Although most developers are self-taught, obtaining a PHP certification can be beneficial for your career in certain ways as it formalises your knowledge of the language.
Not only this, but it also lets an employer know that you can work with the language to a certain standard and this can help you to stand out from the competition when looking for a new job or asking for a pay rise. Whether you should consider getting a PHP certification also depends on your location and your employer’s expectations. Some employers prefer their developers to hold PHP certifications but others don’t pay too much attention to them, which makes it tricky for the developer in the middle.
In some cases, instead of studying to obtain a PHP certification, it is worth spending time building code with what you already know. This could involve contributing to an open-source project or creating something from scratch. This can often tell employers more about your skills in a language than a PHP certification could.
Let me take you through some of the best certifications available online.
Zend PHP Certification: Zend certification is recognised worldwide and is a good measure for ranking and selecting candidates for PHP roles. The exam is for intermediate (experienced) PHP programmers. It also conducts classes at all levels to help candidates prepare for the exam. There are 3 levels of the course which is prepared and monitored by the PHP advisory board. You can self-study too if you already have some experience – practice strings, arrays, file I/O, OOP concepts, pass by reference, etc. in detail. It is good to purchase the Zend official guide e-book for $19.95 from their official website and it helps you judge whether you are ready for the exam or need more time to prepare.
PHP Certification through LinkedIn:
This certification course from LinkedIn teaches PHP from scratch with loads of videos and learning content. In LinkedIn, you will earn a badge of completion, which you can use in your professional LinkedIn profile to showcase the achievement. Just like Coursera, payment in LinkedIn is per month and not per course, which includes access to many other courses and features of LinkedIn.
- Of course, the basic goal of getting certified is to get formal confirmation of your programming skills. After passing the exam you can describe yourself as a Zend Certified Engineer (e.g. in your CV) and you will be listed in the directory containing all of those who passed.
- In my opinion, getting certified may be especially important if you’re an intermediate PHP developer and you want to distinguish yourself from beginners. As the exam itself isn’t simple, I think it will probably be too difficult for those who are just starting out.
- The exam covers different areas of PHP in a detailed way which probably won’t be necessary and will be too complex for newbies. On the other hand, it’s worth keeping in mind that advanced PHP programmers can prove their skills just by referring to their professional experience. The applications they have worked on in the past, the code they have written or their commitment to open source projects may be more valuable proof of their skills than the certificate.
- Php certification leads to the second point of the drawbacks list. I’m wondering what it really means to pass the Zend Certification exam (or any other exam built in a similar way). Imagine you’re on a job interview and a person from the company asks you a question: What does your certificate prove? Is it a confirmation that you can actually write software? That you can organise your code, keep it clean and follow good practices? That you will be able to build a whole application from scratch or implement new solutions to an existing one? Well, I’m afraid it’s not.
- When considering taking the exam just remember that the certificate may not be sufficient proof of the fact that you can work efficiently as a developer. It does confirm that you have advanced knowledge of PHP but it doesn’t say anything about your competence in using this knowledge in real cases. In other words, it just shows that you know the tools but it says nothing about whether you know how to actually build something with them.
PHP has been consistently ranked as one of the top languages at par with Java, C++, or Python, especially for web development. It is a powerful, free, and popular dynamic scripting language. PHP, along with SQL, is a powerful combination to get your dream job. Certainly, certification in one or both can land you a great advantage over others, be it in getting a promotion, job, or a challenging project, not only in your own country but anywhere in the world.
By Bhargavi M