How I pass my ZCE

Posted on January 19, 2016, 9:15 am by

Long time no "write" :) and because I/we haven't write anything in a while we thought that the best way to start this beautiful action is with a "how to" post. This being said, we had to choose a theme too, so the best fit was a post about how I passed my ZCE PHP.

I did this back in 2009 and now I had the opportunity to compare the two exams and I can say that there was a big improvement in the way the questions were asked. The major win is that the exam is focused on more practical questions and if you are an up-to-date PHP developer you'll have no problems in passing this exam.

Why should you try to take and pass this exam? Well, there are many benefits and the people from explain them very well in the "Why Become a Zend Certified Engineer (ZCE)?" section. Besides these I recommend it for the publicity offered by Zend Yellow Pages.

Below I share with you my exam experience. Be adviced that the questions are randomnly generated so the exam is different for each person.

  • Banal and also tricky stuffs like converting classes (with different type of visibility or without any content) to boolean type or array type
  • String and array functions: it's important to know what each function does and what is its behaviour in special situations like¬†calculating the length of a non-utf8 string
  • Late Static Binding combined with call_user_func / call_user_func_array and traits
  • Stream functions and flow: what each function exactly does / what is the return result and what does the parameters do
  • OOP basics: visibility / encapsulation, code interpreting, etc.
  • XML: accessing elements from a XML string (attributes & content) and interpret XPath results
  • Database: SQL notions, mysqli extension stuff and PDO; general database extensions use
  • File permissions
  • Security: XSS, SQL injection, remote code injection, php configuration
  • SPL: iterators use and types; classes acting like arrays
  • Operator precedence hidden in different arithmetic operations, combined with the print() function
  • Abstract classes and interfaces: general notions and code interpreting
  • Traits: special attention at name conflicts, traits with properties and how these properties are used in the related classes, etc.
  • A very good understanding of the PHP error / logging system: when PHP throws a fatal error, what about a notice / warning / parse / etc.

As a final thought: the certification is not hard but, in my opinion depends how much experience you have with PHP. This can save you because now the certification is not based anymore on "word-by-word" memorisation of functions & notions. You have to put your hands on code, you have to test each examen topic and to observe it in different situations.

Good luck to everyone!

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