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After a popular session at Collab365 Conference last week where Microsoft Learning talked about the SharePoint 2016 exams, they finally released the information on their site as well. The exam number is 70-339 and is called Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016. According to the Collab365 Conference session, the 70-339 exam will be the only SharePoint exam required for the SharePoint 2016 MCSE certification. The date on the Microsoft learning site for the exam release is June 20th, so in a bit more than a month.

SharePoint 2016 MCSE

The 70-339 exam will test you on the following topics:

  • Design SharePoint infrastructure (15–20%)
  • Plan authentication and security (15–20%)
  • Plan workload optimization (15–20%)
  • Plan productivity solutions (15–20%)
  • Manage search capabilities (10–15%)
  • Plan and configure cloud services (5–10%)
  • Monitor and optimize a SharePoint environment (10–15%)

The path for the SharePoint 2016 MCSE is not yet released, but if we look at the MCSE: Messaging (Exchange 2016) exam path, the path for the SharePoint 2016 MCSE would be the following:

  • 70-346 (Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements)
  • 70-347 (Enabling Office 365 Services)

After successfully completing steps 1 and 2, you’ll earn a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Office 365 certification.

  • 70-339 (Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016 (in development))

To view more information about the exam from the Microsoft Learning site, check out the exam here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-339.aspx .

Opinions on 70-339 (Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016)

I know the exam is still under development and the description might change, but as I am reading the exam objectives, there are a lot of strange descriptions. Let’s look at the Exam Objectives in detail. Those are my personal opinions and the bullets will start with “Vlad: “. Feel free to give me your opinions on the exam , or on my opinions in the comments.

Design SharePoint infrastructure (15–20%)

  • Design information architecture
    • Design an inter-site navigational taxonomy; design site columns and content types; design keywords, synonyms, promoted results, managed properties, durable links, and document library accessibility; plan information management policies; plan compliance features, such as document fingerprinting and item-level encryption; plan search for sensitive and non-sensitive content; plan managed site structures; plan term sets; plan for support of Open Document Format (ODF); plan mobile navigation
      • Vlad: Glad to see that planning the Sensitive and non-sensitive information, especially that DLP is only mapped per site collection, so that certainly makes sense. Durable Links is also mentioned, although I don’t see what you can plan for it, except use it or not use it. Also, I never heard about document fingerprinting and Item-level encryption in SharePoint before. Something I will have to read more on.
  • Design a logical architecture
    • Plan application pools; plan web applications; plan for software boundaries; plan content databases; plan host-header site collections; plan Fast Site Collection creation; plan zones and alternate access mapping
  • Design a physical architecture
    • Design a server farm topology (traditional, streamlined, hybrid) by using MinRole (user roles, robot services roles, cache services roles); design Central Administration deployment; design a storage architecture, including ReFS; configure basic request management; define individual server requirements; define service topologies; plan server load balancing; plan a network infrastructure; plan for large file support; plan an app hosting model
      • Vlad: The first phrase confuses me; how can I plan a traditional topology by using MinRole? It should read (Traditional, streamlined, MinRole), and then it should maybe have talked about On-Premises and Hybrid.
  • Plan an installation
    • Identify and configure installation prerequisites, implement scripted deployment, plan Access Services deployment, plan Project Server installation, implement patch slipstreaming, plan and install language packs, plan and configure service connection points, plan installation tracking and auditing, plan and install Office Online Server, implement managed paths for Office 365 migrations, configure SharePoint hybrid cloud settings
      • Vlad: Not sure what “Managed Paths for Office 365 Migrations” is. Should we only use the two Office 365 Managed Paths (/sites, /teams) On-Premises as well? Also, what can we track and audit in the install?
  • Plan a hybrid cloud environment
    • Plan for deployment of Office Online; configure server-to-server authentication; configure OAuth; configure Audiences and hybrid features, to include Search, OneDrive for Business, Team Sites, extensible App Launcher, and hybrid picker tools
      • Vlad: Why is Office Online in the Hybrid cloud? Already that Microsoft confused a lot of clients because Office Online Server, is on-premises, but clients think that it’s in Office 365 only. By putting it in the “Hybrid Cloud” category, it will confuse people even more.

