Thoughts on the Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder Exam

After taking the trifecta of Acquia Developer Certification (General, Back-end, Front-end) exams and earned a new black 'Grand Master' sticker, I decided to complete the gauntlet and take the Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder Exam at DrupalCon LA.

Acquia Certified Drupal Site Builder - 2015

Taking the test in Acquia's testing center was a welcome reprieve from taking the exams online. There's much less of a 'big brother' feel when you don't have a 'sentinel' application running on your computer and a camera focusing on your face the entire time. Also, the exam room is nice and quiet, and has a good 'library' vibe to it.

Exam Content

The site builder exam is, in many ways, the most straightforward of the Drupal certification exams. Most of the scenarios are very cut-and-dry, and there are only 50 questions on the test (as opposed to 60 for the other exams).

There are a few questions that made me think a bit. Most are presented as general scenarios, just like the other exams, with a list of solutions from which you pick the best, and many are things that I've encountered or been asked about on a project in the past (e.g. "User johndoe tried doing X, but got an error... how do I give johndoe the ability to do X"). There were also a decent number of questions asking about how to set up a view and/or block correctly to display relevant information for a given scenario.

One oddity was the number of aggregator-related questions on the exam. I can count on one finger the number of times I've used aggregator.module, and I've built hundreds of Drupal sites. I think I had three or four aggregator-related questions, and it felt a little strange (though those questions were straightforward enough I could answer them without much familiarity with aggregator).

I think the exam could use a tiny bit more expansion into contrib-powered site building. Maybe a question or two on panels-based layout, flag, organic groups, or some of the other more popular contrib modules that a seasoned Drupal site builder would need to use on a larger project.


On this exam, I scored a 92%, and (as with the other exams) a nice breakdown of all the component scores was provided in case I want to brush up on a certain area:

  • Drupal Features: 80.00%
  • Content and User Management: 100.00%
  • Content Modeling: 91.66%
  • Site Display: 90.00%
  • Community and Contributed Projects: 100.00%
  • Module and Theme Management: 75.00%
  • Security and Performance: 100.00%

Again, I like how the exam gives a breakdown of each area of strength/weakness. It helps me to validate areas where I could improve my skills through workshops, books, research, etc.


On the whole, the exam hits on most of the right bits of Drupal core + Views, and gives a good set of questions to evaluate how good you may be at site building in general. It's a simpler, less 'development'-focused exam in comparison to the other exams, and would be great for those wishing to validate their general site building skills.


I also did the Drupal Site Builder Certification today (score of 90%) and it is absolutely feasible to solve if you stick around some time with building Drupal sites and have been through the admin UI in some extense. I did no special preparation for the exam, so I am glad my hands-on skills got verified with passing this exam.

What makes Acquia Certification different from major other certification programs (like Microsoft, etc.) that you can not get exam prep guides to just pump questions. This makes it less probable to pass the exam with only theoretical knowledge. Good thing, I think.

What does it make a bit distant from real word building of drupal sites is missing out contrib modules (despite views). Nearly all sites will need a bunch of contrib modules. But it would of course be very difficult to pick a few contrib modules out, because often you can do the same thing with different modules (e. g. Panels and Display Suite). So one site builder might never use a specific but popular module because always choosing another one for job. So it is understandable that Acquia focused only on Core and Views (getting without Views in nearly impossible). Some questions do focus on what can be done with core and what cannot be done with core. So in this way you are also providing some knowledge about modules the other way round.

Totally agree on surprising focus on Aggregator. Personally I never used it in a project and was glad that I stumbled upon it sometimes in the Module list, so I could solve the questions about it hopefully too by just knowing the name and wild guessing ...