Thoughts on PHP Certification

April 14, 2006 by alex

As I previously wrote, I took (and passed) the Zend PHP certification exam last fall. I even got an ultra-special logo for being one of the first 1000 people to pass. Neato.

I’ve been asked a few times since then if I thought it was a good test, would I do it again, should (other person) take the test, etc. I haven’t really known how to answer. I mainly took it as a personal challenge. At the time I was self-employed, and I didn’t often get to interact with other developers. I wanted to know if my PHP skills measured up in any meaningful way. I was happy with the outcome of my test, but I’m still not sure about its long-term value.

The test I took would establish a base level of familiarity with PHP. It won’t identify superstars. Anyone who had programmed for a year or two, and spends a few weeks preparing, can pass this test. It is more of a ‘weed out the boneheads’ than a badge of genius. (It removes a negative possibility, rather than adding a positive.) This might seem obvious, but when the test is promoted as a way of ‘making you stand out among job applicants’, I think the implication is a bit off the mark.

Lastly, I’m really underwhelmed by the self-aggrandizing promotion for this test by the people who have created it, and who are making money selling test prep courses. Again, probably no big surprise that this is going on, but it still is a turnoff to me.

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