Eric Mandel, CEO of infrastructure provider Blackmesh, and I got the chance to speak at PHP World 2014 (where I was also a keynote speaker). We spoke about his history with development, open source, and Drupal. I also had the chance to ask Eric about how Blackmesh has become a leader in the area of corporate contribution to Drupal, employing Cathy Theys to work on Drupal core, mentor new Drupal contributors, and help out at code sprints around the world.
After many years of discussion and debate in the Drupal community, Acquia launched the Acquia Certification Program in March 2014. This past year, there were three exams published and offered on a global basis with participants from over 45 countries and several hundred earning credentials. The exams focus on real world experience and the overriding comments we've heard this past year are the exams are tough but fair. There is now a registry posting successful candidates as well.
Most credentials have been earned with the first exam, Acquia Certified Developer, a core exam which cuts across Web Development, Site Building, Front-end and Back-end topic areas. This exam demonstrates an ability to work across these key areas, which in turn helps make successful developers and great team members.
The two following exams, the Acquia Certified Developer - Back-end Specialist, and Front-end Specialist, demonstrate an even deeper grasp of a specialization. Professionals working with Drupal 7 have been testing out successfully as well.
While the current exams are Drupal 7 focused and will continue to be available, we will also have Drupal 8 exams in the coming year.
There is also a new Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder exam just made available.
Listen to Richard Jones, CTO at i_KOS, talk about his recent experience taking the exam while at DrupalCon Amsterdam, and what it means to him personally, as well as for his business.
Keys to Success: Building Scenario-based Exams
All the Acquia Certification exams are almost entirely scenario based. In this manner, you are testing skills and knowledge instead of just memorization. You are also testing for comprehension in a timely manner, and real world experience is validated through a well constructed and well written scenario-based exam pool.
The scenario for each question is challenging to write, and the test writers draw upon their experiences to do so. The information provided in each scenario is required to answer the related question properly.
To have an exam almost entirely scenario-based is a great accomplishment. We have had an outstanding group of subject-matter experts craft these exam questions based on job task analysis research and they follow sound psychometric best practices.
The latest effort for the Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder certification exam is no exception.
The Exam Writing Workshop
This month, the Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder exam was created and the Acquia Certified Developer exam was updated in one combined exam writing workshop. The exam writing workshop is a very intensive and focused effort. The latest effort had a great cross section of the company represented for the workshops, which I facilitated, with Jeff Beeman, Erik Webb, Alex Ward, Adam Malone, Kenny Carlile, and Jonathan Webb serving as Subject Matter Experts.
The exam writers, Subject Matter Experts, are put through a rigorous workshop to write items with supporting documentation. They must agree as a team that each item is relevant, technically accurate and readable.
Several rounds of tech reviews are conducted throughout the workshop and each item must be able to stand up to scrutiny. Test writers have reported that they even dream of test items at night during the course of an intense multi-day workshop, as total immersion to the process is needed to be successful. Team dinners usually end up turning into great debates on something from earlier in the day.
Peter Manijak @PeterManijak: Peter is an experienced Certification and Learning Professional, responsible for creating and managing successful global programs.
Tags: certification acquia drupal planet cert developers drupal
Part 2 of 2 – I ran into Elia Albarran, Four Kitchens' Operations Manager at BADCamp 2014. She mentioned she'd read my blog post 10 Tips for Success as a Remote Employee; we started exchanging tips and ideas until I basically yelled, "Stop! I need to get this on camera for the podcast!" She graciously agreed and brought along two Four Kitchens developers for the session, too: Taylor Smith and Matt Grill, whom I spoke with in part 1.
Presenter Brad Czerniak caught my eye with a blog post entitled "10 things I learned using Drupal at a hackathon," based on his experiences taking part in the #hackDPL (Detroit Public Library) competitive hackathon. In our podcast interview we talk about that – before moving on to Brad's session about the Drupal development best practices he and his team use at Commercial Progression in Michigan.
Part 1 of 2 – I ran into Elia Albarran, Four Kitchens' Operations Manager ... ahem "Funmaster", in the inspiring atmosphere of BADCamp 2014. She mentioned she'd read my blog post 10 Tips for Success as a Remote Employee; we started exchanging tips and ideas until I basically yelled, "Stop! I need to get this on camera for the podcast!" She graciously agreed and brought along two Four Kitchens developers for the session, too: Taylor Smith and Matt Grill.
I met Ian Read, Front End Development Team Leader at TSO/Williams Lea Public Sector at Drupal Camp Brighton, where I found out that he has recently been involved in a subject close to my heart: Drupal and government. He was part of the team that designed and built the attractive, responsive, and very functional London Borough of Croydon's new council website. In our conversation, we touch on the value that the Drupal community provides to everyone involved; Drupal and innovation in government digital services; the thought process, needs, design and more that went into the new Croydon Council Drupal website; and more!
Lorna Jane Mitchell is back to show us some great reasons for upgrading your projects to PHP 5.3 or newer. Drupal 8's minimum version requirement is already up there at 5.4.5 (as of 2015.Feb.02), so we're doing well! Lorna and I have a quick chat about her history and experience, open source versus proprietary software development ("Projects and companies that work in that open source technology space make much better use of tools ... and they are wonderful, free, and well-supported tools!") ... specifics of how and why the PHP "Renaissance" is happening, and Drupal 8 as a PHP meta-project before she gets down to her jam's Drupal Camp presentation.
Dustin Whittle, Developer Evangelist at AppDynamics, and I sat down at SymfonyLive Berlin 2014 to get to know each other. We touched on PHP's past and potential futures through HHVM or PHP7, how competition and collaboration both improve open source software and how business benefits from that, Drupal 8, and more. This podcast is some extracts from that conversation!
