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Future certifications in Umbraco

There's a new certification structure coming up for 2022 👀

Gabriel
Written by Gabriel Ionut Brumea

What will happen to Umbraco training and certifications? That is only a natural question given the upcoming release of Umbraco 9 (ETA Q3 2021) and the announcement of a new release cadence that’ll welcome a new major version of Umbraco every six months. In 2022, things will change and hopefully, become more straightforward when it comes to earning and maintaining an Umbraco certification status. In this blog post, I’ve gathered an overview of what this will mean for future certified developers as well as what it will mean to you as a current certified Umbraco developer:

Psst... do you rather want me to walk you through the blog post and all the upcoming changes to certifications? Hit play on the video below and get yourself updated: 


“A certified developer can keep their official status for two major releases” 

The above sentence was until today to be found on the “Certified Developer” page on umbraco.com. And as the strike-through signals, this is no longer the case.

With the announcement of a new release cadence where we are expecting 2 major releases per year the rule of “A certified developer can keep their official status for two major releases” is no longer relevant or fair (you’d have to get certified every year 😅). Furthermore, the future major releases are expected to be less feature-heavy compared to previous major releases e.g. Umbraco 7 vs. 8.

Thus, due to the technical nature of the future major releases as well as the frequency, it no longer makes sense to tie a certification together with a specific major release. What makes sense then?

24 months 

It makes sense to tie the certification together with time. From 2022, this means that when you’ve earned your certification status (Professional, Expert, or Master), it’s yours to keep and brag about for 24 months. 

Why 24 months? In CMS development and the world of Umbraco, things are constantly moving and improving. We see 2 years as a very reasonable timeframe for you to still call yourself certified with valid Umbraco knowledge. 

Furthermore, this timeframe also aligns nicely with how we’ll handle Long Term Support (LTS) and End Of Life (EOL) for future Umbraco versions. Starting from Umbraco 10 (ETA H1 2022), we will release an LTS version of Umbraco every 24 months. This means that whenever you decide to get certified you’re guaranteed that your knowledge is based on either the latest or the previous LTS version. This is also a guarantee for those hiring Umbraco certified developers - if the developer has an official certification, you can be sure their knowledge is not outdated. 

And just before these 24 months runs out, if you want to renew your status, we’ve got you covered as we’re introducing a new way to retain your certification title (more on that further down 👇)

Bye to points, hello to clear certifications 

What does it mean to be an Umbraco “Professional” or an “Expert”? With the old certification point system, it was “pick and mix” which has its pros and cons. One of the cons is that it’s not clear for e.g. an employer to know what it means when they hire an “Expert” - Do they even know the fundamentals? Do they know about security in Umbraco? 

We are therefore introducing a new structure that’ll make it more clear what the certification titles mean as they will tie up to specific courses:

This new structure also makes the certification path more straightforward. E.g. if you want to become a Master, you have to start by becoming a Professional, then an Expert, and finally, to become a Master you have to pick and pass 2 of the current 3 Skill courses - as well as pass all the required certification tests…

Introducing certification tests

As you can see above, we’re keeping the certification ranking: Umbraco Certified Professional, Expert, and Master. 

But we’re also introducing a new step on the path to the certification titles - certification tests.

This means that in order to reach the certification statuses, you have to pass a certification test on top of the individual course tests e.g. The Expert Certification Test. This test will become available to you for free when you’ve completed and passed all the required courses specific to each certification status and it will be based on a mix of the knowledge you’ve learned by going on these courses. 

For example, to become an Umbraco Certified Expert your path will look like this: 

  1. Go on the Fundamentals course

  2. After passing the Fundamentals course you’ll get free access to the Professional Certification test, pass, and you’re now an Umbraco Certified Professional for the next 24 months (because the Professional status is solely based on the Fundamentals course, the status only requires you to take the Professional Certification test which will be based on Fundamentals questions)

  3. Go on the remaining 4 required courses before the 24 months are over (Extending the Backoffice, Umbraco, MVC, and Visual Studio, Application Integration and Security) and pass all the individual course tests

  4. After passing all the 4 individual course tests, you get free access to the overall Expert Certification test, pass, and congratulations! You’ve now upped your title to Umbraco Certified Expert for the next 24 months!