Plan authentication and security (15–20%)

  • Plan and configure authentication
    • Plan and configure Windows authentication, plan and configure anonymous authentication, plan connection encryption (TLS, SMTP), plan and configure identity federation, configure claims providers, configure site-to-site (S2S) intra-server and OAuth authentication, configure connections to Access Control Service, configure authentication for hybrid cloud deployment
  • Plan and configure authorization
    • Plan and configure SharePoint users and groups, plan and configure People Picker, plan and configure sharing (hints, one-click, create and share), plan and configure permission inheritance, plan and configure anonymous access, plan web application policies
      • Vlad: One Click Share is a permission nightmare.
  • Plan and configure platform and farm security
    • Plan and configure security isolation, services lockdown, and antivirus settings; plan and configure certificate management; plan for Kerberos support for service applications; plan and configure information rights management (IRM), delegated farm administration, and delegated service application administration; plan and configure managed accounts; plan and configure blocked file types; plan and configure web part security, including WOPI support
  • Create and configure a User Profile Service (UPA) application
    • Configure a UPA application, configure social permissions, plan and configure sync connections of MIM 2016 synchronization, configure profile properties, configure claims integration with UPA
  • Manage site and site collection security
    • Manage site access requests, manage App permissions, manage anonymous access, manage permission inheritance, configure permission levels, configure HTML field security
  • Provision and configure web applications
    • Create managed paths, configure Alternate Access Mappings (AAM), configure SharePoint Designer settings

Plan workload optimization (15–20%)

  • Create and maintain site collections
    • Provision Fast Site Collection Creation, configure Host header site collections, configure self-service site creation, maintain site owners, maintain site quotas, configure site policies, configure a team mailbox, plan Sites Page Pinning
  • Plan SharePoint high availability and disaster recovery solutions
    • Plan for service distribution, plan for service instance configuration, plan for physical server distribution, plan for network redundancy, plan for server load balancing, plan for SQL Server aliases, plan for SQL Server clustering, plan for SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups, plan for SQL Server Log Shipping, plan for storage redundancy, plan for login replication
  • Plan backup and restore
    • Establish a SharePoint backup schedule, establish a SQL Server backup schedule, plan a non-production environment content refresh, plan for farm configuration recovery, plan for service application recovery, plan for content recovery, configure a recovery solution using SQL Database running in Azure and other Azure backup solutions
      • Vlad: Happy to see Azure here for DR, but wonder what the “Other Azure Backup solutions” are.
  • Plan and configure social workloads
    • Plan communities, plan My Sites, plan OneDrive redirection, plan social permissions, plan user profiles, plan activity feeds, plan connections, configure Yammer settings
      • Vlad: OneDrive redirection and Yammer should be in Hybrid, not here.
  • Plan and configure a Web Content Management (WCM) workload
    • Plan and configure channels, plan and configure product catalog and topic pages, plan and configure Design Manager, plan and configure content deployment, plan and configure display templates, plan and configure variations
  • Plan and configure an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) workload
    • Plan and configure E-Discovery; plan and configure document routing; plan and configure co-authoring; plan and configure durable links; plan and configure record disposition and retention; plan large document repositories; plan and configure software boundaries; plan and configure Data Loss Prevention, In-Place Holds, and Document Deletion features
      • Vlad: How can we configure Software boundaries J ? Also there is nothing to configure with Durable Links… everything is done when connecting Office Online Server to SharePoint.

Plan productivity solutions (15–20%)

