Which Magento Test Should I Take?

Which Magento Test Should I Take?

A detailed analysis of what test you should take.

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Depending on your working circumstances, you may have been charged with “go become Magento certified.” Or, you may be on a quest to prove your skills in a market where the bar for becoming a bonafide partner is very high. Or, you may be required to become a “Magento Certified Professional Developer”.

What if I'm not a developer?

No worries: you likely face the same pressure that developers do, too. Magento has prepared the Magento 2 Certified Solution Specialist (difficulty 7/10) exam for you. The good news is you don’t have to be a developer and know what interfaces or dependency injection are! The bad news is that this is a tough test.

  1. Associate Developer (difficulty 3/10): get your feet wet.
  2. Frontend Developer (difficulty 5/10): harder but attainable.
  3. Cloud Developer (difficulty 5/10): if you are building applications for Magento Cloud. Note that you must have access to a Magento Cloud environment.
  4. Professional Developer (difficulty 8/10): you are a top 10% Magento developer if you have this certification. This is a no-joking-around, this-means-business test. You are a Magento expert if you legitimately pass.
  5. Javascript Developer (difficulty 7/10): hyper-focused on Javascript development. I am not a Javascript developer (yet), so I won’t be trying for this. However, if you do much frontend work, this is a must-have. Additionally, if you are Javascript, Professional Developer and Frontend Developer certified, you get the Magento Full Stack badge, a real crown jewel.
  6. Professional Developer Plus (difficulty 9/10): you are top 5% or better. About 50% of the test is focused on Commerce features. The other test covers high-level scenarios: performance, advanced debugging, etc.

Solution Specialist (difficulty 7/10)

This certification is for someone who is a mediator between a merchant and a team of developers.

This test covers:

  • Legalities of running a Magento (or any ecommerce store). You must be familiar with GDPR, PCI compliance, and taxes. Taxes are a significant topic on the test.
  • Magento features. You are expected to have a solid understanding of each aspect of managing a Magento store. This involves configuring orders, products, and visual adjustments.
  • Mapping requirements to the proper store scopes. This is where most people have the most trouble. Magento’s configuration is still mostly unique to the entire ecommerce industry in that one Magento instance can power multiple domains—and you wouldn’t even know they are connected. The challenge comes in knowing how to map requirements to the correct number of scopes.
  • Understanding core Magento architecture. You must have a good understanding of how Magento works (not in technical terms). You also must have a basic overview of Magento Cloud.
  • Internationalizing a Magento website. This ties in with the scoping requirements above. However, a big part of scoping is ensuring that internationalized domains (such as .fr, .de, .co.uk, for example) behave as expected.
  • Building Magento product catalogs. While this might seem easy on the surface, Magento is exceptionally powerful and capable in the options and configuration that are available.

How do I pass?
  1. Get experience. If you have no experience, you need to get some. Magento tests are practical and you will not pass if you have either a high-level overview (with no hand-on experience) or have little knowledge about Magento.
  2. Study. Well-placed study accelerates experience. We have prepared a practice test, study guide and a full-blown prep course to help you. This is tough test, and it is very difficult to pass unless you have proper guidance.

Note that your experience should entirely be with a vanilla Magento 2 Commerce sandbox (with B2B enabled). That is what the test covers. If you do not have access, you will almost guaranteed fail the test. That’s kind of blunt, but it’s the truth as we’ve seen it.

Associate Developer (difficulty 3/10)

This certification is for anyone who has not attained a Magento developer certification yet.

Magento recommends having completed the Magento U Fundamentals of Magento Development course. If you opt to not take that approach, you should have about 6 months of Magento experience (if you are already familiar with PHP development).

What you should know:

  • Overview of Magento fundamentals and architecture. Do you know how to create a module (what just is required for a functional module)? Do you know what a virtualType is and in what situations you would use it? Have you created a cron job yet (within the Magento application)?
  • Updating the frontend. Do you know how to update layout XML properly? Have you used the admin panel to inject content into the website? Do you know how to remove elements on a website?
  • Routing a web request to Magento code. How do you create a new URL? How do you customize existing routes?
  • Updating Magento core functions. What types of products are useful for different situations? How do products differ when they are in the cart? Have you created customer attributes (what is required to do that)?
  • Databases. Do you know how to load data from the database? Do you know the purpose of a repository, collection, resource model and a model? Do you know how to use SearchCriteriaBuilder? Have you used db_schema.xml before?
  • Admin panel update. Have you created a new area in the admin panel, including adding a menu item? What is the ACL, and how do you use it?

