Claudiu Persoiu

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The Books for Zend Certified Engineer 2017

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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!

Written by Claudiu Persoiu

12 June 2018 at 8:44 PM

Posted in PHP

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Passing Zend PHP5.3 Certified Engineer Exam

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As I was saying in a previous blog, when Zend launched the new ZCE 5.3 certification I’ve received an discount voucher code, available until the end of year 2010. I wanted to use this opportunity, so in the last week of the year I’ve bought the voucher.

I already had the experience of the ZCE 5 certification, about which I’ve blogged at that time.

I wanted to take the exam before the end of the vacation, that is 7-I.

The period was a little short, in theory, I had about two weeks to prepare, but because they ware around the hollydays the time was in fact way shorter.

Zend PHP5 Certification Study Guide – 2nd Edition

I’ve begin my study with Zend PHP5 Certification Study Guide – 2nd Edition. The book even though it does not have the latest 5.3 features is not outdated. Because it wasn’t the first time I was reading it, it felt more like a recap. I’ve tried for each chapter to create an example that will show the functionality and one that shows the cases where the functionality was not as expected. With all this in 4 days I was able to go through the entire book.

As a suggestion, for streams and SPL for instance where is a little difficult to study directly form the manual, the guide looks like a good start.

Because after all the book is a guide, as I was reading the book, I’ve looked in the corresponding chapters in the manual for a more detailed view on the subjects.

Mock tests

Before I finished reading the first book I’ve took a PHP5 mock test and to my surprise the result was “Excellent”. I got the mock tests from when I took the ZCE 5 exam, and because a lot of the questions are repeat quite frequently, I’ve only used 3 back then. This time I’ve only took a couple of them for the same reason. The tests are quite useful for the PHP5 part because, just like there ware described, they are usual more complicated then the exam itself. But don’t take to many of them, especially if the first results are poor, because they may lead you in a false self trust because of the repetitive questions.

Zend PHP 5.3 Study Guide

When I’ve finished reading the first book I started reading the free Zend PHP 5.3 Study Guide, which can be downloaded from the certification page, in the right. The guide is in beta version and you can really feel that. Everyone who’s been talking (blogging) about it is saying that it is full of bugs, and after all that is true. One of the funniest bugs in my opinion is at page 109, question 12, the answer is D… which is not displayed in the page. But I believe that where there are bugs they will be easily discovered and will not mislead.

It feels a lot more like a guide then the previous book, is a lot more concise and abstract and if forces you to study the manual.

At the end of each chapter there are questions, I only had 100% on a couple of chapters. The questions a quite difficult, even more difficult then the questions in the actual exam in my opinion. You have to read each question carefully because in the exam there are the same type of questions.

To go through the entire guide it took me another couple of days because I was already warmed up from the precedent book.

The day before the exam

I’ve read on Lorna “lornajane” Mitchell‘s blog that before the exam is good to recap some delicate subjects. In the day before the test I’ve started to recap some subjects that need more memory then intellect, like the tens of functions for string si array manipulation. Also I think is a good idea to recap SPL.

The exam it self

After not a lot of studding the moment of the exam was here.

Just like the last time, I’ve schedule my exam over the Internet a day before and just went to the Pearson VUE center.

The exam itself didn’t feel more difficult then the PHP 5 one. In my opinion there is more focus on high level OOP and SPL then the previous exam. The style of the questions is quite similar, maybe a little more “type in” questions, but that can be just my luck because the questions are dynamically selected from a question pool with different difficulty levels.

The 90 minutes time has quite enough to go through all the questions whit all the attention required and to review the answers I wasn’t sure about. At the ZCE5 exam I’ve finished about a half of hour before the time. This time for ZCE 5.3 I’ve finished only 10 minutes early because I’ve tried not to rush at all.

READ CAREFULLY! Is very important to read each question carefully and read in again until you are sure you understand what is required of you. Some questions have a quite awkward formulation and can mislead very easy. Don’t panic, if you have doubts maybe you should mark the question for review and come back to it in the end.

I usually mark the first question of the exam for review because I’m nervous and I can’t focus enough.

Unlike 2 years ago, when I was working a lot more with raw PHP and even had some PHP 4 servers, last year I’ve worked most of the time with open-source frameworks. This can be a disadvantage because I’ve didn’t use just as much the core functions. But unlike the first certification I must admit I didn’t study as much, probably is because of experience and the fact that occasionally I flick through the pages of the guide.