  • Evaluate content and customizations
    • Perform migration pre-check tasks, analyze content database test results, configure web application authentication for upgrade, resolve orphan objects, resolve missing file system components, resolve configuration conflict issues
  • Plan an upgrade process
    • Plan removal of servers in rotation, configure a parallel upgrade, configure read-only access for content, configure upgrade farms, measure upgrade performance, plan an installation sequence, plan and migrate SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint Online or a hybrid topology
      • Vlad: Plan Remove of servers in rotation, I hope it’s from the NLB and not the farm. Wonder what they will cover in the migrating to SharePoint Online… how to use a third party? The FastTrack isn’t anything technical, so doubt it will be covered, and the PowerShell cmdlets are still very basic.
  • Create and configure app management
    • Create and configure the App Store, create and configure subscriptions, configure marketplace connections, configure DNS entries, configure wildcard certificates
      • Vlad: Aren’t those Add-ins now J?
  • Create and configure productivity services
    • Create and configure Office Online Server, Microsoft Access services, Microsoft Visio services, Microsoft Word Automation services, Microsoft PowerPoint Conversion services, and Translation Services; configure hybrid OneDrive for Business with Profile Redirection and Extensible App Launcher; plan and install Office Online Server, SharePoint Insights, and SharePoint Server Telemetry features
      • Vlad: Office online Server again, didn’t we already plan and configure for it 3x? J. Also, a lot of Hybrid here again… and Office Online Server in the middle of hybrid features, even if it has nothing to do with Hybrid. SharePoint Insights isn’t even yet released in beta, so hopefully no questions on it at launch and… “SharePoint Server Telemetry features”. That’s something I never heard off before, so maybe this is a leak of an upcoming feature in the first Feature Pack? Who knows… but hopefully they won’t test on it June 20th.
  • Create and configure a Business Connectivity Service (BCS) and Secure Store application
    • Import and configure BCS models, configure BCS model security, configure BCS for search, generate a Secure Store master key, manage Secure Store target application permissions, create Secure Store target applications, configure hybrid BCS
      • Vlad: Hybrid BCS is a different beast than BCS… wonder why this is here and not in the hybrid section.
  • Manage SharePoint solutions and applications
    • Manage sandbox solution quotas, configure sandbox solution management, deploy farm solutions, upgrade farm solutions, deploy Apps, upgrade Apps

Manage search capabilities (10–15%)

  • Create and configure Enterprise search
    • Plan and configure a search topology, plan and configure content sources, plan and configure crawl schedules, plan and configure crawl rules, plan and configure crawl performance, plan and configure security trimming, choose and configure hybrid search
  • Create and configure a Managed Metadata Service (MMS) application
    • Configure proxy settings for managed service applications, configure content type hub settings, configure sharing term sets, plan and configure content type propagation schedules, configure custom properties, configure term store permissions, configure managed metadata service (MMS) imports
  • Manage search
    • Manage result sources; manage query rules; manage display templates; manage Search Engine Optimization (SEO) settings; manage result types; manage a search schema; manage federated search, including integration with Delve and Office Graph
      • Vlad: Delve + Office Graph don’t work with Federated Search. Hope they mean Cloud Hybrid Search.
  • Manage taxonomy
    • Manage site collection term set access, manage term set navigation, manage topic catalog pages, configure custom properties, configure search refinement, configure list refinement
  • Plan and configure a search workload
    • Plan and configure search result relevancy, plan and configure index freshness, plan and configure result sources, plan and configure the end-user experience, plan and configure a search schema, analyze search analytics reports

Plan and configure cloud services (5–10%)

  • Plan and configure a BI infrastructure
    • Plan and configure Performance Point, plan and configure reporting services, plan and configure PowerPivot, plan and configure Excel Services (Office Online only), plan and configure PowerView, plan and configure BI security
      • Vlad: Again a comment about Office Online + BI being in Hybrid. Why is BI in the Cloud Services Category, when Office Online Server has NOTHING to do with Office 365? Again more confusion to make clients think that Office Online Server is not on-premises.
  • Create and configure work management
    • Configure a connection to Exchange, activate and configure a connection to Microsoft Project Server 2016, manage trusts, plan Exchange configuration for E-Discovery
      • Vlad: Why is this in the Cloud Services section? Project Server 2016 is on Premises, as well as Exchange 2016.
  • Plan and configure cloud and federated hybrid search
    • Plan and configure on-premises and Office 365 search and encrypted metadata when content is transferred to the search index in Office 365, configure user specific queries and inbound/outbound or bi-directional hybrid topologies

Monitor and optimize a SharePoint environment (10–15%)

