My experience with Symfony certification exam

My name is Ahmed TAILOULOUTE (atailouloute on Twitter and Github), I am 24 years old and, I graduated and joined Capgemini Morocco two years ago as a Software Engineer. In April 2015, I wrote my first line of code using the framework Symfony. I had some knowledge of some design patterns (mainly the 23 GoF design patterns), some Java EE frameworks (like Spring, Hibernate ..) which helped me a lot to easily get into the Symfony framework.

After one year of hard work with Symfony, the idea of obtaining the Symfony certification sparked my interests for several reasons : preparing for it will undoubtedly promote, evaluate, and validate my Symfony skills in a very short period of time. Moreover, at the level of my career, it will give me more visibility and provide me with the opportunity of a better job.

I started the preparation on august 2016, and I planned to take the exam in November or December 2016. At that moment, I didn’t buy the voucher yet, I started with creating a trello card like the one published by Andrew Marcinkevičius on his post more than 90 items on the trello card is something very challenging but also time-worthy, however, I didn’t have the chance to complete my preparation for some personal reasons.

On November 30th, I received the newsletter email which contains an early christmas certification celebration, 30% OFF all the certification fees, I took the chance and bought a voucher (which is valid for one year), I still have more time to resume the preparation for the certification.

Two months later, I decided to start the preparation again, but this time on a continuing basis, I opened my trello account again and created 2 new cards; the first one with all components available on Symfony 2.3, and the second one with all cookbook tutorials (~ 96 tutorials).

I started learning about each chapter of the official Symfony 2.3 documentation. I learned each of the related components and I tried to do the cookbook tutorials. An interesting part that I have read about the article published by Andrew is the contribution to the documentation. While reading the documentation, I tried to do it very carefully because I was convinced that every paragraph, phrase or word is very important. By doing so, I was able to figure out some typos and syntax errors in some code examples, and I started working on their corrections (the screenshot below shows my contribution graph to the Symfony documentation from February to April).

A night before the exam, I felt a little bit confused because I didn’t know whether to stop or to keep learning til the last minute, to learn or to review again. At the end, I decided to look again at the Symfony code and try to go through some important parts of the framework and remember as many as possible. After one or two hours, I decided to stop and take some rest before the day of the exam.

The next day, I took the exam in one of the approved Pearson Vue exam centers. I was mixed up because I went there with the belief that screwing it up would not be the end of the world, but it would be a great feeling if I did it, and that was my motivation and the only source of my relief. This helped me a lot to concentrate with the exam and to pay more attention to the pitfalls.

I finished the exam and the results were more than satisfactory, I made it on my first attempt with the expert level. I felt so proud and happy.

I was super excited to be considered as a SensioLabs Symfony 2.3 Expert Certified Developer. I loved Symfony since the first project I have created and I began to love it much more while preparing for the certification. I would never regret the precious time I have devoted to the preparation, even if I didn’t pass the certification exam, simply because I have learnt so many things and discovered how much powerful, extensible Symfony is.

I am sharing this experience because when I was reading Andrew’s experience (Which I have read several times), I felt so motivated and excited; it helped me a lot and showed me that nothing is impossible if we started working smart and hard. That feeling has provided me with endurance and patience throughout the preparation phase, (@Andrew, If you read this article, I really want to thank you), and perhaps it can be a source of motivation and positivism for anyone who wants to go through the certification procedures.