[consulting] Drupal Certification and Requirements

Roshan Shah roshan.shah at bpocanada.com
Thu Dec 20 01:12:51 UTC 2007

Well, in year 2000 I was a Director in Software Company in India as well as
a separate full fledged Java Training Institute. Many of our students from
the training division eventually cleared the Sun Certification. But despite
their getting certifications(72 of them in 10 months), I approached only
5-10% of them extending offers to join my  Software  Company.

Since last 2 years my Canadian company provides Drupal services with entire
development team in India. One service we provide is 24x7 Drupal
Infrastructure monitoring services. We get many RedHat Certified Engineers
apply for open positions - whom we regularly interview besides other
non-certified candidates too. We did not find difference between certified
engineers and non-certified candidates at all when all equivalent parameters
are compared. Practical experience and ability to answer real world
questions is the only way they are getting selected regardless of their
being certified or not.

Another example - our company also gets lot of interest from local IT
students in India for internships and industrial projects as they see our
work in Open Source / Drupal, RoR as very challenging. Our Sr. Team
regularly gives seminars in colleges on Web 2.0, Drupal, RoR, etc.  While we
get 100's of calls every day the HR department filters out the candidates
based on 60% marks in all semesters as cut off besides checking their
English Language skills. This means we only try and interview the top 20%
students of any college if they apply for internship or entry level jobs.
All these students are good but again we see that usually the top scorers
and class rankers don't do well on real projects because they usually have
"bookish/theoretical" knowledge but can't apply them practically using
common sense. It takes a lot of mentoring by Sr. Tech Leads of our company
to make them understand that in real world - what matters is ability to
solve a problem by putting thinking hats and that too fast. This again
proves that "theoretical" knowledge/ academics cannot be taken as a yard
stick to see that candidate can perform. It takes us 3 to 6 months for us to
make them productive. (Note: Those who have 2+ years LAMP experience usually
pick up Drupal very quickly as they are very well supported by other team

Having said this, we have definitely encouraged our internal team members to
get certified e.g Linux Admins of our infrastructure support division to get
Redhat certifications a) because it will plug the gap in their knowledge  b)
it helps in marketing and positioning our company better and c) With their
real world knowledge along with certification they really become valuable
asset to the organization and in the industry as a whole.

Drupal is a moving target but its no different from any other technology.
What is required is different levels of certifications and to move to next
level one needs to clear the previous level. Most companies now do this e.g
Certified Java Programmer to Certified Architect. As you get higher up on
certification ladder, you get more challenged with more focus on practical
knowledge and lesser focus on academics.

There is certainly huge skills shortage in Drupal world. We are going back
to days of 2000 where now we are opening up a separate Training Company in
April 2008 to provide Drupal/RoR Training to IT/Non-IT professionals as we
are already unable to meet the needs of current customers and new business
coming our way despite our ongoing recruitment drive through online
advertisements, college seminars and word-of-mouth referrals. We do get
thousands of resumes but we are looking for quality. Investing in someone
with no knowledge of Drupal is draining lot of our resources and having
separate training center where students can pay to learn drupal and get to
work on real projects is another approach we are taking.

I certainly think Drupal Certification today will bring tremendous value
and  in fact will Drupal get even  much more interest from industry, IT
professionals and Students since they will see that the product has now
matured to a certain level. Many many more Drupal Shops, Drupal Sites and
Drupal developers will join us all if certifications are offered.

Roshan Shah
Toll Free : 1-888-378-7259 x 521
Direct     : 1-604-630-4292

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