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I am currently (although the last days I have been doing other things) working on getting the ZEND certification.


I ordered and received the ZEND Certification Study Guide and the ZEND PHP Certification Practice Test Book, which were delivered to my house surprisingly quick.

What strikes me is the huge price difference between ordering internationally through
or through the German ZEND pages at http://www.zend.com/de/store/book/zend_php_certification_study_guide.
That is almost a 100% price difference. German readers draw your conclusions...

The books in themselves are quite good, and they address most basic stuff each self respected PHP coder should be comfortable with. The main problem now is that certification will change from focusing on PHP4 to PHP5 at July 26 2006, and that there is no material available for studying for the new exam. Maybe ZEND will provide the possibility to take both exams for some time, but at this point I do not know if anything has been decided yet.

I have not scheduled my exam yet, but will do so as soon as I know when I have a longer period of time available to really study all subjects, but I regret the fact that there is uncertainty regarding the scope of the exam at that point in time.

Topics currently covered in the exam preparation guides are: Basic PHP knowledge, Functions, Object Oriented PHP (for PHP4), web protocols, forms, cookies, sessions, arrays, regular expressions, file functions, date and time functions and techniques, e-mail, databases, streaming and network programming, security and debugging.

Studying the books and taking the exams will certainly make better PHP programmers out of less experienced coders, and will almost certainly uncover some topics even experienced PHP coders will not encounter on a daily basis, but can be considered as "need to know" when discussing projects.

Main criticism found on the web regarding the ZEND certification is that it focuses to much on learning function names and syntaxes "by heart" instead of learning good standard development practices.

Well, taking the exam still wouldn't be too easy if one could use the PHP manual at php.net, but in the real world we coders regularly browse that manual of course. Maybe the new PHP5 exam will address that, but I think there will be other concerns when writing an exam that should work for employers to judge job applicants. Someone who constantly needs the PHP manual might not be the best choice for hiring after all.

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