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Thread: Zend Certified

  1. #26
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    I feel that that fact that someone is willing to study and pay for the Zend test says something about their attitude. That they are willing to go that extra mile to improve themselves. And that's impt in my book

  2. #27
    simple tester McGruff's Avatar
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    I'm kind of sceptical about the whole thing. It looks pretty worthless as an indicator of programming talent. "Operators", "constants and variables" etc aren't exactly advanced. In the OOP objectives there's no mention of design patterns or unit testing. Testing IMO is really what separates the pros from the wannabees. If I had to interview someone for a job - which I don't - that would probably be the only question I'd ask. The interview would be a half-hour TDD session during which I'd learn all I need to know about their abilities. If they couldn't remember if it's needle haystack or haystack needle who cares. That's what the manual is for. If they've never heard of continuous integration I'd be worried.

  3. #28
    SitePoint Evangelist jplush76's Avatar
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    McGruff thats safe to say unless you're actively interviewing people. I've spent the past year going through potential canidates for PHP openings here. I've gone through probably 30 applicants this year and all have PHP on their resume yet are CLUELESS about the language. Recruiters tell people to put everything on their resume which isn't always telling about their actual skills.

    We have a 22 question test going over a broad spectrum of questions of the PHP language and only one person has really knocked it out of the park out of 30(its not a hard test). Most get under 50%. If you don't know implode or explode, how a class is structured, etc then you're not much of a PHP programmer.

    If I see a ZCE cert on a resume I know right off the bat that this person has at least a good understanding of the PHP language and I could interview them about more advanced topics like their design methodologies, testing practices, design pattern experience, etc.

    On paper, without a cert I can't tell the differences between ten people with PHP on their resume all I know is that damn... I have to give them all a test to see who REALLY knows php.

    the ZCE is NOT a programming test or an experience test it is a PHP test only. It tells someone that you know the language well. Can you design enterprise software?? who knows but at least you can say someone knows the language that you're hiring for and that is worth alot to me right now as someone who is a ZCE looking for ZCE's for one of the leading security companies in the world.

    my 2 cents again
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  4. #29
    simple tester McGruff's Avatar
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    Yeah I guess you would need to do a bit of weeding in order to get a shortlist for interview. I'd personally be extremely suspicious of anyone who brandished a Zend certificate as evidence of their expertise.

    Programming involves much technical knowledge across a range of technologies. I wouldn't be interested in people who know it all by rote so much as people who can think creatively and who can take the "trivial" detail of new technologies in their stride. Intelligence, not memory. Computers store data. Brains are for thinking.

  5. #30
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    In the OOP objectives there's no mention of design patterns or unit testing.
    Not yet, but guaranteed that this will change in the not so distant future, when the issue is forced upon Zend by industry trends.

    Look at Sun Microsystems certification for example, like Rome, this wasn't built in a day, but it covers just about anything that you could care to throw at it. Zend's certification would do well to take a look at what Sun has done.

    And I'll tell you this, no one is going to balk at anyone with a couple of years experience with Java development, and who is certificated

  6. #31
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    Testing IMO is really what separates the pros from the wannabees.
    I'm a professional, and I don't 100 percent do unit testing, so I suppose that'd be me discounted yes?

    But then again, I wouldn't attend a job interview, where this is your attitude. Unit testing you forget McGruff is just a mere tool, it's not the be all and end all. Yes, more and more it's seen as a requirement, but that's not to say that a developer will live nor die by Unit testing.

    You need to be flexible.

  7. #32
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    I have been creating unit tests for one of my PHP apps for the past year or so and I really see the benefit of it. You don't want to know how many bugs I have found and (easily) traced with these tests, bugs that otherwise wouldn't be discovered until many weeks later. It also gives you great confidence that your code actually 'works'.

    I'm still waiting for a programming language where you can actually prove mathematically that your code does what its supposed to do, but so far unit tests are the closest best thing.

    Dr. Livingston, not that I consider myself a professional, but to make you feel a bit better perhaps, I don't do 100 percent as well. Sometimes I do TDD but most of the time I just write code and develop the tests later. I guess if you'd look at what parts of my code are covered by tests it would be less than 30%, but they are the critical parts. I think most PHP web apps consist of user interface code mostly and those parts of the code are hard to unit test and the bugs can be found rather well manually.

    Still I am trying to change my classes so that I can test them more easily. I find that that automatically leads to decoupled classes, which is another advantage of unit testing.

