Burnish Your Web Development Cred by Becoming an Acquia Grand Master

Martial Arts Master

You know, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, everybody had a personal website. Every 12-year-old had a rudimentary understanding of HTML and MIDI embedding. Back in those days, if you got bored you didn't just go stalk somebody's Facebook page, oh no — you typed the most random term you could imagine into Google and waited to see what came up.


Yes, I had my own site. No, I'm not including a link.


Point is, if I were developing my website today I'd have a whole slew of tools to choose from, most of which come with their own certifications. Today, we're going to talk about one that's almost as much fun to use as it is to say: Drupal. Say that a few times and try to not feel happy. But keep reading while you do that, because we also need to talk about Acquia.


Drupal and Aquia are two programs that work very closely together, so we'll start with Drupal because it's more fun to say. Drupal is a Content Management System, which is like a fancy web editor. It's an application which you install next to your website (on the same machine) and then access through the web to make changes to your website. Drupal boasts a variety of community options, including user profile options, logins and forums. It's also completely open-source and has a broad development base, meaning it's usually not too difficult to find answers to questions. And, it's gaining market share at a nice, respectable rate, and shows good signs for future growth.


Smelling opportunity, Dries Buytaert and Jay Batson founded the Acquia platform around the Drupal product. Acquia is a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider that hosts websites using — and provides technical support for — Drupal. They also offer additional paid services that Drupal does not offer, such as the Acquia commerce layer, which allows the user to accept online payments. Thus, the two products maintain a delicate, beautiful symbiotic relationship.


But we're not here to talk about love, we're here to talk about certs, and Acquia just came out with an interesting one. It's called the Acquia Certified Grand Master, and the gist of it is that if you want to get all of Acquia's certifications, then you might as well have a really awesome-sounding uber-certification when you finish. Specifically, the ACGM indicates that the holder has the Acquia Certified Developer, the Acquia Certified Developer – Back End Specialist, and the Acquia Certified Developer – Front End Specialist, and that all were earned in the same calendar year. Each of these exams are 60 questions and cost $250, $350, and $300 respectively.


Man studies web design

Make no mistake — these are incredibly specialized certs, and they're not easy ones. But with Drupal on the rise and Acquia being the only respectable vendor to-date to offer certifications for the CMS, now's the best time to get in on this if you're a web developer with experience in the program. It would also be a great chance for you to hone your Acquia skills, because let's face it — the chances of you using one without the other aren't great, especially if you're building sites for other people. The most important aspect of this cert is that it will make you a better, more well-rounded developer.


Acquia's exams are offered both at testing centers around the globe and by proctored exam via web conference. You can look over the exact exam specifications at Acquia's homepage, and you can also schedule an exam from there. It should be noted that you should be reasonably well acquainted with Drupal before attempting these exams. If you're starting from scratch, then there are some good YouTube tutorials to get you started.


Also, just a tip: I hear animated backgrounds are really cool. That one's for free.


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About the Author
David Telford

David Telford is a short-attention-span renaissance man and university student. His current project is the card game MatchTags, which you can find on Facebook and Kickstarter.