And with that being said it is time to put the first check on the year resolution and add a new logo to my blog.

For those who are preparing, I wish you the best of luck!

Written by Claudiu Persoiu

8 January 2011 at 1:56 PM

A new version of the ZCE 5.3 guide

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It looks like Zend, launched a new version of the ZCE 5.3 (zend certified engineer) certification guide. To download it, the simplest way is to go to the certification details page, I mean here, in the right column at “DOCUMENTATION” there’s a link to this guide. The PDF documentation looks like it was modified on 16 Dec. I’m not giving a link to it because it may change when a new version will be available.

I didn’t get to look into it but I’m sure is a step forward to the previous beta version.

Anyway this is a guide and does not have the purpose of replacing the manual, but to indicate the subject of interest.

For me this certification if part of my 2011 resolution, and I hope that before the spring ends I’ll add a new logo to this blog. 🙂

Good luck to those who are preparing for ZCE 5.3!

Written by Claudiu Persoiu

27 December 2010 at 1:32 PM

Posted in PHP

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Examen MySQL Certified Developer

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Sau mai nou Sun MySQL Certified Developer.

Ma batea gandul de aproape un an, dar in ultimele luni m-am decis sa fac si pasul asta. Si cum eram usor lipsit de motivatie, pe site-ul MySQL este un anunt ca pe data de 31 Iulie examenulul nu se va mai da in centrele PersonVUE. Asta a fost toata motivatia de care aveam nevoie.  M-am inarmat cu cartea si am pornit la treaba.

Cartea (MySQL 5.0 Certification Study Guide) nu mai este in totalitate de actualitate, fiind scrisa pentru versinea 5.0 in anul 2005. Totusi trecand peste miciile probleme cu modificarile dintre versiuni, este scrisa foarte bine, foarte explicita si cu multe exemple. Apropo, ce nu scrie in carte nu se cere.

Cartea are doua parti, prima pentru CMDEV iar a doua pentru CMDBA. Cele doua sectiuni mai fac referire una la alta cand este cazul, dar nu este necesara parcurgerea ambelor sectiuni pentru examen.

Dupa doua saptamani de studiu din prima parte m-am prezentat la primul examen (CMDEV I). Poate este doar parerea mea, si recunosc, am devenit comod avand in vedere ca in cea mai mare parte lucrez cu MySQL folosind phpMyAdmin, dar examenul imi pare destul de dificil. La Zend cand ai o intrebare cu raspunsuri multiple ai si numarul raspunsurilor care trebuiesc furnizate. La MySQL nu exista nici o regula in sensul asta, intradevar pot fi unul sau mai multe raspunsuri corecte.

Un alt element de noutate, cel putin pentru mine, la final am primit si scorul, si chiar daca nu a fost aproape de limita… tot mi se pare un pic dezamagitor.

Dupa primul examen, nu am stat mult sa sarbatoresc ca am inceput sa ma pregatesc de partea a doua.

Unii spun ca examenul nu este bine echilibrat, iar eu cred ca au dreptate. In al doilea examen pentru certificare sunt multe elemente de care eu unul doar am auzit, sau le-am folosit cu Oracle. Motivul pentru care nu am apucat sa le folosesc pana acum este simplu: multe servere inca NU au MySQL 5.x! O alta problema este aceea ca phpMyAdmin nu avea nici un fel de suport pentru rutine stocate, triggere etc. Dar din fericire din fericire in MySQL 5.x exista Information Schema, dar desprea asta poate in alt post.

Al doilea examen mie unul mi s-a parut ceva mai intortochiat. Daca primul l-am rezolvat intr-o ora, pe al doilea l-am rezolvat in aproape o ora jumatate (cat timpul alocat). Exemplele sunt destul de mari si trebuie interpretate cu atentie.

Dar intr-un final am reusit!

Din pacate treaba nu merge la fel de usor ca la Zend, acolo pana am ajuns acasa de la examen am primit si siglele (pe e-mail), termenii si conditiile de folosirea a siglelor si am putut sa-mi public profilul pe site.

La MySQL trebuie sa primesc o hartie prin posta (ne electronica) care ar trebui sa ajunga in 4-6 saptamani. Pana atunci nu-mi ramane decat sa astept…

Written by Claudiu Persoiu

8 July 2009 at 11:57 PM

Posted in MySQL

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ZCE – un nou episod

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Dupa ce am sustinut cu ceva timp in urma examenul de certificare ZCE in PHP5, intr-un final a venit si plicul cartonat care il asptetam cu atata nerabdare.