  8. #33
    SitePoint Evangelist jplush76's Avatar
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    also mcgruff, dont forget about just a short while ago when you didn't know about unit testing:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/show...t=unit+testing

    should I have automatically dissmissed you?

    unit testing is something that can be taught as a practice of development
    knowing or not knowing PHP when interviewing for a PHP job is a different matter.

    As I stated on my quote on Zend.com... someone with a zend cert moves to the top of our "must talk to" list. Doesn't get you a job automatically but I'll definatley talk to you as opposed to the 100 other resumes I probably won't have time to weed through.
    My-Bic - Easiest AJAX/PHP Framework Around
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  9. #34
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jplush76
    also mcgruff, dont forget about just a short while ago when you didn't know about unit testing:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/show...t=unit+testing

    should I have automatically dissmissed you?
    That was over a year ago, you can learn a lot in a year. Perhaps you should've automatically dissmissed him then? (Unless you are a company which looks for smart people just starting to learn, rather than people who already know something - which may not be a bad way to work.)

    And this thread isn't exactly fresh either... sheesh it is weird seeing someone quote you from a post 6 months ago!

    Douglas
    Hello World

  10. #35
    SitePoint Evangelist jplush76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougBTX
    That was over a year ago, you can learn a lot in a year.
    that was my point
    My-Bic - Easiest AJAX/PHP Framework Around
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  11. #36
    simple tester McGruff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Livingston
    I'm a professional, and I don't 100 percent do unit testing, so I suppose that'd be me discounted yes?
    Yes. Amongst other things. Drop it please.

  12. #37
    simple tester McGruff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jplush76
    also mcgruff, dont forget about just a short while ago when you didn't know about unit testing:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/show...t=unit+testing

    should I have automatically dissmissed you?
    Certainly, yes. And I've still got a lot to learn.

    If I get asked about a web project that's the advice I give out: look for a php programmer who knows about unit testing (if you can find one) since that's important in itself and a good indicator of a general grasp of OOP design and modern best practices.

    Of course best of all is an experienced programmer who has a good knowledge of technical details in a range of technologies as well as being a creative thinker.

  13. #38
    SitePoint Evangelist DMacedo's Avatar
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    Cool

    I don't think certification means that much. It only matters if you really have the knowledge and technical skills and you can be "certified" without those.

    But if you do have the time and money, by all means do so, it's another stamp on your knowledge passport
    ~ Daniel Macedo

  14. #39
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    (Disclaimer: I'm a member of the Zend Advisory Board and helped write the exam.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Version0-00e
    It's a bit late for me to attempt these exams as I'm pretty good at scripting PHP.
    That makes no sense. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Version0-00e
    Nothing like experience in my view
    I think most everyone agrees with this. It's funny how opinions about the Zend Certification seem to be based upon whether it can choose your employees for you - it's as if people expect to be able to replace their interview process with an exam. I've interviewed my share of PHP developers, and I would never let an exam replace my interview process, even if it's the best exam ever written.

    If you are considering taking the exam, you should not base your decision upon whether this certification can get you a job by itself. If someone considers nothing except the results of an exam, then you don't want to work there.

    Quote Originally Posted by jplush76
    90% of the time the MCSE gets the job because its a respected test and you have to know your stuff. I'm hoping this applies to the Zend Cert.
    That's a very surprising comment. As we were writing the exam (in fact, as some of us were considering whether a Zend Certification was worthwhile), the MCSE certification was the biggest thing weighing on our minds.

    There is a stigma associated with certifications - that only clueless people have them. The MCSE is the primary reason for this. We felt that we had to overcome this stigma, because everyone's natural instinct is going to be to dismiss the exam as being pointless. In a sense, we had to start from behind the starting line - it's defnitely an uphill battle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Version0-00e
    Certifications I suppose just reinforces a point of knowledge if nothing more, but I don't personally feel insecure enough to sit an exam to gain a certification just to back up something I already know
    It has nothing to do with feeling insecure. Certifications aren't meant to prove your competency to yourself - they're for proving your competency to others.

    Quote Originally Posted by MiiJaySung
    any good employer who knows their stuff will realise that qualifications shouldn't be the main reason for choosing an candidate.
    This is the perspective that I will never understand. A certification doesn't have to be everything or nothing. It can just be something. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by jbr
    In today's IT market, I never hear of Zend in daily conversation! It just is not widely accredited as a true creditable certification!
    Well, you might be getting confused. Zend is a scripting engine and a company. The company created the official PHP certification, but that's it.

