How to Study for the Zend Framework Certification Test

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When people ask me how to study for the Zend Framework certification test, here’s my answer:

  1. First—and I hope this goes without saying—you should already be fairly skilled in developing with Zend Framework, or least with some of its components. Then you’ll have internalized the ZF “style” and will be ready to study the components you haven’t used yet. (To get started with ZF, try the “quick start” tutorial or consider formal training.)
  2. Then download the free ZF Certification study guide. It’s just a guide, so don’t expect it to explain Zend Framework in its entirety, or even in the clearest way. The guide will, however, indicate which topics to study and what sorts of questions will be asked. Given that knowledge, you can use other resources to answer your questions as they arise.
  3. Each component is explained in the Zend Framework Programmer’s Reference Guide. It’s well written and is organized by component, such as Zend_Acl, Zend_Auth, and Zend_Form. Also included are Zend’s coding standards and a performance guide.
  4. Whenever I got confused, I went right to the Zend Framework source code. As a developer, I can digest code faster than I can read a manual. So I recommend reading the code in your favorite IDE whenever you have doubts. Another benefit is that you’ll learn how the developers structured their code. This knowledge will help when you need to understand or extend ZF’s functionality for your future projects.

In addition to these resources, Zend now offers training for Zend Framework certification. If you prefer a structured approach, this might be for you.

No matter how you study, the certification process will make you a better ZF developer. In my case, I learned about unfamiliar components and deepened my understanding of the familiar ones. I also got really comfortable delving into the ZF code.

Good luck to everyone!

Alan Seiden was among the first to be certified in Zend Framework, having taken the exam during its beta stage in August 2008. This article was originally posted on Alan’s blog.