What is an Acquia Certified Grand Master?

Acquia certified grand master

Big congratulations to Tanner Langley, our Senior Drupal Developer turned Acquia Certified Grand Master. He has earned the highest ranking Drupal certification.

Elevated Third is lucky to now have 3 of the world’s 150 Acquia Certified Grand Masters. Our Grand Master Drupal developers, Nick Switzer, Michael Lander, and Tanner Langley are incredibly important to our implementation workflow. They work on every website we launch.

In order to help everyone understand the significance of this certification, we’ll discuss what a Grand Master is, what the certification process looks like, and the value a Grand Master provides.


What is an Acquia Certified Grand Master?

Let’s take a step back to understand Acquia’s role in this certification process. Acquia is the leading cloud platform SaaS company for Drupal websites and is led by Dries Buytaert, the creator of Drupal. They serve as the administrator and regulator of the premier professional certification program for Drupal. Having Dries Buytaert, the co-founder of Acquia and the creator of Drupal, develop this program provides an enormous amount of credibility. It demonstrates Acquia’s commitment to not only their platform but also to the whole Drupal community. With more knowledgeable and engaged developers bettering the community, Drupal’s power increases and in turn supports the companies that leverage Drupal for their digital experiences.

To become an Acquia Certified Grand Master a developer has a one-year timeframe to complete three certification exams: Certified Developer, Certified Front End Specialist, and Certified Back End Specialist. Developers interested in taking the exams and becoming Grand Master certified can take the test online at any time, at testing centers across the world, or during DrupalCon, where most developers take the tests. 


Why Does It Matter?

Passing three of the hardest Drupal certification exams is a daunting task and those who pass the test should be applauded. But how does the time and effort into passing these certification exams translate to project success?

When working with a Grand Master Drupal developer you are getting one of the top developers in the world and the knowledge of Drupal best practices and efficiency in mind. Staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices gives them a unique perspective on the next Drupal challenge.

Most importantly, our clients gain an incredible competitive advantage having access to Grand Master developers on their projects. Top Drupal talent in the industry gives our clients access to developers that are always looking for new ways to innovate and develop modules that deliver never before seen functionality within Drupal.

Our Grand Master certified developers recently used their knowledge to develop a fully decoupled Drupal project, that has been highly successful for our client and serves as a benchmark in the industry.

Let's take a deeper look into what is required of an Acquia Certified Grand Master. 


Acquia Certified Developer Exam

The more general of the three exams focus on the areas of fundamental web concepts, site building, front end development (theming), and back end development (coding). Specifically, the exam tests a developer’s level of knowledge and ability to:

  • Setup and configure new Drupal sites
  • Develop and implement new Drupal modules and themes
  • Customize and extend existing modules


Acquia Certified Front End Specialist Exam

This test specifically focuses on a developer’s skills and knowledge of Drupal front end theming, including:

  • Fundamental web development concepts, HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, jQuery
  • Theming concepts like custom regions, theme configuration, stylesheets, breakpoints, sub-themes
  • Templates and pre-process functions, Twig syntax, templating, Form Alter and Template Suggestions After
  • Layout configuration, Blocks, views, and the Responsive Image module
  • Performance/security, analyzing and resolving site performance/security issues from site configuration and custom themes


Acquia Certified Back End Specialist Exam

This exam validates the skills and knowledge of building and implementing Drupal solutions through module development. This test focuses on:

  • Fundamental web development concepts, HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP programming, managing dependencies using Composer, Git for version control, and Automated Testing concepts
  • Drupal core API. Registering paths for URL requests using Routing system and Menu API, building and validating forms using Form API, interact with Entity system using Entity API, and ability to use Core APIs for building and extending Drupal functionality
  • Debug code and troubleshooting
  • Theme integration
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Leveraging community by contributing modules back to the Drupal community and ability to write code using Drupal Coding Standards

To know there is a Grand Master on your project is to know your project will be influenced by someone with a well-rounded background of the entire development Drupal landscape, not just specialization in front end or back end development. This well-rounded background helps the developer have a better understanding of how the different pieces of a project come together to create a powerful, flexible, and scalable digital platform.

Quite simply, having Grand Masters on our team ensures our clients get the top talent in the industry to develop their sites and produce extraordinary digital experiences for their own customers. 

If you are looking for top Drupal talent for your project, let's talk