O data cu plicul am descoperit si de ce a durat atat, pe el scria mare Russian Federation, Bucharest. Pe aproape dar nu tocmai bine.

Diploma e foarte draguta (mai ales dupa ce am asteptat-o atat), cu timbru embosat si semnaturile lui Zeev Suraski si Andi Gutmans, fondatorii Zend. In plic mai era si o pagina cu avantajele care le ai ca ZCE si un abtipild maricel cu ZCE PHP5.

Cu acestea fiind spus episodul ZCE PHP5 ia sfarsit… pana la urmatoarea certificare.

Written by Claudiu Persoiu

14 November 2008 at 9:46 PM

Posted in Diverse

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if(!WYSIWYG()) die();

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Traim intr-o lume inconjurati de medii de programare.  Incepand de la Adobe Dreamweaver si Eclipse pana la notepad fiecare din noi foloseste un mediu de programare, un IDE (Integrated development environment) sau pe romaneste “mediu integrat de dezvoltare”.

Fiecare firma si individ are preferintele lui in functie de limbaj, costuri, complexitate etc. Probabil cel mai folosit din punctul de vedere al webdesig-nerilor este Adobe Dreamweaver, ba chiar acesta este preferat si de foarte multi programatori. Eu personal am testat Zend Studio for Eclipse varianta trial si pot spune ca sunt impresionat, cand vine vorba de programare in PHP este un mediu complet utilat, dar nu voi intra in mai multe detalii.

Cu toate ca lumea este plina de IDE-uri, atat cu licente platite cat si open-source multe firma prefera varianta notepad sau chiar am intalnit la o firma editate folosind MC (Midnight Commander, foarte similar cu Windows commander dar pentru linux). Motivele sunt simple de cele mai multe ori, bani, obisnuinta, licenta incompatibila sau chiar lipsa de interes.

Eu unul pur si simplu nu pot sa-i inteleg pe cei care fac aceste alergeri, ok eu nu sunt designer si nici nu pretind ca sunt sub nici o forma dar fara un mediu cu WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) ma simt terminat. Un mediu vizual poate sa creasca productivitatea considerabil si sa scada numarul de erori intr-un site, intr-un cuvand este o investitie nu o cheltuiala si ar trebui perceputa ca atare. Pentru mine sunt trei lucruri esentiale intr-un IDE: 1 sa aiba un editor WYSIWYG, 2 sa aiba autocomplete (nu pentru ca nu stiu sintaxa, dar ma ajuta sa scriu cod mult mai repede si mai corect), 3 sa aiba suport FTP ca sa pot lucra direct pe server. Daca tu nu folosesti asa ceva ar trebui sa te gandesti serios la asta, iar daca seful tau nu se gandeste la asta ar trebui sa te gandesti serios la care sunt prioritatile lui!

Concluzia, alege bine mediul de programare pentru ca el va determina cat de repede si bine vei lucra in continuare.

Written by Claudiu Persoiu

1 November 2008 at 1:15 AM

Posted in Web stuff

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Zend PHP5 Certified Engineer

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Si a venit si momentul examenului (a si trecut). Dupa poate ceva mai putin timp decat ar fi trebuit pentru studiu, in ultima zi de concediu am decis sa sustin examenul.

Taxa am platit-o direct la Zend cu un card Visa Electron. Apropo, sa nu faceti aceeasi gresala ca mine, nu incercati sa platiti cu alt card decat cel personal! Am avut aproximativ 5 incercari, doua telefoane in Germania si unul in USA am ajuns sa-mi fac card pentru a cumpara examenul si alte cateva produse! Evident exista si alte metode de plata, dar nu la fel de rapide.

Cand am ajuns la programare, a fost deosebit de simplu, poate prea simplu pentru mine. Totul a mers conform planului, m-am programat si am asteptat ziua examenului.

Ziua examenului. Pentru ca nu aveam nici cea mai mica idee unde se afla centrul ales de mine din cadrul complexului Facultatea de Drept Bucuresti, am decis sa dau un telefon preventiv… nici un raspuns, am mai incercat, era suficient de tarziu cat sa fie cineva acolo si totusi… nici un raspuns.

Am hotarat sa ma duc acolo. Nu mica mi-a fost surpriza cand nimeni nu a auzit de Pearson VUE, iar cand spun asta nu ma refer la femeile de servici care tineau locul de portarului, ci la cei care raspund la telefonul de pe site. Dupa suficiente legaturi din centrala am gasit si centrul (undeva in dreapta) este de fapt un centru CISCO afiliat Person VUE.

