Alright, off with the suspense. It's me. Well, by the time you read this, I will probably no longer be the newest, but it sounds better that way.
These days there are certifications for most any technology. And, I admit, I am not a big fan of certifications. It is one thing to go through a course or study a book and take an exam at the end to be certified in a technology, but it is quite another to be well-versed enough in a technology to solve real-world problems. Often, being book smart does not translate into the ability to create systems or solve technical challenges.
Why then, you might ask, did someone with those opinions decide to become certified? In my capacity as Competency Leader of the Drupal practice at HS2 Solutions I am always interested in finding ways to advance our practice. When I heard about the Acquia Certification Program I was intrigued.
Unlike many exams, this exam was billed as testing practical knowledge that covers the wide breadth of knowledge needed to develop a Drupal website. If it delivered on that promise, I felt like it was solve two problems for me. First, when I try to hire Drupal developers it can be challenging to find someone that knows how to build websites using best practices. In Drupal, there are always a number of ways to solve a problem, not all of them a good ways. If this test was legitimate and someone uses it be certified, the certification would go a long ways toward convincing me the candidate knows what they are doing. Second, for our Drupal developers, becoming certified would give our clients piece of mind that we know what we are doing.
So, after spending a few days reviewing the Acquia guide for the exam and Angie's excellent blog I was ready for the exam. You can take the exam from the comforts of your office or take it onsite. I chose to take it from my home office which required me to setup some biometrics software (not a big deal) before I could take the exam. The exam is sixty multiple-choice questions with a ninety minute time limit. The exam covers four main areas: general web knowledge, site building, front-end (theme) development, and back-end development. Not all areas are covered with the same number of questions (it seemed like back-end was hit harder than the others for me). Once you are done with the exam, you get the results immediately. The results are broken down by the four areas along with a total percentage and a pass/fail indicator.
I was impressed by the test. I found it to be both fair and challenging. Obviously, I cannot go into any detail about what is asked, but it a number of topics were covered. I was asked questions that ranged from what CSS would render the desired output to which git command I would use in a particular situation to how to optimize a slow rendering web page based on a code snippet to Drupal best practices. If you have been developing Drupal websites for some time including building themes and using hooks to change the rendered page, you should be able to pass. That said, there was a question or two that I had to try to reason out as I had never touched those areas in my Drupal website building.
I have recommended to my boss that we certify our Drupal developers. I believe that this certification, unlike many I have come across, lives up to what a certification should mean. I will proudly add this certification to my credentials knowing that I earned it. If you are thinking about becoming an Acquia Certified Drupal Developer I would recommend that you do so, And then, when you do so, email Leah, the Director of Talent and Culture at HS2 Solutions, with your resume and telling her you want to work at an awesome company.