Are you qualified? Why do we need to be qualified to do what we all do anyway? Why does Joomla! need a professional certification program? NOTE : I've used the term 'developers' here to mean anyone of us who works with any aspect of Joomla! on a regular basis and the term 'end users' to mean our clients and customers.
Why do we need certification? We've all been doing pretty OK up to now, haven't we? Well, it all depends where we want Joomla! to go in the next few years. Is it going to remain an open source volunteer-lead project or become a professional alternative to the bigger names in CMS? Why then do we need certification? To allow developers to prove their expertise & knowledge and use this to build a professional business. To allow developers to charge according to their skills. Certification will also help protect the Joomla! brand whatever direction it takes by assuring end-users that there is a body who will take training, standards and accountability seriously. The money might come in handy as well!
Who benefits from certification? Offering certification will raise the bar for other projects and companies. I'm not suggesting that it isn't already, but it will publicly demonstrate that Joomla! is serious about its users, its brand and the future of the project. Certification will allow end users to more accurately choose developers based on their project requirements. It will allow developers to distinguish themselves from others by promoting their certification. It will also allow a measure of quality control over who is out there building and promoting Joomla! At the moment, anyone can download or one click install Joomla! and be a web designer. Well designed, functional sites show Joomla! in a good light, poorly designed, unsupported and insecure sites don't. And of course it will help the OS community as a whole by raising the bar for other software projects to move to certification. The prestige will promote Joomla!, the revenue will support the project and the brand protection will help Joomla! in the longer term NOTE: Major competitor Drupal already has an investment in 2007 of $7m from a VC fund for the project.
How could it work? Well, we all have different skills. Some of us are techies, some are designers, some just like building sites and some like me just do a bit of everything. I imagine quite a few of us know at least a bit about the different areas listed here. A good way to start would be a mix of formal exams and some community/peer involvement. A developer who just wants to remain an extensions developer could be just that and work towards certification in development. Someone who wanted to gain a grounding and certification in all areas can also do just that. This approach allows a mix and match approach to qualifications.
Why different areas? It will enable developers to demonstrate their knowledge in their own specialist areas of work and allow different developers to be compared against one another within a specific skillset. Particularly talented developers will stand out and less talented developers will have an incentive to bring their certification up to scratch. This means developers have a greater incentive to promote their Joomla! services and this means more sites and more end users which in turn means more overall demand and then more need for certification which means more money for the project.
How could it work? It could only work with the backing and support of both OSM and the wider Joomla! community – you and I. Must be easily updatable to newer version of Joomla! and able to be applied across different skill sets like design, hosting, support, training, coding etc. It has to be available to everyone who is in the supply side of Joomla!, regardless of their skillset and ability. It needs to be easy enough so that all levels of developers can participate but hard enough so that more experienced developers don't feel that it's an easy, and therefore worthless, process.
The mechanics of it I think a points system would produce the fairest level of certification. These points could come not just from formal exams, but also how much community participation they have given – answering questions on the forum for example – and maybe even a peer review process. Developers must also be allowed to take as many exams as they feel they can manage. This will either allow developers to show their experience after passing an exam, or force them to brush up on their skills following failure. There must also be a central directory of profiles with up to date records so that end users can verify the developer they are dealing with.
Does any other OS company offer something similar? Apart from the commercial OS CMS Alfresco, I can't find any other direct competitor who offers certification, so here are a few similar companies.
Is there any money in it for Joomla!? These figures are for more established programs but I would expect any Joomla! certification program to bring in a few hundred thousand $ at least in the first year. The Joomla! forum has 382456 registered users. If only 10% of these take a $100 exam once a year, then that is $3,824,500. There is also the prospect of recurring annual payments and upgrade payments from developers taking more than one exam. Maybe we could use CBSUBS for this? Would be a good advert for both Joomla! and CB.
Any questions? This has just been an exercise in thinking aloud. It's a framework, if you will, about how we could build a certification program but it needs your help and input. If you think it's a good idea, tell other people. If you think it's a bad idea, tell me and I'll stop talking about it. So, does anyone have any questions?
J and beyond qualifications for joomla 280510
Are you qualified? The role of certification in extending the commercial reach of Joomla!
<ul><li>To help developers independently prove their expertise
To help Joomla! become more accepted as a serious business CMS
Allow developers to charge according to their skills
Help Joomla! protect its brand by promoting professionalism and accountability
Bring income to the Joomla! project through fees </li></ul>Why might we need certification?
Who benefits from certification? <ul><li>End users - your clients and customers </li><ul><li>They know that people working on their site actually know what they are doing </li></ul><li>Developers - everyone at this conference </li><ul><li>They can distinguish themselves from other firms </li></ul><li>The Joomla! Project </li><ul><li>Extra income, prestige, protects the brand
Drupal already has $7m VC funding from 2007 </li></ul></ul>