2020 Microsoft 365 Certifications Overview
Are you a Microsoft 365 professional that is thinking of getting certified in 2020? If yes, this blog post is for you! This blog post will introduce you to the available Microsoft 365 Certifications that MS offers in 2020, as well as share links to the best learning resources! Before we get in the details, let’s start with a crucial question, why get certified?
Why Get Certified?
There are a ton of reasons to get a Microsoft Certification, as there are thousands of people who do not believe in them. If you’re reading this blog, I assume you’re at least interested a bit, so let me give you the main reasons I see out there!
First, it’s good for your career! Check out the stats below, or you can also view the full Microsoft and Pearson White Paper here which outlines the main benefits according to Microsoft. Certified professionals are also needed by Microsoft Partners for their Silver/Gold competencies, so having those certifications certainly increases your value inside the company.
However, for me personally, the biggest benefit is that is forces me to learn and master a certain topic. I am always way more effective when I have a goal in mind such as passing a certification, running a 5K, or winning in a sport, VS just doing something with no goal in mind. By aiming for that certification, I can really look at what Microsoft thinks that a certain Job Role needs to have as competencies, than I go into each one of them in my lab, try them out, and often I am able to try new things I have never done before, because maybe none of my clients wanted to implement a certain feature, or simply I never had access to it. So, with cloud skills becoming more and more important, certification can be simply a motivation / end goal for you to get out there and study the ins and outs of a certain Microsoft Product.
Microsoft 365 Certifications in 2020
There is a total of eight (8) certification options for Microsoft 365 (also called Modern Workplace) Professionals, and the one you should go for really depends on how much experience you have with Microsoft 365, as well as what products you have the most experience in. Certifications are split in 3 categories depending on difficulty, Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert. The Fundamental level certification is Optional; however you must pass an Associate level certification before being able to become an Expert. Not all Associate level certifications are available however, and I will specify this as we get deeper in the details.
Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals
The first certification, at the Fundamentals level is the Microsoft 365 Certified Fundamentals certification, for which you only need only exam MS-900. This certification is perfect whether you’re a technical salesperson, IT Professional or Developer as it just covers the basics of Microsoft 365. If you’ve never taken a Microsoft certification exam before, this can also be a good way for you to try out an easier exam, so you can get used to the experience before going deeper with the more advanced exams. You can find the study guide for the MS-900 exam here!
Associate Level Certifications
There are 6 options for Associate level certifications, and this depends largely on what you want to specialize in. The six options are:
- Modern Desktop Administrator Associate (Modern Desktop Administrators deploy, configure, secure, manage, and monitor devices and client applications in an enterprise environment)
- Messaging Administrator Associate (Microsoft 365 Messaging Administrators deploy, configure, manage, and monitor messaging infrastructure, permissions, client access, mail protection, and mail flow in both on-premises, hybrid, and cloud enterprise environments)
- Teamwork Administrator Associate (Microsoft 365 Teamwork Administrators configure, deploy, and manage Office 365 workloads that focus on efficient and effective collaboration, such as SharePoint (online, on-premises, and hybrid), OneDrive, and Teams.)
- Security Administrator Associate (Microsoft 365 Security Administrators proactively secure Microsoft 365 enterprise and hybrid environments, implement and manage security and compliance solutions, respond to threats, and enforce data governance)
- Teams Administrator Associate (Microsoft Teams Administrators configure, deploy, and manage Office 365 workloads for Microsoft Teams that focus on efficient and effective collaboration and communication in an enterprise environment.)
- Developer Associate (Microsoft 365 Developers design, build, test, and maintain applications and solutions that are optimized for the productivity and collaboration needs of organizations using the Microsoft 365 platform)
Let’s look at them more in detail!
Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate
This certification is made for systems administrators and IT Pros who deploy and manage Windows 10 in the enterprise. In order to achieve this certification you must pass exams MD-100 and MD-101.
Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate
This certification is made for the Exchange Online and hybrid administrators! You need to have knowledge of hybrid Exchange as well in order to be successful. In order to achieve this certification you must pass exams MS-200 and MS-201!
Microsoft 365 Certified: Teamwork Administrator Associate
In terms of products covered, this certification is probably the widest. In order to get this certification you need to master SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Teams for collaboration, not voice, Flow/PowerApps administration, Stream and Yammer! You must also know how to install and manage a SharePoint 2019 farm, configure hybrid, and migrate from SharePoint On-Premises to SharePoint Online. In order to get this certification you need to pass exams MS-300 and MS-301. You can find the MS-300 Study Guide here & the MS-301 Study Guide over here!
Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate
This certification covers everything to do with security and information protection / compliance in Microsoft 365. If DLP, AIP, ATP, PIM are the acronyms you play with daily, this exam is for you! To get this certification, you need to pass only one exam, the MS-500.
Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate
This certification is brand new, announced at Ignite 2019 in November 2019, and will come out of beta in 2020. This certification is built for Skype for Business professionals turned Teams administrators, as well as administrators who know Teams inside out, including Upgrading from Skype for Business to Teams, and configuring all of the voice/calling stack in Microsoft Teams. There is a bit of overlap between the Teamwork and the Teams certifications, but not a lot. To pass this certification you need to pass the MS-700 exam. The MS-700 Study Guide will be over here!
Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate
This certification is also one that will come out of beta early 2020, and as the name says this is for Developers. You need to master authentication for your apps, as well as know how to create customizations for Teams, Office, and SharePoint. You must also master the Microsoft Graph. To get this certification, you need to pass only one exam, the MS-600. You can find the MS-600 Study Guide over here! Really important to know that this certification is not a valid prerequisite for expert level certifications.
Expert Level Certifications
Now that you have passed an Associate level certification, you are ready to go to the expert level exams. In order to have the Expert level certification, you must pass any of the associate level certifications, except the Developer one, which is the only one that isn’t a valid prerequisite.
Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert
There is only one expert level certification in the Microsoft 365 branch, and it’s the Enterprise Administrator Expert certification. This certification covers a lot of the tenant/user/governance scenarios inside Microsoft 365, and also focuses on Identity and Mobility. In order to pass this certification you must pass exams MS-100 and MS-101. You can find the MS-100 Study Guide here , and the MS-101 Study Guide over here
In 2020, a Modern Workplace (Microsoft 365) professional really has quite a few options to get certified, with one Fundamentals level certification, 6 Associate level, and one expert level certification, for a total of 12 possible exams. If you’re not sure which one to go for, start with the Fundamentals, which will give you a good idea of what Microsoft 365 exams look like ,and what you should expect!
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