Crack your Acquia Drupal site building certification.

DrupalCon New Orleans 2016

For some developers, getting an University degree might not be necessary since in our field, having the experience and actually knowing what to do can get you a pretty good job. There’re tons of unfilled development jobs out there.

Anyhow, a certification on a specific technology might be something you should consider, since that proves that you understand on a deeper level that technology, language, framework or stack.

Not all technologies have a certification available, but for those who has an official certification program, is because there’s an organization behind it.

On the Drupal side, that’s Acquia. Acquia is a company who’s CTO is the actual Drupal project founder, Dries Buytaert, and they contribute to the project, to the community and manages the certification program for Drupal.

I most say that a certification does not necessarily means you are THE developer on that technology, but Acquia’s certification tests are real use case, very contextual with no puntual questions (like what’s 2+2, or evaluate a piece of code). They define real world problems to which a couple of months of training doesn’t actually get you trough the certification, you most have built a few websites with Drupal and get into de community to pass it.

They offer Drupal 7 (which is the most common used version) and Drupal 8 (which is the new version being adopted) certifications, divided on Site Building Specialist, Front-End Specialist, Back-End Specialist and Certified Developer (which is a mix of the first three), and Grand Master(when you get 3 certifications).

They are all very valuable, and I decided to take the specialist tests separately, instead of the developer one, since each specialist tests go deeply on each subject.

Tests can be taken online or onsite. For those who are taking it online understand that you will need a complete silence place, a computer with microphone and web camera. A person will be looking at you during the test to check if you are doing something weird and they can stop the test at any moment if they notice anything weird.

Site Builder Specialist

The first thing to do is read the blueprint for the test, here’s the Drupal 7 and Drupal 8, this will help you understand the cost, duration and length. Also their webinar video recording helps a lot.

Now, here’s the stuff you should understand for the Drupal 7 Site Builder certification path (most of them apply to Drupal 8 too):




  • Managing content. Publishing, Unpublishing.
  • Commenting system


  • Blocks: What are them? Why would you use them? Where would you place them? How are they created? What blocks are available by core modules?
  • Context Types: What are them ?When would you create a new content type? Check the various configuration options available under each content type.
  • Menus: What are them? How do you create them? How do you place them on the site?
  • Taxonomies: What are terms? When would you create a new vocabulary vs When would you create a new content type?


  • Enabling and Disabling themes. Theme configuration.


  • What are roles? What are permissions? How are users, permissions and roles related? How would you add a user to a role?


  • What are contrib modules? How would you find the right one you need? How do you select from the various options available? How would you download a contrib module? How to install one? How to keep the module updated?
  • How to remove the module, disabling a module and Uninstalling a module.


  • What are text formats? What are filters? How are they related? Why would you need them? How do they help you in securing the site?
  • File System. Public and Private. What happens to the uploaded files? How to upload/attach files to content? What are image styles? Why would you need them? How do they help? How do create new image styles?
  • Under account settings, check out the various options related to user accounts. Adding fields to user profile, configuring who can register on the site, configuring the various emails sent out to the users at various stages of the registration process.
  • Under ‘Regional and Language’, check out how to configure the locale and timezone settings, the various date formats available and how to add new ones.
  • Configuring the core search, Indexing and Content Ranking Settings.
  • Managing aliases (without Pathauto) as well as basic automation of aliases using Pathauto
  • Configuring Site Information like Site Name, Slogan etc. Configuring Cron.
  • Take a look at the Aggregator module that comes with core. Make sure you are familiar with what the module is for and how to configure it to pull some feeds into your site, I got like 8 question about Aggregator module
  • Check out the development options available like Various caching options and how they affect the display of the site. What are the various logs accessible from within the Drupal site. The status report page. What is maintenance mode? Controlling display of various type of errors and notices displayed on the site.


Apart from being able to build fairly complex views, ensure you understand the following thoroughly:

  • Views Relationships
  • Contextual Filters
  • Views Attachments
  • Rewriting Field output
  • Configuring the format of display of fields
  • Views Cache Configuration
  • Adding Headers and Footers to Views
  • In short, ensure you thoroughly understand each of the options available on the views configuration.

If you are ready for this test, you should understand each of the subjects mentioned above.


If you feel you need answers from someone who won the test, shoot me an email at and I can help you out. I train development teams to earn their certification tests!.

Good luck!