Certainly for the present age ... the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.
Longitudinal relation between videogames use and sexist attitudes among German video game players - by Wai Yen Tang
Modules Unraveled: 132 How and Why Acquia is Training Drupal Talent Before They Hire Them with Amy Parker - Modules Unraveled Podcast
While this episode might end up sounding like a giant advertisement for AcquiaU, it’s really not intended to be. I wanted to have you on to talk about the concept of, how a company that hires Drupal developers, can and should go about training them before they are hired.
In order to set the backdrop for the rest of our conversation, I’d like to quote a bit from the AcquiaU website:
The challenge the community is facing is one of supply and demand. Simply put, there just aren’t enough people to fill the needs. At any given time in the past 6 months, job aggregator Indeed.com has over 2,500 open position across the US for Drupal talent.
How do we close the gap? Find the people with the right passion and grow their talent from the inside-out. We're not looking for people with years and years of Drupal experience. We're looking for people who are curious, motivated, determined, and who can inspire a little crazy in us all. At Acquia, culture and a person's POTENTIAL to contribute and grow with us matters. A lot. These are the underpinnings of a successful candidate.
What I love about that is that you’re not looking for senior level developers with 5+ years experience. Because you’re not going to find them. They all already have jobs.
Mike and I ranted about that in the last podcast, so I won’t rehash it here, but what we boiled it down to is that Drupal shops need to create a talent pipeline for recruitment, which, as I understand it, is essentially what AcquiaU is for Acquia.
Ok, with all that said, I’ll shut up now, and let you do the talking.
- Can you give us your description of what AcquiaU is?
The program is 14-weeks of hands-on training in Drupal, Acquia Products, related web technologies, and professional development skills like team building, leadership, and communication skills. We spend the first 6 weeks in a classroom environment, which is a combination of lecture, group projects, individual assignments, and self-paced learning. The most recent graduates’ project was to redesign the program’s website, u.acquia.com Each participant is assigned an Acquia Mentor who is there to not just be a buddy, but to help from a technical perspective. The next 8 weeks are spent with job rotations where they work with our customer facing Professional Services developers and customer support. Each person is assigned a client team and works side-by-side on real projects. You might think it is like any other tech bootcamp out there but we differentiate ourselves in a couple of key areas. First, we make sure we have an open job opportunity for each person who joins the program and second, we pay people to learn. Many other bootcamps have a high cost- on average up to $10,000 and while they help with job placement, I can’t say how many have jobs lined up for graduates BEFORE they join the program.
How do you select your candidates? Or can anyone join the class?
We have a rigorous screening process and look for people with 2-3 years of technology experience, but who might not be able to get a job with a development shop. A lot of times, this level of talent is overlooked because companies don’t have the internal mechanisms to train, mentor, and coach junior level talent. They are already stretched thin and want new hires to hit the ground running at a fairly high level of proficiency.
What types of skills do you teach?
We dive deep into Drupal and other web tech skills like Drush, GitHub, and Agile and a dive into our own products and services. Helping people become well rounded also means that we do workshops in team building, communication skills, and presentation skills. The next session will have an engineering focus so we will be digging into LAMP stack and web architecture.
Do the students have any obligation to Acquia at the end of the program? (Like they have to work for you for a given time period after the program?)
People are hired on as temp employees and we really hope they have had a great experience and want to stay on. The program’s goal is to hire them at Acquia or with one of our partners.
What percentage of students would you say you hire on average?
So far we have a 90% hire rate. The goal for 2016 is to expand the program and hire more people into other Drupal shops
Do you have information about those that you don’t hire? Do you know if they’re employed somewhere else? Or did they decide Drupal wasn’t for them?
Now that you have a few classes under your belt, is this something you think other shops should look into doing?
- People have asked me this and I think they should think about what the end goal is. Our program is not to just train more people for Acquia, but to give back to the Drupal community by creating a long-form drupal training program with learning paths and a structured hands-on curriculum.
We were talking before we started recording about this idea. Mike had mentioned that shops should create a talent pipeline. And while I agree with that in theory, what that means is that the shops first have to develop a training program, and one or more people who are skilled at both Drupal and teaching in a way that doesn’t alienate the trainee. From your perspective, how would you respond to that?
- Having a talent pipleline means that you have a people development strategy that aligns to your business strategy, and that you have launched that people plan long before you launch the business strategy. Most companies play catch-up and are more reactive than proactive. Being proactive means you’re looking ahead 2-4 years out and making plans for your people.
If there is a shop owner out there listening right now, what would your advice be on how to go about creating a program like this?
- I think you really have to be prepared to commit. Budgets need to allow for hiring junior talent, the business needs to be ready to bring in this level of need. It takes a lot of planning to launch a program like this. For companies that can’t support hiring 5-10 junior level talent, they should start out with a smaller number. A really strong learning program doesn’t just focus on the skills, but on different ways that people will need to learn and being able to translate really complex ideas into ways that different people will relate to. If you’ve ever heard about the adult learning cycle and experiential learning, we know that people tend to be most successful learning new skills when they can reach back into their own experience and apply them to the new content. Being a really strong developer doesn’t always mean that you can tap into other peoples’ experiences and make it relevant to them now. So when you look at creating that pipeline and having junior level talent come on board, you also have to figure out the most effective way to do it.
Preparing for the exam:
- Review this great guide: Five Steps to Get Ready for the Acquia Certified Developer Exam (pdf)
- As the guide says, review topics (in the pdf appendix) and identify your weaknesses, read up on your weaknesses.
DrupalEasy is so excited to announce that we are teaming up with Stetson University to present the first comprehensive, university-based Drupal career professional development program in Florida! The Drupal Career Certificate Program (DCCP), which is built on DrupalEasy’s Drupal Career Starter Program curriculum, marks an official entrance to the Drupal talent pipeline through the US higher education system. The DCCP, now part of the university’s Boundless Learning programs, will be officially announced at Florida DrupalCamp 2015! The first course will kick off this Fall at the Stetson Celebration Center located right in the middle of Florida's High Tech corridor on the outskirts of Orlando.-->
This module aims to ease the deployment of translation .PO files that the great Potx module generates. No longer will you have to manually upload these files to keep your site translations up to date. You can manually batch import all PO files defined in custom modules or alternatively, you can use the always useful Drush command to make things easier for you.
Drupalpress, Drupal in the Health Sciences Library at UVA: equipment booking system — simplify(ing) comments
We don’t have a lot of feedback about how our patrons are using the current equipment booking system. There may be information that users could share with one another (and the library) if given a mechanism to do so. So as part of the new booking system implementation in Drupal, we set a task of including a commenting feature. Each reservable piece of equipment stands alone as a node so all we have to do is turn on commenting, right?
But there are a couple of things that are worth noting about that.
If you’re enabling comments on a content type, it’s probably a good idea to consider who can view (and post comments to) that content. That’s all in the permissions table.
In our scenario, we didn’t want unauthenticated comments and we didn’t want to restrict the individual equipment pages (e.g. the page for iPad copy 2) to any kind of login. The request to reserve equipment from that page would trigger the login.
The snippet from the permissions table below shows how we adjusted the comment access. Note that these will be permissions that will apply anywhere else on we’re using comments on our site … we’re not currently, but if we do in the future we’re fine with this access level.
Once authenticated, the comment form defaults to give users a text format selection option. There are advantages to users selecting a WYSIWYG format This too can be handled in the text format configurations or even the permissions table. An easier way is with the Simplify module.
Simplify gives you an interface to hide a bunch of stuff that may be noisy to users adding content — publishing options, path settings, etc.
And for comments it lets you hide text formats.
The finished product: