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Where did the ZCE practice exams go?


448191
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Hi all,

 

Been a while.

 

I'm a lead developer and I want to push two of my developers to get the ZCE certificate. The company will of course pay for the certification itself and resources like the study guide, but probably not the Zend online training which I think is overkill anyway: these are professional developers so they don't need to start from scratch (and we can't let them invest that much time, there's cool stuff to be built). 

 

When I took the exam myself quite some time ago, I used the online practice exams to check if I was ready, I would like these guys (actually a guy and a girl) to go the same route. But I can't for the life of me find the online exam.

 

Have they been discontinued, are they hidden away somewhere, or am I just being a bit retarded?  ;)

 

Thanks,

 

John

 

Edit: I've submitted an inquiry on zend.com, but I am also interested in alternatives. I have periodical progress evaluations with my developers, and I would like to have something a bit more measurable than code reviews (which eat at my time as well). The exams seemed ideal but if they have been discontinued I will have to come up with something else, preferrably with limited effort on my part (not because I'm lazy but because I have more developers and already have a surreal worload). So I'm open to suggestions...

Edited by 448191
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You get access to the practice exams when you pay for the exam. (At least, that's how it was when I did it years ago).

 

Ahah. I recall paying a few bucks per practice exam before I decided to go through with it, but that was even longer ago. The info on the Zend site is pretty sparse, it doesn't say, which I would take to mean it's not included. The certification FAQ doesn't say either. Guess I'll just wait for a response from Zend.

 

 

Still interested in alternatives though, some way to monitor progress without having to treat them like children. I don't like being a helicopter parent haha..

 

Thanks for the input btw :)

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I remember at one point in time they did offer a practice exam without having to pay for the exam.  It was short, like 10 or 15 questions. It wasn't so much a practice exam as a way to get a feel for your level so you can better decide what classes/certs to go for.  But I haven't been there in a loong time so I dunno what happened with it. 

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If you're leading a team, there's a lot of ways you can ensure they are doing a good job. What specifically do you want to monitor? Their growth? Their code? Their ability to debug, their ability to work together...?

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If you're leading a team, there's a lot of ways you can ensure they are doing a good job. What specifically do you want to monitor? Their growth? Their code? Their ability to debug, their ability to work together...?

 

No, of course I cover those subjects as well. Actually we have a pretty good setup to get statistics concerning code quality (using Jenkins to aggregate phpmd statistics based on Git users) per developer, and also track personal "velocity" (a SCRUM measure) using JIRA and I evaluate more subjective matters from communication skills (specifically with stakeholders) to assertiveness in team meetings.

 

So this is not the issue. I specifically want to track to their progress towards getting ZCE certified. I reckon they'll manage (which is why I think online courses are overkill), but I would prefer to be able to monitor so I can help them if needed. For "the business" (read: horde of managers), getting all developers ZCE certifified is something of a comfort, even though we all know there are more important measures.

 

Edit: BTW CV, I just saw a an old quote of min in your signature, I crack me up :P Weird posting here after half a lifetime...

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I got a call from a Zend rep at the office today, who confirmed the practice exams are discontinued (and tried to sell me online training). Figured as much: they probably concluded they were giving away potential revenue, so they axed that service.

 

Sucks though, not sure how to proceed now. I could possibly sell "the horde" on the training but that might prove difficult when I personally feel it's bullocks. I'm not a sales rep after all ;)

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I realize it is not that hard. The two uncertified developers in my team are one medior and one junior. I might be comfortable just letting the medior (5+ years experience) take the exam without prep (he might not be, but I might risk that), but there's no way I am going to allow a junior to take the exam unprepared, even if it is fairly easy for developers with a decent numbers of years under their belt: she hasn't.

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I get your confusion, sort of. While I could've been even more explicit, with a bit of applied thought the context should be evident; I thought I was pretty clear on my objectives. I'll try different wording and clarify the concerns involved.

 

I'm pretty sure the junior would not pass without study, and would prefer not to leave the medior hanging. Failing the exam would hurt their morale, I can't afford that: work should be fun for them. Happy workers are productive workers, or something like that :P I'm the "shit filter" taking all the crap from stakeholders. I digress.

 

Again, what I'm looking for is a way to assert their readiness. That is not the same as improving their readiness, I am confident they will be assertive enough to address that aspect with the resources and guidance that will be provided. I can personally provide support where needed, but I need to be able to determine what specific areas need attention and to what extend. These are limited to specific subjects (based on code reviews I've done personally in the last 6 months), so again, they do not need to start from scratch. 

 

That's why I feel the online training is overkill, nonsense, or less politely, "bullocks" (pardon my tendency to use graphic language when I feel strongly about something). But again, code reviews are very time consuming, and the ability to express / communicate progress in concrete figures makes it much more manageable. It's not so much about the cash for the training, but actually more about resource allocation. Spending any significant amount of hours on personal development has to be justifiable, company time is valuable and despite the fact that certification improves a developer's marketability, I refuse to ask them to invest off-hours. So time efficiency is key. And rehashing stuff you already know and apply five days a week feels pretty stupid. If someone would have me do that I would be really, really annoyed, probably I'd feel undervalued for my time being so carelessly allocated. So it's not just about time efficiency but also about providing a positive environment for personal development. Which is just like any other form of development: you build on what you have. Imagine throwing away and having to rewrite a whole codebase every time you learn something new about its possible business value. Throw away all design principles, you'd only need one: when something changes, rewrite :P  Sorry, I digress yet again.

 

TLDR: time is a valuable asset for both the company and the individuals that are part of it, and I'm confident these developers do not need extensive training. Certification is important but secondary to many if not most business concerns, which means the process could take several months. The company sponsors time but I need to be able to monitor progress so a time to completion and the impact on resource planning can be controlled. Those last concerns are why I was looking for the practice exams and I am still looking for a way to measure without having to develop a whole ZCE assessment framework myself.

 

Pfff, lots of context, I refuse to believe one can be unclear on my objectives after reading all of this... Can't make my concerns any clearer than this, honestly, maybe I should develop my own tests, might be less work than making random people understand the concerns in an organisation with strict resource management.. I exaggerate although it might be fun, but then again I don't have enough off-time, nor do expect a mandate to develop something like that in company time (and rightfully so).

 

Anyway, this doesn't solve anything. I think it's curious that with certification being around the time it has, there's no obvious solution to this problem. At this stage I'd probably be content with more in-depth information about the exam. If I had a couple of example questions per subject, I'd figure something out.

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You took the Zend Cert, didn't you? Surely you remember what types of questions were on it?  But even so, surely  you know what type of problems your minions face at the job, so maybe coming up with some questions tailored more towards what y'all face in the job would be more prudent? In any case, you could have written your own set of questions in the time it took you to write that post.  Just sayin'.. 

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You might be right, although I think you're understating the work involved quite a bit: a bit of a ramble on a forum is nowhere near the same amount of work than writing a couple of test exams, I'm sure you'll agree. In any case, guess I'll conclude that my options are limited to investing my own time to be able to quantify progress, or investing some cash and developer time for the online training. I'll get some more info about the training and try to size the "custom solution" for comparison.

 

Not really satisfied with either option, but don't see any alternatives. Thanks for the input despite me being a bit difficult, appreciate it.

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Btw: the word you're looking for is mid-level. Medior is not a word. ;)

 

Didn't realize that, I'm Dutch and we say junior/medior/senior. Guess I wrongly assumed all three were borrowed from English. But now that you mention it, I've seen "mid-level" in English text and can't think of an example of "medior" in English texts.

 

Thanks for pointing that out.

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