    Zend is to PHP what Red Hat is to Linux, if not more. Your daily conversations might not include Zend, but that's not a standard that really matters. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by jbr
    One of the reason for this is that PHP is used by more non IT type programmers than accredited IT programmers!
    This is one of the reasons why the certification has value. As someone who has significant experience interviewing PHP developers, I can tell you that most of the people I have interviewed were a waste of my time. I don't like to sound harsh, but that's the reality.

    I eventually created a short online test. I only interviewed those who passed this test. Of course, one important point is that the test did not replace any of the interview process. To do so would have been foolish on my part.

    This worked pretty well, but it had a couple of problems:

    1. It wasn't very thorough. I didn't want it to take too long, so I tried to stick to the basics.
    2. If everyone used my idea, a PHP developer trying to get a job would have to take a 30 minute test for each position. This would be annoying.

    The Zend Certification fulfills this need very well. Employers can be assured that the exam is thorough (more than my simple test), and employees can take a single exam.

    Quote Originally Posted by jbr
    Go to Hot Script or other places like it and you might find a script you might like, but many of them are really dangerous, because they follow the rule 'make it run' and not 'make it safe'.
    This is a separate problem, and it's one that I'm trying to address through education. I write and speak often on the topic of PHP security, and I recently founded the PHP Security Consortium (http://phpsec.org/) to help promote security awareness throughout the community.

    Quote Originally Posted by DougBTX
    Looking at the "self test", I feel that yes, it could distinguish between someone who know nothing, and someone who has read a book about PHP, but I don't believe the test could ditinguish between a programmer who had a little experience, and one who was actually skilled and well experienced.
    This is where the art of the interview comes into play. :-) Seriously, no certification can do this job for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by bianster
    I feel that that fact that someone is willing to study and pay for the Zend test says something about their attitude. That they are willing to go that extra mile to improve themselves.
    This is another area where the Zend Certification has some value. When I was actively hiring PHP developers, I preferred those who demonstrated a true passion for the language - those who were involved in a PHP user group, participated in forums or mailing lists, attended PHP conferences or seminars, etc. Being a ZCE demonstrates a certain amount of devotion to the language. You might still be just another 9-5 developer who sees programming as nothing more than a job, but odds are against that.

    Quote Originally Posted by McGruff
    In the OOP objectives there's no mention of design patterns or unit testing.
    Well, design patterns aren't an important topic in PHP 4 (a PHP 5 exam is not yet available), and unit testing has nothing to do with OOP.

    Quote Originally Posted by McGruff
    If I had to interview someone for a job - which I don't - that would probably be the only question I'd ask. The interview would be a half-hour TDD session during which I'd learn all I need to know about their abilities. If they couldn't remember if it's needle haystack or haystack needle who cares. That's what the manual is for. If they've never heard of continuous integration I'd be worried.
    That's your choice, but I feel that it's a poor approach (and I have a lot of experience in this area).

    How hard is it to teach a good developer what continuous integration is? How hard is it to teach TDD? If your interview process is complete, you'll learn many things about the applicant, such as:

    1. Do they have an agreeable personality?
    2. Do they seem to fit in well with your other developers?
    3. Are they smart? (Generic logic puzzles are often used to test this.)
    4. Do they know the language? (The Zend Certification can help here.)
    5. Do they know other specific technologies and methodologies that you value or that are important to your development environment?

    There may be more, but those are some basic ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by jplush76
    unit testing is something that can be taught as a practice of development. knowing or not knowing PHP when interviewing for a PHP job is a different matter.
    Well said. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by McGruff
    look for a php programmer who knows about unit testing (if you can find one) since that's important in itself and a good indicator of a general grasp of OOP design and modern best practices.
    Some of the leading experts on unit testing are Perl programmers. While they may also have a good grasp of OOP design, it's certainly not something you can prove by the fact that they know about unit testing. I'm not sure why you think this. :-)
    Chris Shiflett
    http://shiflett.org/

  15. #40
    SitePoint Evangelist jplush76's Avatar
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    I think we're talking the same language Chris.
    Those have been my exact experiences with hiring php developers.

    Something I look for:
    Active in the PHP Community.. if I google your name and the word PHP and nothing comes up, thats a bad start. If I ask you who invented PHP and you don't know.. thats a bad start.

