Insights - Acquia Certified Drupal 8 Site Builder

I completed "Acquia Certified Drupal 8 Site Builder" exam with overall score of 76%. Certification focuses mainly on 8 sections covering various aspects of Drupal 8 site building. Certification had 50 question to be answered in 75 Minutes and 68% as a passing mark.

Result

  • Overall Score: 76%
  • Topic Level Scoring:
    • Section 1 - Understanding Drupal: 100%
    • Section 2 - Working with a Drupal Site : 70%
    • Section 3 - Content Modeling : 75%
    • Section 4 - Site Display: 83%
    • Section 5 - Site Configuration: 100%
    • Section 6 - Community and Contributed Projects: 75%
    • Section 7 - Module and Theme management: 50%
    • Section 8 - Security & Performance: 50%

I am not completely satisfied but little happy about the results - still lot many things to be explored :).I must take some serious measures on improving section 7 and 8. 

1. Reference Material

1.1. Actual D8 Site Building experience

There can be  no way to clear Acquia certification by just readings the online help, blog and books. Actual practical knowledge of Drupal 8 site building is the most recommended way of preparation and should be considered as most effective reference material too.

  • If you don't wish to set it up on your local machine then Acquia Dev Cloud could be the best option to explore it. 

1.2. Drupal.org Reference Material

There is lot of reference material available over the drupal.org

1.3. Books

There are many more books available by now for Drupal 8.

  • Refer - Nick Abbott & Richard Jones' Learning Drupal, that is the best book to start preparation for Drupal 8 Site Builder certification. Lot more emphasis is geared around the site building aspect of D8.

2. Preparation

In terms of the preparation there is no way to escape the actual site building experience on your own. Revisit each and every concept by actually performing it on the site.

No Section Questions
1 Understanding Drupal 3
2 Working with a Drupal Site 10
3 Content Modeling 12
4 Site Display 6
5 Site Configuration 7
6 Community and Contributed Projects 4
7 Module and Theme management 4
8 Security & Performance 4

2.1. Understanding Drupal

2.1.1. Demonstrate the ability to explain the distinct and differentiating features of Drupal

Look at the very basic kind of features of Drupal as a CMS. Focus mainly on the features which are specific to CMS's. While such features differentiate the same with Core, Contributed or Custom categories.

Preparation:

2.1.2. Demonstrate the understanding of Drupal jargon and terminology

This section mostly remains same for any Drupal version.

Preparation:
  • Refer - Drupal Glossary.
  • Explore Drupal concepts and its actual usage in the site. 
  • Understand the concepts which are quite different in Drupal 8 as compared to Drupal 7.

2.2. Working with a Drupal Site

This is one of the vast and varied section. 

2.2.1 Given a scenario, determine how administration tools are used for site management.

This section focuses on the admin dashboard, administrative navigation and the various structural and configurational options.

Preparation:
  • Refer - chapter # 1 to #4 from book Learning Drupal.
  • Explore various configurations or settings through the navigational journeys.
  • Explore the configurations specific to Site Information and Branding Information. 
  • Explore the exact changes that Drupal 8 has brought from Site Management perspective.

2.2.2 Given a scenario, demonstrate ability to configure user accounts.

This section covers the sections related to account settings, permissions and any required access level required for the operations explained in the scenarios. Significance of the roles and its assignment to the users needs to studies well too.

Preparation:
  • Understand new user registration process.
  • Explore new account creation by admin user role.
  • Explore default fields available in User Profile and how to add new fields to profile.
  • Explore existing roles and addition of new roles with specific permissions. 

2.2.3 Given a scenario of a completed content item, identify which elements are taxonomy terms, image fields or text fields.

This section mainly covers the analysis part of what exact CCK field types / widgets to be selected for the content type based on the nature of the data. 

Preparation:
  • Understand the concept of Taxonomy and its scope beyond just categorization.
  • Explore the nature of various content and its possible association with different CCK fields.
  • Explore already available CCK fields and newly introduced CCK fields in D8. 

2.2.4 Given an example of a page layout, determine what is content versus a block.

This section might be little confusing if not practiced properly. Focus on Form Displays, Display views and its usage in Node View, Views and Block layouts. Custom block type facility in Drupal 8 has expanded the scope of Blocks and needs to be given the extra importance.

Preparation:
  • Refer - Administration link @ [ Structure > Block layout ]
  • Explore how differently layouts are managed in Drupal 8.
  • Explore the layout or display settings for Content Type, Taxonomy, User Profile and Images.
  • Understand the scenarios wherein Custom Block types can be used for representing the content.

2.2.5 Demonstrate an ability to troubleshoot problems related to content, configuration and maintenance

This section covers the general guidelines for troubleshooting. Practical scenario will surely assist in answering the questions but still look the best practices and its implementation. 

Preparation:
  • This is quite tricky as - this section may contain the questions specific other sections as well.

2.3. Content Modeling

This section is related more to the Data Modelling or Data Architecture. Content types, taxonomies and relevant CCK fields can be considered as main components for the questions.

2.3.1 Demonstrate ability to model content using Content Types and Vocabularies

This section covers data architecture part specific to Content Types and Vocabularies. 

Preparation:
  • Explore the complete flow of Content Type and Taxonomy creation.
  • Explore referencing taxonomy vocabulary to content type.
  • Explore referencing one content type to other content type.
  • Understand the scenarios to use taxonomies or content types for entiry referencing purposses.

2.3.2 Demonstrate ability to configure and manage comment types and comments

This section covers the integration of Comments with other entity types. 

