Examining the case for Joomla 4 certificates
So what's certification all about and why does it matter?
Is it worth creating a Joomla 4 certification and would those who did the Joomla 3 certification want to become retested against Joomla 4?
What does a Joomla 4 certificate bring to Joomla and more important, who is going to make it happen?
These are the questions we need you to answer.
Read on and let us know what you think so we can make an informed decision.
Certification with Joomla 3
The Joomla! Certification Program was created to ensure the competence of Joomla! professionals through documented measurement of skills and knowledge. The program aimed to establish a certain standard whilst promoting a qualified workforce.
The last person to gain the Joomla 3x Certified Administrator status was from Switzerland in September 2020.
There are 238 certified users who can all be found by taking a look at the certified user directory
Certification had several goals which were outlined as:
- Establish a standard
- Ensure competence and develop a qualified workforce
- Provide a documented measurement of knowledge
- An important role in choosing a Joomla! service provider
You could take the exam in several languages:
Why did it stop?
So what happened to the certification program and can I do it now?
Well no, you cannot. The team organising it has disbanded, another casualty of the global pandemic.
It is hard to do exams when you are not allowed to meet in person. Often the certification programs were run at Joomla Days but these all became virtual days.
And so with in-person meetings banned for over a year and no travel allowed between many countries, the whole program stopped. And then in August 2021 Joomla 4 was released and doing exams in the old system, a system that only had 2 years of life left was, well, pointless.
So with no team to administer the courses and now a new version of Joomla without much documentation, things drifted apart.
This is where we are now: Joomla 4 has now several books and other training materials out in the wild, there are many many Joomla 4 sites. The question is, what's the case for restarting the program?
What did the certification ever do for me?
Speaking to a group of people who had done the certification, the general feeling was that it had not brought in cold-calling work but it was certainly a good form of trust with existing clients and potential clients.
One nice feature of the certification program is that you can add the certification badge to your email and that will link back to the resource to give that trusted link and reassurance to those checking you out.
Price was on the Big Mac index and explained on the site thus:
The price of the exam is different per country because of the so-called Big Mac index. This balances the price between the cost of living and earnings in a country. In this way everybody gets the same chance to do the exam. The current prices are based on the Big Mac Index from January 2019, these prices are valid from 1st July 2019 until 30th June 2021 (this period has been extended due to the Corona pandemic).
In the UK, it would cost me in the region of $55. Not expensive and if it's the nudge to winning a job over someone else, then money well spent.
When I asked a group of people who had done the previous Joomla 3x exam if they would do the exam if there was a Joomla 4 exam, the majority said yes.
What does it do for the organisation?
Drupal does have an equivalent certification program but I could not find a similar one for WordPress.
Such a program does say a lot about the organisation behind it. It shows they are passionate about raising standards and building that trust network.
It also gives a competitive edge to those who bother to do the learning and take the exam.
It forms a peer group within the organisation that you can trust when looking for others to partner with on projects and is another way an organisation can promote those that invest most in Joomla.
What could the certification plan look like?
Well, that is up to those who decide to take on building the educational program.
There are several ways it can be run.
Just the exam
I was one of those that upset others by doing no revision and just turning up to do my exams, back then in the last century my memory was good and I didn't need to do as much.
An exam-only certification favours those who have daily experience in a subject, like exams and perhaps don't need to read the syllabus or study too much. They may squeak through the exam not knowing some chunks but scoring enough on other areas of knowledge to swing it their way.
A Learning Management System exam (LMS)
Another way would be to have a full LMS, the certification being based on passing all the modules.
This then forces people to be proficient and gain knowledge in the whole syllabus and not just squeak through on an exam.
It is more work for the organisation and produces a more assured result.
And you cannot pass if you have not covered all the areas so those who put in minimal effort and hope to squeak through will not.
It also means that all the people who have done this certification could then form a network of well-rounded individuals who can be trusted to perform in all the areas covered. Picking people to expand your agency team using someone from the pool of individuals should not bring nasty surprises later down the line, all areas of the topic will be covered.
Perhaps the listing in the certification area could also help the individuals more by specifying if people who have done the program would be interested in new work, agency work, collaborating with others on larger jobs, or joining a team, it would certainly add more utility to the whole program.
What sort of exam?
There is also the question of what exams we should cover if the program starts up again.
- Content manager
- Extension developer
- Security specialist
- Optimisation specialist
- SEO specialist
All of the above would create the holistic Joomla site builder and developer.
Many of us are Jacks of all trades, building, hosting, administrating and developing sites.
Some of the above would be more generic to other CMS but could drill down into the Joomla way of doing things.
What's your view?
We really want feedback! Please fill the comments areas with your thoughts on the above and give the community your feedback.
It would really help to understand the appetite and scope of interest in restarting the Joomla Certification Program.
One final question left
So the final question is: would you be willing to help make it happen?
For it to restart we need a new team to get this started, people to set questions, build the syllabus and work out the logistics of organising the exams.
There's a lot that's needed to make this happen, we need a leader and many helping hands.
If you feel it is the sort of project you could get your teeth into then message me on Mattermost, it's where the community meets and would be a requirement to work on such a project. If you are not on Mattermost yet then this article should help you.
It would be great to see the program working for Joomla 4 and Joomla 5 it just needs you to get things started!