  • Monitor a SharePoint environment
    • Define monitoring requirements, configure performance counter capture, configure page performance monitoring, configure usage and health providers, monitor and forecast storage needs, monitor SharePoint hybrid cloud deployments
  • Tune and optimize a SharePoint environment
    • Plan and configure SQL optimization, execute database maintenance rules, plan for capacity software boundaries, estimate storage requirements, plan and configure caching and a caching strategy, tune network performance, plan and configure Zero Downtime Patching
      • Vlad: You can’t really configure Zero Down Time Patching (ZDT). You can plan for it, you can plan your upgrade sequence, but there is nothing to configure for ZDT.
  • Troubleshoot a SharePoint environment
    • Establish baseline performance, perform client-side tracing, perform server-side tracing, analyze usage data, enable a developer dashboard, analyze diagnostic logs, troubleshoot SharePoint hybrid cloud issues

What do you think about the exam contents? Anything missing, anything that shouldn’t be there? Should this have been two different exams? One for On-Prem and one for Hybrid? Let me know in the comments!

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Microsoft Learning has silently posted a blog post on the Born to Learn blog announcing that starting July 2016, the price of the Microsoft Certification exams will increase to an unspecified amount. The July date is when Microsoft’s Fiscal Year 2017 starts, so maybe it’s a way to sell more exams in the current Fiscal Year, or make their Microsoft Learning division more profitable in FY17.

Microsoft Certification Exams

Here is the FAQ from the announcement blog post:

Q: When will the exam price adjustment go into effect?

A: The price change is anticipated in July 2016.

Q: Is the exam price adjustment happening worldwide?

A: Yes.

 Q: To which exams will this price adjustment apply?

A: It will apply to commercial MCP exams, academic MCP exams, and MTA exams. Academic exams purchased from Pearson VUE and Courseware Marketplace will also see price changes. This does not apply to academic exams purchased through volume licensing.

 Q: Will the price adjustment also apply to online proctored exams?

A: Yes, it will.

 Q: Will the price adjustment also impact academic exam pricing?

A: Yes, it will apply to academic exams purchased from Pearson VUE and Courseware Marketplace. However, It does not apply to pricing for academic volume licensing.

You can view the official blog on the Born to Learn blog over here: https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/veronica/archive/2016/04/25/faqs-microsoft-certification-exam-price-adjustment-2016

If you’re looking to get certified in 2016, you might want to check out the Microsoft Certification Booster Packs that give you some discounts on a couple of options.

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Microsoft Learning has published some interesting information for SharePoint IT Pros interested in the SharePoint 2016 IT Pro Certification. They have released information about Course 20339-1:  Planning and Administering SharePoint 2016 as well as Course 20339-2: Advanced Technologies of SharePoint 2016 . The courses are set to be released on July 8 and 21, 2016.

 

SharePoint 2016 IT Pro Certification

This should give us a good idea of what the exam names will be as well as what will be tested in each exam.  If we look at what each exam covers

Planning and Administering SharePoint 2016

  • Describe the key features of SharePoint 2016.
  • Design an information architecture for a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Design a logical architecture for a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Design the physical architecture for a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Install and configure SharePoint 2016.
  • Create and configure web applications and site collections.
  • Plan and configure service applications for a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Manage users and permissions, and secure content in a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Configure authentication in a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Configure platform and farm-level security in a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Manage information taxonomy in SharePoint web applications and site collections.
  • Configure and manage user profiles and audiences.
  • Configure and manage the search experience in SharePoint 2016.
  • Monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot a SharePoint 2016 deployment.

Advanced Technologies of SharePoint 2016

  • Describe the core SharePoint 2016 architecture and its new and improved features.
  • Describe the key hybrid features in SharePoint 2016.
  • Plan and design a SharePoint 2016 environment to meet requirements for high availability and disaster recovery.
  • Plan and implement Business Connectivity Services and Secure Store Service.
  • Configure and manage productivity services for a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Manage solutions in a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Plan and configure social computing features.
  • Plan and configure web content management for an Internet-facing environment.
  • Plan and configure Enterprise Content Management in a SharePoint 2016 deployment.
  • Plan and configure business intelligence solutions.
  • Plan and configure work management, productivity, and collaboration platforms and features.
  • Perform an upgrade or migration to SharePoint 2016.

