Drupal: Which Acquia Certification (out of 4)? For Whom?

firoz2456's picture

I have checked Aquia site here(https://www.acquia.com/customer-success/learning-services/acquia-certifi...) and found there are four types of certification.

Acquia Certified Developer Exam
Acquia Certified Developer-Back End Specialist Exam
Acquia Certified Developer-Front End Specialist Exam
Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder Exam
But which certification Team Leam/Project Manager should do? Why this four certification? Who should do which certification? Can anyone explain. Do I need to all four certification?


Acquia Certified Developer

gargsuchi's picture

Acquia Certified Developer Exam - This is the basic certification exam. This should be attempted by all in a Drupal team, irrespective of the role.
Acquia Certified Developer-Back End Specialist Exam - As the name suggests, should be attempted by more of backend developers. So people who are into creation of new modules etc should attempt this to test out their knowledge. This includes knowledge of hooks, bootstrap etc.
Acquia Certified Developer-Front End Specialist Exam - For people who need to test the frontend/ theme layering knowledge. This includes some JS, CSS, Drupal theming hierarchy and layer, Jquery, how drupal interacts with JS etc.
Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder Exam - This exam basically does not go into the coding part of Drupal - but deals with more of the site building. So knowledge of Drupal admin UI, Blocks, Views, Menus etc is tested.

Hope this helps.

Why any certification? For

Brian Altenhofel's picture

Why any certification?

For the most part, IT certifications are worthless. The only time IT certifications are worthwhile is if they are for a compartmentalized technology where knowledge from one specialization does not readily transfer and is not necessarily usable in another specialization. Drupal is not that specialized.

IT certifications are not much more than trivia and do not provide a reliable measure of project management skill, work ethic, creativity, or ability to deliver. The time and money spent on a certification could be better spent on practical experience.

IT is a very volatile industry. Certifications are quickly obsolete. In reference to Drupal, any certification built around Drupal 7 will be completely irrelevant to a Drupal 8 project.

Certification does have value

greggmarshall's picture

I disagree.

We've started using the Acquia Certifications as a resume validation/scanning step.

After having some overly ambitious recruiters enhance candidates' resumes by more/less randomly insert Drupal into their experience. With the Acquia Certifications, which we can easily double check against the Acquia Certification registry, we at least have a way to ensure an applicant has some reasonable Drupal knowledge. So while not having the certification won't exclude you, having it will advance you to an interview round more/less automatically.

The Acquia Certifications are not trivial examinations and I was surprised the depth of knowledge they covered, yet in an applied way. The questions are effectively "micro stories" you need to solve.

The work ethic, ability to deliver, etc still needs to be assessed, but frankly I have discovered that in the day of "legally correct" reference checking it is based on a gut reaction to the interview, we get it wrong more often than we get it right.

As for the original question, if you are looking for the exam for a project manger, I'd recommend the Acquia Site Builder exam. The rest are really for developers who are working in the code.

And for project management skill validation, I'd be looking at the PMI programs.

I agree with Greg

itomic's picture

Speaking as a fellow employer of Drupal people Greg, your comments are exactly what I would have posted.

Here is my experience passing

frankgil's picture

Here is my experience passing the Acquia certification exam and a comparison with Forcontu Drupal certification based on 420 hours of real practice:



Chris McGrath's picture

This link seems to be dead Frank. It was working. I also disagree they have no use. This is a great orientation for devs new to Drupal and although 8 will change a lot it still gets a dev used to using a CMS framework, specifically Drupal.

I do agree the Acquia cert is a bit light and that the Forcuntu style is much better. We are working on something similar that is a long form training and believe it is just needed due to the lack of available talent.

Value of knowledge is more than certification

ajay1kumar1's picture

When it comes to IT, there is a high degree of mental ability needed for the job; Value of knowledge is more than certification, simply say exp.
for exp if anyone need Certification, so i dont think its right.
Employer have to pay for my mind and not for a plastic card cert.
Most of the Certs are useless. just a money making idea for some idols.

Thanks, Aj

Acquiring Knowledge

Chris McGrath's picture

Not everyone is an independent learner and some really need hands on classroom style learning. This is what I generally advocate. Yes taking a test where you can get half the questions wrong is pretty silly. But in all it does weed out those that just overstate their skills and employers learn this after they are on the job. That is tough to deal with.

Good training is hard to find, though

karolus's picture

I'd agree with you on the fact that not everyone is an independent learner, but finding good training for Drupal, or just about any other FOSS framework can be difficult.

Locally, I help organize sprints, and see it first-hand, both as someone looking to learn, and to help others.

There's some good instructional content online, but it becomes quickly outdated. Probably the best way for firms to find good additions to their teams is to find people willing to learn, and to invest in them by teaching on the job--doing real work.

Hey Karolus

Chris McGrath's picture

Agreed that is why we are starting Drupal Institute (very open to help :) we have drupalinstitute.org and a partnership with buildamodule.com to use their content in a live classroom setting paired with live instruction and quiz / exam format.

Eventually it will lead to a graduate certificate but main thing is the length of the course will be 12-18 weeks depending on the track similar to codefellows.org meant for full immersion 50 hr a week. Let me know if you want to volunteer or know anyone to be a mentor (it would be paid of course) or local organizer of classes. We have folks in Chicago, Nashville, NYC, Seattle, Portland so far.

