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What Does It Mean to be a Drupal Developer?

Recently, it has been a pressing question that the team at Promet has had to ask itself in order to grow at the rate that the market is demanding. This isn't necessarily a bad problem to have but finding those “special someones” that either have the ability to get on the ball quickly or already have an innate ability to "Drupal" are exceptionally hard to find.


The initial question: What does it mean to be a Drupal Developer?

Naturally, as a Drupal Architect, I have my own opinion about the matter; but let’s start off with what the community has provided as references for the subject. displays two lists in the section Working with Drupal Service Providers:

  1. Skills of a Successful Front-End Web Developer
  2. Skills of a Successful Back-End Web Developer

Certainly, these are great starting points that display the skills that should be considered standard when looking for an experienced web developer. So, is it fair to say that just any pretty good web developer is a "Drupal Developer"? I say "No."

There is a lot of content about "Drupal Developers" and how they differ from regular developers. There are the kind and open-armed view from John Cullen at Purencool (a newer member of the community). He explains what a person should do to become a "Drupal Developer.”

Specifically, he lays out what job titles and opportunities to look for. Qualities he attributes to the “Drupal Developer” are based around “Knowing what a CMS role is” and knowing how to work with a CMS rather than just building websites.

There is also the very harsh Top 6 Reasons Drupal Really Sucks -- Developer Edition by John Locke, where #1 is... You guessed it, "Drupal Developers."

In his point of view, people think or call themselves a "Drupal Developer"; but when they are put to the test, they buckle. This could be the budding of a true "Drupal Developer" - a developer capable of abiding by best practices.

However, in the case John Locke talks about, those of us with experience have to come in and clean up the mess created by the false “Drupal Developer.” John Locke points out the existence of the Drupal Developer who claims he/she can perform with those of us who follow best practices.

In a round-about way, John explains his point of view of a true "Drupal Developer" by explaining what shouldn’t happen. While it’s indeed a harsh view of Drupal, there are hints of truth.

As you can see there is a lot of information out there. Why is it so hard to nail it down and pick people to hire? And should we limit ourselves to the pool of people who proclaim themselves to be "Drupal Developers?" The answer to the latter is "No".


How does Promet maintain consistency around experience?

First, I should point to our list of people and note that several of these fine folks do not (or did not), have the skills listed in either of the "Working with Drupal Service Providers" articles. This fact actually helps me formulate what it takes to be a “Drupal Developer” - and could apply across the community.

We have a nice mix of "Drupal Developers" with both technical and non-technical backgrounds. A lot of it has to do with attitude and ambition. With attitude and ambition (and a little help from on-the-job training, Promet mentorship, and training such as Build a Module we have generated promising new blood into the community. We have grown developers who are truly top notch and that they aren't afraid to tackle problems.


From "What is a Drupal Developer?!" to "What are the conditions to breed Drupal Developers?"

With all this "Woe is me! I can't figure out what is a Drupal Developer!" talk, there are a few things that we look for when we (at Promet) screen candidates. Maybe it doesn’t define what is a “Drupal Developer,” but it helps define what will make a Promet Drupal Developer.

  • Can you work with the culture?
  • Do you have the ambition to learn about Drupal?
  • Do you want to always improve yourself and the community?
  • Can you follow logic? (Simple statements such as "Given A, When B, Then C.")
  • Are you honest? If you've worked with Drupal 1 year... say "I've worked with Drupal 1 year!"
  • Are you confident? "I've worked with Drupal 1 year and I'm proud of it. Look what I've done!"

I personally think if you have done all of these, you have most likely found a way to contribute back to the community. Will does it with state-of-the-art tools to help development.

I do it through blogs, sessions, and modules. Doug does it by supporting others whether it be in a Build-A-Module training or warning others of what not to do. Contributing to the community is indeed highly sought after, but not necessary to make a "Drupal Developer."


To finally answer: What does it mean to be a Drupal Developer?

A true "Drupal Developer" isn't super cut and dry but grown out of the qualities I listed above: ambition, community-oriented, logical, honest, and confident.

What emerges is a Site Builder (someone adept to using Modules to build a site), Back-End Developer (someone who codes for a living), or Themer (creates a sexy design that sells the work).

These folks follow Drupal best practices peppered with the ability to create professional grade websites with the help of others (can't leave out community :D).

If you are a Drupal Developer or know someone who might want to explore a future in the world of Drupal, take a moment to check out our hiring board!