Magento certification, why bother?

Magento certification, why bother?

Few days ago Magento announced their plans for Magento certification program. As they stated, initial round of certification will be a Beta exam, held on Innovate Developer Conference in San Francisco, October 12 and 13! Those who pass the exam based on the Beta exam analysis, will actually earn the official Magento Developer certification. Final reward for those who pass the exam? They will receive Magento certificate and be able to use the official logo with their name and title. Clearly there is more to it than just a piece of paper, so let me share my thoughts and views with you.

The thing about the certification is that it’s not only about the piece of paper or a card issued by some authority verifying your knowledge and expertise. If you look at it more deeply, additional value lies in the individuals desire to actually go trough it. This shows determination and love towards an area of interest. It’s hard to imagine someone would go trough all the hassle of certification as specific as this one if he does not love his work. This goes for certification in general, not just Magento. This is something hiring managers will know how to recognise and value.

From a personal point of view, as a developer you gain recognition of your Magento skills. Which is not to be ignored, as Magento still is one of the most robust eCommerce platforms our there. This can help differentiate yourself from the competition, possibly increase your value on the market. Not to mention there is a good chance you gain some additional knowledge through preparation and training. Face it as much as you know Magento chances are you skipped a “chapter or two” in your everyday real job (I know I did).

On a company level, there is also a bonus of having some or all of your developers certified. This usually goes in favour of your overall quality.

I’m sure most of you in Magento business will agree that Magento certification was more than welcome and I would even say needed. With all their great products and services now available time is right for quality certification program. I’m only hoping that over the next few months, year or two, most of us in everyday Magento development will earn ourselves a certificate 🙂

So what’s it all about? Magento Developer Certification landing page has a nice little PDF file called Certified Developer Exam: Self Assessment Checklist. It outlines the certification program which comprises of two levels:

  • Magento Certified Developer (MCD)
  • Magento Certified Developer Plus (MCD Plus), has an additional 20 questions

Questions are based on Magento Community Edition Magento Enterprise Edition. Surprisingly there is a detailed outline of 10 specific areas that exam covers, all you need to do is to study it.

  1. Basics (5%)
  2. Request Flow (7%)
  3. Rendering (8%)
  4. Working with Database in Magento (12%)
  5. Entity-Attribute-Value (EAV) Model (10%)
  6. Adminhtml (8%)
  7. Catalog (10%)
  8. Checkout (15%)
  9. Sales and Customers (12%)
  10. Advanced features (13%)

Check the document for details.

In a nutshell that’s it for now. Grab your Magento installations, some coffee, and run trough outlined exam areas if you are interested in taking exam. I must say, it does not look like it’s going to be easy. Regardless of your experience, Magento is still a large platform, meaning lot of terrain to cover so get prepared:)


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  1. @Branko , @phil
    Thank you for this blog and for your comments. I’m thinking about getting into magento as I knew nothing about it until 4 hours ago.
    My questions are:
    What are the prerequisites to start learning magento basics
    How long does it take to learn material before attempting the Certf with 50% hope of being qualified. I would love to master Magento.
    Do I need to be a hardcore Dev?

    1. you can see it on their FAQ I saw your question so I wanted to let you know and it might be helpful for other firends:

      Q: What is a passing score for the exams?
      A: To be granted a certification, you must achieve the following passing scores:

      Magento Certified Developer exam: 37 or higher
      Magento Certified Developer Plus exam: For sections 11 & 12 combined a score of 7 or higher AND meet the overall passing score of 48 or higher
      Magento Certified Front End Developer exam: 44 or higher
      Magento Certified Solution Specialist exam: 39 or higher

  2. Send one or two of your dev team member to get trained from Magento U. Then ask these two to handle the Magento project. Gradually you can become the Magento solution partner. Or hire me to train your dev team.

  3. Hi,
    As the owner of the company, I spent last 2 years mostly on project management, and no more PHP coding. I want to make my company a Magento Certified Partner, and I didn’t touch PHP for a while. What is your advice? any chance to become partner when I almost haven’t touched coding for a long time? (but my dev team dose that.) What would be the best approach?

  4. Hi all

    I am appearing for this exam tomorrow and I don’t know what will I encounter there in exam as there is not even a single free test available online. Also I heard that this exam have questions like name the function which gets called when X functionality runs. Which means I need lots of luck………….so wish me luck 🙂

  5. @Branko

    Thank you for saying nearly everything that I was about to – the entire open source model should be based on providing tiered levels of service and creating a revenue stream from it; if you can’t pay people to focus on a product full-time then the product will never mature. I applaud your response to @nicki.

