Drupal has long established itself as a sustainable, secure, and cost-effective web development platform to suit any of your site ideas, from a one-page solution to a full-scale business platform handling hundreds of thousands of users at the same time. It powers millions of websites, including those of many of the world’s Fortune 500 companies like McDonald's, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Time Warner Inc., Yahoo!, General Motors, P&G, and many others. The Drupal Community now exceeds 1 million and is continuously growing.
With the growing need for Drupal-based solutions, the question of finding a reliable partner for the project, as well as hiring or getting hired as a qualified Drupal developer became hot. As a result, the Drupal certification program from Acquia Learning Services was announced in March 2014 and is relevant to this day.
All you need to know before you hire Drupal developers
There are multiple reasons to use Drupal as a base for your web project.
- Firstly, Drupal is applied when there is a need to create different content pieces that are similar in substance, for instance, blog news, landing pages, etc.
- Secondly, Drupal is a highly secure solution that handles high system loads.
- Thirdly, Drupal is an open-source system, which gives you free access to a huge amount of applications for your site as well as a friendly community of enthusiasts, who bring more and more functionality every day.
Hence, a business that chooses Drupal for content management purposes will minimize the development and maintenance expenses.
Even though Drupal can be used to build a solution of any complexity, it is most reasonable to use it for the average to the high complexity of a project. The reason is that when it comes to development, Drupal might not be the fastest solution, however, it is highly customizable both for the editor and customer sides. So if you need a system that is fully adapted to your needs, you should be considering hiring Drupal developers.
Core skills to assess when hiring Drupal developers
When it comes to hiring developers for your project, you should not trust your intuition, but bear the skills and knowledge of the candidate. That’s why the first thing to pay attention to is certification. Drupal certification decreases the risks that the project will be built and released in the wrong way, which will result in much higher stability, performance, and lower maintenance cost in the future.
There are four Acquia Drupal certificates the engineers can get — site builder, developer, front-end, and back-end specialist. Depending on the project specifics and the roles of Drupal engineers on this project, one certificate might be enough. However, if the developers get three of them (developer, front, and back-end), they become triple certified which means that these specialists are capable of filling any role on the project or even completing it on their own.
The skill set and knowledge of Drupal developers can be qualitatively assessed only by technical specialists within the company, preferably they should be familiar with what Drupal is and how it works. Below you can find the set of skills, which is a must-have for a candidate:
- Deep knowledge of PHP and OOP principles
- Several years of experience with Drupal 8/9
- Experience working with databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, etc.)
- Understanding of PaaS systems (Platform.sh, Acquia Cloud, Pantheon)
- Good knowledge of platforms for development (Docker, Vagrant, etc.)
- Average understanding of JS
- Proficiency in CSS principles would be a plus (in the case of front-end or full-stack, this skill should be on a high level)
- Deep understanding of version control systems (preferably Git)
- Good knowledge of Git repository management solutions (GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, etc.)
By this day the team of Drupal developers at Lemberg Solutions counts 40 top-notch specialists, and we keep working to extend the team and the variety of services we provide. We achieved significant results in delivering a whole spectrum of Drupal development services, particularly our Drupal developers are experienced in building e-commerce platforms, SaaS solutions, social platforms, corporate websites, etc.
Where to find fantastic Drupal developers
When you have come up with a decision you need a Drupal development partner for your business, your in-house tech team has to outline the product value and vision in order to compile project requirements.
Defining a project's requirements is a crucial step in the development timeline as it determines the required technologies stack and engineers needed. As this point is clear for you and the team, the recruiters with the help of technical specialists start searching.
The deal is it is not complicated to find five or ten candidates for a Drupal developer position, however, it is hard to determine which one is a perfect match for your project, meaning the skills and experience in the area. Further, we want to list resources that will help your team to speed up the hiring process, leading exactly to the developers you need.
The Drupal community is much more than just a bunch of enthusiasts gathered in one place. It is a very proactive group of people who come together to improve the Drupal software, translations, documentation, and the community itself. Its purpose is to connect all Drupal developers and provide them with the opportunity to share their experience, expertise, cases, etc.
While visiting Drupal.org, you can find links to Drupal social media profiles, learn what DrupalCon is and how to find Drupal developers at these events. Furthermore, it is actually the main platform for developers to find help, download resources, contribute to existing projects or present their own solutions to the community.
Clutch will not provide you with a list of top Drupal developers but you will get access to a broad compilation of the most rated companies whose Drupal developers have shown significant results in the area. Commonly, these software houses offer Drupal developers as a part of the team extension service.
Things to evaluate
When looking for Drupal developers for your project, we recommend paying much attention to the following indicators to avoid risks of project failure.
We highly recommend starting by checking the candidate`s Drupal.org profile information about the contribution to open source to reveal the involvement in the Drupal community. The purpose of participating in the Drupal community is to exchange experience, meaning sharing skills and knowledge between developers to enrich the community, enhance the software, improve the documentation, and so on.
In order to contribute or participate in the discussion, you need an account on Drupal.org as most Drupal developers have one. It is not a rare case when you can see years of experience on their accounts, but don’t get fooled by the numbers in the Drupal profile.
The actual level of expertise can only be defined by deep knowledge of what Drupal is, how it works, having the certifications, and certainly a number of successfully completed Drupal development projects. That is why the experience level has to be assessed by technical specialists within your dev team to make sure this is the right person.
As we mentioned previously in this article, Drupal developers who passed certification in three main categories (developer, front-end, and backend) are able to complete the entire project with no additional resources. Ask your candidates the detailed information about their previous projects, completed both by themself as well as part of the team. Afterward, your in-house tech professionals can analyze the quality of the launched Drupal solution.
Drupal certification — why is this important?
The certification is, first of all, a response of the Drupal Community to the questions of ensuring professional standards across Drupal itself. It also helps developers to test their own skills and serves as a motivational tool for improvement. Of course, expertise certificates in the software development field are a trendy topic for discussion and one that has supporters as well as opponents.
One shouldn`t take any certificates as a comprehensive quality assurance of any project development, including a Drupal project, as there are other aspects that affect it. As was said by Dries Buytaert:
“... it is only one piece of the puzzle. However, It will provide organizations added confidence when hiring Drupal talent.”
Most of us would still feel safer visiting a dentist that has successfully passed the examination and got his certificate hanging on the wall, don’t we? From our own experience as a Drupal Community member and a proud employer of Drupal certified developers, the same applies to Drupal.
Quality is above all
Summing up all the above we can say with confidence Drupal certification is important and you should definitely pay attention to it. However, this shouldn’t be the only argument for hiring and an extra evaluation should take place. Drupal certification is just one of the main components that define the professionalism of Drupal developers. However, if the certificate is missing, focus on assessing the technical skills and knowledge of the engineers you hire for your project, instead of rejecting the top-notch Drupal candidates.
Wish you the best of success and recommend keeping an eye on the Acquia certification for Drupal developers, whether you’re a development house or an individual Drupalista. For more information about the certification visit Acquia Certification Program FAQ.