The making of a Ubie - Inside Acquia training

As you may know, Acquia has been growing quite fast. Since I joined the company in the fall of 2008, we have gone from about 25 employees to around 200 today. It has been a fantastic ride for everyone, and we see no signs of slowing. The tough part of growth for us has been keeping up with the demand for talented Drupalists. From what I understand, Acquia isn't unique in this requirement.

To fix this problem, the only option is to train. We do this in several ways:

These are all great for the labor shortage in the Drupal ecosystem as a whole, but doesn't explicitly solve our problem of needing to staff our client advisory, professional services or engineering teams (all hiring btw).

Acquia U

Enter Acquia U. Acquia U's goal is to take people who are recent grads or web developers who are new to Drupal and train them to become members of Acquia's technical teams. The format is a rigorous six week training program of classroom learning, independent projects, direct mentorship, and on the job training followed by three two month rotations through our Engineering, Professional Services and Support teams where they can further practice their skills.

The pilot program for Acquia U started with eight (amazing) participants on Jan 23rd. And finally having come up for air for a minute before we dive into week three, I wanted to share with you some of the people and the projects they have been working on.

BUT FIRST. Please make a reminder to yourselves to come to my DrupalCon session on Acquia U the first day of Drupal Con

The Ubies

Growing tired of writing "The Acquia U Participants" in all my planning documents, syllabus, lesson plans and emails, I started affectionately referring to them as "Ubies" (pronounced You-Bees) and it stuck.

The Ubies are quite an eclectic group. We've got the expected mix of a couple comp sci grads and designers, but also a 20 year veteran of the Army Pathfinders, a professional dancer/teacher, an environmental scientist who can live off of wild mushrooms, an engineer who modeled rail guns and a TV production assistant among our ranks.

This mix of experience, interests and talents makes for a really fun group who is also really serious about success and helping each other.

The Schedule

Acquia U is all about project based learning. So Monday morning the team decides from a list of projects which are most interesting to them and they commit to what they can get done this week. We do scrum daily and they demo their work every Friday. In addition, they get presentations from different people in the Acquia brain trust and shaddow people in their jobs.

Stay turned for more updates. I will update this page as we go along with links to the Ubies demos and blog posts.

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You can follow the Ubies and their experience as they blog about it on