Poll: Is Google’s Mobile Developer Certification Worthwhile?
April 12, 2017
In keeping with Google’s tendency to always debut new initiatives for developers, the latest in the company’s plan is its new mobile certification for web developers. Recently launched, this program is essentially an accreditation from Google to mobile developers, confirming that they’re skilled at mobile site creation.
You can access the certification program here. To attain certification, you’ll have to pass a special exam, but don’t worry. Google has provided a handy and useful exam study guide that you should definitely peruse a few times before taking the exam.
In Google’s own words, this program is designed to empower developers to show they have:
…a demonstrated ability to build and optimize high-quality sites, and allows you to promote yourself as a Google accredited mobile site developer.
Google is also making it as painless as possible for developers who want to level up, so to speak, thanks to its aforementioned study guide, which breaks down the major points of focus for this exam:
- How optimized Mobile Sites can help your clients improve their bottom line
- Technical implementation for increasing Mobile Site speed
- UX principles for Mobile Sites
- How to evaluate Site Speed and UX performance
- Understand advanced technologies i.e. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
If you’ve worked in-house at a company, or are a freelance designer or developer with experience, completed projects, and clients, then you’re probably already quite familiar—at the very least—with these fundamental principles of mobile design.
It will probably help your design or developer career, when you can show that you’ve been certified by Google for mobile development, especially given the growth and continuing expansion of mobile. You’ll definitely be more marketable as a designer or developer when you can point to your Google mobile certification—essentially, social proof for your skills and services—when you’re talking to clients or angling for a promotion at your in-house job.
However there are shortcomings with this certification…
For one thing, what you’ll be certified in is somewhat limited, as Google’s exam fails to cover anything beyond its own Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project. The exam won’t focus on iOS, Android or other mobile operating systems, arguably also important from a designer’s and developer’s point of view.
Based on the study guide, much of the content seems to also just focus on site speed. Now, while that’s clearly important since site speed impacts user experience and whether visitors stay long enough to convert, it again seems to spend too much time on that while ignoring equally important factors like designing specifically for one-handed use (many people use only their thumbs on mobile), information architecture, and typography.