My experience with PHP/Zend certification

This post has been sitting in my drafts since 2013. I figured it was time to finish and publish it.

I passed PHP Certification exam. It felt nice. I had read about how people failed more than once so it was cool that I passed it on my first try.

Registering for the test

I’m sure there’s more than one way to do it but I went to Zend’s website and bought an exam voucher, which was $195. They have various packages where they offer to give you a crash course or study material and such but I decided to study on my own.

When you buy the voucher Zend will send you an email with the voucher code. You will, then, have to register with Pearson Vue on for the test. Provide them the voucher code Zend gave you. Then, you can pick a date when you want to take the test, and take it.

After buying the voucher you have a year to use it before it expires. You can set an exam date that’s more than year away as long as you register for the test within the year on buying the voucher. My voucher was going to expire in November 2011 so I registered for the test one day before the expiration date and set the exam date to Jan 2012.

Preparing for the exam

The exam isn’t super hard but it’s not something you can pass without preparing for it. And, it looked like the people designing the questions put effort into it.

  • Download the Zend Certification Study Guide from their website and read it
  • Go to and read up on all functions related to strings, arrays, streams, the standard PHP library
  • I would recommend taking mock exams if you can get them. It will give you an idea about what type of questions to expect

Does getting the certification do anything for your career?

A lot of times, recruiters confuse Zend certification with , being certified for the Zend framework. Surprisingly, more than PHP certification, people have asked if I was certified for Zend framework.

The certification definitely helps give recruiters some confidence in hiring you over another developer but I wouldn’t say it catapulted my career to new heights. When I did the certification, I got a free perpetual license for Zend Studio which was nice. I, however, decided to ditch the free license and pay for PHPStorm.

Should you take the test?

I would say, yes. I studied for it for a little over a month and discovered gems of knowledge I probably wouldn’t have found otherwise. Taking the test and passing was a great experience for me.

So, if you can spare a few hundred dollars and put in some studying, I say go for it.

Here are some sample questions similar to what you might see in the PHP certification exam:

Which of the following cannot be used to set a cookie

  • setcookie
  • $_COOKIE
  • setrawcookie
  • header

What is the output of the following code


try {
    class MyCustomException extends Exception {}
    try {
        throw new MyCustomException();
    } catch (Exception $e) {
        print '1:';
        throw $e;
    } catch (MyCustomException $e1) {
        print '2:';
        throw $e1;
} catch (Exception $e) {
print get_class($e);

Which of the following can be used to traverse the file system:

  • ArrayObject
  • RecursiveDirectoryIterator
  • SplTmpFileInfo
  • TraversingIterator

How often will func() run?

function func(&x=0, &y=1)
if ($x > $y) {
$r = $x + $y;
$x = $y;
$y = $r;


By Moazzam

Moazzam is a software developer working in the big apple. He has over a decade of experience in development. While most of his work involves developing web applications, he does development for Android and Windows Mobile in his spare time.

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