I have recently passed the Zend Certified Engineer 2017, certification offered by Rogue Wave.
While experience is the most important thing for a certification, books are the best way to expand your knowledge, in my opinion.
Since a certification is something very specific, there aren’t a lot of books.
Before we begin, keep in mind that the most exhaustive resource for learning PHP is the manual, always take a look on all the classes and functions available.
Zend Certified Engineer Exam Study Guide $20
I’ve bought this book just so I can review it and earn my right to have an opinion about it.
The study guide was introduced with the certification for PHP 5.3 and it was a free resource. The quality of the book has updated continually, but never by a lot and at some point it was no longer a free resource.
Over time I kept hoping that it will become better and better, but it didn’t. It’s a short book with a big font and lots and lots of misspellings and errors.
The only good part about it is that it has several questions for each chapter, other then that it’s not a very good resources and it’s not worth the $20, probably about $5 would be closer to a fair price since with every version they just update it a bit and adding the new features of the language. The questions don’t even seem to change a lot over time.
So if it’s the only book you are going to buy, go for the next one.
PHP 7 Zend Certification Study Guide – Andrew Beak – Apress 2017 – $19.99
The book is exploring all the sections for the certification in more depth, it has over 300 pages.
It feels more like a programming book and less like a guilde. The quality of the book is way better than the official guide, but that’s not hard at all considering that the guide set such a low bar.
There are also questions on all the chapters which is a good way to practice your knowledge in an exam format. The questions just feel a bit more soft than the guide, the exam itself has a lot of very tricky questions.
Of course this book is not exhaustive, you can’t really cover all the subjects in depth in a single book, and even if it did, then you would probably not have time to read it anyway.
If you are going to buy a single book, I would recommend this one, since it’s an actual book, not a very high level (and low quality) guide.
Zend PHP 5 Certification Study Guide, Third Edition – php[architect] – $22
If you think that I’ve got the version wrong, well, what can I say? you are right!
I wanted to add this book here because for me it was the best Study Guide. Over the years there were various study guides but this one I liked the most.
For the PHP 5 certification there wasn’t an official certification from Zend, only the first edition of this book. It was just a nice programming book to read. Sometimes, when I want to remember something that I haven’t used a lot, or at all, I will read the chapter in this book.
When I took the PHP 5.5 certification, (because I just had to collect them all) I was happy to find out that there is a new version of the book.
It’s basically the same book but updated to cover the new certification. It may be that I like Davey Shafik’s style of writing.
The book feels a bit more dense in terms of information, for me it just feels more like a study guide then the previous book.
However this book does not have questions and is no longer up to date.
If you have the time you can give it a read anyway, I think it is a good general PHP book.
Not a lot of books for this certification, but if I had to pick only one, it would be the “PHP 7 Zend Certification Study Guide” from Apress.
Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of competition, because the “Zend PHP 5 Certification Study Guide, Third Edition” from PHP Arch is no longer up to date and the official guide just isn’t worth the $20 price tag.
If your boss will buy the books, I say go all in! After all, the cost is: $20 + $19.99 + $22 = $61.99! Not bad for three programming books!