Frontend Developer (difficulty 5/10)

If this certification matches your job title, this is it! While it is more difficult than the Associate Developer, you could just start here.

Magento suggests having 1.5 years of experience. With practice and effort, you can reduce that significantly.

What you should know:

  • Have you created a Magento theme yet? Where are the files located for this? What folder structure did you create? How does this work with Composer? How do you create theme fallbacks? How do you configure the theme in the Magento application?
  • Have you worked with Layout XML? How are XML files merged? How do you adjust existing XML constructs? What is the difference between blocks and containers?
  • Have you worked with templates? How do you override them? How to ensure that text is appropriately filtered in the templates?
  • Have you added a Javascript file? How does requireJS dependencies work? How can you improve the rendering performance of a Magento website? How does Knockout work?
  • Have you customized Magento CSS? How do you add styles, correctly, to a Magento website? How do you ensure that CSS is rendered properly with good performance?
  • Have you updated pages in Magento (of course you have!)? Products (yes)? Categories (yes)? Widgets (hmm, maybe not!)? The checkout (yikes!)?
  • Have you translated Magento?
  • Have you built/deployed Magento in a pipeline?

Cloud Developer (difficulty 5/10)

You must have access to a Magento Cloud environment. The Starter is all you need, and comes with the Community Insider program.

Magento recommends 6 to 12 months of experience with Magento Cloud, or 2 end-to-end deployments.

What you should know:

  • Have you configured a new Cloud deployment? Have you added users and configured their SSH keys? How does integration, staging, and production environments differ? Have you set up the project on your own machine? How do you access Magento Cloud databases?
  • Have you configured redirects in Cloud? Have you added RabbitMQ and other services to a particular environment? How do you configure these services? How would you utilize slave, read-only connections?
  • How do you get code to the production environment? How do you use the Magento Cloud CLI to facilitate this? Where do you go when things break? How do you get code quickly to production in the event of a bug that slips past your QA team?
  • Have you disabled static content deploying? What about static content deploying on demand? How is this affected in Production mode? How would you add a new language to a store on Magento Cloud?
  • Have you deployed a new module to a website on Magento Cloud? How can you force Store Configuration values with Magento Cloud? How do you set environment variable?
  • Have you worked through a problematic deployment on Magento Cloud? How would you create a backup? How do you configure xdebug?
  • Have you taken a Cloud deployment live? How do you ensure that Fastly is working correctly?

Professional Developer (8/10)

Before attempting this, you should already have at least one Magento 2 certification. This is an exceptionally difficult test.

Magento recommends at least 1.5 years of experience. Frankly, I see few with that much experience that can pass without study. We developers are often siloed to particular projects/merchants and don’t get a full range of opportunities.

What you should know:

  • How is a Magento application architected? How do you use dependency injection, plugins, events? What types of customizations would you employ the preceding tools for? Have you worked with the Magento cache?
  • How do you create a new URL in Magento? How does the Magento production/default/developer modes affect rendering and other parts of the system? How can you create a new URL structure? How do you customize elements that are rendered on to a page?
  • Have you created a new theme? How would you create new functionality with Javascript? How are blocks cached, and how can you ensure they are cached correctly?
  • Have you worked with db_schema.xml? Have you built a new repository? How does filtering and sorting work with repositories? What are the differences between repositories and collections?
  • Have you created a customer attribute? What is the purpose of a attribute, attribute group, attribute set and entity type? What is an attributes/ frontend model, source model and backend model? What must be present in a source model to make it indexable in flat tables?
  • Have you created Store Configuration values? How would you create a form or a grid in Magento? Have you added a new menu item to Magento?
  • Have you a new product type? What pieces are necessary to do this? What types of products are available and what purpose are each best suited for? How are prices calculated?
  • Have you created a new total model for display in the shopping cart (ie, a fee)? How does the cart calculuate taxes? How would you add a new shipping and payment method? How would you connect to an ERP?

Javascript Developer (7/10)

This certification is for those who want to prove exceptional knowledge of Magento’s frontend system (or want to check all of the boxes).

Magento recommends having at least 1 year of Javascript experience. Honestly, I would recommend more than that. The Frontend Developer exam seems easier than the Javascript and the Frontend has a recommendation of 1.5 years. Either way, get in there, study and you’ll pass!

