[consulting] Fwd: Drupal Certification and Requirements

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Mon Dec 24 17:16:47 UTC 2007

Hello Kieran,
> But my problem is that there are loadsa good who have some level of
> Drupal knowledge and claim to have years of Drupal experience but too
> many that do no deliver, and in fact, that mess things up at my
> expense.
I agree that this is an issue. I also agree that delivery of code to the
Drupal codebase, while one very useful measure, is only a partial answer
to the challenge of matching competent workers with those who would
employ them.

> Admittedly, I am taking a bet each time I hire someone,
Arguably there is no substitute for a good interview. Looking for
certifications (or other keywords in resumes) is often a necessary first
step when supply of people exceeds demand. But in the interview you are
able to:

-- verify the skills claimed in the resume (and by the certifications)
-- determine if the person's personality if a good fit for your organization
-- ensure that your expectations of the role match the candidate's

Getting a book on conducting a personnel interview could be a very
worthwhile effort. Alternately, there is a good reason why "headhunters"
exist -- good ones possess talent for choosing good workers, that
employers themselves may not have.

> I think a basic drupal certification can be' version independent' as 
> the basic principles are not likely to change with each version, and
> can be set up (I am an IT trainer) - One could also have a 'modular'
> certification, to show that one has familiarity and understanding of
> some modules, not  necessarilty with everything

IMO it would be very difficult to do a Drupal certification that is
_not_ modular :-)

> That does not mean that someone who does not take the certification is
> no good, maybe rther the contrary, and hopefully can demostrate so
A certification of reasonable quality is a useful tool in the hiring
process; however, it is only one tool and it is no substitute for
interviews, references and even (as appropriate) code samples. It is
important to understand certification use and limitations -- anyone who
hires someone _only_ based on being certified (as used to happen in the
Novell and Microsoft worlds) deserves what they get.

My earlier warning regarded the cost of doing a high quality cert.  In
IT, vendors create certifications in order to sell training services
targeted at those certifications. Reputation, and exam quality is even
more important if the certifying or is a nonprofit and/or there is no
revenue from "official" training or courseware.

It certainly can be done if the will (and many, many volunteer hours)
exist. I would caution, that the skills necessary to make quality tests
-- the psychometric component of the certification -- are vastly
different than those of "subject matter experts" (to use certification
lingo). And finding volunteer psychometric help is not an easy task.

(Why psychometrics? The goal of an exam -- and its grading -- is to
create a measurment that "passes"  those who "know the material"
(whatever that means) and fails those who do not. This means that
questions on the exam must be crafted specifically to perform this
discrimination, and doing _that_ requires more than Drupal skills.)

For more info, Google "psychometrics" or "job task analysis" for an idea
of the complexity of doing a high quality exam (or even defining what
"knowing the material" means).


- Evan

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