PHP Certification… What You Need To Know

PHP ranks among the most popular programming languages. It has become the programming language of choice for small to medium sized websites due to its low/no costs, simplicity to learn and the abundance of qualified programmers. It is also the language behind many Content Management Systems, such as WordPress, which keeps the language in heavy demand.

With ample PHP programmers around, you need to differentiate yourself from the pack as a knowledgeable, skilled, proven programmer. The best way to do that is by becoming a Zend Certified Engineer (ZCE). There are other companies that offer PHP certification, but Zend really is the industry standard.

Zend Technologies was founded in 1997 by Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski. They rewrote the PHP parser (originally developed by Rasmus Lerdorf), and are credited with making PHP the popular choice it is today. Zend continues to be the worldwide leader in PHP software.

There are nearly 2,000 ZCE’s in the U.S. and 5,000 worldwide. ZCE’s are able to distinguish themselves by placing the ZCE logo on their resume and business cards. Zend Certified Engineers are also listed on Zend’s directory, Yellow Pages for PHP Professionals.

The PHP 5.3 Certification exam covers the following topics:

  • PHP Basics
  • Functions
  • Data Format & Types
  • Web Features
  • Object Oriented Programming
  • Security
  • I/O
  • Strings and Patterns
  • Databases
  • Arrays

The exam is offered for US$195 through Pearson VUE testing centers around the world. To locate a testing center near you visit Zend also provides a study guide for free to help you prepare for the test.

Although obviously not a requirement to be a PHP programmer, it will definitely help get jobs and promotions. As someone who has hired many programmers, I strongly encourage folks to get certified. When you’re comparing two qualified similar resumes, certifications are an easy tie-breaker. Personally, I’m planning on taking the ZCE test next month or so.

Good luck to those who take it!


  1. Comment by Jyoti Nagar:

    sir coul you please tell me where can i get free study material for php exam and cou u pleas tell me how to get started with my preperations…

    • Comment by Janet:

      I also took the exam twice and of course I pasesd the second time. I think the mock test is a little bit misleading and let you underestimate the exam.When I took the exam the first time, 2 years ago, I was working in an agency focused on perl programming and I was a long time not programming in php. I studied a lot from the certification book and I didn’t pass.Then I changed job, and during this time I’ve been working on php every day, using the book as reference for better practice on my everyday work and then I got another voucher and took the exam and I pasesd it without studing no more.So, my advice is to focus on your real work experience rather that on the certification book.

      • Comment by Juma:

        Mine experience is also good. I paessd exam in first attempt.I mostly concentrated my reading on ZCE study guide, then I used to refer those topics examples from PHP manual specially with special cases. Some of questions come from there. I must say Zend PHP certification mock test provided great help. Even some question were directly came from mock test. I guess you should execute examples while you are reading ZCE and then don’t forget to take print screen of your mock tests so that later you can spend some time with cross checking the answers. All the best. I am sure that with the right approach you ll be soon able to clear the exam.

  2. Comment by Dan:

    My advice:

    1. Make sure you at least know what each term means on this page:

    2. Practice! Write complex code to test out your knowledge

    3. Read study guides! Here are some great links:

  3. Comment by Nicolo:


    I have found a web site that contain several answer and php training test
    It covers all categorys of the Zend PHP 5.3 Certification :

    – PHP Bases
    – Streams and Network Programming
    – Databases and SQL
    – XML and Web Services
    – Object Oriented Programming
    – Security
    – Strings and Patterns
    – Web Features
    – PHP 4/5 Differences
    – Functions
    – Arrays
    – Design and Theory

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