Sally Young, Senior Developer at Lullabot, let me take her away from the DrupalCon Amsterdam sprints to talk with me. I was thrilled to finally get her in front of my podcast microphone and camera. She is a smart and interesting developer involved in innovations including headless Drupal and mobile applications. More importantly to me, I've been figuratively dying to get her story on tape about her mother's misunderstanding of her first job ever since I first heard it a couple of years ago. Listen on and you won't believe what happens next! ;-) ... We also touch on the beauty of her job, CMS v Framework, the Drupal community, being an open source developer, why Drupal 8 will be nice for developers and clients.
You can still make an important contribution to Drupal 8. Drupal Global Sprint 2015-New England takes place this Saturday, January 17, from 10 AM to 5 PM at Genuine in Boston. Acquia is co-sponsoring the event and we invite you to RSVP and jump into the community. For local sprints around the world all weekend, check out this listing!
Even if you cannot attend, did you know one simple, small gesture to participate (hey, every bit counts) is by clicking the social media buttons above and adding "#SprintWeekend" to the promotion? Mere awareness and visibility of this effort yields the gratitude of global sprint organizers.
Drupal 8 is approaching the fit-and-finish stage of the march to release. All critical beta-blockers have been addressed, so new features and functionality are not on the docket for the sprint this Saturday. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for important contributions to Drupal 8!
The work this weekend will revolve around: CSS, markup, translatable strings, documentation, automated tests, as well as performance, security, usability, accessibility, bug fixes, or follow-ups to a recent critical or major issue. See the specific guidelines about allowed changes during this stage of the D8 project.
In addition, we will be polishing current features, reducing technical debt wherever possible, and writing documentation for many Core modules. There’s novice and advanced development work needed at the sprint as well as various “contrib” projects which are beginning to embrace Drupal 8. Lastly, Search, RDFa mappings, theme, CSS work and more will also be sprinted on at this global event.
You can add to this plan, but if it’s core related, please study the guidelines about allowed changes, which is summarized by the decision tree in Figure 1.
Note that only unfrozen and prioritized issues are automatically approved for sprint work. If you identify an issue that reduces technical debt or fragility, it could be added to the sprint work list, but only if it creates more benefit than potential disruptions that would result from the work. If you have a bug to submit, please use the Issue Summary Template here to support Core maintainers decision-making -- maintainers have the final say whether an issue will be included. If you’d like to understand how issues are assessed, we suggest you read about the Priority Level of Issues.
Documentation is sometimes overlooked, so Drupal-savvy writers are invited to join the sprint with the Documentation Working Group, both to contribute and to learn more about Drupal, the community and the open-source development process. You can also use your proofing skills to review translatable strings and the use of function names for consistency and spelling.
Another big need this weekend is testing. If you can write automated tests, we need you. Testing is a great way for developers who may be thinking of joining us for the first time this weekend.
Sprint participants can earn recognition as contributors to the issues they work on this Saturday, according to the usual standards for receiving credit on Drupal.org. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to get involved for the first time. We’re currently expecting more than 50 people, and we are eager to help newcomers get involved, as well as help you polish your Drupal skills while we put the shine on D8.
RSVP today and join us for the Drupal Global Sprint 2015-New England in Boston on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 10 AM to 5 PM at Genuine’s office (500 Harrison Ave. 5R Boston, MA). We’ll have fun, food, and drinks. You’ll meet great people and learn a lot. And again, if you cannot join us in Boston, see if there is a code sprint in a city near you!
Figure 1: The process to determine the issues that can be included in the remaining Drupal 8 beta sprints
Content contributed by Mitch Ratcliffe.Tags: drupal 8 drupal sprint global sprint weekend sprint issues acquia drupal planet
David Aponovich knows the web content management business far beyond just the "Drupalsphere". I was thrilled when he joined Acquia from Forrester Research in 2014, since I believe his voice, experience, and insight can help convince more businesses of the benefits of using Drupal, especially given the upcoming release of Drupal 8. He and I sat down at DrupalCon Amsterdam – David's first Drupal community event – and talked about digital transformation from the "information superhighway" to today, corporations and open source software as a pragmatic choice, and how the definitions of cooperation and competition are changing in business today.
I am looking back on a great year of events and conversations with people in and around Acquia, open source, government, and business. I think I could happily repost at least 75% of the podcasts I published in 2014 as "greatest hits," but then we'd never get on to all the cool stuff I am lining up for 2015! Nonetheless, here's a recording from one of my favorite moments from 2014: Drupal Dev Days in Szeged Hungary, where more than 300 contributors went wild working together on Drupal, I was honored to be the keynote speaker, and where Adam Juran and Campbell Vertesi debuted their now-legendary "Coder v Themer" ultimate smackdown grudge-match. In this podcast, Michael "Schnitzel" Schmid and I talk Drupal 8 from his perspective as a service provider.
Part 2 – Larry Garfield and I had a long chat in front of my camera at DrupalCon Amsterdam to warm him up for writing "Building Bridges: Linking Islands" in the Future of PHP guest blog series on Acquia.com. In this second part of our conversation, we touch on Drupal's specialist value-adds over and above straight PHP, what defines community, sustainable contribution and services v products businesses, rebuilding Drupal's foundations to make a better project for everyone, the php[world] conference and Drupal 8 itself as manifestations of all the good changes coming with PHP interoperability, how communities are building bridges between their islands and sharing innovation, and how to do the Drupal Hug™.