Frontend Certification

10 January 2012

Following article is a slightly altered version of this article by Wilfred Nas which I decided to publish to try to get some more (international) feedback on the following plan.

Quite some time ago, Wilfred Nas and others did some work on certification for Fronteers, the Dutch association for Front end Developers, of which I am a member too. Then it went dark, as all the volunteers had too much other stuff to do. That is, until last autumn. During the last Fronteers conference some members signed up as volunteers. As Wilfred has some time on his hands now we have decided to get things started again.

The idea is that we have is to do a two way exam. The first part will be a written exam on knowledge of HTML and CSS. In the second part the candidate will have to do some 'live coding', he/she will be given a graphic design and they have to draw a possible solution on a white board. Explaining the choices made to two members of the certification committee (or other judges) as he/she goes along.

If the candidate successfully passes both tests, he/she will receive two 'stars' on the certification for HTML and one for CSS. In the future we could expand the exams to include stars for JavaScript, performance, mobile, 'webrichtlijnen', accessibility and more. The first two stars are mandatory, as I think that any front end developer needs to have a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS.

The stars are something a developer could put on their cv, site. Companies that employ them could use it to show the skills they have on board. The exams should be repeated every one or two years, as the field continues to change. Stuff that is relevant now could be plain obsolete in two years...

Our big problem is now that we don't know if front end developers are interested in this certification.

Some big companies are as well as dutch government agencies have expressed definite interest in this. For them it is a good way (they think) to find the right people to hire. Developers on the other hand are not that interested and I must say that I see their point. Other fields that have certification, like Java, made it clear to me that the best developers are not necessarily the certificated ones. Many front end developers are self taught and are not keen to study for something they have been doing for years, just for the sake of some certificate that may or may not be important.

So here is my question to all of you developers out there, are you interested in certification. I even wanna know if you are not dutch or no members of fronteers, also clients may react. The easiest way to react is to tweet using the Twitter hashtag #frontcert. All tweets containing this hashtag will be gathered under Wilfreds original article.
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    Johan van Tongeren

    10 January 2012

    Yes, JavaScript is an important part of frontend development, and therefor we're thinking about adding more exams to certify other areas like JS, usability, etc.

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    Max Keyner

    10 January 2012

    Certification would be great, but I think that the term "Frontenddeveloper" is kinda wide. For instance; you only mention HTML/CSS knowledge. Personally i think JS (jQuery) knowledge is at least as important as HTML/CSS knowledge.

    As mentioned, certification would be great, but it is kinda hard to get it to work.