In Development (and life) we should learn to embrace failures…

i’m enjoying my time at ZendCon 2010. I spent all day Monday in Christian Wenz’s PHP Certification Bootcamp. This was an extensive overview on the kinds of questions that appear on the PHP 5.3 certification exam as well as some exam strategies and “gotchas” to look out for. My exam was was scheduled for Tuesday night, and as the Bootcamp wore on I became more aware of my knowledge limitations as a PHP developer.

So Tuesday evening came and I went to take the Exam. After the Bootcamp, which was 5.3 focused, I would have liked to switch my exam from PHP 5 to the 5.3 test, but the exam proctor informed me this was locked in from my prior-indicated preference.

To make a long story short, I FAILED. A bit insecure at first, I spent the night processing this now fact and woke up with a healthy perspective.

I remember a Nike ad from 1998 with Michael Jordan where he stated all the shots he’s missed in his career, including how many game winners he missed, and he simply said at the end “Failure is how I succeed.”

In development as well as life in general, it is important to understand our limitations, our weaknesses, and our opportunities for growth and improvement. If never tested, we can never grow. Fear of failure is simply a fear of growth and improvement.

Other thoughts on this is that being a PHP developer is not my life, its a part of my life. I’ve been doing this stuff for four years and I had a life before PHP and a life after. I still think the ZCE is important for the community as it lends legitimacy, and it is still a personal goal of mine, but it does help me to remember that faith and family are bigger pieces of my life in a absolute sense, and my professional life is really an expression of my larger self and not the other way around.

I now understand where my weaknesses in PHP are, and therefore where to focus going forward. What failure has provided in this case is information I can now act on.

Anyway, its not typical for me to dump my soul on this blog or anywhere on the interweb, but I figured I’m probably not the only one here at ZendCon that failed the test and therefore probably also not the only one processing the outcome.