    I also look for someone who WANTS to do php, one of my first questions is.. are you looking for a php job or just a general programming position. I want the person who will turn ME down if I tell them they'll be doing 90% perl(or any other language) and 10% PHP. Its good to know and practice other languages of course but if I want a PHP programmer .. I WANT A PHP PROGRAMMER

    My whole point to the thread and the quote that zend uses on their website from me is that the certification gets you to the top of my list. If I see 100 resumes come in, honestly I'm not going to even look at half of them twice. As far as my company goes.. being a ZCE will get you right to the top of the list, it will not automatically get you the job, but I will for certain be speaking to you. It shows me you're serious about the language and a 3rd party has verified you have good PHP skills.

    The interview process will determine how well you'd fit with the company, your additional skills or weaknesses, etc.
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  16. #41
    SitePoint Zealot solutionsphp's Avatar
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    As someone who attended the PHP West conference in Vancouver this weekend, I can say that certification has been on my mind constantly since returning. I thought about posting a poll regarding Zend certification but did a search first and came upon this active thread...

    One of the strongest cases for certification was posted already, having to do with certification as a demonstration of a passion for the language. That matters alot to me when hiring. As it's been correctly pointed out, the certification in no way negates the need for the interview process, but I'm determined to give ZCEs preference when hiring for programming or writing jobs. In the same light, I'm also quite convinced that certification would improve my own chances at winning projects.

    I'm still a long way off from taking the exam, but it's given me a goal that will no doubt help guide my studies in the right direction.

    cheers
    SAM

  17. #42
    SitePoint Evangelist jplush76's Avatar
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    well said Sam
    good luck on reaching the goal. a tip that might really help is buy the zend cert study guide and make audio recordings of the chapters to listen to in the car. I got an extra 30-60mins a day of study time driving to and from work listening to the recordings.
    My-Bic - Easiest AJAX/PHP Framework Around
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  18. #43
    SitePoint Zealot solutionsphp's Avatar
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    Thanks Jim!

    Alas, my commute is all of making it out of bed and down the stairs to the office Barely enough time to get the headphones on!

    That's a great tip though. To be sure, finding time to study while also doing client work and finding new client work is always a challenge.

    cheers
    SAM

  19. #44
    simple tester McGruff's Avatar
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    Chris - it's interesting to speak to someone who is involved with the exam. One of the best things about php is that it's a very easy language to get started in. One of the worst things about php is that it's a very easy language to get started in... The standard of most php code is appallingly bad - albeit it may be perfectly functional. That's enabling: at least an easy language allows people to produce something at all.

    However, it's not enough IMO for someone who aspires to be a professional programmer. The learning curve that many people follow is to start off with globally scoped code. Later they'll start using some functions. Maybe, after six months or a year, they'll start trying out classes. First attempts at class design often rely excessively on inheritance as a way to get objects to talk to each other then they'll discover design patterns - and Fowler, hopefully. With luck, they'll also discover our "open university" here on sitepoint.

    A few - too few - go on to experiment with testing and become test-infected. After another year of this, they should be beginning to become reasonably sophisticated programmers. It's a path I've followed myself and which I see others following. [edit: I should have said "a path I am following" I don't know if I would call myself a sophisticated programmer]

    So to me, testing (and OOP) indicates a certain level of skill and attitude. This is someone who has put a lot of effort into learning to program well. I see this as a minimum standard for anyone who aspires to be a professional - and I think this applies to php4 as much as it does to php5.

    If I took the zend test without a manual to hand I wouldn't like to bet on passing. I really do regularly need to check if it's haystack/needle or needle/haystack. But, to me, that doesn't say much about my real programming skills. Such as they are

    I think it's important to try to drive standards up, provide some clear goals for those who wish to learn more. My comments are also based on practical experience trying to maintain sites which aren't backed up with tests, or which aren't OOP code. Never again, not for any money.
    Last edited by McGruff; Jun 15, 2005 at 17:22.

  20. #45
    ********* Victim lastcraft's Avatar
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    Hi...

    Quote Originally Posted by shiflett
    How hard is it to teach a good developer what continuous integration is? How hard is it to teach TDD?
    We now have unit testing (not necessarily TDD) as a minimum preinterview requirement. Not because it's hard to do, but because it is essential for serious refactoring. Serious refactoring is a sign that the developer is serious about the code. That's the kind of people we want, and so it's now ingrained as a minimum requirement.

