Three years ago, the first Magento Certified Solution
Specialist exam was released. After years of working with
Magento, I was proud to become one the first to earn this
certificate. This year, I was honored to be asked to join the
Advisory Board that created the new
Magento 2 Certified Solution Specialist (M2CSS) exam
. Now
that the M2CSS exam has been released, I wanted to share a bit
more about why a Solution Specialist is critical to every
Magento project.

What is a Solution Specialist?

A Solution Specialist knows the features and architecture of
the Magento platform thoroughly, as well as the general
eCommerce landscape, and can effectively apply this knowledge.
Solution Specialists could work directly for a merchant,
through an agency such as Creatuity or as freelance
consultants.

Solution Specialists represent a cross-functional group of
professionals that often have learned through experience over a
long period of time. So it’s no surprise that their exact job
titles can vary quite a bit along with their exact roles and
responsibilities. Job titles span Magento Architect,
Solution Consultant, eCommerce Manager, Project
Manager, Digital Marketing Director, and Business
Analyst.

Many Solution Specialists work in the Admin Panel, managing
day-to-day operations like merchandising and promotions. Some
are involved in architecting the project initially before
building the site, and some are also Certified Developers that
help implement the requirements. 

Additional responsibilities include: Gathering business
requirements and making a project plan, designing the
architecture for a new site, managing the project and the
development team, assisting developers with tasks like
migrating data, completing quality assurance and final testing,
providing training on how to use the new system(s) effectively,
managing deployment workflows to ensure a smooth final launch,
optimizing the site and add new features, and managing website
operations, such as advertising or customer experience.

Why are Solution Specialists So Important?

In my years of working with Magento, I have seen many
real-world examples of mistakes and/or failures that could have
been avoided by following the advice of a seasoned Solution
Specialist. For example, last week a merchant called Creatuity
panicking because their website was down. Our quick
investigation showed that a non-certified marketing consultant
had attempted to install an extension directly on the live
site. An experienced Solution Specialist would always recommend
installing an extension on a development site first, for this
exact reason. Additionally, this extension happened to be a
feature (Google Tag Manager) that is already included in the
merchant’s Magento Commerce license, so it was completely
unnecessary. This is a great example of why everyone that is
accessing your Magento site should be Certified, or at the very
least, they should consult with a Certified individual prior to
making changes. This example was fairly quick to roll-back, but
this mistake still cost the merchant significantly.

Solution Specialists are trained at gathering business needs
thoroughly, to define precise, measurable software
requirements. They can identify requirements that are covered
in core functionality, to avoid unnecessary additional costs.
Solution Specialists also know how to effectively manage
software development processes to ensure the project is on-time
and on-budget. There are numerous examples of ways that hiring
a Solution Specialist can save you time, money, and
frustration. It’s not uncommon to be charged higher rates for
Solution Specialists than Developers because their unique skill
set is incredibly valuable to the merchant.

Magento Solution Specialist Certification

Magento recognizes the importance of a Solution Specialist to
your project and requires Solution Partners to employ Certified
Solution Specialists, in addition to Certified Developers.
Whether you are building a new Magento site, migrating to
Magento 2, or improving your existing Magento site, a Solution
Specialist has expertise that can help you achieve your
goals—and we’ve organized a certification exam to verify their
expertise.

The
Magento 2 Certified Solution Specialist exam
covers a wide
variety of skills that are important for the job, as well as
applying that knowledge to real-world scenarios. For example,
it’s not only important to know how to set up a Shopping Cart
Price Rule, but also how it might be used for specific
promotion requirements that merchants need. Topics covered
range vastly, from PCI Compliance to the Software Development
Life Cycle to Content Staging. Critical knowledge like security
recommendations and Magento architecture ensure that the
Certified person working on the project does not make costly
mistakes.

I’ve been asked many times how to study for this exam, and I
highly recommend the
Magento U Managing Your Magento Store course
. It covers
many concepts that are valuable, not just for merchants, but
for anyone working with Magento.

Personally, I’ve learned a lot through hands-on experience,
engaging with the ecosystem, and staying current on Magento and
eCommerce news. Over time, I’ve developed in-house training
programs and materials for my team, attempting to condense all
that I’ve learned for those that are new to the field. I’m
excited to announce that I’ll soon be releasing those publicly.
You can visit Creatuity.com/Magento-Solution-Specialist
for details.

What’s Coming in the Future for Solution Specialists?

eCommerce constantly changes, and Magento continues to release
even more innovative technology. From PWAs to the
recently-released B2B Module, Solution Specialists must do more
than just pass one exam. They must continually improve and
constantly seek new, better solutions. One of the best ways
that the Solution Specialist community can continue to learn
and innovate is through sharing our knowledge. Please join a
meetup, chat on the Magento Forums, or attend
an event. You can also follow me on Twitter (@MagentoJenna) to share
your experiences and learn together with this amazing
community.

About Jenna and Creatuity

Jenna Warren is Executive Vice-President and a Magento
Certified Solution Specialist at Creatuity.
Jenna advises eCommerce merchants on long-term eCommerce
strategy and sustainable competitive advantage in an
ever-changing digital environment. Passionate about eCommerce,
Jenna speaks and writes about Solution Specialist related
topics, such as Conversion Rate Optimization and Omni-Channel
Strategies. Creatuity is
an award-winning Enterprise Solution Partner based in Dallas,
Texas, specializing in Magento design, development, and
optimization.