The Magento 2 Certification Problem

With all the discussion around the technology behind Magento 2, the release schedule and the excitement of how Magento 2 will help transform eCommerce, I have to admit, I hadn't thought at all about certifications for Magento 2 until someone at Magento asked my opinion about it. So here's the challenge - when Magento 2 launches, how will an employer or merchant know a developer knows Magento 2? Magento (both as a community and as a company) has always made it clear that they understand that a big part of the success of Magento is thanks to the large, vibrant community of Magento developers.

However, the current Magento training and certifications cover Magento 1, not Magento 2. New things are in the works, but with the release date of Magento 2 approaching quickly and fairly major changes still taking place in the codebase, how do you have a way on Day One of Magento 2's release to know a developer is Magento 2 ready?

In an ideal world, all of us Magento developers would be spending a significant amount of time staying up to date with the changes the Magento 2 team is pushing each week on Github, and we'd all be studying and learning Magento 2 in-depth over the next 11 months until Magento 2 is released.

However, Magento 1 developers are in high demand. We all have our Magento 1 work to do, and we all seem to be getting even busier.

So, let's say Magento 2 is completely feature/architecture frozen by the end of March (a date I made up, by the way, just as an example). The Magento 2 release date is Q4 of this year. For this example, we'll say that's on December 31st, 2015.

That works out to 9 months. 9 months to prepare a complete training program or certification exam, release it to the community and for Magento 1 developers to complete it. Split that time 50/50, and let's say Magento Inc spends 4.5 months preparing this information, giving Magento 1 developers 4.5 months between when the training is available and when Magento 2 goes live.

How many of you, while still completing your Magento 1 work and maintaining your other commitments could go from 0 knowledge of Magento 2 to ready to take and pass a certification exam in 4.5 months?

I'm sure there's some of you saying "Oh, yeah, that's more than enough time". And that's awesome. You'll be one of the trailblazers on Magento 2, and that's something the community really needs. However, that's not what the average developer is saying.

Here's an example - there's less than 450 Magento Certified or Certified Plus Developers in the United States. Let's say 20% of developers feel they can get trained up on Magento 2 and certified on it in 4.5 months (and from the conversations I've had, I think 20% is probably high). That means that if they all are able to achieve that, that gives the entire US market only 90 people who are able to become Magento 2 certified by launch day.

No one is really sure yet what user demand will look like - Magento 1 will continue to be supported for quite some time, so many merchants will stay on or implement on Magento 1 in 2015 and 2016. But there will also be quite a bit of buzz and excitement about Magento 2, and I have a feeling that there are many people on aging platforms that are waiting for Magento 2's release before they make the switch to Magento. Add to that how many merchants plan major projects or migrations for January, and you can easily see how there will be significantly more Magento 2 implementations than official trained/certified Magento 2 developers in December or January.

So, as a community, how do we handle that? How do we make sure we're not only preparing ourselves for Magento 2, but also making sure that merchants and employers are able to identify those developers who really are prepared for Magento 2? I don't think anyone has a practical, workable solution yet, so I'm curious to see what the community thinks and what we can come up with as we discuss this.