Getting paid in candy: How Acquia is building the next generation of Drupalists

My employer Acquia is a commercial open source company.  That means that they make money (commercial) off of software they don't own (open source) and there are more than one of us (company).  It should be clear then that Acquia's survival is totally dependent on the success of the software it provides services around, Drupal.  

Drupal has been doing exceptionally well as of late.  In fact, Acquia just relased "the showcase"; it is a website detailing over 1000 high profile Drupal sites.  To name drop a few, The Whitehouse, Amnesty International, NCAA, The Economist, www.jacobsingh.name, and many, many more.  Drupal is charchterized by having a very robust community of thousands of developers, rapid innovation, successful conferenceslocal community organizing and a thriving ecosystem of service providers.  

The main thing threatening Drupal's growth right now is a lack of expert Drupal talent to meet the demand.   We now compete with the very largest proprietary systems and software companies in all industries.  We have the tech, it's proven, but we need enough people to execute. As part of the solution to this, we are partnering with Drupal consulting companies to provide curriculum and support so they can train people in their communities to become Drupal professionals. This is the main way we deliver training and will continue to be. In addition, we've started offering low-cost or free classes to people in the Boston area.

There are several reasons why we do this:

  • We need to test our curriculum. Yes, our willing guinea pigs sit through free training, eat snacks, get a free lunch and a beer at the end of every day all in exchange for finding typos, telling us where we were bumbling and suggesting improvements. We feel like it's a steal for us, but it's really a win-win.
  • We need to grow Drupal talent. Did I say earlier that Acquia's success was based on Drupal's success? We know that people who are not already committed to learning Drupal for their job are not going to shell out the money for professional training, even if they are interested. So these trainings provide an opportunity to build local experts who eventually go on to work for companies who need to adopt Drupal, evangelize to their friends, work for our partners, or perhaps even work with us.
  • We need to grow great trainers. Although we haven't started this yet, the plan is to work with aspiring training partners, have them co-teach these classes and use it as a platform to build their skills and introduce them to the curriculum.
  • It is Fun! We love the newbies! I love watching people get excited about what they can build and leaving with a sense of accomplishment.  People who are going out of their way to learn something are always the best to have in the class.

Our first free class in early June was a huge success! We had 30 people from various backgrounds in attendance. Heather James, Kay VanValkenburgh and I taught the first two days which were around site building and the basics of administration. I taught the second two days on module developement with assistance from Chris Pliakis, Sergey Demidenko, David Rothstein and Isaac Sukin.  On all fronts we really accomplished our goals.  Issues with the curriculum surfaced, trainers got experience, and people walked away with new skills, opportunities and a positive relationship with Drupal and Acquia.

Here are a few quotes from our participants:

"Thanks so much. I feel so much smarter!"
- Scot Colford, Boston Public Library

"Yes, I would recommend to others, opportunities to ask questions were excellent"
- Kevin Baringer, UNH

"I no longer feel intimidated by hook_form_alter"
- Sandeep Malalur, AOL

"The team, led by Jacob was outstanding, and gave me a really positive feeling about Drupal and Acquia. Fantastic job Jacob"
- Anonymous

"Jacob was very good about explaining code lines. Book could use some more of that."
- Anonymous

I've attached the table of contents of both of these courses to this post if anyone is interested. We'll be offering these and other courses in the future, so if you're interested please contact me and I'll put you on the list to be notified. You can also follow me JacobSingh on Twitter to get updates.

See you soon!

Jacob

Attachments: 

Tags: 

Comments

Great initiatives

Great initiative Jacob, I am quite sure i am speaking for the whole Drupal community when I say that you and Acquia is doing a great job in trying to make sure the Drupal ecosystem are able to catch up with the momentum Drupal has on the market.

It can't be easy since we are close to the light-speed :)

Drupal can't go out of business

@rattanmöbel: I take it your not to familar with how open source and GPL works. Anyone in the whole world has full access to the source code for the whole Drupal project, inclusive the 15,000+ modules and themes also hosted on drupal.org. That itself safeguards Drupal from disappearing from the market.

And since the Drupal community is 822,000 active users strong and constantly growing, I say betting on Drupal is pretty safe.

Good article

I take it your not to familar with how open source and GPL works. Anyone in the whole world has full access to the source code for the whole Drupal project, inclusive the 15,000+ modules and themes also hosted on drupal.org. That itself safeguards Drupal from disappearing from the market.

Web Scribble

roof walkway

roof walkway

Wonderful items from you, man. I've be aware your stuff previous to and you're simply extremely wonderful. I actually like what you have acquired right here, really like what you are stating and the way during which you assert it. You make it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to stay it wise. I can't wait to read much more from you. That is actually a tremendous web site

Great

silver buyer

You make it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to stay it wise. I can't wait to read much more from you. That is actually a tremendous web site

Website erstellen

Website erstellen

I have bookmarked this webpage and I am visiting the site in the upcoming days. Great job! Dagan pointed out another reality: bombing Iran would guarantee that the Iranians would make the decision to go nuclear for self-defense and would certainly lead them to retaliate against Israel through Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, which has tens of thousands of Grad-type rockets and hundreds of Scuds and other long-range missiles.  If American politicians are really concerned about the well-being of Israel, they would be doing everything in their power to stop a new war rather than start one.

Injury

Injury

I have bookmarked this webpage and I am visiting the site in the upcoming days. Great job! Dagan pointed out another reality: bombing Iran would guarantee that the Iranians would make the decision to go nuclear for self-defense and would certainly lead them to retaliate against Israel through Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, which has tens of thousands of Grad-type rockets and hundreds of Scuds and other long-range missiles

Good job

Window Treatments

I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement. Thanks for sharing with us

Great

Plantation Shutters

I would like to thank for creating this interesting blog and i got a good knowledge to read your informational post, so you can promote your blog more, your blog is great resource for lots of peoples.

Great

Wood Blinds

I would like to thank for creating this interesting blog and i got a good knowledge to read your informational post, so you can promote your blog more, your blog is great resource for lots of peoples.

Great

Belevation

I actually thought you'd have something interesting to say. All I observe is a lot of moaning about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

Great

x-trail nudge bar

I actually thought you'd have something interesting to say. All I observe is a lot of moaning about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

Great article

how to unlock iphone 4

Thanks for taking the time to discuss that, I really feel strongly about it and also love learning more on that topic. If achievable, while you gain competence, would you mind updating your blog with more information?

Great job

film memorabilia

I actually thought you'd have something interesting to say. All I observe is a lot of moaning about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

great blog

seo management

I actually thought you'd have something interesting to say. All I observe is a lot of moaning about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

Affiliate Program

Affiliate Program

I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement. Thanks for sharing with us

Great

startups

I would like to thank for creating this interesting blog and i got a good knowledge to read your informational post, so you can promote your blog more, your blog is great resource for lots of peoples.

Pages