We also run in-house internships that are paid Jr. dev salaries and work closely with them to ramp them up as quickly as possible. Having academic internships with Drupalites helps this is generally where we pull from.

Chris, I messaged you on

pal4life's picture

I messaged you on LinkedIn with an connection request about this.

Certification is not training

greggmarshall's picture

I think it is important to differentiate between the certification, which is a 3rd party validation of a level of skills/knowledge, and how you develop the skills/knowledge.

There are a lot of different training options available: in-person, on-line, mentored (ala Forcontu's), books, on the job training. There have even been blog posts that take books, on-line videos, or YouTube videos and structure them to provide "training" to take the Acquia certification exam. Plus there are in-person courses that Acquia and others offer that provide training directed to passing the exam.

I wouldn't suggest that being trained to be certified is a good approach to becoming a Drupal developer. But as a way to document a level of Drupal knowledge I think it has value. Another example, beyond its use in hiring, is Srijan's booth at DrupalCon LA. Having 20+ certified developers gives me a better sense of the skill levels of developers I might be using if I hired them versus some other off shore development group that doesn't have any. Again, not a complete solution, but a quick way to get a feel for capabilities.

Agreed Greg

Chris McGrath's picture

It is very important to clients that are less knowledgeable but have motivation to plunge ahead. Especially for off-shore but domestically as well.

Sorry, here is the link

frankgil's picture

Sorry, here is the link https://goo.gl/GWOS21

On the fence

gatorjoe's picture

I too am considering the benefits of the Acquia certification. I am close to completing Forcontu's Experts in Drupal course and am wondering how that certificate compares to Acquia's in the eyes of potential employers. I have stayed away from IT certifications in the past, but I am eager to build a career around Drupal and want to be taken seriously, and confidently, by recruiters.

I was just looking at

saitanay's picture

I was just looking at Forcontu's course. The course content looks good. But not sure how practical is that.

3 levels
7 months
60 units
420 hours

420 hours in 7 months is like 60 hours a month. That is like working fulltime for 7 months including 3 days on weekends every month.

I don't think, Acquia Certification and Forcuntu's can be compared.

One is a quick rubber stamp on your Drupal Skills. The other is like a University Degree.
While one just validates the candidates for his/her skill, the other is a statement of proof that the candidate has just completed learning Drupal putting him/herself through a full time course.


Tanay Sai
skype: tanay.co.in

A benefit of certifications

rumblestrut's picture

Let's say you've always wanted to run a 5K. You're not sure why, but hearing your friends talk about 5K runs they've completed makes you put it on your bucket list.

So, you find a race later in the year, sign up, pay the money, and then get started training. You now have a goal in mind: you're going to run (and even finish!) that 5K run.

I've taken some certification tests in the past, and I found the process of studying for them was a fairly decent educational experience. Like signing up for a 5K, studying to pass a certification test gives you a tangible goal, that I'm sure you'll learn from. I think about how different that is from college, where often the classes were learning for the sake of learning with no real end goal on how the information you get will be used.

That said, I have two main gripes about certification testing:

  1. I think most certification tests are overpriced.

  2. My personal belief is that you should get certified after some experience with whatever you're trying to get certified for.

I will always believe that experience is the greatest teacher. That said, the process of studying for a certification with some experience under your belt can make for a great combination.

I agree

greggmarshall's picture

I like your analogy.

And I found the exams most useful for forcing me to dig a little deeper preparing (especially the front end exam since I don't consider myself a front end developer). They are valuable for that reason alone, not including the 3rd party validation value.

I used to think the exams were overpriced until I got involved in a certification program on its board and learned how hard the exams are to build and validate. I remember a blog post about Acquia's question writing efforts and it was a lot of man hours. Compared to other certification exams I found the Acquia questions both challenging and surprisingly relevant. I like the "micro user story" approach.

And if you can pass a certification exam solely by studying, without any practical experience, I think the exam was poorly constructed and won't be valued by anyone.

On the value of certs

EddieN120's picture

First of all, I appreciate all the contributions to this thread.

There's always been a debate, not just within the Drupal community but in IT in general, about whether or not certifications are valuable. I notice that fewer questions are asked about the value of getting a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited university. The two are similar although not the same.

Yes, in many ways, a cert can act as a checklist item for recruiters, a quick sanity check on whether or not the candidate has the skills that HR said the job requires. Of course, there is often a [em]huge[/em] gulf between what HR says and what the people actually doing the job say they require for the new person to know, but that is another story.

But certs (as greggmarshall and rumblestrut have said) are also valuable for candidates. Preparing for a certification exam enables a candidate to know where her strengths really are, and where she needs to build up her skillset and her knowledge.

Certs also are a means for one to continue learning and to push oneself in directions they hadn't earlier considered. A back-end dev who has little knowledge of theming can get a cert to bolster that aspect of her skillset. I'm a strong believer in having the chance to learn in any way that suits you, whether it is on-the-job, online via videos, in-person at formal classes, through books, or what-have-you. Certs help with that.

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