons. Recently, I need to...

 

You can view a more detailed description of each topic at Zend.com.

My PHP Exam Experience

In the actual exam, there are not many easy questions with obvious answers. After the first round of going through all questions, many questions were marked for review. Of these question, I changed the answer for almost 1/2 of them in the second review. When I pressed the 'End Exam' button, my heart was beating hard as I was very unsure whether I would pass or fail.

Below is a rough statistics of the questions constructed from my memory:

  1. New PHP 5.3 features (SPL, Namespace, Late Static Binding, Typehinting, anonymous functions) – 12
  2. HTML and Forms (POST data, security, escaping, etc) – 10
  3. Arrays – 10
  4. Strings and regex – 8
  5. File handling and stream - 8
  6. Headers, sessions, cookies – 6
  7. DB (PDO, storing/displaying data) – 6
  8. XML (SimpleXML, DOM, etc) – 4
  9. OOP – 4
  10. JSON – 2

As you can see, new features in the updated version of PHP were tested most. You are highly recommended to study these topics in depth, especially SPL.

The level of difficulty and the presentation of questions are very similar to that found in the PHP Certification Exam Guide by Zend. You may also refer to the slide below which provides additional sample questions:

The Certificate

Below are photos of the certificate package received about 3 weeks after the passing the exam. It includes the certificate itself, a letter of explanation and a PHP 5.3 ZCE sticker.

Zend Certified Engineer PHP 5.3 Certificate

Postscript

  1. On 4th Sep 2013, Zend announced 10,000th Zend Certified Engineer.  I missed that by a few numbers.
  2. On 4th Oct 2013, Zend announced the new PHP Certification Exam for PHP 5.5.
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