Renewing your certification status in the future 

By introducing certification tests you also get the chance to renew your certification status in order to retain your certification. This means that when you’re getting close to the 24-months line, you have two options:

  1. Update your knowledge by going on all the required courses again and get access to the certification test. Pass, and you have earned your title again for 24 months.

  2. If you have kept your knowledge up to date during the preceding 24 months or perhaps you have been on the available bridging courses to ensure you’re aware of all the new changes, then you’re able to renew your current status by purchasing the certification test on its own. Pass, and you have renewed your title for another 24 months.

Pricing for a certification test

If you go with option 2 and want to renew your certification by passing the overall certification test related to your current certification status - how much will that cost you? 20% of the price of all the courses required to earn that certification i.e.:

👆 All of the above is being introduced in 2022 when the Umbraco 9 courses become available. 

If you’re a current owner of an official Umbraco Certification status or perhaps a manager of a team of certified developers, this is what you should be aware of 👇

I’m currently Umbraco certified - how do I retain my status?

We have thousands of proud and talented certified Umbraco developers around the world and we’re aware that many of you would like to retain your current certification status. So what do you need to be aware of?

First of all, know that if you’ve earned your current certification status by going on Umbraco 8 courses, no matter how you’ve picked and mixed to earn that status, the Umbraco 8 certification status is yours until August 1st, 2023 (this is aligned with when Umbraco version 8 goes into the “Security support phase”). 

If you want to bridge the gap between your Umbraco 8 knowledge and certification status to Umbraco 9 and the new structure, you can go on the courses and/or bridging courses required for the status and gain free access to the related certification test. 

Four Umbraco 8 to 9 bridging courses will be available

  • Umbraco, MVC, and Visual Studio 
  • Umbraco Application Integration 
  • Security in Umbraco 
  • Umbraco Load Balancing 

Due to the nature of Umbraco 9 which is a framework change from .NET Framework to the modern .NET 5, some ways of working within Umbraco have changed. The changes are significant in the above-mentioned 4 courses which is why you’ll be able to buy time-limited bridging courses for these courses. 

Each bridging course will be priced at €200, will be on-demand, and will be available in H1 2022. 

You’ll have until the end of 2022 to buy and complete the bridging courses in order to upgrade your certification status to the new structure. 

💡Be aware that as of March 4th, 2021, if you buy Umbraco 8 training courses, you’ll get free access to the associated bridging courses when they become available. 

What course and bridging courses do I need if I am currently a Certified Professional, Expert, or Master?

*Since there is no bridging course for Umbraco Fundamentals, the Certified Professional will have to go on and pass the new Certified Professional certification test. Note that this requires that you have previously earned the “Umbraco Professional” title by going on the Fundamentals course. If this is not the case, you’ll need to go on the Fundamentals course before August 2023 in order to regain the title. 

Since there is no bridging course for Fundamentals, you’ll need to pass the Certified Professional test. 

There’ll be no bridging course for the “Extending the Backoffice” course. This means there are only 3 bridging courses + the Professional Certification test to take and pass in order to get free access to the Expert Certification test.

Since there is no bridging course for Fundamentals, you’ll need to pass the Certified Professional test. 

There’ll be no bridging course for the Extending the Backoffice, Searching and Indexing, and Umbraco Cloud courses. This means there are between 3-4 bridging courses for you to take and pass in order to get free access to the Master Certification test. 

Please be aware that the new structure requires 2 skill courses in order to become an Umbraco Master, hence, if you only have one at the moment you’ll need to pass another full skill course by August 2023 as well as go on the required bridging courses mentioned above in order to regain your Master title. 

Oh no, I’m missing a course!

By moving away from the old point system we’re aware that there are some current certified Professionals, Experts, and Masters who’ll need to go on a full course or two on top of the bridging courses in order to upgrade their current status to Umbraco 9 and the new structure. 

Remember that you have all of 2022 to go and complete the bridging courses and then you have until August 2023 to ensure you get yourself on the full courses you’re missing. That gives you more than two years to plan ahead and get this sorted if you want to upgrade your certification.

And who knows, maybe there’ll be a discount on training courses coming up later this year 😉 (make sure you’ve signed up for the Umbraco newsletter!

 

I hope this blog post gave you an overview of what’s to come. More details will be available when e.g. we launch the bridging courses in January 2022, but I hope for now the above helps you prepare for your own or your team’s future certification path.


FAQ

I want to upgrade my Umbraco skills and go on a course now - should I wait?

