ZCE Certification Training

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First, a shout out to Jerry and Justin, whom I know from a.w.w.

I've been having a private conversation with Justin Koivisto regarding  
training for the ZCE Cert and he has been most helpful.  

I'm going to pose the same question here to anyone who also posts here and  
has the ZCE Cert.

I am interested in getting the Cert, not just for the sake of having the  
certificate, but also because the training to study for it will close some  
troubling gaps in my skills.  I've been self-teaching myself PHP for a few  
years now and I'm looking at the Zend training as a way to put the  
finishing touches on the core skills I'm lacking.

So here's are questions for any ZCE's out there:
 - What's your opinion on in-person "Boot Camps" vs. the online training?      
    My main concern about online training is that I have ADHD and fear  
the online training may leave me vulnerable to being distracted by in-home  
stuff. Also, the online course is only 19 hours of instruction over several  
weeks whereas the Boot Camps are 40 hours over 5 days

 - Are there any "Boot Camps" you'd recommend over others?  The Zend web  
site lists these in the USA:

TIA for all responses.

Karl Groves

Re: ZCE Certification Training

Karl Groves wrote:
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Hi, Karl,

I can't speak for any of the courses in particular, but from having taught  
hundreds of these types of courses before, I can speak with a little authority.

Boot camps can be a great resource for getting the fundamentals of the language  
down.  I used to teach C, C++ and Java, each in a week.  In that time frame we  
obviously didn't cover every piece of the language, but we got them going enough  
to be somewhat productive.  Of course they still made a lot of errors - but they  
had the basics of the language down.

The real advantage of the boot camp is having a live instructor to answer  
questions and help with the labs.  A good instructor can answer questions not  
covered by the course material, quickly spot errors in students code and be able  
to help struggling students while giving more advanced students additional lab  
material.  Of course, a bad instructor will do none of that.

The downside of these classes is they are quite expensive - typically $1500+ per  

With that said - these are typically geared to the new programmer.  You have a  
fair amount of PHP experience already, and I'm afraid that, while you may pick  
up *some* material, 90% of what you'll hear there will be old news to you.  And  
you'll consistently be ahead of the rest of the students in the class.  The  
result will end up as a very boring class.  These were some of my greatest  
challenges as an instructor - how to keep somewhat experienced programmers  
interested and finding labs to challenge them.

Of course, online learning doesn't have these advantages, but then it also isn't  
as expensive.  But with ADHD, you have an additional challenge (wouldn't it  
affect your learning in a classroom situation also?).

You could look for some tutorials in the internet; there are a lot of free ones  
out there.  But I think my recommendation for you would be to get a good book on  
PHP and study that.  It will be much cheaper than a sit-down class, and more  
in-depth than a 19 hour tutorial.  And since you're not in a time constraint to  
learn the material (and you're just filling in some holes in your knowledge),  
you could spend an hour or two a day studying and get a lot in just a few weeks  

Anyway - my $0.02 worth.

Remove the "x" from my email address
Jerry Stuckle
JDS Computer Training Corp.

Re: ZCE Certification Training

On Thu, 23 Mar 2006 09:41:59 -0600, Karl Groves wrote:
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I did the ZCE exam about two weeks ago.  In the week leading up to it I
got the sample exam questions book and did it in 3 practice test sessions.
I got a fairly high mark on them but it showed some obvious areas I was

I then got the study guide and read up on the areas I was weak
on and sat the practice tests again.  Got slightly higher marks and then
just recorded the correct answers and reasonings from the practice tests
on to a CD and listened to it on the way to the test centre.

I don't know what the passmark is, so I may have just passed with my
previous ability anyway, but I certainly passed after the studying.

Learning the areas I was weak in was interesting, but unlikely to be much
use as I don't really have much use for them in my day job (otherwise I'd
have already learnt them).

So, my opinion, save your money on the courses, buy both books and study
yourself in your own time.  If you've been learning/using PHP for a few
years I'm sure you'll be fine.



Andy Jeffries MBCS CITP ZCE   | gPHPEdit Lead Developer
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