After successfully passing the MySQL 5.0 Developer exams earlier this year the next step was preparing for the Zend Certified Engineer.
For preparation I first took php|architect’s Zend PHP 5 Certification Study Guide from the bookshelf and started reading. The book gives a good overview of the topics covered in the exam and I even learned a few things while reading that I did not knew of before. Unfortunately it contains too many errors and mistakes in the printed examples and there is no errata on the internet.
After reading through the book I first did not really knew how to proceed in preparing for the exam. I did not have the feeling of being prepared to pass an exam, although I would think myself of a quite good and experienced PHP programmer. A really good thing is that everyone at Mayflower has the possibility to take some text exams at Vulcan, the Zend PHP 5 Certification Simulator (also from php|architect). I passed the first test exam but afterwards I knew which topics needed more attention and some serious learning. So back to the book and the PHP manual for some days reading. After passing another test exam I felt prepared enough for the real one.
Some days ago I finally went to the local testing center with some of my colleagues and all four of us passed the real exam.
PHP5 exam prep book Errata is here:
There’s an awful lot of it, which was disappointing.
Still, if you couldn’t find that, I wonder how you found out the rest of the answers?
The book is only a pointer into the manual, the vulcan exams I found were really useful for underlining the key points of the topics you need to memorize in order to pass.
I took 10 vulcan exams in preparation, and in total experienced 207 different questions … so there is a lot of repetition. Not a bad thing as I kept forgetting things I learned the week previously.
All in all a very positive learning experience for me.
I had similar experiences with the zend certification information. I remember taking an MCSE test that was half memorization and half concept understanding – and the PHP 5 test I thought was similar (every much unlike the PHP 4 one…). I wasn’t entirely certain I’d pass either after taking all of the testing… but I did.
Did you use any testing sites for your mysql test? I’m thinking of moving that way next. Thanks!
I don’t think 10 test exams do much more than 2 or 3 – the idea was to get to know the nature and diversity of the questions – the real ones were the same in style and topic distribution, the tests were helping me personally just to know what to expect. As to the book, since we use PHP every day we are quite familiar with the majority of the topics, so the book just filled in the gaps. It was sufficient for that, but nothing more. What i don’t quite understand is the number of questions for particular PHP functions – i look those up regularly in the reference manual, and i don’t memorize the exact names most of the time because the IDE tells me anyway.
We did not use any testing sites for MySQL, since the training book is much more complete – if you don’t skip any paragraphs, you know everything that you need to, and the chapters feature nice sets of questions. Learning in a group made much more sense there
Back again …
The one thing that like REALLY #issed me off was all the questions out PHP4/PHP5 diffs.
It’s almost impossible to chase some of these questions to ground unless you still have PHP4 installed somewhere ( not chez nous for 2 years ).
I mean I dig all the „BC“ arguments, but still I’d say I spend as a minimum 25% of my Vulcan regression testing time on what did PHP4 do in this situation -type of questions. Grrrrr….
Still, like Aaron, I was very unsure I would pass, but I did :)
ditto, Aaron on the mysql testing sites, did you use any? how’d you find them?
Aaron: In the „MySQL 5.0 Certification Study Guide“ from MySQL Press you’ll find lots of questions to all certification related topics only on the CD ROM, they are not printed anymore (as they were in the „MySQL Certification Study Guide“ for MySQL 4.0). But they are still very helpful.