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Zend Certified Engineer

A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at a local meet up, PHPSW, which is one of the groups we encourage our students to attend during the academy programme for both employment opportunities and the chance to learn something new.
I spoke about becoming a Zend Certified Engineer (ZCE): what it means, why it’s worth doing, and of course, how to get qualified. ZCE is one of the qualifications that students at Mayden Academy are trained toward and have the chance to achieve during the programme.

So what is ZCE?

It’s the only industry recognised qualification for PHP. That means employers of PHP developers and other languages know what it is and recognise the skills and experience required to achieve it. A pretty good conversation starter. There’s also the benefit of improving your skills and knowledge of the PHP language. The test is very comprehensive, and in order to pass it you have to have experienced the full breadth of PHP – something we make sure to do during the academy programme.
ZCE is created and monitored by an independent advisory board made up of real developers working in the industry – not just an examining body.
The questions and marking schema are broken down into three categories:
1. High weighted questions These carry the most marks in the exam and focus on PHP basics, security and object orientated programming: the areas most commonly used within PHP.
2. Average weighted questions These make up the bulk of the questions in the exam, and focus on functions, web features (such as HTTP), arrays, and pattern matching.
3. Low weighted questions These come up less frequently in the exam, and explore some of the harder or less commonly used areas of PHP. They focus on data types, input/output, databases and error handling.
In order to pass the ZCE you will need knowledge of all of the above areas. Just learning the high-weighted stuff will not be enough. Many of the questions will be testing more than one concept, which is often mixed between weightings, so a lack of knowledge in any one area could harm your results.
The test is 90 minutes, with about 75 question (that number varies depending on which questions you get). This means you have about 77 seconds to answer each question. Some won’t take anywhere near that long, and others will take more, so it’s important to keep an eye on your timer.
If you want to find out more about ZCE, checkout my talk at PHPSW or drop me a message using the contact form. I’m always happy to talk about programming and the academy programme.