As this Drupaler has found the question What is a Drupal Developer? is not an easy one to answer. During the last few months what became more and more apparent to me is if you are new to Drupal this is a question that is asked a lot and because Drupal is a complex system it is not the easiest thing to explain. So here goes
If you go to to drupal.org and look for What is a Drupal Developer? you will find various pieces of information. An example of this are these two post Skills of a successful front-end web developer and Skills of a successful back-end web developer. The issue is not in the posts themselves they are not disingenuous but if you think that these are all the tools you need to understand to be a Drupal Developer they could mislead you.
Then there is this post from Seth Brown about finding the best Drupal Developers and for the circumstances he is probably right, but as a new developer if you were to read that post it would make your view of a Drupal Developer as an amazing code machine.
I also stumbled across this post by Doug Vann and it does offer to someone coming into the Drupal world a high level view of what a Drupal Developer is. But again it can be misleading to a new developer (I believe that the market audience in his post was not to new developers).
What about the professionals that hire Drupal developers, the recruiters? Yes if you ask people about the recruiters the response at bare minimum can be platitude. But they also have a say in the conversation on what a business needs from a Drupal Developer.
Have you ever seen a job vacancy for a Drupal Developer saying
The ideal candidate will have:
- At least 3-5 years PHP Development experience
- Strong development background using Drupal 6 & 7
- Strong communication skills
- Understanding and ability to use version control
- How to use unix based operating systems
Do you see the issue? A Drupal developer means different thinks to different people. To understand what a Drupal Developer is you have to recognise that it is contextual. It really depends on the circumstances being discussed.