    My favoured interview approach has become more sophisticated over the years. Firstly we never look at CVs and we never do interviews . We find no correlation between these and the final candidates. Instead we are sold on Johanna Rothman's audition system, and rely heavily on previous work.

    All candidates must send source code instead of a CV. This is a very effective screening mechanism. You wouldn't believe some of the (supposedly exemplary) code that gets sent . Another factor is blog or forum traffic as that is how we hear about the candidates in the first place (we tend to approach candidates rather than advertise jobs). The best thing you can have in your favour though is a Sourceforge project. That, more than anything, shows enthusiasm for the craft.

    Anyway, detail follows...

    Quote Originally Posted by shiflett
    1. Do they have an agreeable personality?
    The first thing we do is list the traits that we want. We recently hired a front end Javascript/HTML guy that was going to be handling the usability process. We wanted a good listener, someone who could communicate research, someone who could build a release plan with built in usability and someone we could work with given that we all knew zip about JavaScript.

    We discussed at length what sort of exercises would select our candidate.

    Next we lined up four 20-30 minute auditions for the candidate:
    1) Conduct a usability survey of our own site and presnt the findings in the audition.
    2) Do a usability test on some part of the site with a dumb user.
    3) A hypothetical release plan whiteboard discussion.
    4) A pairing session with our graphic designer to produce part of a web page.

    Notice how we have tailored it to the job at hand. We find it very difficult to reuse interview material.

    Quote Originally Posted by shiflett
    2. Do they seem to fit in well with your other developers?
    Pairing, CRC or whitevboard sessions are great for this.

    Quote Originally Posted by shiflett
    3. Are they smart? (Generic logic puzzles are often used to test this.)
    Total waste of time. It's usually obvious within 30 seconds of doing a task anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by shiflett
    4. Do they know the language? (The Zend Certification can help here.)
    This is where I differ. We actually couldn't care less. We can hire Java people to do PHP quite easily. Our main goal for server side developers is to get the OO skills in, have someone who cares about programming (and so has used several languages), and have someone who has some practice in writing clean code. At least if they have clean code they won't do too much damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by shiflett
    5. Do they know other specific technologies and methodologies that you value or that are important to your development environment?
    This is a pretty impossible goal, especially for a single exam. It's not just your environment, but the mix of skills you want on your team.

    I think core skills are more important for anything other than a short term contract. If they know what continuous integration is, then they care about consistent delivery. You must have had serious version control and deployment experience for this to matter. This makes it a good descriminator if that is the type of developer you are looking for. Choose the critera for the person you want to hire so as to balance the team, would be my mantra, although it doesn't hum well. The minutia of MySQL functions tells us nothing in any scenario (and dated now we have PDO).

    Now it won't surprise you to hear that we won't be asking for Zend certification right now. Would you be alarmed to hear (as a PHP employer) that I would expect it to have a negative impact on our hiring? It's partly the people we are aiming for, but the kind of developer that we want will simply not be interested in that kind of test. They won't see it as relevant and if we asked for it, our favoured candidates would look at us with derision and go elsewhere. It seems to aimed only at discriminating among the bottom rung of the ladder, and no one wants to hire from there.

    At least that's my impression from the materials I have seen. Maybe we should all have a go at the thing right now. Does it cost anything?

    yours, Marcus
    Marcus Baker
    Testing: SimpleTest, Cgreen, Fakemail
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  21. #46
    eschew sesquipedalians silver trophy sweatje's Avatar
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    Just to pitch in my $0.02 into the conversation. I took the exam at the php|tropics conference (still waiting to hear if I passed ).

    I would not get hung up on the trivial details like needle-haystack order and such. The practice examples seem to focus on this more than the actual test (perhaps in an effort to be "harder than the real thing"). You obviously have to have a good proficiency with the language to pass. Often the test questions were much more about being able to identify both logic and syntactic bug in code (particularly focusing on nuances of the language itself) than about particular function parameter order. There was a healthy focus on OOP and patterns even.

    HTH to clarify some peoples expectations around the exam.
    Jason Sweat ZCE - jsweat_php@yahoo.com
    Book: PHP Patterns
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    Detestable (adjective): software that isn't testable.

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    If you being hired by a particullary good PHP programmer with strong opinions on code design and methologies, then the ZCE may turn you off someone. To everyone else, it would probably give the impression that you are passionate and serious about the language and working with the language.

