How to Level-up Your Career and Get Acquia-Certified
Acquia Drupal Certificates are part of an industry-recognized certification program that helps individuals at all career levels level-up and demonstrate their skills and knowledge in the Drupal content management system, including for roles in web development, content management, and digital marketing. Acquia certifications also provide a great way to stand out from the competition when applying for jobs or contracts. As someone pursuing certification, I thought I’d share my experience to help others along the path.
I started my Drupal journey when I began interning for Kalamuna a year and a half ago and I’ve been able to learn and contribute to a lot of projects, but there’s never an end to what we can learn. This is why I became an Acquia-certified Drupal Site Builder last year. Now, I’m a junior developer who wants to be promoted and invited to contribute to web projects in new and more significant ways; I want to learn Drupal site building, as well as theming and module development, so I’m pursuing the Acquia certification in Drupal Development. If you’re interested in certification, here’s a bit of guidance:
Find your learning plan
On the Acquia site, you can find a list of all their certificates and links to the study guides as well as an FAQ at the bottom. Check out the Acquia Academy website, too, where they offer free video courses—that’s the part that I found to be most helpful, but kind of difficult to reach. You must create an account to become an Acquia customer and access the course, but it’s free. They have another website for partners. If you’re part of an organization who is a partner, then just use your credentials to sign in to the partner website. This is what I did since Kalamuna is an Acquia partner.
Search for the certificate you would like to pursue, then click on the learning plan. For example, I searched for the drupal 9 learning plan, got this results list, and clicked on the option I was looking for.
This learning plan will make it easy to prepare as it will have everything for you in one place. The learning plan outlines which video courses you need to complete. It also has a link to the study guide, a collection of articles from drupal.org for all the topics you need to study. You won’t need to read it all, but it’s a good place to find references for topics you want to review. I found the video courses to be the most helpful. Of course, they don’t cover every single question you may find in the exam. You need to have real experience working with a Drupal site and applying the knowledge and skills presented in the courses. Another very helpful resource in the learning plan is the practice exam. It mimics the questions you’ll find in the real test, which is a good way to get a feeling for the test experience. But more importantly, you will know which areas you need to understand better in order to be ready.
Schedule the test
You’ll find the link to the exam site in the learning plan. I recommend you use that link instead of searching for the exact exam yourself so you don’t end up booking the wrong exam. Scheduling the exam is easy and you will find plenty of time slots to choose from. You can even book the exam as early as the next day for an extra fee. Once you book, you’ll get email reminders as the exam day approaches. Because you will be taking the exam via a proctor website, the system will prompt you to check your device’s connectivity and hardware requirements to avoid surprises on the exam day. You’ll also need to download a special browser called Guardian browser. I recommend you do those checks and download the browser as early as possible so you’re prepared. Make sure to read all the instructions provided by Aqcuia carefully before the exam day so you can decide where you will be taking the test. Next? Onto the big event.
You will be monitored by a proctor during your exam and be required to take the exam in a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed. Don’t wear anything on your arms or wrists, including a watch or jewelry. You’ll need to take the test on an empty, hard surface, so don’t use your desk if it has external monitors or anything else on it. I used a small folding table, which was easier than having to clear out all the stuff on my desk. You won’t be allowed to use a pen and paper or read the questions out loud. Also, remember to bring your ID and your phone with you. The proctor will ask you to use your phone’s front camera to show them your laptop’s screen and keyboard. They will also ask you to remove your eyewear and allow them to inspect it through the computer’s camera. You will be asked to carry your laptop around the room and show the proctor the walls and door. Your proctor will also take control of your mouse and adjust some of the settings on your computer.
The process may sound intimidating, but it is not. During my exam, the proctor was very nice and helpful as she went through all the checks with me. My advice is to relax and take it easy—there’s no rush to start the test on time. The timer won't start until the security checks are complete.
What if I fail?
You will be able to rebook again after two weeks and may take the same exams up to three times. A fourth attempt requires a waiver from the Acquia Certification Program office.
My manager, our Director of Technology, Anna Mykhailova, has given me great advice: passing and getting certified is not the only goal. Taking the exam and failing offers great learning about what your weaknesses are and what areas of study or experience need improving. Having taken two tests myself, I can confirm that she was absolutely right. I passed my first site building test but failed the Drupal developer test. I’ve learned way more from failing than I learned from succeeding. I plan to take the test again. I believe I’m more prepared this time and confident (fingers crossed) that I will succeed.
You can do it!
Acquia certificates offer a valuable opportunity for individuals to advance their learning and gain recognition from potential employers. While the idea of pursuing certification may seem daunting at first, it is important to remember that Acquia provides comprehensive resources and support to help you succeed. By obtaining an Acquia certificate in Drupal, you can demonstrate your expertise in this widely-used content management system and enhance your professional profile. I hope that the information provided has given you the confidence and knowledge needed to embark on this rewarding journey. I’m off to study for my second test….