Why Google-certified Mobile Web Specialist is a good starting point

At the end of last year, I was looking for systematic learning materials to help people learn web technology through experiential learning, and Google recommended its “Mobile Web Specialist” certification.


In January, I took the exam without giving it much thought and failed, even though I code JavaScript on a daily basis. By taking the examination, I was able to determine my weak areas, and I set aside some time in March to improve upon them. Then I took the exam again in April and passed.

My conclusion is that it was a very good experience.

My certificate of Mobile Web Specialist: https://www.credential.net/1ujh717j

I’d like to share my experience to help people who are struggling at learning web technologies. I was planning to use the “why-what-how” framework to convey my thoughts on the certification, but it turns out that there are already great articles on What’s it aboutandHow to pass it. I’d recommend reading both articles listed below:

Then I’d focus on “Why it’s good for me” a bit more.

Where to start learning web technology in 2019?

As the surrounding environment matures, web technology is becoming more sophisticated. In particular, there have been improvements in accessibility and performance, development environments, infrastructures and languages.

The learning journey of “Front end” by Brandon Morelli: https://codeburst.io/the-2018-web-developer-roadmap-826b1b806e8d

For example —

Accessibility: Using picture elements to set precisely responsive images, WAI-ARIA, input type and its validation, etc.

Performance: Cache strategy using service worker, AMP correspondence.

Development environment: How to debug them, testing with CI using Lighthouse bot, etc. This will take you nowhere.

What this means is that the scope of web development is expanding and deep domain knowledge is required. It can be said that the difficulty in web learning is increasing.

If you were asked the following question, what would you answer?

“Where I should learn web technology from now on?”

I’m thinking of using “Mobile Web Specialist” as one of the answers to this question.

The top-down and bottom-up approach to learning

I think that there are two types of learning: one that emphasizes the depth of a specific area and one that emphasizes the breadth to understand the big picture.

Depth-first learning
Problem-based learning works well for me. As people say, seeing is believing, and I learn a lot more through one experience than I could have by reading ten books. It’s a kind of bottom-up approach: thinking about use cases, identifying what’s needed and building stuff. It’s a very effective way to dive into a deep area that you find interesting.

Problem-based learning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem-based_learning

Breadth-first learning
Traditional learning helps me to understand the whole picture. It is more of a top-down approach: looking at the big picture, understanding every area in detail and then testing to make sure that I memorize it all.

Traditional learning

In my case, the bottom-up approach could be satisfied with OSS activities such as reading issues, thinking about a solution and sending a patch to repositories. It’s literally problem-based learning for me. However, I would focus on a very specific area and sometimes fall behind in the other areas that I do not touch a lot and I’m not interested in. The top-down approach helped me to understand the big picture, and since the certification would give me a result, this led to motivation. This was effective for me.

When would be good to maintain your big picture?

Since the certification has an expiry day, it’s intended to introduce new knowledge as it’s available. For example, according to the learning guide, AMP is out of the certification’s scope for now. I hope it is added for future learning.

From AMP conf: https://amp.dev/events/amp-conf-2019

Study guide

Here is one last tip I’d like to share with you to help you pass the exam: the official study guide kindly mentions all domain area to cover.

One more thing: Mobile Web Specialist Certification makes you a bit different

That’s it! Just sharing my experience. Thank you for reading.