I was curious to see what students will learn in this courses, especially for Hybrid and I was a bit let down as the Hybrid Module only seems to cover outbound search & OneDrive for Business, but not the new Hybrid Search, or Hybrid BCS and other Hybrid features.

Module 2: Introduction to hybrid scenarios for SharePoint 2016

This module describes the key hybrid features in SharePoint 2016, and the various hybrid options available in SharePoint 2016. This module helps you understand how to configure a solution that uses an outbound search topology.

Lessons

  • Exploring the hybrid features in SharePoint 2016
  • Hybrid architectures in SharePoint 2016
  • Configuring a one-way hybrid search, and configuring OneDrive for Business

Lab : Configuring a Microsoft Office 365 tenant

  • Configuring an Office 365 tenant

Lab : Configuring one-way hybrid search and configuring OneDrive for Business

  • Configuring an outbound search topology

After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Describe the key hybrid features in SharePoint 2016.
  • Describe the various hybrid options available in SharePoint 2016.
  • Configure a solution that uses an outbound search topology.

What I found strange is the numbers of the exams. If we look in the past, exam 70-331 (SharePoint 2013 Core Solutions) had course number 20331 while 70-332 (Advanced SharePoint 2013 Solutions) had course 20332.   The numbers for the new SharePoint 2016 courses are 20339-1 and 20339-2,  which would indicate they apply to the same exam, but I think they just didn’t finalized the exam names yet, so expect the course numbers to change in the future.

You can view details for both courses by clicking on the following links:

There is no information if the SharePoint 2016 IT Pro certification will be a MCSE or something else.    As soon as I found out, I will share with you. You can use the social links below to stay up to date with my blog!

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With SharePoint 2016 out sometimes this spring and other connected services such as Azure and Office 365, 2016 is a great year to add some certifications to your transcript. Microsoft Learning just introduced a new special offer called Microsoft Certification Booster Packs to help you get certified!

Microsoft Certification Booster Packs

There are multiple Booster Packs you can buy and we will look at the options here. I will be referring to prices in the United States in this article, however they might be different in other countries. In the United States, a Certification exam at normal price is 150$. Here are the Booster Packs that we have:

1. Practice test + Certification exam

Want to know what’s on an exam? Take a practice test and find out. The practice test is available online and valid for 30 days, so you’ll have plenty of time to prepare.
Cost: 200$

2. Certification exam + 4 retakes

Sometimes it’s smart to add a little insurance to important undertakings. With 4 retakes you’ll get plenty of chances at success.
Cost: 200$

3. Practice test + Certification exam + 4 retakes

Pull out all the stops and give yourself every advantage. With a practice test, you can spend quality time preparing—plus 4 extra retakes give you exam-day peace of mind.

Cost: 225$

 

Remember that for the retakes, the standard policy still applies, so if you fail five times, you will need to wait a year before trying to get that exam again!

WHEN IS IT AVAILABLE?

  • This offer is available for purchase from March 7 to August 31, 2016.
  • Specific exam voucher and practice test expiration dates are listed in the FAQs on the special offer page.

WHO CAN GET THIS?

  • This offer is available to customers and partners worldwide.
  • MCP exam vouchers in the Booster Pack must be used within 6 months from purchase (including all retakes.)
  • Practice test vouchers in the Booster Pack must be activated by February 28, 2017, and are valid for 30 days from activation.
  • Please visit the FAQs and full T&Cs on the special offers page for more details.

More Information can be found here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/offers.aspx?WT.mc_id=WWLeX_BPack_B2C_MCTRL

What exams do you plan to take in 2016?

 

 

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Last week I wrote a blog post about the fact that Microsoft is retiring SharePoint MCSD developer exams. The article was pretty popular with over 1000 shares on social media and 4000 views in just two days. Microsoft Learning decided to answer the confusion in a follow up blog post, in which we learned that the SharePoint Dev exams are going away, while an Office 365 app exam is coming in! Here is the quote from MS Learning:

SharePoint Dev Certifications

In the area of Office (including SharePoint) app development, there is a growing interest in Office365 apps and we are adjusting the certification path accordingly. As the existing MCSD: SharePoint developer path relies heavily on Web Application development skills, we are moving to a model where individuals would earn their MCSD: Web Applications credential, and, then, choose to specialize in Office365 app development with a single, new Specialist exam. This new exam is currently under development and more details will be shared once available.

