SharePoint 2010 is a popular tool for creating Intranets, customer portals, and almost any web-based solution. It’s a powerful product that can address an impressive number of business solutions. As such, it’s also quite complex. When organizations look to hire professionals to help them with their SharePoint implementation, they prefer to find individuals who can demonstrate proficiency through knowledge and experience. One way to measure a professional’s level of knowledge is to review the individual’s certification status. And if you’re a SharePoint professional, it’s a way to demonstrate a minimum bar of proficiency.
In this article series, I’ll cover an overview of the various certifications, along with each of the four core exams, focusing on a different exam each month. I’ll also cover the top-tier certifications for SharePoint 2010, devoting a full month’s article to each of those. I’ll also provide helpful tips and resources to help you pass the exams.
Before we get into the schedule for the series, let’s start by taking a look at how Microsoft organizes the various levels of certification that an individual can achieve.
Microsoft Certification Levels
In the Microsoft Certified Professional program, there are four levels of competency:
- Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (TS)
- Microsoft Certified Professional (PRO), which could include either IT Pro or Professional Developer
- Microsoft Certified Master (MCM)
- Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA)
These four levels hold true for the SharePoint 2010 certifications as well. Specifically there are several categories of SharePoint certification:
- TS, with one each for administrators and developers
- PRO, with one each for IT professionals and developer/solution designers
- MCM, which combines a deep and rigorous understanding of both IT pro and developer skills
- MCA, which adds a board-level review of solution design knowledge and experience
Each level of competency builds on the one before it, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. The Microsoft Certified competency levels.
Let’s start with the four core exams, which are the ones that the majority of the SharePoint technology community will choose to pursue.