Brilliant! No need to wait. In fact, all courses bought after March 4th 2021 until the launch of the Umbraco 9 courses in January 2022 will get free access to the matching bridging courses when they become available.

This means you don’t have to re-invest in the bridging courses in order to upgrade your skills and certifications to Umbraco 9 and the new structure. And it also means you get 2-in-1 learnings as you’ll know all about Umbraco 8 AND Umbraco 9. Now is actually a great time to invest in Umbraco courses and certification

When will Umbraco 9 training be available?

Starting January 3rd, 2022, Umbraco 9 will be the default version for all training. Going forward from Umbraco 9, the certification status will not be tied to the specific version but rather state that you’re “Umbraco Certified X”. This status is yours for 24 months. 

Can I keep my current Umbraco certification status once Umbraco 9 is launched? 

If you are certified in Umbraco 8, no rush or worry. You are able to keep your certification status until August 2023 when the Security Phase of Umbraco 8 is launched

You’ll keep your listing as an “Umbraco 8 certified Developer” on Umbraco.com. If you decide to upgrade your knowledge and certification to Umbraco 9, you’ll be moved into the “Umbraco Certified Developers” section which will list all the certified developers on the new structure going forward. 

I am certified in Umbraco 7 - what do I do? 

Due to the big changes between Umbraco 7 to 8 and again for 8 to 9, there is no bridging from Umbraco 7 to 9. This means you have to go on the required courses stated in the blog post above in order to “regain” your certification status. 

To give you time to upgrade your Umbraco skills, we’ve decided to let your Umbraco 7 certification status/points run until the end of 2021. And remember, when you buy Umbraco 8 courses now, you get free access to the related Umbraco 9 bridging courses when they become available. This means you don’t have to re-invest in the bridging courses in order to upgrade your skills and certifications to Umbraco 9 and the new certification structure. 

I’m currently certified - can I retain my status by only taking the related certification test? 

Taking the certification test on its own in order to renew your status for another 24 months is a future option, i.e. an option available for certified developers in Umbraco 9 and beyond. This means that, in the future, if you make sure to keep yourself up to date with all the recent development in Umbraco, this becomes a fairly quick and cheap way to renew your status as you’ll be eligible to buy and take the certification test on its own without going on the required courses again.

But first, you need to upgrade your knowledge and certification to Umbraco 9. That’s why we have provided bridging courses and paths to follow whether you’re a current Umbraco Certified Professional, Expert or Master. Please see the I’m currently Umbraco certified - how do I retain my status?part of the blog post above for all the details.

Can I go on the certification test without attending the full courses?

The short answer: no. 

You’ll only get access to the certification test once you’ve been on the required courses for each certification status. The certification test is based on a mix of knowledge you’ve gained by going on the required courses and is also an official stamp of approval that you have indeed gained the needed knowledge in order to earn your title.

The option to buy and go on the certification test on its own is only an option for when you need to renew your certification status. And this option is only available to Umbraco 9 certified developers and beyond. If you're a current certified developer, please see the “I’m currently Umbraco certified - how do I retain my status?” part of the blog post as we've provided bridging courses for 4 courses which means you don't have to re-attend full courses in order to upgrade your skill and status to Umbraco 9. 

Will there be bridging bundles available?

For some of you who are currently Umbraco Certified, it will be convenient to bundle up all the courses needed in order to upgrade your knowledge and certification to Umbraco 9 and the new certification structure. 

We'll work on bridging bundles related to the Expert and Master statuses and will have all the details on this when we release the bridging courses in H1 2022. 

What about Certified and Gold partner statuses?

At the moment, to become and stay either an Umbraco Certified Partner or a Gold Partner you have to have a certain amount of certified developers on your team based on a certain amount of certification points.

As we're moving away from the points system starting 2022, these requirements will, of course, also be updated for new Certified and Gold Partners. Current Certified and Gold Partners all meet these requirements and thus, will not be affected by the new structure starting 2022.

We will communicate directly with current Certified Partners and Gold Partners around this point later this year.

What about the Accessibility and the Content Management Course? 

The information above focuses on which courses you need to be aware of in order to earn/remain one of the 3 official Umbraco Developer Certifications statuses. Like today, we have two courses that don’t count toward a certification status: The Accessibility Course and the Content Management Course. With these two courses, you earn a badge to prove your new knowledge. Thus, these courses are still available but do not count towards any of the 3 certification titles. 

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