[consulting] Drupal Certification and Requirements

Greg Knaddison greg at pingvox.com
Fri Dec 21 13:21:24 UTC 2007

My background: Early in my career I became an Oracle Certified
something-or-other and completed several Solaris training course.
After that first job, using Oracle and Solaris combined has only been
1% of any job and no employer has cared about either training (afaik).

On Dec 21, 2007 10:27 AM, Liam McDermott <liam at intermedia-online.com> wrote:
> Thinking about the way other practical tests work, the driving test in
> the UK comes to mind (probably the same across the world). Examinees are
> given a set of tasks and if they complete them without triggering any
> failure conditions--such as breaking the speed limit, not indicating
> when turning etc.--then they pass. Drupal could have something like the
> following failure points:

I really like the idea of a module as proof that you know what you are
doing, but I think it has some problems.

Given that sharing/modifying code is so easy, I don't know how we
would catch the "cheats." Also, this would require people to spend
time working on modules (and themes) that serve no purpose beyond
proving some level of knowledge.

Which gets us back to the idea of "Your contributions prove you are
good at Drupal, not some piece of paper."  A contrib module, patches
in the queue (better: committed), prove the knowledge.  It also shows
that you "get" open source and contribute back.  Community skills are
as important to me in a coworker as any sort of php/mysql/css skillz.

My "certification" of a Drupal expert:

1. Ask for their Drupal.org username - look at the age of their user,
the completeness of the profile
2.  Search the list archives for the name they use on the mailing
lists.  What kinds of conversations do they participate in?  Do they
contribute ideas and responses as often as they request support?
3. Look at their user page for commits to any projects, check the
"track" tab and their "code" tab - read a few of the threads and see
how they interact with the community.  Are they a leech?  Are they
nice?  Repeat cycle on Groups.Drupal.org
4. If they have committed to a module, run it through the "coder"
module to see if it passes the basic tests.  Then review the module
itself for signs of knowledge of Drupal core.  If they have submitted
issues, take a look at their descriptions and patches that they
provided.  Did any get committed?
5. Grab the cvs-release-notes.php file [1] and run it on a particular
release of Drupal like from Drupal-4-7-0 to DRUPAL-5-1  and then
search the output for their username.  When someone contributes to an
issue they should be credited in the commit of that patch.  The more
mentions, the better.

One perceived weakness of this system may be that it weights heavily
on community involvement.  That is a strength of the test in my
opinion.  The only exception I would make from this is for people who
do not know English well enough to participate in the community.

As Liam remarked, failure on any one of these may not rule someone out.

This "certification" has several benefits over traditional types of
1. It already exists and was cheap to develop
2. It is easy and free to "sit" for the certification
3. Rather than giving profits to certification admins or testing
centers it motivates people to contribute work to the project we all
love so much
4. Only one small part of what I suggested involves actually looking
at code.  The rest of them can be evaluated by anyone comfortable
installing a Drupal module required for coder module).

*The most important benefit:
5. you get an understanding of the person and their skills that no
certification could get close to providing.  Why create a
certification process when we already have something much, much

If someone wants to be certified using my process just send me an
email. I'll be happy to do it ;)


[1] http://cvs.drupal.org/viewvc.py/drupal/contributions/tricks/cvs-release-notes/cvs-release-notes.php

Greg Knaddison
Denver, CO | http://knaddison.com
World Spanish Tour | http://wanderlusting.org/user/greg

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