    Secondly, this whole notion of EE not being open source is laughable. As a certified developer, and one that works in EE every day, I can say that there is incredible transparency in EE with the exception of unit tests. Magento themselves have provided unit tests and selenium tests via Github for the community version; you can’t be much more transparent than that.

    A product like Magento that actually listens to the community and works hard to provide economic opportunity for developers like myself who are PHP/Zend devs with a history of homebrew CMS/Ecommerce development can be nothing but good and should be encouraged, not discouraged, for the further development of PHP, MySQL, and OSS as a whole.

  6. @Nicki

    There lies the problem with PHP and wider open source community. Nicki, with full respect to you, let me share my thoughts with you. People tend to think if PHP is free and open source then everything deriving from it should be free and open source. Seriously, I need food on my table just as any hard working people. Free and open source are two completely different terms. Additionally, what about all those SaaS platforms and various cool webservices built on PHP, should they also be free and open sourced? So why would Magento or any other company feel bad for charging their open source PHP application (Magento EE)? On top of that, its not just about a piece of code, its about entire eco system around it (certification, app/extension store, learning books, etc.). Your comment “why i need a megento certification , php is open source developmet” has no sense. Magento certification has nothing to do with PHP. Its about Magento, which is a eCommerce platform. It does not mean that if you are expert in PHP that you know Magento out of the box. Overall, if you dont like it, dont use it, built your own shopping cart or use another one free. At the end of the day client is the one that usually chooses the platform. And I would like to see a PHP cart platform that can match the number of Magento’s built in features and modularity out of the box. Cheers.

  7. why i need a megento certification , php is open source developmet, if you make it limited to something , i think its a big joke, magento is manipulating its business by putting two version community addition and enterprise, common no one want to go that side where its hard to put trust in and waste investment.
    Magento community edition lakes alot of things
    thats y people shifting to open cart , prestashop and other e commerce things, magento ist its not completely opensource thats y we people cannot rely on it. there is alot of chance monoplizing things. there where community must know it we should not follow a stuppid trend where we cost of alot money and in the end we loose credibility trust and hence loosing code of conduct

  8. Hello,

    I am from India. I want to give this test. But i didn’t find the location to gave it. Anybody please help me in finding the my Test Center.

  9. Thank you all for the details.
    Seems that I would need to have Magneto U video -tuts purchased now…

  10. Unless you have a lot experience of Magento or the top 10 developer of Magento. To pass the exam you not only need to take the course of Magento U also review the question of the exams if you take it for the second time.

  11. @A Magento Acolyte, I studied for that test for 2 months using that PDF as a guide. I think any MCD should be able to answer those questions, so if you don’t know them go ahead and dive into it. You’ll definitely learn a lot.

  12. Hello,
    I’m planning to prepare for Magento Certified Developer Plus (MCD Plus).
    I may give the examination after a month .
    I need help of groovy gurus of Magento and MCD certified ppl here.
    I went through self-assessment pdf. and it seems too much time taking to learn and score high without certain coaching/ systematic videos/or dumps/mock test.

  13. Hi @Tsengtan.. can you please tell me you are talking about which video? can you please share url?

  14. It’s been a while since I posted my comment that I thought I had failed; but in reality I did wind up passing – just making the cut after they removed some of the harder test questions from the exam.

    I am still waiting for the logo and the MCD directory to become available. I would love to put the logo on everything I own! It’s a great feeling 🙂

  15. I passed the MCD test today and am now a Magento Certified Developer. I failed it the first time so it felt great to try again and pass it. It’s a tough test but if you answer the questions from the study guide and watch the MagentoU videos then it can really help bridge the gaps in knowledge. There’s no substitute for getting hands-on though.

  16. I took the test today. It has 70 questions.
    And you need to answer at least 37 of them correctly to pass it.

    I only answered 50 out of 70, then time was running out.
    So I failed. But it’s a good experience.
    But I think the fee $260 is too high for this tough test.

  17. Hi Guys,

    Please share some more sample questions or point in the direction where I can prepare for the exam (not magento study guide).

    Also how many questions are there in the exam and what’s the pass percentage?