    Will I take the test? For $229.99 (Certification + Certifacation Guide), no I wouldn't, atleast not at present. It is pretty expensive as certifcations go (infact, all Zend's products are expensive compared to alternatives IMHO), and it is my opinion that it is not a widely recognized certification. In fact, it is my opinion that Zend itself is not a widely known name. Zend may be to PHP what RedHat is to Linux (although, probably a bad comparission, as Linux is not associated with any particular distro while PHP and Zend go hand-in-hand) and as Sun is to Java, but RedHat and Sun are definetly more recognized names then Zend.

    It's good to see what could-be employers think (though, must be taken into consideration that people like lastcraft are not neccessary like other potential employers in PHP) and to see Chris' replies to concerns of the exam.

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    For consultants I know in 5 minutes if they're for real or not. A little reading between the lines via the little comments they make go a lot further than pairing, unit testing, and the other time wasters the human resource community comes up with. When I worked at a fortune 100 company with about 12K employees, they didn't do testing. They did have them talk to 3-8 people all the way up the food chain to the VP of Engineering or whatever department it was. The reason they did that is partly because they wanted to know they'll work out in any part of the department, not just the job they're going for, so testing you on something related to just that one job was far too limiting.

    The very first question I ask is how long have you been using PHP? Based on their answer, true or not doesn't matter, I know how far back in time to go to see if they're for real. And since I've been using it for 7 years I want to know if they've learned some of the lessons they should have come across during their time.

    If they don't know that Rasmus created PHP, that the Zend guys took over the engine and PHP is a recursive acronym, big deal...that is the most irrelevant piece of information I could possibly hear. Even Rasmus himself never envisioned, and really doesn't support, PHP in business critical applications so why is it relevant that he got the ball rolling? And yet here we are, millions of dollars in business revenue later, alive and well. What matters is can this person work with what's available, in my team, and make me money?

    Oh my, the M word not really mentioned here. Yes. A programmer's job is not to pass tests and play paddy-keyboard with a designer. Their job is to make their client or employer money, lots of it. For instance one of my clients has a system that makes them about $500K annually based partly on my work and support. They pay me, well, less than that. Do you think they care if I can review a web page or point out bugs in someone elses code? Here's a hint...No. They look at the check they write me and the checks from their clients and think, "Okay, that works."

    My professional experience is that programmers who come from stricter languages, as I did, either like PHP or they don't. Those who like it should further have a passion for it. If they don't, I don't want them. They're too "Karate maybe and get squished just like grape" (ref: Karate Kid) and end up moving the codebase out of whack and costing tens of thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

    Just a thought. Cheers!
    I study speed waiting. I can wait an entire hour in 10 minutes.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by jplush76
    a tip that might really help is buy the zend cert study guide.
    The guide is good for explaining the various topics that the exam covers, and in many cases, the people who wrote the exam questions wrote the corresponding chapter(s) in the study guide.

    However, I feel obligated to voice my concerns about the book. It was very rushed (we each had a couple of weeks to write our chapters), and the production time was nearly cut in half. As a result, the book has more errors than the average technical book. In addition, the practice questions in the back are ones that were thrown out of the real exam. This means that they were considered to be too hard, too tricky, or too useless (like memorizing the order of arguments passed to a function). I think the guide actually hurts the exam for this reason - people see those questions and begin to form an opinion about the exam itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by McGruff
    So to me, testing (and OOP) indicates a certain level of skill and attitude. This is someone who has put a lot of effort into learning to program well. I see this as a minimum standard for anyone who aspires to be a professional - and I think this applies to php4 as much as it does to php5.
    I agree, but I'm not sure how well the exam can cover this.

    If we test the practical aspects of unit testing, we would need to test Apache-Test, .phpt, PHPUnit, and/or Simple Test (there may even be others of which I'm not aware). Someone very familiar with one might be unable to use another effectively. Of course, if someone is really familiar with a particular one, and your company uses another, their skills can still apply, but only the theoretical foundation that they have acquired through practice.

    We could recognize this and try to keep the exam independent of any tool (it's meant to test PHP only) by testing the theoretical aspects of unit testing. However, this also has problems, because the average PHP developer tends to be very pragmatic.

    Of the two, I would prefer to test theory, and I see where this can add value to the certification. However, once we get into testing to see whether someone can program in general versus program in PHP, where do we stop? Knuth has written a series of books on the art of computer programming, and they're independent of platform. This exam is comprehensive enough as is, and it's just addressing the language.

