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Certification Failure

Some employers look favorably on certifications, or even require them; other employers could care less. Some people are certified in something but clueless when it comes to actually using the technology. Some people get certifications like they're going out of style just because they can. Some people cheat on the exam. So how much stock should one put in certifications? I'm not sure I know the answer to that. I guess it depends on the certification, what the testing environment is like, who runs the certification program, etc.

Today I ran across PHP-Rocks during my daily web-surfing. It's a small site that offers a set of tutorials ranging from beginner up to advanced, and a PHP "certification" exam. The exam piqued my interest. It was free to take, and I was curious as to what type of questions it asked, so I signed up. Of course I often sign up a dummy account and fake email address when I do such things because I don't intend on becoming a regular visitor to the site, nor do I care to be placed on some spam mailing list. I chose "Joe Biteme" as my name for this excursion.

I answered randomly, not taking the exam seriously (like I said, I was more interested in what type of questions they were asking rather than actually getting their "certification"). I utterly failed it with a miserable 26.6667%! But I figure if they don't feel guilty about offering me the opportunity to pay them $5 to email me the certificate for a failed exam, then I probably shouldn't feel guilty about making a mockery of their exam process (and perhaps even the exam itself) by registering a fake identity and answering randomly.

Click on the image below to enlarge it and you'll see I successfully completed the PHP developer exam with a fail!

certification failure

In full disclosure, yes I took (and passed) the Zend Certified Engineer exam for PHP5 offered by Zend, and yes I took it much more seriously than I did PHP-Rock's exam. Also, it's not my purpose to single out a particular web site... I just found their snafu too humorous not to share.


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