Monday, September 13, 2010

Preparing for the ZCE exam | An ultimate Guide

I passed. 200 sample questions, 134 flash cards, and hours of studying later–I am now officially a Zend Certified Engineer. Three months ago, Daniel Kushner offered me a voucher to take the test for free, “to help advance PHP into the enterprise and to endorse PHP as the leading Web development language” since I am a “PHP community leader and professional developer.” In fact, I have over five solid years of PHP coding experience. So why so much studying? Frankly, I needed it–but more on that later.
-- Quoted from Robert Peake's Post on ZCE

Probably all who were visiting this blog had been wondering why the blog's title says ZCE Exam Guide and there's not a single post on Zend Certification at all. Yes it was my laziness and workload which diddn't let me.

Today I wont be writing much about ZCE exams. I'll try to share useful links which would help you get deeper and more ready approach to appear for the exam.

What is a ZCE Exam?
You can read this An In-Depth Look At The Zend Certified Engineer (ZCE) Certification

You should also read this as a must : PHP Qualifications: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


When should you appear?
When you have extensive experience of developing web applications from ground up for about 6months to 1year you are ready to go for the exam.

Take a note that, ZCE quizes are very tricky and sometimes experts fail to pass the tests.

You can assess your preparation by the mock exams like Rayhan


How to prepare and study?
You should collect the Zend PHP5 Certification Study Guide written by Ben Ramsey and Davey Shafik.

An important chapter for the exam is free from this book. Security: Chapter 10

You should have a .chm version of the latest PHP manual at your PC. Study that matching the syllabus from ZEND.

Have a look at some exam questions from Zend

Also for better understanding study the main documentation of PHP at php.net

Dont forget to make flash cards on the points you came to know first.

This is one good resource to make yourself prepared for such exams : Exam 1 - Programming PHP Practice Questions

You should be a member of the main php channels ie: php-general
Ask there questions as deliberately as you can. Try to answer people's problems in PHP web development. The more you help others, more is the chance you become witted enough to face exams. For myself, I had been answering and responding to almost all the mails coming in the Yahoo groups for phpXperts that grew my confidence to an utmost level.

And also sometimes participate at the community chat at irc.freenode.net #php


Testing Quick Code snippets
You'll need to test a lot of codes/snippets while preparing for the exam. A good way to do that anywhere you are online is to use the free code paste sites.
One of my favorite is CodePad.org
Another great one is: IDEone.com/


CheatSheets
CheatSheets are booster for studies and remembering everyday use functions better. These helps both pros and the newbies as well.
Some of the most popular PHP cheatsheets are:
1. Quick Reference & CheatSheets
2. Dream in Code QuickRefs & CheatSheets
3. CheatSheet PDF
4. www.cheat-sheets.org
5. www.scottklarr.com/topic/100/php-cheat-sheets/ 
6. www.addedbytes.com/cheat-sheets/php-cheat-sheet/
7. PHP PCRE(Perl Compatible RegEx) CheatSheet
8. CheatSheet by Zend.com : PHP4 vs PHP5 
9. Security CheatSheet by Zend.com


Exams
Don't miss to appear at the BlueShoes PHP Syntax exam

Abinash Grahacharya's Mock Exams 

Appear at the PHP Developer Tests

For further tests you should also appear at exams on oDesk and Elance. Their tests are powered by ExpertRating

Appear for PHP5 Test, PHP4 Test, Advanced PHP Test, LAMP Test, Internet Security Test

For a test of good grips on HTML you should also appear at HTML 4.0 Test as well.



Experiences
Dont forget to read the experiences from PHP programmers around who shared their stories about the exam.

1. Read the experience of David Fells at Devshed
2. Ferdous' All about ZCE
3. Lenin's Immediate Feelings after the Exam and some collection of resource links
4.  Robert Peake's Blog about ZCE


Are you just a n00b?
If you are all new to PHP, I wont suggest you to go for the ZCE exam at all. Please study and work on real projects first! This nettuts collection can be a starter for you.

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