Preparation:
  • Refer - Comments in D8.
  • Refer - Another good link.
  • Explore the Comment Types, Settings and possible association with other entities.
  • Explore the comment approval configurations and various relevant permissions.

2.3.3 Demonstrate ability to configure and manage block types and blocks

There are lot many things related to Blocks has been changed in Drupal 8. Place Block button, Block library and Block Types are few of newly introduced features in D8. 

Preparation:
  • Explore Block Layout options.
  • Understand to place a single block to multiple regions on the same page.
  • Explore the facility of custom block types.

2.3.4 Demonstrate ability to configure and manage Contact forms

Preparation:
  • Explore various configurations specific to contact forms and ideal scenarios to use them.
  • Explore the possibilities to manipulate the data received through contact form.
  • Understand email alerts configurations for contact form. 

2.3.5 Demonstrate ability to configure and use multilingual content and interface

Drupal 8 has taken multi-lingual support to next level with including almost all important modules as a part of core only. 

Preparation:
  • Understand the existing Multi-lingual capabilities of Drupal 8.
  • Understand translate interfaces available for Nodes, Menus, Blocks and administration navigational links.
  • Explore the ways to explore the content based on the languages. 

2.3.6 Demonstrate ability to configure and manage menus, menu items and menu blocks

Menu system in D8 is much more flexible now with complete control on hierarchy, display and streamlined linking to internal and external content.

Preparation:
  • Explore the options to create new menus and items.
  • Explore the options to associate menu its with internal and external links.
  • Understand the facility of menu item hierarchy and its presentation / display through regions.
  • Explore the translation options for menus. 

2.4. Site Display

This section covers the display part of the site content.

2.4.1 Demonstrate the ability to control the display of content across various regions of the site using the block system.

Place Block button opens up possibility to place the content across multiple regions.

Preparation:
  • Explore the display options for Blocks of static content, dynamic content, view blocks and menus.
  • Explore the display options for the blocks through multiple regions on the single page.

2.4.2 Demonstrate the ability to provide different presentations of Content Entities (like Nodes, Comments, User Profiles, Terms etc) for editing or viewing

Managing displays has been extended through Form Display and Display Views.

Preparation:
  • Explore the form display and display views.
  • Understand the usage of display views in Views.
  • Understand the display views for multiple entity types.

2.4.3 Demonstrate the ability to to create, manage and display lists of content using Drupal Views.

Views almost has no limitation in terms of presenting the content in various formats and structures.

Preparation:
  • Explore the new view creation process along with various displays available.
  • Understand the concept of exposed filters.
  • Understand the concept of contextual filter.

2.5. Site Configuration

Site configuration is much more streamlined in D8.

2.5.1 Demonstrate the ability to use the various options related to site configuration like account settings, content authoring, development, search, site and system settings, media.

Preparation:
  • Explore the Site Information configurations.
  • Explore the account settings.
  • Explore the concept of the content authoring and various role permissions specific to authoring process.
  • Explore the configurations and available settings specific to media file management.

2.5.2 Demonstrate the ability to use the Configuration and Synchronization options to import, export, compare configuration across environments.

Preparation:
  • Understand configuration management in Drupal 8.
  • Understand important pre-conditions for configuration management to work on Staging and Production environment.
  • Understand in-scope and out-of-scope possibilities with configuration management. 

2.6. Community and Contributed Projects

2.6.1 Given a scenario, identify when a contributed module would be needed.

Preparation:
  • Explore the already available core modules in Drupal 8.
  • Understand the directory structure and contributed module's storage in the same.
  • Understand the scenarios wherein functionality can be implemented through Core, Contributed or Custom module.

2.6.2 Given example project data, evaluate the health of projects.

Preparation:
  • Understand the risk areas for the project caused due to settings and  configurations.
  • Understand the risk areas for using non-stable modules, libraries or themes.
  • Understand the risk areas for inappropriate permissions and display visibility.

2.6.3 Identify ways of community participation.

Preparation:
  • Explore the best possible options for community contribution.

2.6.4 Demonstrate knowledge of how to report issues against either core or contributed modules.

Preparation:
  • Explore the process of creation of issues for Drupal projects.

2.7. Module and Theme management

2.7.1 Demonstrate the ability to add, update, and remove contributed modules

Preparation:
  • Understand the usage and difference among Core, Contributed and Custom modules.
  • Understand the process of installing, updating and un-installing the contributed modules.

2.7.2 Demonstrate the ability to add, update, and remove contributed themes

Preparation:
  • Understand the usage and difference among Core, Contributed and Custom themes.
  • Understand the process of installing, updating and un-installing the contributed themes.
  • Understand how to get any theme set to default one.

2.8. Security & Performance

2.8.1 Identify security issues resulting from site configuration

This section covers general best practices for security aspect of your Drupal site surrounding account settings, permissions and content visibility.

Preparation:
  • Explore security risks for account settings configurations.
  • Explore the security risks for wrongly configuring the permissions.

2.8.2 Identify performance issues resulting from site configuration

This section covers general best practices for performance aspect of your Drupal site surrounding caching for anonymous and authenticated users, css and js minification, block and views level caching.

Preparation:
  • Explore the options for caching the pages for anonymous users.
  • Explore the options for caching the pages for authenticated users.

3. Question Scenarios

There were at least 2 questions (approximately 1% of total number of questions) with bad English and broken Grammer,  reason enough to change the actual context of the question. Again I am sure Acquia is quite serious about not repeating such things.  

4. Please note

  • Please refer this blog post as just the guidelines and not the guide.
  • Any preparation note should not be considered as an actual question but just the direction towards effective study references.