Sunday, April 21, 2013

Road to Certifiability

Welcome back, avid readers (okay, that's probably just my wife)! I've been deep in a project and most of my blogging has been on the AIS blog recently. However, I'm going to chronicle my certification path on this site. I had my annual review back in February and the big growth goal that was asked of me was to earn a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) on SharePoint 2013 by the end of the year. This was already a goal of mine as a bit of a New Year resolution, but this makes it a bit easier to not let it slide.

Why?

Over the last couple of years, I've become very interested in earning the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM...Formerly MCM - Microsoft Certified Master). Since I've committed myself to the SharePoint Asylum, it makes sense that I go for that particular one. If you're not familiar with the MCSM, it's not your run-of-the-mill certification. It sounds like one of the most grueling programs I've heard of. A recent post by Kirk Evans only further supports this statement.  

I won't go into too much detail, but the qualifications for acceptance to the program starts with the MCSD and MCSE.  After that, you have to interview with some of the smartest people on the technology (likely other MCMs).  Then there's the actual program.  There are now two program options: a 3-week program in Redmond or a hybrid program that consists on 1 week in Redmond and 9 weeks remote.  At the end of this comes two exams.  The first is the written exam, which sounds like it really is a WRITTEN exam and not a multiple guess exam like the other Microsoft exams.  Second, is the qualification lab which actually tests what you know (and probably a lot of what you just learned in the 3 or 10 week program).  As Kirk describes it, it's 8.5 hours of work that would normally be billed at a month.  Easy, right?  To top it all off, you only get 3 shots at each test before you have to retake the entire course...which comes in at a modest $18,500 + $125 application fee.  Don't forget, that doesn't cover room, board, and airfare, either.

If you actually survive all of this, I imagine it pretty much assures job security in SharePoint as anyone who succeeds really KNOWS SharePoint.  That's the main reason I'm interested as that means that I'll have no problem providing for my family.  Admittedly, I hope it also helps me work my way into the big conference speaking, too.  Another goal of mine is to speak at a SharePoint Conference, Tech Ed, or a similar venue.

What's that mean for this series?

I'm going to use this series as a way to share my thoughts on the exams and how I prepared.  Hopefully, there won't be many instances of exam retakes, but I figure I'll need my fair share of Second Shot offers.

I've already finished 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3.  I'll follow up with a post on that soon.  I'm registered for 71 70-488: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions and 71 70-489: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions.  These are the Beta exams for the MCSD.  While I'm waiting to get those results back, I'm going to prepare for 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications.  That's 4 exams for the MCSD: SharePoint 2013.

The MCSE: SharePoint 2013 consists of 5 exams.  Three of these exams will earn a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) on Windows Server 2012.  Only two will be directly related to SharePoint 2013.  It's obvious that SharePoint, and thus its related certifications, is placing more importance on other Microsoft technologies, such as Windows Server and ASP.Net MVC, than before.  I'll try to share my thoughts on this as I cover the exams, as well.

Links to the rest of the series

Road to Certifiability Exam #1 Completed - 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3

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