Before, in order to get the MCSD: SharePoint Certification we had to pass 4 exams:

  • 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
  • 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications
  • 70-488: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
  • 70-489: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions

As you see, we had two general “Web Development” certifications, and two specific to SharePoint 2013. According to the MS Learning  blog post, I am guessing the new path in order to get certified for SharePoint / Office 365 would look something like:

  • 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
  • 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications
  • 70-487: Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services
  • 70-xxx: Developing apps for Office 365 (Just a guess on name)

The 480/486/487 exams would give you the MCSD: Web Applications, while the new Developing apps for Office 365 will give you a MCS: Office 365, and maybe a MCSD: Office 365 apps certification?

My Personal opinion is that a Developing apps for Office 365 specialist exam is a great idea, because there is nothing currently to certify users for that, however killing all certification for On-Premises SharePoint development is an awful one. I know that we can deploy apps on SharePoint 2013 and 2016, but no one really does it. More than 95% of my customers only do full trust farm solutions in their on-prem environment.  Furthermore, according to the latest numbers released by Jeff Tepper in November 2015, 60% of SharePoint licenses are On-Premises … so about 96 Million Users.

What do you think about this new certification path? Let me know in the comments!

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In an announcement posted by Microsoft Learning on February 16th 2016, Microsoft announced that both MCSD exams (70-488 Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions and exam 70-489: Developing SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions) will retire on September 30th 2016!

SharePoint MCSD retired

Furthermore, what is more interesting is that exam 70-517: Recertification for MCSD: SharePoint Applications is also being retired on the same date. This announcement is very interesting for two reasons:

  • The MCSD: SharePoint Certifications came almost a year after the MCSE: SharePoint Certifications, but are retired a lot before. To give you an idea… The SharePoint 2010 IT Pro Certifications are only being retired on July 31st 2016!
  • There is no news on SharePoint 2016 certifications yet.
  • By retiring both the two exams AND the re-certification exams, most developers will lose their MCSD: SharePoint certification pretty soon, since to keep it you must re-certify every two years.

However, the MCSD SharePoint is not the only certification that will die. The following MCSD Certification will also be retired on September 30:

  • MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5 (481, 482, 490)
  • MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using C# (484, 485, 491)

Furthermore, the re-certification exam for MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management is also retiring, meaning developers cannot renew their MCSD.

What does “retired” mean?

Here is what “retired” means directly from Microsoft Learning:

Keep in mind that even if an exam that is part of a certification you earned is retired, your certification is still valid. When an exam you passed is retired, the exam record remains on your transcript. If you’re working toward a certification that includes one of the exams listed for retirement, please be sure to take the exam prior to the retirement date. Allow time for a retake if necessary.

So, if you’re currently working on your MCSD SharePoint Certification, make sure you finish all your SharePoint exams as soon as possible to get it on your transcript!

Future of SharePoint MCSD?

There are lots of theories that can be made about why Microsoft is canceling the SharePoint MCSD. Maybe the numbers weren’t what they expected, or maybe the recertification technique didn’t work. The SharePoint 2013 MCSE doesn’t even need to pass an exam to re-certificate, only need to listen to MVA.

Maybe Microsoft is replacing the SharePoint MCSD certification with an Office 365 MCSD certification in order to be cloud-first? Why do you think Microsoft is killing the SharePoint MCSD Certification so early? Let me know in the comments!

 

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You can view the original Announcement here: Exam Retirement Update: What’s retiring in September 2016?

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I am extremely happy to announce that my third Pluralsight course has been released over the weekend. While my Planning and Deploying Office Web Apps 2013 and my PowerShell for Office 365 courses were more geared towards the IT Pro audience, this course on Creating a Workflow in SharePoint Designer is really for everyone from End Users to IT Pros that want to know how to create simple and powerful workflows with SharePoint Designer.

