ZCE: PHP Samurai For Hire

Zend is getting ready to offer what many have been waiting for: PHP5 Certification tests. Why is this so important? Many people who started on, or who were already using PHP5 saw limited need for a test that focused on PHP4. This was in fact the focus of the only existing Zend PHP certification. Since I take PHP seriously I went ahead and got the Certification, and I intend on taking the PHP5 test as well.

I found several things interesting about the new test. (details here) The first thing that struck me was the section on the differences between PHP4 and PHP5. This may frustrate some who are dead set on being PHP5 purists. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of examples and code snippits on the internet that are written in PHP4. If you are the type of person who is always looking to program the absolute best, you need to know the difference so you can differentiate between versions of code. Also, so you know what the problem is when one of your people snag some code from the Internet and slap it in an application and it doesn’t work quite right. Because you wouldn’t do that right?

The rest of the test focuses on several obvious items like OOP and Security. These are some much needed test items. This way a person who claims to be a ZCE5 can be assumed to know at least the basics.

At this point I am still wondering if Zend is addressing the largest issue I see surrounding the Zend Certification Exam. That is employer education. I am working toward becoming an MCSD. Two of the reasons is for respect and higher pay. While people who are Zend customers respect the ZCE and offer compensation higher than most. There are all kinds of companies out there using PHP that don’t even know that Zend exists, or that there are Zend Certifications. While this is a marketing issue, if Zend wants the ZCE to really be important they need to fly it on the front of every piece of literature and website and bag of peanuts they hand out. “Put your application in the hands of someone who knows, hire a ZCE today!” should be the mantra of the Zend Enterprise. A ZCE already trusts and uses Zend, it would be good business for them to push the ZCE as PHP samurai for hire.

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