2014 was an amazing year for the Joomla! Certification Project. In the past year we’ve gathered leaders and team members from across the world, launched a successful pilot program at the Joomla! World Conference 2014, cultivated serious discussions with the Joomla community and have moved closer than ever to a viable, live professional certification for Joomla! Administrators.

In that time, we’ve also learned how not to do a few things. Our missteps and failures have pushed us closer to a seriously awesome resource for our community, and we’ve grown stronger as a team. We would like to wholeheartedly thank everyone that has played even a small part in getting us to where we are now with the Certification Project. However, we still need more enthusiastic people helping to get the project done. If anyone in the Joomla community has a desire to be a part of this team, we would love to have you join us. For more information about how to get involved, see the end of this article.

A brief summary of the project

One of the things we’ve come to realize is how truly global this project will need to be. Joomla is so inclusive of people all around the world, that the certification we develop must be as global as Joomla’s community. We have spent hours upon hours debating parts of this issue and simply trying to work out how we would accomplish this huge feat. We’ll fill you in on this more in depth soon, but just realize all of the factors that go into making this a fair, relevant and sustainable professional certification when taking into account geography, language, economics and many other issues. It was a challenge, but it was eye opening and in the end gave us a much better picture of our Joomla community.

Probably the most difficult to nail down was the economic piece of this. We had no idea at first how to make this fair to everyone around the world, but at the same time make sure that we kept the certification something more than a throwaway badge to put on a website. We knew that the cost needed to represent something valuable to everyone taking the exam, but absolutely had to be within easy financial reach of as many as possible of the current and future Joomla professionals in the world. We debated this subject for many hours. During one of our meetings the idea of using The Big Mac Index was suggested, and we had a breakthrough. This isn’t the end of the discussion by any means, but it did represent a meaningful method to pricing the exam fairly. It was also a lot of fun to go through. If you haven’t heard of The Big Mac Index you might want to check it out.

Our other major issue was the platform itself. We had important technical problems to overcome with this. We knew we needed a solid platform that could scale easily as the certification grew in popularity and as we added new exams, such as Joomla Certified Developer, which is next in line. We also knew that we needed to be able to handle many languages easily and provide identification checks for the person taking the test. We looked into some of the major professional certification testing companies in the marketplace and realized that the cost of using them would outweigh the benefit at our stage of the game. We liked the aspect of a third party lending some credibility outside of the Joomla community, but we finally decided to take the more difficult route of creating the software ourselves so that we could have better control over the exam and keep these valuable resources within Joomla itself.

Near the end of the year, we were successful in completing the software platform and holding the first ever Joomla Certified Administrator pilot exam at the JWC in 2014. The feedback and communication that we received from that session was invaluable, and we would like to thank everyone involved. However, due to issues that arose in regards to ownership of the extension, we decided not to continue with the same platform that was created for the pilot program. Through the entire development process, we learned more than we could have hoped and have collected a great number of exam topics and questions to move forward very quickly in our new direction. More on this to follow soon.

Obviously, the software itself doesn’t make an entire platform, and that’s where our amazing outreach teams come in to flesh out the project as a whole. We have a team to connect with Joomla trainers and other professionals to become proctors for the exam and help others pass it if they can’t work through the documentation available. We also have folks starting to work directly with the Joomla Documentation team to ensure that we have the resources needed to provide a clear path to learning everything you need to know to become a Certified Joomla Administrator.

During 2015, our plans are to develop the final version of the exam software platform, to connect with as many Joomla trainers and professionals as possible to build a network of partners to support the certification, to work with our talented artists and marketing professionals and develop some awesome marketing tools, and to begin the Joomla Certified Developer exam to launch in 2016. We also plan to ramp up our community outreach and make it easier for everyone to participate meaningfully in the discussion over Joomla certifications as a whole.

Your help is needed

Here’s where we would love your help. We need great developers, awesome communicators and excited Joomla enthusiasts to help us reach our goal of launching a live, public Joomla Certified Administrator exam in 2015. We’ve laid a solid foundation, now we need you to help us finish it off.

To stay informed and join the conversation, or even better to get involved, check in with us on our Facebook page

Thanks and we look forward to meeting you,
Joomla! Certification Project