by James Walker

Do you wanna be Lullabot Drupal Certified?

When the subject of Drupal Certification comes up within the community as it has done recently (see Dries' blog post and the mailing list thread), we here at Lullabot take notice. While we don't generally take an active role in the conversation, our name invariably gets thrown into the mix. That's flattering. We work hard to be the top Drupal training company. We have put over a thousand people through intense, hands-on workshops and taught thousands more through books, DVDs, etc. We love empowering people to make cool stuff with Drupal and have done our best to make a sustainable business doing so. But...

We have no current plans to offer certification.

That is certainly not because we haven't discussed it. We have had countless hours of internal discussions about it. We have even discussed it with potential partners, existing clients, and others but we always come to the same conclusions: it's not time yet.

Is the investment worth it?

Our focus is to arm people with the knowledge they need to make awesome Drupal sites, modules and themes. This is (in part) how we help to grow the community and further the platform. Our training offerings have been very succesful towards this goal. Putting together certification exams, adminstering them and providing certification is an ongoing, significant investment that doesn't directly advance our mission.

Lullabot is not a big company. Anytime we consider a new offering, we have to be sure that it makes sense for us. To do it right, we would put tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars into developing the program. That kind of investment needs to be worth it.

The drop is always moving ...

Probably too fast, or at least too far. A huge challenge we face with our training curriculum is keeping it up to date. Each new Drupal version brings vast, sweeping changes to APIs and interface which means that annually (at least), we revamp our training materials.

To further complicate matters, any Drupal site of significance uses Drupal Core plus 25 - 50 contributed modules. Any meaningful certification would need to include enough of these to ensure that the certificate holder was capable of delivering quality work. However, the rate of change within contrib modules is even faster than core.

Drupal developers, themers and implementers currently face an enormous task of staying relevant. A certification program, therefore, needs to not only follow the same level of work, but should reflect that competence in version 6 does not necessarily translate to version 7. "Lullabot Drupal 6 Core, CCK 2.x and Views 2.x Development Certified" doesn't have quite the same ring.

Certification is a reputation business

And, therefore, delicate. We take extreme pride in our work. To be "Lullabot Drupal Certified" means that we are - in some way - vouching for a person's ability to deliver. A few bad apples could quickly begin to devalue what it means to be "Lullabot Drupal Certified".

Worse, to someone with no involvement in Drupal "Lullabot Drupal Certified" looks no different from "Company B Drupal Certified". If "Company B" certification is cheaper and easier to complete (and results in less skilled Drupal talent), then the whole "Drupal Certification" moniker degrades towards meaninglessness.

Wherefore art thou, Association?

To combat the reputation issue, one can look to the Drupal Association to either provide training material, or "certify the certifiers". As a founding member of the Association, I've seen this discussion from that angle every time it's come up. Chances of the Association stepping in here are minimal. Dries (also President of the Association) has stated that he's against it publicly.

It's a free market, open to anyone who wants to participate.

So, what now?

Lullabot loves you. Many of the things we do (like Online Workshops and DVDs) are direct responses to feedback and requests from people like you. While people have often suggested that Lullabot could or should offer certification, few people have approached us and asked if we would certify them. If you're out there, now is your chance:

Do you wanna be Lullabot Drupal Certified?

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