What you should know:

  • Do you have deep knowledge of how RequireJS works? Why do you use it? How do you customize files that are loaded? How do you create new modules? What situations would you add entries to requirejs-config.js?
  • How do UnderscoreJS templates work?
  • Have you added new Javascript files? How are these files loaded? Where are these files located? How do you modify existing Magento JS files? How do you get custom JavaScript to run?
  • Have you utilized Magento jQuery UI widgets? Which ones are available? How do you use them? How do you customize them or extend them? How can you load data that Magento stores on the frontend?
  • Do you understand how KnockoutJS works? How does data flow through the system? How does Magento extend Knockout?
  • Have you built a uiComponent? If not, you need to stop right now and build/extend one!
  • Have you adjusted the checkout? What does it take to create a new payment method? How can you add checkout steps?

Professional Developer Plus (9/10)

This certification is for those who are AT LEAST a Certified Professional Developer. You must have access to Magento Commerce and either experience customizing Commerce-only features OR time to learn the code for these features.

Magento recommends 2 years of experience. This is pretty close to what is necessary. Unfortunately, I have seen plenty of people with very little Magento experience (or plenty of Magento 1 experience) and NO Magento 2 certifications say they are going for this one. Sadly, they fail (I have seen only one group of developers, with no other certifications pass, and I question how they did it).

What you should know:

  • Have you worked with Magento XML configuration (in a serious way)? Have you created a custom XML file that other modules can also add to their etc/ directory? How are these files merged? How does the plugin sort order work? How do events work?
  • Have you created a Magento uiComponent? Have you extended the PHP side (not the frontend) of uiComponents? What about customizing the frontend? How can you improve performance?
  • Have you utilized extension attributes? Created a repository to accept a SearchCriteria object? What about staging: have you created a staging-enabled entity? Can you create tables/update data?
  • Have you evaluated the performance considerations of the EAV system in Magento? Have you created a new backend type? Have you created customer/order attributes?
  • Have you customized the admin access system? How would you create a single-sign-on system? How do you use uiComponents in the admin area?
  • Have you created a new product type and configured the associated indexing processes? How are prices generated? What goes into adjusting a price? How do catalog price rules work? How does staging work? What is the difference between row_id and entity_id?
  • Have you customized how the Magento builds shopping carts? Have you used the WebAPI to customize the values of the carts? How do you improve the performance of a high-volume website? How do you create a shipping or payment method?
  • Have you worked with message queues? How does customer segments, RMA, store credit work?
  • How do you secure a Magento website? How do you write code that is secure? What are common attacks and what are the typical ways to avoid them?

How do I pass a developer exam?

Here is a compilation of tips that I have seen work. The short story is that you will not pass unless you invest the needed time.

If you are a service provider (agency) and are looking to get your people certified, please understand that this will cost way more than just the $200-$300 for the certification. Your developers should spend at least 40 hours (probably more like 60-80) studying per certification. These are difficult tests, and be prepared that each person you send to take the test will likely fail it once, unless you give them the proper tools and time to pass.

Read the study guide

We have prepared study guides for each certification. If budget is a concern (still, our study guides are significantly less than the cost of a certification), feel free to use Magento U’s study guides for each test—these are free.

Work through each section. Ideally, set aside dedicated time each morning before you begin your daily work. Slowly read it. Try to understand how this affects what you are doing.

For our study guides, click into the code links for each section. As needed, set up a test case, execute it, and step through the code for this section. Observe the variable’s values and how they are configured. What is the purpose of each class? What are the customization points? What is the big picture for how this area is built?

Take notes through this entire process. Our study guides are quite lengthy. Boil the study guide down to important notes. Make sure you grasp the big picture.

Above all, do not memorize code or ideas. Magento tests are entirely about problem-solving.

Check to see if you are ready

Again, you have options. We have a practice test for each Magento certification. I have participated in writing several Magento certifications and use this experience to write practice tests that closely mirror the style and content of Magento certifications. Note that the questions in our practice tests are NOT found on Magento certifications. However, they are written against the same objectives so the material covered will be similar.

Each of Magento U’s study guides has 2-4 sample questions. You can use these to understand whether or not you are ready to take the test.

Either way, do not memorize sample questions. You will fail if you do.

When you are ready, go purchase your certification voucher on Magento U’s website. You will receive a code in your email. This code is as good as cash, so keep it in safekeeping.

You can then go to the Magento U website and register to take the exam.

Good luck!

SwiftOtter, Inc.
It relates to Magento 2 and Front end development.
Joseph Maxwell - president / senior developer at Swift Otter

President / senior developer at SwiftOtter - @josephmaxs