PHP 7: Zend Certified Engineer Exam (ZCE)


  • 12 month ago I’ve started thinking it’d be awesome to actually take the exam.
  • 6 month ago I downloaded the study guide and begun taking notes.
  • Yesterday I have passed the Zend Certified Engineer exam.
  • It took roughly a year for me to feel confident enough to actually take the exam.

What I’ve learned

I must say that I’ve been doing stuff with PHP for long years and I felt that I am good at it. But still, many PHP details and features were not discovered.

The biggest challenge was to remember all the small details of how PHP works. Usually, I just google details or even better – use proven opensource abstractions and not really get into deep details or manual implementation of things.

When I took the exam preparation seriously I faced the vast amount of things to study, play with and remember. My notes quickly become a book. Some folks shared that they’ve spent a few weeks before passing the exam. Naturally, that was not my case, I rescheduled my exam twice just because I felt not confident enough.

I promise you will learn new interesting stuff while learning PHP inside out. There are tons of features to use and build on top of.

My way of preparation

I tried different styles of preparation. This one worked for me:
– download the study guide and follow the exam structure
– use multiple sources of information – the first one is, but I also recommend Davey Shafik book, and Joshua Thijssen’s book
– 1-3 hours per day to focus on studying
– small book-like notes of each significant function or feature
– each function or feature must be played within a terminal/text editor to train the brain
– when all subjects are finished then use only notes to refresh the memory
– use Lorna Jane’s sample exam to test yourself (when I did it I immediately understood that I had to go back to studying).

One day I felt that it was enough studying and I must go and give it a try.
A good night sleep and some caffeine (some people use Cola, but I prefer actual coffee) served me well.