Thoughts on the Acquia Certification Exams for Drupal 8: Are They Useful?
In the Q&A webinars for the courses I teach at DrupalTutor.com, I am often asked for advice on starting a career in Drupal. In general, I tell students to build a body of work that you can show to potential employers or clients. This might be personal projects, websites for non-profits who can't afford professional website development, or contributions on drupal.org. Having a demonstrated ability to complete meaningful projects is the best way to impress a potential client or employer.
In addition to a portfolio of work, students sometimes ask me specifically about certification tests. The IT industry is filled with certifications, many of little merit, and organizations have been burned by hiring people with certifications and little practical experience. So, when Acquia announced their Drupal 7 Developer certification a few years ago, I was pretty skeptical.
However, when I took the Drupal 7 Developer exam (shortly after it was published a few years ago), I was pleasantly surprised at the rigorous and detailed nature of the questions. The scenarios and choices presented are very realistic, and I often found myself chuckling, as questions would be about some minor Drupal quirk I had spent WAY too much time beating my head on at some point. Because of both the breadth and depth of the questions, I think the exam does a good job screening out test-crammers. I think it would be really hard to pass that test without some practical Drupal development experience.
I didn't take any of the other Drupal 7 certification tests, as they did not have a lot of use to me at the time. But at the DrupalCon Baltimore, Acquia offered a special price of only $99 per exam, so I decided to take one Drupal 8 test per day for each of the four days I was there, so I could better discuss them with students.
The four exams I took are for Drupal 8 core. (They also offer certification on the Acquia cloud platform.) Over the next few days I will post my thoughts on each of these exams:
- Acquia Certified Site Builder
- Acquia Certified Developer
- Acquia Certified Back End Specialist
- Acquia Certified Front End Specialist
The official descriptions about these exams can be found on Acquia's certification overview page. But in short:
- The tests are all multiple choice.
- They don't require that you actually configure a Drupal site or write any code.
- They are available in person at a testing center, or at home by installing the exam software on your computer.
- The price for each test varies from $155 - $350, though there are occasional sales like at DrupalCon Baltimore.
Check back over the next few days for my detailed thoughts on each test.
[Update: I've now written my thoughts on each test. Click the test name links above to see what I think of each test!]