Ok, so where to begin the story… At clock we are all about self-improvement and the pursuit of excellence.
So our CTO wanted to be able to prove that our PHP developers were some of the best in the business,
and one way we thought that we could emphasise this (as an aside to our previous array of decent work) would be to certify our tech team with the acclaimed http://www.zend.com/en/services/certification/.
So we embarked on a voyage of PHP/Zend (re-)discovery, we booked iBuildings to do a re-examination of our PHP knowledge – a refresher course if you will.
The team collaborated and much was gained in the experience in re-testing our understanding of PHP and OOP principles. The course was excellent and we learnt a great deal.. and so we began preparations for our exam.
We bought mock tests (from Zend themselves) and started studying furiously. It took me back to my University days – revising with that knot in your stomach about failure!
And now the controversy…
3 of our developers booked and took the exam, 2 passed and 1 unfortunately failed – all came back saying it was much harder than expected and that the mock and training we had encountered was far from adequate/in-line with the exam they had taken.
This made the knot in my stomach much bigger, I was studying hard as it was – and now to find that it was going to be much harder and different to what I was expecting was not appealing!
In exam euphoria (and depression) a few questions were discussed to demonstrate the intensity of the exam – and more precisely one that referred to the dl() function which I had never actually heard of.. so I thought to myself “more revision needed!!”… and promptly ‘googled’:
“PHP extensions using the dl() function”
and low and behold: http://www.exam4test.com/200-500.htm
It holds a sample of 20 questions and with a promise of the fullset:
exam4test offer you all the Q&A of the 200-500 real test
So I showed the 3 participants and they had all had direct questions from the samples given!
Unbelievable, a way to cheat the exam with barely no PHP knowledge needed. Making a complete and utter mockery of the certification.
Understandably the 2 that passed were completely outraged and annoyed that they had put so much effort into something that was now made all the much easier by a cheat reference/guide.
It draws into question the Zend exam and the seemingly pointless exercise of being “certified”.
This is not to mention the fact that we were already saying how stupid that an exam tests your knowledge of a manual and not your core understanding of a language.
So now what to do? I want to be certified, and by the best out there – but Zend is the best out there in terms of certificates, so then where does that leave me (us)!
I am going to take the test tomorrow (heaven forbid I now fail – I have only seen 20 sample questions, but it admittedly gives me an edge). More importantly it makes me feel very unsure about why I am putting myself through this process if the end result is one of a meaningless piece of paper.
Obviously though, as you can hopefully tell, I have actually learnt *a lot* of things I previously didn’t know! So it isn’t a completely wasted journey.
Zend, what say you?