Preparing for the Magento Developer Certification exam
In this article I’m going to describe in detail my preparation for the Magento Developer Certification exam. I will write down which training materials I used for studying, how the exam took place and also what such a “test” means to me.
During my secondary and primary education I had a great deal of possibilities to participate in different competitions. I always liked taking part in these competitions, since I enjoyed comparing my knowledge to that of, let’s say, the students of another school. My teachers also urged that more and more of us go, get experience and thus prepare for the secondary school final exam.
When it came up here at AionHill that it would be good if we, developers, passed the Magento Developer Certification exam, I immediately indicated that I would be happy to take this challenge. By that time already two of my colleagues had passed the Magento Developer Certification exam. Before coming to AionHill I had Magento experience, so I had already heard about the exam. Of course, this exam seemed too distant and unattainable for me back then.
This goal became more and more realistic as my experience in Magento increased.
Preparing for the Magento Dev. exam
I started preparing for the exam approximately two months in advance while also going to work every day as usual.
After I checked the exam requirements I realized that only the practical and some theoretical experience gained during my work would not be enough. It was inevitable for passing the exam to prepare particularly for the topics of the study guide. The exam requirements can be found here: Magento Certified Developer Exam Study Guide (PDF)
If you take a look at the document, you will find that the questions are built around 10 topics:
- Basics − 6% of the exam
- Request flow − 7% of the exam
- Rendering − 7% of the exam
- Working with database in Magento − 13% of the exam
- Entity-Attribute-Value (EAV) Model − 10% of the exam
- Admin html − 7% of the exam
- Catalog − 10% of the exam
- Checkout − 16% of the exam
- Sales and customers − 11% of the exam
- Advanced features − 13% of the exam
The highest number of questions were about the checkout process. You need to know the classes that are responsible for the shopping cart, the management of the address, for the total of the cart, for the payment and delivery methods. The second highest number of questions were related to database operations. Here, one also had to have a deep knowledge of the operations of the classes in connection with the database, operation of install and upgrade scripts, and the methods that can be used within them.
After I learned about the exam requirements, I started thematically preparing for the exam. I always selected a topic and tried to get to know it as deeply as possible. I installed a test Magento in my own developer environment where I could test the newly acquired knowledge.
In addition, there is a very good video series (in English) that describes thoroughly the operation of Magento, through examples, while still focusing on theory. The training material named Fundamentals of Magento development, which is no longer free of charge, is available here: Fundamentals of Magento Development I learned a lot from this forty-hour video series!
You can find some other links below that helped me during my preparation:
- Magento module-based architecture (PDF)
- The Magento Certified Developer Exam (Beta) Self-Assessment Checklist .PDF
- Magento Certification Preparation / Interview Questions Answers
- Magento Certified Developer PLus Exam Final Exam v3.0 (PDF)
- Magestore Magento Tutorials
- BELVG Magento Blog
- Alanstorm Magento Articles for Professional Developers
- MageCert Revision notes for the Magento Developer Certification exam
Besides the training materials and videos listed above, I put a great deal of emphasis on testing and experimenting during preparation. I always tried out the examples in the study guides and I even tried modifying them so that I got to know the operation of Magento better. Since I use public transportation on a daily basis, I uploaded most of the materials above on my phone so I could prepare for the exam when I had a little time while commuting to work.
This method speeds up the development, but it makes the code complicated and since I work in a team, the clear code is indispensable. When we go through each other’s codes with the eyes of a developer, the solutions that are far from the core structure of Magento, pop up very quickly. This is when the developer has to rewrite the functioning, but “ugly” code to a coherent, clear, logical one that does not go against the core structure of Magento. You can read more about this issue on zend.com: Zend Framework Coding Standard for PHP
I applied for the exam at IQSoft. It was a great advantage for me that there was an exam centre in Budapest where I could take the Magento Certificate exam. I know this is a little thing, but I know myself and I am sure that the travelling and the new environment would have tired me so much that I could not have concentrated one hundred percent on the exam.
The exam took place on 23 June 2015, whose date I could schedule myself, of course depending on seat availability. I already knew the exact date more or less a week before the exam. The exam fee was 260 US dollars, which is quite a lot if you take into account that no textbook or trial exam was provided. I was lucky because I got a voucher code from AionHill, so I could take the exam for free. The voucher is granted when you buy Magento Enterprise.
There was strictness during the exam at IQSoft. The camera was continuously on in the room recording me and the others taking the exam. All personal belongings had to be left outside, I could have no watch, no phone, not even tissues on me. The examiner gave me tissues and had me sign a declaration of liability that explained of course in much more detail (and in English) the principles of conduct that I had to follow during the exam.
The exam was taken by using a computer and it was immediately evaluated. Only multiple choice questions were asked, however, several answers could be checked in case of many questions and the score was only given if I knew all of them, so no partial points or scores were granted. There were 85 multiple choice questions, 70 of which you had to give correct answers to in order to pass the exam. When I came out of the room, the evaluation was printed immediately, but unfortunately the results per topic were figured on it only in percentages. As a consequence, I did not find out which questions I answered incorrectly and which correctly.
I would like to encourage everyone who feels aptitude for it to take the Magento Developer Certification exam because it is worth it. The main advantages that I would highlight are the broadening of your competence and the deepening of your knowledge. I hope I have managed to encourage those to take such an exam who are still hesitating to do so. Really, the only negative aspect of the whole thing was the strictness, but that is kind of understandable if you take into account what is at stake at the exam.
Good luck to everyone!