Kevin Eichelberger Isn’t Crazy

Kevin Eichelberger Isn't Crazy

Despite what the above photo may suggest, Kevin Eichelberger isn’t crazy. That said, you may not have thought so earlier this year.

Six months ago, Blue Acorn’s CEO had an idea. He wanted every single developer at Blue Acorn to be Magento Certified. A lot of people called him crazy for setting such an impossible standard. Some of them were people in the Magento community. Some of them were our very own clients. There were even a few developers at Blue Acorn who thought the man must be taking crazy pills. While he may be a little out there, Kevin Eichelberger wasn’t crazy to think it could be done. After all, part of why Blue Acorn was founded was to create sites of the highest standards.

Commitment to Quality

Taking the next step

Since he founded Blue Acorn, Kevin has committed the company to quality, not quantity. In his mind, this latest endeavor was the logical next step.

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“The commitment from the team has been nothing short of extraordinary,” says Kevin. “I’m extremely proud of our team for rallying around such a steep requirement. It only goes to show the pride they take in their craft and the value they place on continually learning how to improve the work we do.”

A Lot Has Happened in Half a Year

An unbelievable increase in certifications

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Today, only two quarters later, Blue Acorn is one developer away from completing our goal of having 100% of our developers be Magento Certified Developers.

Other partners may boast more certified developers, but the chances that one of those developers will be working on your code when it’s only a fraction of their development team is pretty slim. We’ve seen many good companies with strong developers turn out very poor quality Magento code, and poor code isn’t good for anyone in the eCommerce industry.

Bigger Than Us; It’s About the Community

Given our involvement in the Magento Developer Certification program from the beginning (we have two members on the board that created the certifications), we’re excited to see the ever increasing number of developers getting certified, despite the rigorous nature of the tests. Passing the exam require countless hours of experience on the platform in working scenarios and in the classroom. It’s a serious investment, but the increase in knowledge often leads to higher quality work.

As of this August, there were 291 Magento Certified Developers in the world. 77 were in the United States. Of that total, 172 are Magento Certified Developers and 119 are Developer Plus. So by no means are we only tooting our own horn as the only company getting certified. We’re just proud of our team and their commitment to quality.

Aiming for Perfection

Now, we would be crazy to not acknowledge the difficulty in maintaining 100% developer certification. We’re a growing company. Every new hire is required to achieve certification within a certain period of time, but we don’t just throw them out to the wolves. We create an environment for learning between their certified peers, leaders on the team, and in-house training time.

So while staying 100% is impossible, we’ve set up an environment that ensures anything less than 100% is only temporary. Every new developer is surrounded by team members who have already hit that golden benchmark, and it doesn’t take long for knowledge like that to spread. So forever we will go on. 100%. 93%. 100%. 93.5%. 100% 94%. And so on.

So go ahead and laugh at our attempt at perfection, but don’t forget that we are at 92% because we reach for 100%, not because we reach for 92%. Until we figure out a way to aim for 110%, that’s the way it has to be. With Magento’s focus on quality, we’re proud to be on the forefront of those efforts and having our team set an example for the Magento ecosystem.

Next Year: Operation Green to Blue

Making seasoned veterans out of new employees

To further ensure our success, Blue Acorn recently assigned one of our best resources, Ben Marks, to a new position. For years, Ben has trained Magento developers on behalf of Magento U for organizations all over the world. In the new year, Ben’s skills and talent will be used to set up and manage a formal, structured training program for new hires and interns at Blue Acorn.

The program will allow Blue Acorn to train and evaluate new employees more effectively and have them much more prepared to make a strong contribution once they join one of our agile teams. Ben will shape this program and ensure new employees are ready to hit the road running. We’re calling it “Magento Developer Boot Camp.”

Certifications Mean Nothing Without Client Success

Blue Acorn’s commitment to quality isn’t measured by certifications, it’s measured by client success. But until they come out with a badge for that, we’ll keep validating the expertise of our team in these certifications, whether it be as a Magento Gold Partner, a Google AdWords partner, or as a Google Analytics certified company- just as long as we can leverage these technologies to deliver revenue growth to our clients.

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by Content Manager
Matt began his career in eCommerce at Blue Acorn over two and a half years ago. In that time, he's been tasked with understanding and documenting how Blue Acorn is able to be successful time after time. Some of what he learns is shared on this blog.

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