    There are questions on OOP, but because the exam is PHP 4, they're not that impressive. The PHP 5 exam will be much better in this regard, because the language itself is much better. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by McGruff
    If I took the zend test without a manual to hand I wouldn't like to bet on passing. I really do regularly need to check if it's haystack/needle or needle/haystack. But, to me, that doesn't say much about my real programming skills.
    If anyone who has taken the exam feels that knowing the order of arguments affected their score, please let me know. The exam should not test trivial things, and while I didn't write all of the questions, I have reviewed them all at least once. I think the real questions are better than any that I've seen presented as practice questions.

    My involvement is independent of Zend. Zend purposely chose members of the community to help establish the goals, curriculum, and questions for the exam. This is so that there is no commercial interest to sway the program, other than the fact that Zend benefits as PHP appears more and more noteworthy in the eyes of "enterprise" businesses. So, Zend is definitely doing this for their own good, but what's good for Zend happens to be what's good for us in this case.

    In other words, if you have concerns about the exam, feel free to let me know. (I sometimes go weeks without checking this forum, but I check email daily.) I'm not going to be defensive or unreceptive to criticism. My primary interest in this is to help serve the community. We have a real problem right now where there are plenty of people who need PHP talent, and there are plenty of talented PHP developers, but it's hard to connect the two. I've experienced both sides of the fence, and it's not easy. I don't see this certification as the answer to everything, but I think it's a step in the right direction, and it might be part of the answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by lastcraft
    Another factor is blog or forum traffic as that is how we hear about the candidates in the first place (we tend to approach candidates rather than advertise jobs). The best thing you can have in your favour though is a Sourceforge project. That, more than anything, shows enthusiasm for the craft.
    I agree about searching Google. I think Jim mentioned this as well. If I was considering you for a job, I would search something like this:

    "Chris Shiflett" PHP

    157,000 results tells me that you're involved. You may not be great, but I sense passion, and that makes you worth talking to.

    I don't see SF projects as being anything special. A lot of projects there are crap, although there are certainly many superb projects as well. In the end, I wouldn't consider where you host your project to be a reflection of anything important. You could maintain a dozen PEAR packages, and that would reflect well upon your devotion, and I'd also know that your social skills are good enough to get the packages accepted. :-)

    As for your specific points, I think you missed the part where I said, "you'll learn many things about the applicant." Learning whether they know PHP is not something I think you disagree with - you just don't mind if they don't know it. That's fine, but make sure you actually disagree with someone before you say so. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by lastcraft
    This is a pretty impossible goal, especially for a single exam.
    Again, these are things you can learn from an interview. My point was that things specific to your environment (version control systems, development methodologies, specific technologies, etc.) should not be covered by a general exam but rather by your interview process.

    Quote Originally Posted by lastcraft
    Would you be alarmed to hear (as a PHP employer) that I would expect it to have a negative impact on our hiring?
    It depends on what you mean. Hopefully you don't mean that ZCEs have a poorer chance of getting hired, otherwise you're being very foolish. :-)

    In fact, I don't see how this program can have a negative impact on any aspect of the hiring process. Maybe you can elaborate.

    Quote Originally Posted by sweatje
    HTH to clarify some peoples expectations around the exam.
    Yes, thanks. I especially like to hear from those who have taken it, because I think I'm getting to be pretty familiar with the concerns of those who haven't. :-)
    Chris Shiflett
    http://shiflett.org/

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    thats the joy of life my friend, we're all looking for different things for different needs. you say you could care less about someone knowing rasmus created PHP but to me that is a very telling piece of information.

    EVERY single php book I've ever read states that Rasmus invented php, not knowing that tells me 1. you're not into the php community and 2. you either have never read a php book or you cannot remember the details of what you've read.

    you also state you know if someone is for real within the first 5 minutes or not which idicates that you are speaking or interviewing them or have some contact with them. I dont have the time luxury to talk to 100 applicants, I need to narrow down that list to 4 or 5 max, so how do you condense 100 resumes down to 5? They allllll start to look the same after a while trust me.

    Things that stand out to me:
    zend certified

    active in the php community (IE have a site geared towards php knowledge, like owning/running a site like phppatterns)

    published works on programming methodologies or php specific issues either in books or respected online resources

    every company is different which is why everyone seems to be able to find a job somewhere
    My-Bic - Easiest AJAX/PHP Framework Around
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