Drupal Training by Zengenuity

Thoughts on the Acquia Certification Exams for Drupal 8: Are They Useful?

In the Q&A sessions 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 dubious 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, the Drupal community was pretty non-plussed.

That said, I recognize that for many job-seekers, especially ones applying to large organizations or government positions, having certifications might be a difference in getting past the first application screen in a bureaucratic HR department. So, for some people, they will make sense.

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. I feel like there is no way an inexperienced person could cram for the Drupal 7 Developer test and pass it without at least some Drupal development experience.

I didn't take any of the other Acquia certification tests, as they are fairly costly, and they don't serve much purpose for me. 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, but I don't know anything about that, since I haven't used it with any of my clients.) Over the next few days I will post my thoughts on each of these exams:

The official descriptions about these exams can be found on Acquia's certification overview page. But in short: These 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. They 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.

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DrupalTutor was built by Zengenuity, a Drupal development firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our online courses are taught by Wayne Eaker, a Drupal expert with years of experience building highly-customized Drupal websites. Wayne's also a seasoned trainer, having taught professionals, corporate clients and high school computer science students.

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