  18. I also took the certification beta at Innovate and failed it. I’ve worked with Magento since it came out as a beta (3+ years) but only got into it full time in the past 2 years. The questions that threw me off were the “multiple correct answer” selections. I’m not a great test-taker either so I wasn’t surprised about the results. I go in Monday (2/20/12) to re-take it at Prometric. I have studied like crazy the past few months preparing for it.

  19. I’m not complaining about the types of questions so much as frustrated at the imbalance and distribution of them. I counted at least 5 questions regarding configurable products, and just 1 regarding bundles or groups. Many questions about database schema relating to categories, too.

    I aced EAV, and got 6/10 in ‘Advanced Concepts’, but flunked ‘Basics’… how is that possible?

    Admittedly I’m not a great test-taker, I do get nervous and I second-guess myself a lot. I’m looking forward to a practice test becoming available and doing some more study before I take it again.

  20. Does Magento knows their own System? Question No. 2 is a little bit sad. The first “Translation Type” never uses .xml Files. Magento uses always .csv Files for translation. Who had made this questions?

  21. I’m another one who gave the beta exam a try. I wasn’t prepared for the test because I didn’t have plans to participate in the beta exam (but couldn’t resist when I got the opportunity to do so).
    I believe that I didn’t pass. Of course these first exams yet have to be analysed to set the final limits for the certification, but as they want to make it challenging I believe that my try wasn’t good enough – and that’s okay.
    In my opinion, the exam is not easy but it’s also not unfair or too difficult. My points were pretty ok in the areas I’m used to work with – especially as I did not prepare anything beforehand. The questions were I really lost points are questions regarding the areas I don’t have expertise with yet (because I never needed them). The exam is built in a way that you won’t get far with guessing. Let’s be honest: it should be that way.
    There was one question which very much reminds me of Brankos example. 🙂 I don’t know how much I’m allowed to go into details, but it was a question regarding the quote address model.

  22. @Philip

    I remember few years ago when I wanted to take Microsofts Vista exam, that was while I was working as System Admin in another company. I failed exam with 68%, as it took 70% to pass it. Still remember one “picky” question like “what options are there available under IE’s XYZ option”. My initial thought was “Fu*k you and your options, when I need it, I’ll check it, why would I need to know that.”

    I’ve been doing everyday Magento development from day one, meaning over 3 years now. However, I’m almost sure I would fail it my self if I where to take it right now. Because I’m sure there are lot of picky question in it as well.

    The devil is in the details in these types of certifications. I’m sure lot of the stuff that where in the exam you/we never either needed or payed that much of attention in everyday Magento work. That is why we need to prepare first.

    Good luck next time. Don’t be hard on yourself, after all you where among the first to take it.

  23. I took the test, and frankly I was *not* prepared for how intense it was. The minutia that they drill down into in regards to application flow (which comes first in the various forms of payment flow, at the object/event level) was intense.

    As someone who has worked on Magento development and large-scale deployment daily for the past 2 years I am fairly sure I flunked it.

    What would help *greatly* is a sample test to prepare people for the types of questions that will be asked – not an outline. And for that matter, the questions could be written in a little bit clearer English.

  24. @Chris I don’t think extension to Zend cert would help – given the Magento unique structure. Magento 2 is still I think a year from now and if you pass MCD now, what you learn should still be in big part valid for Magento 2. @Branko I really like your point about testing the “love” not only “knowledge”. If someone passes the test there is a big chance that due to “love” he will keep his knowledge up to date for Magento 2 and beyond – so not a problem to pass now and the qualification still be valid for the years to come.

  25. well it sure is a hell of a checklist 🙂 even harder than zend php certification checklist and I wonder how 10k indian Magento dev’s compare against that list.

    I have been a php web dev for 12 years now and i think i’ll never pass that test

  26. Considering the nature of Magentos development in the past year or so, the huge investment in refactoring and re-engineering the solution and the following mass of changes that are to be introduces as the Magento team work towards version 2; introducing a certification exam for a framework on a framework is naive, too early and more akin to CMS’s systems that have a much more stable API (Umbraco/Sitecore) or even MCPD where the exams are linked to a specific version of the software.

    In a world of magento I’d of thought it would of made more sense to look at an extension to the zend certification, ensuring that people understand the MVC system that is being utilised and how mage hooks into zend, but only when magento gets to a point where the API isn’t being screwed around with.

    Just my two penneth 😉

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