What is the Acquia Drupal Certification
The Acquia Certification is a professional certification program for Drupal professionals. It tests an individual's understanding of the technology and best practices. The Acquia Drupal Certification is a scenario-based exam with multiple choice answers. It's aim is to validate the skills and knowledge of Drupal professionals.
Acquia is a company founded by Dries Buytaert, who also founded the Drupal content management system. Acquia provides products and services related to Drupal including Drupal hosting, digital asset management, and tools to help manage Drupal websites. Acquia is separate and independent from the Drupal Association.
The Drupal Association manages and controls the Drupal content management system, facilitates community contributions, marketing of Drupal, governance, and the community at large, including its annual DrupalCon.
Why is the Acquia Certification Important
Drupal is not a tool or technology that is regularly taught by universities or trade schools. As a result, there is a lack of standards with regard to providing professionals with an educational foundation in Drupal engineering.
Indeed, most Drupal professionals consider themselves to be self-taught and have picked up the trade by trial and error. Unfortunately, this has led to bad practices, which results in a stain on the Drupal reputation, excessive costs to build and maintain websites powered by Drupal, and problems with security and performance.
The Drupal certification validates an individual's knowledge. It is used by employers to assess and confirm a job candidates skills. Acquia certifications create significant economic opportunities for Drupal professionals because employers specifically seek out professionals with these qualifications. Most importantly, preparing for the Acquia certifications makes you a better Drupal professional.
How to Prepare for the Acquia Certification Exam
We have interviewed several people who have passed the Drupal certifications and they have shared these tips with you:
Camilo Forero is a Triple Certified Drupal Expert (D8). He has been a member of the Drupal Association since 2016. Camilo has lived in Colombia, Russia, and Dubai. Camilo's tips, comments, and recollection of the Drupal certification include:
- I took my exams at DrupalCon Seattle (2019) over 2 days. It was great that they had all the computers so I didn't have to worry about setup.
- I consumed Drupalize.me for content and videos.
- I also studied from the Acquia Academy.
- It is important to read the change logs
- Know what has been deprecated between versions of Drupal, and the major changes between versions
- The Site Builder and Developer exams are the easiest. Start with them.
- If you don't know the answer, skip it and come back later. Don't get stuck!
- Learn to handle tricky questions. Read carefully. Use process of elimination.
Gordon Makely is a Triple Certified Drupal Expert in Drupal 7, Drupal 8, and Drupal 9. There are only about 12 people on the planet, out of about one million Drupal professionals, who can claim a 3rd degree black belt in Drupal. Gordon has been a member of the Drupal association since 2008 and has been to about 10 DrupalCons. He has been credited with several Drupal contribution issues. Gordon offers these recollections and tips for the Drupal certification:
- Stand up an instance of Drupal 10 and get familiar with changes from D9, particularly with Symfony and Twig.
- Go to Drupal's GitHub to read information. It is very organized.
- You can't pass the Acquia exams without practicing Drupal. Stand up a site and start working with it.
- Go to Drupal.org and read the API information.
- The Acquia exams are a true test of whether you know the material. You either know it or you don't.
- You can't find out what you got wrong, so it's difficult to learn from your mistakes.
- If you fail the exam first time around, go back and start from scratch. Spend some time learning and working with Drupal before you try again.
Ramiro Anacona is a Triple Certified Drupal Expert in Drupal 9 and also holds a Twig Certification from SensioLabs. He has been a member of the Drupal Association since 2011 and has been credited in multiple Drupal contribution issues. Ramiro is based in Bogota, Colombia. Here are his tips and observations for crushing the Acquia certification exams:
- The list of topics covered by the exam are in the Acquia certification website.
- All the knowledge required is the things we do every day. Just working in Drupal every day helps you be 80% prepared for the exam.
- Spend time on the Acquia study guides.
- Drupal 9 and 10 has a lot of Symfony things. So, read about Symfony and new services, e.g., Twig, dependency injection, dependency container, etc.
- Symfony.com is one of the best documented PHP frameworks. Spend time there.
- Subscribe to Drupal and Symfony feeds. Symfony is complex but well documented.
- Consume video websites dedicated to Drupal, e.g., Drupalize.me, Acquia TV on YT
- Pay close attention to answers that seem the same. These are the trick questions. One word changes the entire meaning of the answer.
- The goal of the exam is to determine if you know and understand best practices, best approach.
- Some questions require you to analyze a small piece of code. But, you don't have the luxury of a code editor. So, it is easy to moss a colon or something. Be careful.
- You won't have enough time. So, race through the questions and answers that you know, skip the ones you don't, and then come back to them later. Skip the trick questions that makes you think. If you have to think about it, skip it and come back later.
Sergio Sanchez is a Triple Certified Drupal Expert in Drupal 8 and Drupal 9. He has been a member of the Drupal Association since 2014 and has made significant Drupal contributions to fixing issues in the Drupal core and contrib modules. This is his advice for crushing the Acquia certification exams for Drupal. Sergio lives in Northern Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC.
- Understand the foundation and fundamentals of Drupal 8, 9, and 10.
- Drupal.org is the best guide to discuss changes, features, deprecated functions and modules.
- The Drupal 10 exam will be about changes and new features. Know the major differences between Drupal 7, Drupal 8, Drupal 9, and Drupal 10. What gets deprecated between each version, what is new or different with each version? If you are not aware of the changes for D10, you will get the wrong answer.
- Understand Symfony, Symfony updates, new versions of PHP, new versions of Twig.
- Site building is very important. Once you understand site building and how it works, you will get curious about the backend. Become an expert site builder.
- Learn how to create your own modules. Learn how to create your own themes.
Rolando Payan is a Triple Certified Drupal expert in Drupal 8 and Drupal 9. He has been a member of the Drupal Association since 2012. He is an excellent Drupal developer. Originally from Cuba, he currently resides in Uruguay. Here is his advice for passing the Acquia certification exams:
- Study Drupalize.me
- Study Drupal.org documentation
- Study the study guide on Acquia
- You have to practice developing a site. You have to work on a site. This is most important. Don't take the exam if you have not worked on a Drupal site.
- Start with the Developer exam, that is the easiest.
- Start with the easiest questions. Skip the hard questions. Come back to them later.
- Read the questions carefully because there are trick questions. One word can change the meaning of the sentence.
- You cannot wear a headset. You cannot have noise in the background. You cannot stand up and go for coffee or the bathroom. You must look at the camera and stay there for the entire time, which is about 90 minutes. Go to the bathroom first. Don't drink too much coffee before the exam. You need to focus.
- You must have a good internet connection.
- It is cheaper to do it at DrupalCon.
Ivan Duarte is a Drupal Architect and Triple Certified Drupal expert in Drupal 9. He has been a member of the Drupal Association since 2012. Ivan is a HUGE contributor to Drupal with almost 100 credits for fixing issues. His advice for Acquia certification test takers:
- Study the basics, e.g., cache, at the technical level. Understand the fundamentals.
- There are tricky parts, scenario based, like what is the bet way to set up something, use cache, or create something. You have to know best practices.
- The most important topics are cache and security.
- The backend exam is the hardest. Developer is the easiest.
- It is not possible to pass the exam simply by studying. If you don't constantly work in Drupal, you cannot pass. You need to work a lot in Drupal. You need to experiment.
- Study the Acquia study guide, then practice.
- Go really fast. No more than 30 seconds per question. If you can't answer it in 30 seconds, move onto the next question. Come back to it later.