Creating a Workflow in SharePoint Designer

In this course, I will cover the following topics:

  1. Learning the Basics

    In this module, I cover the basics of SharePoint Workflows, and all the terms you need to get started. We learn the types of Workflows, the Start Types as well as what exactly are Actions and Conditions.

  2. Out of the Box Workflows

    SharePoint 2010 and 2013 both include some basic Out of the Box Workflows that can do a good job, without any customizing. Before going in SharePoint Designer, we will learn what SharePoint has to offer Out of the Box!

  3. Creating a Workflow in SharePoint 2010 Mode

    In this Module, we will learn how to create a SharePoint Workflow, the basics of creating workflows in SharePoint Designer, the available actions and conditions as well as go through two Real World scenarios.

  4. Creating a Workflow in SharePoint 2013 Mode

    In this Module, I will go through the differences between 2010 and 2013 mode workflows, and you will learn the new things such as steps, loops and finish the module with a real world scenario.

  5. Visio Integration

    In this Module we cover the integration between SharePoint Designer and Microsoft Visio.

This course applies to SharePoint 2010, 2013, 2016 as well as SharePoint Online in Office 365. The only module that doesn’t apply to SharePoint 2010 is module 4.

Creating a Workflow in SharePoint Designer

You can find the course at http://spvlad.com/SPDesignerPluralsight or by clicking the image below! If you don’t have a Pluralsight account, you can open a 10 Day Free Trial or you can also try to get the Free Pluralsight 6 Month Subscription that still appears to work!

Creating a Workflow in SharePoint Designer

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For some of you SharePoint Experts who took your exams in early 2013, the time to re-certify your MCSE SharePoint 2013 might be approaching. As you probably know, Microsoft requires you to re-certify every three years, to make sure your skills are still up to date.

MCSE SharePoint 2013

But how do you renew your MCSE SharePoint certification? At the time of writing this blog post, the SharePoint 2016 certifications, are not out yet, and there is no exam to renew the MCSE. However, Microsoft made it possible for everyone to renew their MCSE SharePoint trough Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). Let me first start with what you need to do, and then I will give you my opinion. The first thing you need to do, is create an account at https://mva.microsoft.com/ , listen to the following modules, and then pass the associated assessments.

 

 

Step Microsoft Virtual Academy course Skill
1 Deep Dive: Building Blocks and Services of SharePoint Configure advanced productivity tools
2 Deploying & Managing SharePoint 2013 with PowerShell Manage user access
Manage workload optimization
Manage productivity solutions
Implement Enterprise Search
3 Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions Jump Start Manage user access
Manage productivity solutions
4 Developing SharePoint Server Advanced Solutions Jump Start Implement Enterprise Search
5 Managing SharePoint On-Premises vs. SharePoint Online Architect and install SharePoint
6 SharePoint 2013 Best Practices Architect and install SharePoint
Manage workload optimization
7 Support Corner: Configure SharePoint Outbound Hybrid Search Architect and install SharePoint
8 Support Corner: Manage Storage Quota for SharePoint Online Manage user access
9 Upgrading to SharePoint 2013 Architect and install SharePoint
10 Initial Implementation of SharePoint Server Architect and install SharePoint
11 Plan a Collaboration Solution Using Office 365 Manage productivity solutions

After you finish and pass all of them, you need to email your MVA Username and your Microsoft Certification ID to certquest@microsoft.com to get your transcript updated.

MCSE SharePoint 2013

Pros

Making re-certification available through MVA does have its advantages:

  1. It’s FREEJ.
  2. It’s easy to do on your own time.
  3. You get to pass the assessment after every “module” allowing you to be able to restart a specific test only.

Cons

I don’t know what Microsoft’s plan is for SharePoint 2016 certifications, but if their goal of having the MCSE SharePoint certification without version numbers, everyone could be SharePoint certified and up to date until 2019, even if they didn’t do a SharePoint 2016 exam. But before talking about that in detail, let’s see what Microsoft will do for SharePoint 2016. Here are some cons according to me, on re-certifying professionals through MVA.

