Microsoft Releases SharePoint 2016 MCSE information


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: .

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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  • May 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Hello Vlad,

    I have a question? I´m currently prepared to take the exam 70-331 for Core Solutions of SharePoint Server 2013, what do you recommended, take the 70-331 or waiting to prepare for 70-339?

    Many thanks!!


  • May 26, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Agree 100% ! Office Online Server is absolutely one of the most confusing product names MS has ever come up with and should pay us to have to explain it to management. Should have left it OWA even if needed to be changed to OWA 2016!

    Question I have is it appears to have dropped a lot of the Server 2012 OS skills that were added to 2013 exams, at least in the descriptions. Will it instead include more Azure specific planning, installation, etc. ? I see mention of ‘configure a recovery solution using SQL Database running in Azure’ but have no idea how that would be possible as a complete DR solution. Will have to start searching.


    • May 28, 2016 at 4:31 am

      I think it will include a lot more Hybrid than before, and the O365 skills will be validated in the MCSA o365. I don’t know if the MCSA Windows Server will be a valid pre-req anymore.

  • May 27, 2016 at 3:14 am

    Hi Vlad,

    have there been any announcements regarding the developer certifications for SharePoint 2016 yet?


  • May 27, 2016 at 6:15 am

    Hello Vlad,
    I have the same question as Eduardo ! I prepare to pass the 70-331 and the 70-332 2 months later… What is the best strategy … It is not question of fees but question of continuity.

    • May 30, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      If you’re ready to take the SharePoint 2013 exam, you can take it as you will already have some years of real SharePoint 2013 projects and knowledge. I would suggest doing some real SharePoint 2016 projects before jumping to the exam so you can prepare!

  • August 18, 2016 at 11:52 am
    Chantal Belanger

    Thanks a lot Vlad for these comments ! Much appreciated.

    Now, I would be interested in doing the beta exam, but I am having trouble finding study documentation… even Technet has not much yet.

    What would you suggest ? Maybe it would be best waiting for MS Press books to come out.


  • September 27, 2016 at 8:14 am
    Shantanu Ambegaonkar

    Hi Vlad,

    1. If I clear 70-331 and 332 OR 70-339 (for 2016), will I get the MCSE certification or I have to clear the MCSA(O365) exams also ?
    2. Are you PluralSight courses enough to crack 70-339 exam or Do I have to read and refer other materials too ?

    Thank you

  • October 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm
    omkar acharya

    Can we write 70-339 after MCSA:Windows Server 2012?

    • October 26, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      You can take it, but not sure yet it will help you towards the MCSE 2016. I will check if it’s still a valid path

  • October 18, 2016 at 2:51 am

    Hi Vlad,

    I was about to give the 70-488 exam. But now I am thinking of giving 70-339. Please suggest. Should I also prepare for 70-346 and 70-347.

    What is the proper order of taking the following exams?

    What about giving 2013 certification now? will it be beneficial?

  • October 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Did you find any information about “document fingerprinting and item-level encryption”? I don’t think SP2016 actually have this feature…

  • November 26, 2016 at 7:47 am
    Terry C

    Hi there. I am not technically trained, but I hope to take the Exam Ref 70-339 Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016. Would you think someone could pass this exam with no hands-on on the application prior? Looking for opinions to decide on taking this paper.

    • December 28, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      I don’t think you can pass it without hands on experience … I really recommand you install yourself a lab and do some projects before attempting the certification.

  • January 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Hi Vlad,

    I am a SharePoint admin. I have passed 70-331, 70-332 and 70-346. I just see MCSE SharePoint 2013 will retire in March 31, 2017.
    Considering the major part of 70-347 is about Exchange online, which I have no hands-on experience, and also will not be used in my work, I wonder if I should just hold my nose, study and take the 70-347 before the MCSE SP2013 retire. I feel that I am wasting my time on 70-347. Want to hear your opinion.

    • June 28, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Hello, the 70-346 / 70-347 are really tough exams if you don’t know Exchange / Skype for Business as well! But if you passed the 346 you will probably be fine with the 70-347 as well. Anwyay I think you should look at the 70-339 for SP2016!

  • January 11, 2017 at 11:33 am

    The amount of material covered in this test is absolutely ridiculous. It should be at least four tests:
    SharePoint 2016 infrastructure and security
    SharePoint 2016 administration and maintenance
    SharePoint 2016 on-premises configuration
    SharePoint 2016 hybrid configuration

    I have worked with SharePoint for the last 10 years and the bloat caused by the cloud has made it almost completely unmanageable by one person. Expecting one person to be a SQL Server Admin, a Windows admin, a BI specialist, a cloud specialist, a security specialist etc. simply leads to really bad installations. Given that Microsoft is “testing” on features that don’t seem to exist list “fingerprinting” shows a level of negligence or cynicism in their testing process that is really disturbing.

  • February 28, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    I’m for preparing for 70-339 SP Server 2016 Exam. Does your Pluralsight course covers all exam objectives? Any additional material required to pass this exam besides your course? Please guide.

  • March 1, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Vlad,

    i have good experience of 2010 and 2013. i was preparing for SP2013 Exam but now when SP2016 is out, what do u think should i go for SP2016?

    • March 6, 2017 at 10:25 am

      It all depends what you work with, both 2013/2016 will give you the MCSE Productivity certification. If you are really close to the 2013, get it, else I think you should focus on the SharePoint 2016 one!


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