Self development
As you might know, I have been happily using PHP for like almost 6 years now. From PHP3 to PHP4 to PHP5, all with it’s own problems and perks. I never thought about looking into certification-course like Microsoft’s or Sun’s. Uptil almost a year ago.

ZCE’s speed course
I’ll skip the boring part: So I’m currently following Zend’s 90-day from noob to PHP-expert course.
It basically consists of 4 main stages:

  • PHP I foundations (basic syntax, operating, some functions, array handling…) 9 lessons, 2 hours
  • PHP II Higher structures (classes (thus OOP), design patterns, RegEx, Database handling)9 lessons, 2 hours
  • PHP5 Certification Training ( ehh well examtraining)9 lessons, 2 hours
  • The Exam itself.

At first I was a little bit sceptic: would they be able to keep me awake during the class? Right after the first e-mail conversation with a Course Manager (about if I could use my own IDE), they offered me to skip PHP I, as my question indicated a higher level of experience then “beginner”, and let me pick an other class instead. For free. For your curiosity: I chose PHP Security .

All Zend’s classes are online through a WebEx environment, and realtime. I don’t like the bugs and glitches (boo you, Cisco!), but ah well: it worked.

PHP II: Higher structures
And so I started with PHP II.
The presenter, the lovely Robyn Overstreet, used a microphone and a kind of Remote desktop view at her console, in which she presented the course-sheets, showed and run examples in her IDE, etc. The participants could use a microphone, but a common practice was a chat window, to ask questions or discuss matter. I was amazed about the flexibility(and patience) of the presenter. Allthough the lessons were not really new to me, it still learned me some little pittfalls and at the least it refreshed some stuff. The discussion I had were of good quality (and that’s worth something aswell), but I guess the discovery that Michael Kimsal was not a participant himself but merely auditing Robyn explained some stuff aswell I guess.

PHP5 certication training
The PHP5 certication training was a different story.
At first the presenter, again Robyn, refreshed PHP5 basics. But then there were the Pop-quizes, which occurred predictably after each covered topic. Every question seemed either too easy to be true(which was the case 98% of the time) or impossible to solve. It was here aswell I learned to examine a problem from every angle. Allthough the problems weren’t always reallife-examples,
Whats will be printed?
$a = 'b';
$b = 'c';
$c = 'a';
echo $$$$$$$$$b;

they gave a good enough indication where to look at when developing an application.
Because we covered almost all PHP5 topics, and a popquiz appeared right after it, I got to know a common trap for each and every section, and most of the time we spiralled down into problems popping up in the discussion(which was positive, really!). At the end we made a test-examn and reviewed it.


Not much to say yet, because I didn’t take the exam yet. Only thing I can tell is that I took 2 vulcan mock-exams and passed nicely. The PHP|architect’s claim the mock-exam is actually harder then the real exam, got burned down by a course-mate(Rodrigo)……

Maybe you readers could tell me your experiences of ZCE?