  1. Dumps will be even easier to access, as MVA probably has an a lot smaller question pool, and anyone can take unlimited tries, so you can probably find questions in a few minutes on the net.
  2. Certification value will go even lower. Everyone knows the value of certifications went down in the last few years, and being able to do your re-certification assessments, unlimited number of times until you get it right, brings down the value of the cert.
  3. Some courses have no link to the MCSE SharePoint, or its intended audience. For example, let me talk to you about the Deep Dive: Building Blocks and Services of SharePoint . That 7h course, talks about CSOM, Rest, Event receivers, and stuff for the MCSD… it has nothing to do with IT Pros, which should be the intended audience for a MCSE. Another one, Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions Jump Start . Wait so I need to do a 6h jumpstart for the 70-488 exam, which as an MCSD exam, and be able to PASS it, in order to be a SharePoint admin? It makes no sense.

The total time of videos, not including lab and assessments to re-certify your MCSE SharePoint 2013 is 36 hours. I think it’s quite a lot of videos to watch, especially that 12 of those hours are strictly dev, and SharePoint Administrators will have to learn to create both SharePoint Apps and SharePoint Farm solution, and be familiar with CSOM, REST and another technologies that they don’t touch in their day to day jobs.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think that it’s good to learn new skills, and it’s not a bad thing for SharePoint Administrators to learn how to develop for SharePoint. But I don’t think they should have made it mandatory, for a SharePoint Admin to know how to dev, in order for him to retain his IT PRO MCSE Certification.

Here is the official Microsoft details + FAQ about the re-certification process:   What’s your opinion for this new way to renew your MCSE SharePoint Cert? Do you have any other Pros or Cons? Let me know in the comments!

 

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While I usually only blog about SharePoint, since Exchange is part of the Office 365, this might interest some of you!

70-345

Microsoft just announced they are giving away 350 free 70-345 : Designing and Deploying Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 exams for those of you who want to try it! Oh, and you need to register AND take the exam before February 12! The goal is for Microsoft to get feedback to make the exam better, so make sure that if you take the beta, you give a lot of feedback!

You can view the exam details and register directly on the site: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-345.aspx

Use code EXCH2016010B to take it for free, but these codes are only valid for exam dates on or before Feb. 12, 2016.

EDIT: For clarification purposes with the new Pearon System.  You enter this code after choosing your Center, Date and Time. You enter this code when entering payment details.

VLADI7 1-13-2016 1.32.12 PM

Unfortunately, this offer is not available in Turkey, Pakistan, India, China, and Vietnam.

Also, keep in mind that this exam is in beta, which means that you will not be scored immediately. You will receive your final score and passing status once the exam is live.

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Win a free Pass to SPTechCon Austin 2016

Categories: Learning
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Hello Everyone,

I have been blogging about learning resources for a while and one of the best ways to learn from the experts is to attend in person conferences! SPTechCon gave me a 4-Day All-Access Conference Pass to SPTechCon Austin 2016 to give away to the readers of my blog!   To enter you simply have to put your name and email, and you can get bonus entries if you follow @vladcatrinescu on Twitter and like the Absolute SharePoint page on Facebook!  Furthermore you can tweet about the  giveaway every day and get 9 bonus entries for every time you tweet!

 

sptechcon

The prize only includes the conference pass and not any travel costs or anything else. Just the conference pass!  Here is a small paragraph about the conference

 

SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference is returning to Austin, Texas! SPTechCon will take place February 21-24, 2016, with more than 80 technical classes and tutorials presented to help those utilizing SharePoint technology and maximize their effectiveness with it.

SPTechCon Austin will feature the first conference sessions on SharePoint 2016, the next release of SharePoint expected early next year! We will also bring you more on working with SharePoint 2013 and Office 365, with practical information you can put to use on the job right away!

SPTechCon offers classes and tutorials for IT professionals, business decision makers, information workers, project managers, and developers. Each presenter at the conference will be a true SharePoint expert, with many drawn from Microsoft’s tech teams or from outside authorities with Microsoft MVP status.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in February! Because SharePoint… and AUSTIN!!

Good Luck!

Click here to view this promotion.
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