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Become Acquia Back end Specialist Certified!

Back in July we gathered several members of our customer success team to create a new Drupal backend developer certification exam in our Reading, UK office. This group comprised of a unique mix of people working on large scale Drupal implementations. They are not used used to teaching, architecting and developing in Drupal but also have large exposure troubleshooting problems produced by bad configurations or poorly developed code.

We wanted to cover different areas of expertise that are typically needed for a skilled backend developer in order to develop custom modules, integrations with other systems and produce code and architectures that adhere to best practices regarding security and performance.

Our first role was to draft the different areas we wanted to cover for the exam blueprint, which is now in place. The Acquia Certified Developer - Back end Specialist exam is now in place and ready to take around the world and as an on-line proctored exam. It is also available to take at the DrupalCon Amsterdam event!

1.0 Fundamental Web Concepts
These relates with basic concepts/requirements to develop in Drupal: knowledge of HTML and CSS and PHP, JavaScript and jQuery programing concept and experience in git usage.

2.0 Drupal core API
This relates with knowledge regarding Drupal Core API and usage of different hooks and alters function that can be used my modules to add or change functionality.

3.0 Database Abstraction Layer
This is an important requirement and relates with the knowledge regarding Drupal database abstraction and how to interact with database structures.

4.0 Debug code and troubleshooting
For a good backend developer it is very important to be able to troubleshoot problems related with Drupal modules. By being so extensible, Drupal allows different modules to play a key role in different execution phases which demands for good skills to identify reasons for key problems.

5.0 Theme Integration
Understanding the different Drupal layers responsible to print the information in the page and not adding code and logic in the wrong layer is a very important skill when producing complex and rich websites.

6.0 Performance
Performance should be always a main concern when building an application and in Drupal it is important to guarantee the different layers of functionality added to the code do not impact the overall performance of the page or the site. We wanted to test for knowledge regarding solving problems coming from custom code or configurations and also different caching strategies that should be followed in Drupal.

7.0 Security
Security is also a fundamental aspect where a backend developer should pay attention when developing new code or configuring Drupal. We wanted to test for knowledge regarding the Drupal access control system and most common security problems found in code.

8.0 Community
A good backend developer understands the Drupal community and the contribution spirit behind open-source. Being able to contribute and reuse code from the community is one of the most important skills in Drupal.

We allocated members to different groups writing questions for different sections depending on their experience and interest and we validated every question for different aspects: readability, congruence, technical accuracy and relevancy. Having a diverse forum of people – with large experience working in Drupal in so many different ways - allowed us to guarantee we are not asking for knowledge that is too specific and that the questions are easy to understand and test exactly the topics and areas we are looking to validate.

The result is a large set of questions with different levels of difficulties for different sections which has resulted in a very balanced exam looking at different and important areas. I am quite excited to see examinees feedback and how well it matches to market expectations regarding a Drupal backend developer.

We started rolling out the new exam back in September and one of your first opportunities to take it will be in DrupalCon Amsterdam. We will have a test center room in the conference venue where you can take the exam.
If you haven’t taken the Acquia Certified Developer exam it will be also a very good opportunity to do it, although it is not a pre-requirement for the backend exam.


Posted on by peter manijak.

Hernani and the entire team did an outstanding job in developing the exam bank of questions. We strived to create an exam that is entirely scenario based and came close to that once again. When someone passes this exam, we will know that the skills and knowledge were validated as a Back end Specialist. The first wave of credentials have been earned, mostly by Acquians, but also some partners as well. If anyone has any questions regarding the Back end Specialist exam or anything else on the certification program, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

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