When I first began tinkering around with Drupal about 10 years ago, I didn’t know what I was doing.
My employer at the time wanted us to start using Drupal as a different way for us to provide our customers with websites built by a strong development platform. So, I grabbed it and started to run.
Photo by Caleb Woods
During that time period, I definitely operated with a trial-and-error mentality. I spent countless hours reading blog posts and tutorials about the platform. I tried to ingrain myself in the community as much as possible. And over time, I began to see an evolution in my familiarity with Drupal. Initially, my attitude was, “OK, let’s see if I can make this work. Today, though, I have a firm grasp on “the Drupal way” of building with the platform.
I’ve been at Duo for a little more than a year now, and I work as a back-end developer, which means I deal with handling the behind-the-scenes data processing and logic that drives the user's experience with a website or digital platform.
Over the years, as I've worked on Drupal development teams, one of the challenges that I've faced has been evaluating the skill levels of potential new team members. It can be difficult to trust that someone who says they are an expert at Drupal really has the skills necessary to leverage the platform. Certification really takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. That is why I’m in the process of becoming an Acquia Certified Developer.
Acquia Certification is the premier certification program for Drupal, and it’s an option that Acquia has offered for a while. When it comes to Drupal 8, Acquia currently offers four different types of certifications:
- Acquia Certified Site Builder – D8
- Acquia Certified Developer – D8
- Acquia Certified Front End Specialist – D8
- Acquia Certified Back End Specialist – D8
The Site Builder certificate really focuses on general Drupal knowledge. It measures familiarity with the platform and tests whether you’re able to install Drupal and some contributed modules. Basically, the test evaluators want to know that you can set up a basic website.
The Developer certification, which is what I am currently pursuing, deals more with the ability to code and interact with the code — such as leveraging APIs — to extend the platform. Evaluators want to know that not only can you set up a site, but that you can leverage Drupal to create your own themes and modules, as well as implement security measures to show that you can maintain the site.
Like I mentioned above, I think being certified makes me — and Duo — more marketable because it confirms my Drupal knowledge. I also am excited for this pursuit on a personal level, though, because becoming certified will validate for myself that I’ve successfully made the shift from trying to learn Drupal to fully understanding the best ways to use the platform.
I’ll be taking my certification this month at DrupalCon. Eventually, I want to pursue the Back End Specialist certification, but for now I’m focused on my upcoming test. I’m excited to see where I’m at in terms of my Drupal knowledge, and I’m looking forward to finding out what aspects I can continue to improve on in the hopes of becoming a better developer for Duo and our clients.