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Ready for certification

Right after we launched our first certification last week, two questions stood out. First, why is Acquia doing the certification? And why did it take them so long? I saw these as two sides of the same coin. I wanted to reflect a bit on the history of this project.

Finishing Line by comedy_nose

Click here for full details of Acquia’s Drupal certification.

Ready for certification

In 2012, my colleague, Hernani Borges de Freitas, gave a presentation and wrote blog posts on “Things we found in your website.” Part 1 and Part 2. It was for me, a revelation.

Hernani posited that one of the biggest challenges in the Drupal ecosystem was the inconsistency in quality of site implementation. This affects Drupal adoption and effectiveness of Drupal projects. Badly developed and poorly performing Drupal projects affect the entire community’s reputation. For Acquia, in the role of guiding, managing and supporting projects, this task becomes more daunting when there are continuing patterns of errors and mistakes, that in turn, increases our support efforts required.

At that time, as part of the research, Hernani and Kieran Lal reviewed 28 extensive site audits, and categorized over 300 observed best practice guidelines about site development including core, contrib modules, content architecture, content administration, display architecture, custom code, performance, development, infrastructure, and profiling.

The revelation for me was that now we had data on what worked. We had been running Acquia’s hosting platform and delivering professional services and training to thousands of people. Now we could stand by and say: Yes, there are maybe 40 different ways to get something done in Drupal, but there is a better way.

A very different time

When Acquia proposed a certification in 2008, we didn’t have that data. There was an on-going debate: If you could do something so many different ways, who was to say what is best?

Fast forward on to 2014, we’ve done more to get out the best practice guidelines. We have many more webinars, blog posts, white papers published in the last 2 years. Drupal 7 is a stable, robust platform.

So much is so different from 2008.

Now we were ready to answer the call we hear from many clients are partners keen for some kind of validation. Clients want us to vouch for partner’s services; partners want us to vouch for their new hires. There are many cases where we need an assessment we can stand by. In my own research at the end of last year into Drupal team roles and hiring practices, it became clear that employers wanted better ways to assess skills.

Before the certification the only way we could do a technical skill review was through methods which we couldn’t scale: technical interviews, project audits, and code reviews conducted by our Professional Services team. We will still conduct those reviews. However, with the increasing adoption of Drupal, we need other ways to gather information about an individual’s skills and knowledge.

Certification isn’t meant to be used as a stand alone method of evaluating candidates. There’s far more to hiring than a technical evaluation. As Dries said in his post, it's just one part of the puzzle. Please check out the guide I wrote on Building a Great Drupal Team. However, getting this assessment in place means we can provide partners and clients with a means to evaluate the skills and knowledge of those on their team. We have a roadmap with more assessments planned. This will help recognize specialists on the team, and help individuals round out their skills.

Learn more about Acquia’s Drupal Certification

We have two upcoming webinars where you can learn more about certification. We'll be coming out with useful guides on how to prepare for the exam and a more in-depth look at the blueprint.

Join Peter Manijak, our Global Certification Lead to find out about the exam.
Get Certified: Acquia Certification Program
March 26th, 2014, 1pm EST.

Join Prasad Shirgoankar to find out how to prepare to take the exam.
(link coming!)
April 23rd, 2014, 11pm EST.

Finishing Line by comedy_nose - Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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