[consulting] Drupal Certification and Requirements

Joakim Stai joakimstai at gmail.com
Fri Dec 21 14:46:15 UTC 2007

This is an interesting discussion, and an inevitable one considering  
the growth of Drupal these days. I've just listened in so far, but  
thought I'd share my view on this.

While a "build me a module" test would show if the candidate adheres  
to the coding styles, best practices, etc.. it doesn't show how good a  
programmer (problem solver) the candidate is. It can tell if the  
person can drive a car according to the traffic rules, but doesn't  
show how good a driver they are. A Formula 1 driver and an old lady in  
a Lada could get the same score in a test like this.

I totally agree with Greg that community involvement is a better  
benchmark. Drupal.org already provides us with a lot of information  
about each registered user and their involvement in the project. I  
think one would get a good impression of a user's skill level just by  
looking at their involvement, and it would certainly rule out  
cheating. While the information is all there, it does require you to  
do a lot of research - which is so time consuming that Paolo would  
rather have Greg do it ;)

Why not have drupal.org automate all of this? The website ohloh.net  
already does this to some degree, and even ranks users on different  
factors (activity, commits, years involved, lines modified, commit  
ratio), as well as allowing users to give each other kudos. This is  
all in the spirit of open source, where you are what you give. See http://www.ohloh.net/projects/3502/analyses/latest/contributors 
  for a list of non-core contributors to Drupal.

Ranking of users is one thing, but what I have in mind is a consise  
and centralized overview of a user's contributions and involvement on  
drupal.org. A "Profile" tab on the user's account page would do.  
Graphs (activity), statistics (patches, commits and accredited core  
commits), mailing list topics, links to recent patches and commits...

I just had an idea - could the Coder module be made into an automated  
validation service? Like the W3C validators, only for Drupal modules  
hosted on drupal.org!

Joakim (ximo)

On Dec 21, 2007, at 14:21, Greg Knaddison wrote:

> 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
> certifications:
> 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
> better.
> If someone wants to be certified using my process just send me an
> email. I'll be happy to do it ;)
> Regards,
> Greg
> [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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