Examenul a fost exact asa cum a fost descris pe site, singur in sala, fara obiecte personale, iar acelea care poti sa le iei cu tine in sala de examen nu pot sa le scoti. Examenul este supravegheat cu o camera, care ma facea sa cred ca voi auzi “zzz, zzzz” in timpul examenului de la zoom, dar nu a fost asa.

Examenul, asa cum scrie si in manualul de la Zend, se bazeaza pe experienta cu PHP. Trebuie sa ai cel putin idee de elementele PHP si in special sa ai ochiul format pentru debuging. Cum era de asteptat se analizeaza mai mult elementele atipice de implementare, functii standard PHP si mai putin capacitatea de a scrie cod, dar pana la urma este grila, nuprea aveau cum sa faca altfel. Examenul nu mi s-a parut foarte dificil, dar nici simplu. Se vede clar experienta cu PHP in intrebari, se vede cine s-a “jucat” si cine nu.

La finalul examenului, mi-a aparut “Congratulations you have passed the exam”, sau ceva de genul asta, eram prea fericit ca sa mai memorez.

A doua zi lucratoare am avut si profilul completat pe site, desi puteam sa-l editez la cateva ore de la terminare (de cand am ajuns acasa).

Acum astept diploma care se trimite prin posta, cred ca asta se trimite din Israel deci… o sa fie un cadou frumos de Craciun probabil…

Am uitat sa amintesc de “mock” testele pentru examen. Desi am primit la pachet 10, nu am folosit decat 3, iar cu fiecare test facut scorul a crescut. Din pacate motivul pentru crestere este ca intrebarile se repeta (nu toate dar suficiente) si nici macar nu le-am regasit in examen, forma este asemanatoare, dar diferentele sunt mari in continut. Va sfatuiesc sa nu luati pachete mari pentru ca rezultatele nu o sa mai fie relevante dupa primele teste.

Am citit pe alte bloguri care testul este mai ushor decat examenul. Eu nu am aceeasi parere, gradul de complexitate este de fapt similar, doar intrebarile deosebit de stufoase nu se regasesc in examen, in rest sunt similare.

Written by Claudiu Persoiu

17 September 2008 at 8:36 PM

php|architect’s Zend PHP5 Certification Study Guide – 2nd Edition

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php|architect’s Zend PHP5 Certification Study Guide – 2nd Edition, sau mai exact ghidul recomandata de Zend pentru sustinerea testarii in vederea obtinerii ZCE PHP 5.

O carte subtirica pentru un limbaj peste 1000 de functii (var_dump(get_defined_functions()); – 1297 in versiunea mea), dar exista o explicatie, aceasta carte NU ESTE UN MANUAL! este doar un ghid, manualul il cunoastem deja, se gaseste pe site-ul

Este o carte foarte interesanta, cel putin a fost pentru mine. Aceasta atinge practic toate subiectele posibile in cadrul examenului de certificare, dar NU le trateaza in detaliu. Daca intentionati sa studiati pentru certificare folosind aceasta carte, trebuie sa aveti manualul aproape, pentru ca nu se gasesc toate explicatiile in carte.

Pe alocuri mai sunt greseli, chiar daca este a doua editie, lucru care mi se pare bizar. Din fericire ele sunt destul de usor de reperat.

Editia a doua mai trateaza doua noi subiecte, respectiv PDO si mysqli. Chiar daca sunt tratate pe scurt, eu am mai gasit lucruri care nu le stiam in aceste capitole (ma indoiesc ca erau critice pentru a trece examenul, dar cred ca sunt utile pentru experienta mea).

Pana la urma este o carte interesanta, si nu de putine ori citind ma gandeam “nu stiam ca se poate face si asa”.

Eu am cumparat-o de la Zend, o data cu certificarea, un set de 10 teste si doua tricouri (php geek fashion 🙂 ), am ales livrarea prin posta, pentru ca era mai putin de jumatate fata de DHL si surpriza, pachetul a venit la doar o saptamana de cand am fost anuntat ca a plecat! Evident pachetul a venit de la un centru apropiat (element 5 Germania), desi initial ma gandeam ca o sa fie livrat din SUA sau Israel si o sa fie un frumos cadou de Craciun.

Written by Claudiu Persoiu

17 September 2008 at 7:21 PM

Posted in Diverse,Web stuff

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