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How to Become a Drupal Developer

Are you looking to get into the world of coding? Do you want to learn how to build and maintain websites with an incredibly powerful and flexible content management system? If so, you might be interested in becoming a Drupal developer.

These developers use their experience with the framework to make websites for people and companies. It’s highly customizable and functional, it scales, and best of all, it’s free. It makes sense why government agencies, large businesses, non-profits, Fortune 500 companies, and individuals choose to use this system.

Drupal developers’ work isn’t immediately obvious to anyone visiting a website. They write in a language called PHP behind the scenes to make everything functional and clean for the user.

Drupal developers can largely work in the background, using the programming language to achieve tests and modules needed for a website to function, they can also potentially get involved in front-end work as well.

Sample job description

We’re dedicated to building top quality web applications, and complex and responsive marketing sites for our clients. If you believe in the power of an open and collaborative environment, and you value challenging conventions and answering questions, you’ll have a place on our team. We’re seeking someone who’s evidently passionate and attentive by looking at their clean, clearly documented code. You never forget the ultimate priority is the client, and the user experience of the websites you create. You should be interested in delivering meaningful, tangible results, and can clearly and concisely communicate your intentions and needs. If you feel like you’d fit right in with a strong, quick moving team of collaborators, and you have what it takes to provide significant value as a Drupal developer, we’d love to hear from you!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Creating user interfaces for websites and web applications
  • Designing and building responsive design websites
  • Working with Firebug, Chrome Inspector, etc.
  • Converting comprehensive layouts and wireframes into working HTML 
  • Building responsive websites using Drupal CMS, HTML, CSS, and JS
  • Coordinate with peers, project managers, and clients to ensure project accuracy
  • Work within deadlines to complete polished and finished projects

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or related field
  • 3 years experience as a Drupal developer

Required skills and qualifications

  • Complete and thorough understanding of the Software Development Cycle
  • Complete understanding of Drupal CMS
  • Thorough understanding of PHP
  • Working knowledge of testing environments
  • Working knowledge of several programming languages, preferably HTML, CSS, JS, and others
  • Strong collaborative spirit
  • Strong time management
  • Strong analytical skills and attention to detail

Preferred qualifications

  • Exposure to Agile environment
  • Experience with Acquia hosting
  • 5 years experience in Drupal development

Typical work environment

Drupal developers work in an office as part of a team. They’ll find themselves seated for long hours at a computer writing code. They’ll spend quite a bit of time consulting with others from their team to work in a cooperative fashion to accomplish goals. Additionally, they’ll meet with project managers for updates and changes to projects, and potentially with clients to discuss details and specifics on projects as well. Given the nature of the job, this can potentially be done remotely from home, at an office.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a Drupal developer in an office setting are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. There may be room for flexibility, as the position provides the potential for an entirely remote position. Further, a Drupal developer can work freelance, or as part of an agency, providing more flexibility when it comes to hours and days worked.

During periods of significant work, or as projects near deadline, you may find yourself working hours outside of the usual time. This is entirely based on the time management abilities of the team and company, and individual experiences may vary.

Available certifications

As Drupal developers work with a variety of industries, languages, and management levels, there are many institutions that offer certifications, including:

  • Web Development: Apache, WordPress, and Drupal. This certification will provide you with a foundational understanding of setting up websites with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. This course is offered by Skillshare and will give you an entry level understanding of the concepts and best practices of website development with great hands-on experience.
  • Drupal 8 Module Development. This course will teach you the latest release of the Drupal CMS, and how to design and develop code with several practical examples.
  • Drupal 8 For Beginners. This is another excellent entry level course to learn the ins and outs of Drupal, taught by Packt Publishing via Udemy. You’ll learn how to quickly and efficiently build and deploy customized Drupal sites, and how to maintain them. 
  • Drupal 7 for Beginners. Drupal 7 is currently the most popular framework in the catalog, and although it’s one generation behind the newest release, is still valuable to learn. You’ll obtain the concepts and knowledge you need to get started with Udemy’s course for Drupal 7.
  • Learning Path: Application Development With Drupal 8. Packt Publishing provides this course to create intermediate web applications within the Drupal 8 framework. You’ll become acquainted with the concepts and best practices to take your coding to the next level with the newest generation of the powerful Drupal framework.
  • Mastering Drupal 8. This course will provide the participant with an advanced understanding of the framework. Upon completion, you’ll be able to confidently build a fully featured, multilingual, and highly responsive web application within Drupal 8. As the title of the course suggests, you should take this class after you have a solid familiarity with the framework.

Career path

The journey to becoming a Drupal developer begins by obtaining an education. A bachelor’s in computer science, engineering, or some related field will go far in keeping you competitive in the developer role, the IT world, and the job market as a whole.

After you’ve received an education, the next best step is to learn several programming languages, their frameworks, and the typical testing environments of each. Drupal developers specifically use PHP, however understanding others can only help you in the future.

Once you’ve gotten a working knowledge of PHP and Drupal CMS, getting a position as a junior developer, or a back-end developer will help bolster your experience as a future candidate.

You can gain certifications, learn more languages, take some leadership classes and familiarize yourself with the current landscape of web application, and always be informed on current and future trends.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1256

2020 Employment1,847,900
Projected Employment in 20301,888,553
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 22% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift409,500 increase

As millions of companies execute their digital strategies and transition into the online world, there’s never been a greater demand for web developers. There’s a never-ending list of people starting their own websites and digital storefronts, companies new and old wanting to engage their users, and an ever-growing need for web apps to work on every kind of phone, tablet, smart device, and PC that exists.

You’ll find an explosive need for individuals who can entice users with clean and functional web pages on multiple devices, and that has no signs of slowing down in the years to come.