Most organizations these days are utilizing some type of collaboration software, and there is none better than Microsoft’s SharePoint. The ease of use and the features apt for office use make SharePoint the best in the industry. The latest one on the block is the Microsoft SharePoint 2010, and many organizations have started the move towards this new version of SharePoint.
As SharePoint 2010 adoption increases, so does the demand for qualified SharePoint professionals. So let’s take a closer look at SharePoint 2010 and the available SharePoint certification at the MCTS and MCITP levels.
Brief SharePoint 2010 Overview
Microsoft SharePoint is a web publishing software used in organizations for collaboration, file sharing and building portals.
Many organizations utilize SharePoint to set up their intranet websites, which can be used to share information easily, and also to share files with minimum bandwidth crunch. File sharing especially is chiefly popular considering that the alternative to sharing files through a web server is through emails, and an email sent to mass recipients can choke the network, as the entire propagation is at the same instant. Alternatively a file shared on SharePoint can be downloaded by users as and when needed, and the probability that all users will download the file at the same point in time is pretty low.
In the organizations I have worked for, SharePoint have been a key factor in the medium of communication. Organizations use it to share certain mandatory documents or information like policies, guidelines and procedures. Project managers use it to store files, collaborate with others sitting across continents and share common information, which is necessary for teams that are not co-located. Communication accounts for about 70% of project timestamps, on an average. For example, if a project is estimated to take 10,000 hours, around 7,000 of it goes into communicating between various parties, be it between the team, client, third party vendors and other stakeholders. That’s where SharePoint comes in very handy.
SharePoint can be an extremely powerful tool and a vital part in many organization’s success. And SharePoint 2010 has more to offer than ever. With a new user interface, new collaboration features, improved search function, new ways to customize and manage SharePoint sites and content, SharePoint 2010 is a completely redesigned tool. Take a look at this article from Microsoft to get more details on what’s new in SharePoint Server 2010.
A Word on SharePoint Professionals
I consider all individuals working with SharePoint as SharePoint Professionals; I say this because there are a number of certifications at the Professional level in the area of SharePoint. In fact, there are two different certification paths for SharePoint professionals with very diverse skill-sets:
- SharePoint Administration
- SharePoint Development
SharePoint administration revolves around the activities of SharePoint installation, configuration, managing users, controlling access, and the like. Senior level administrators can get into more complex activities like designing the infrastructure needed to support SharePoint.
SharePoint developers on the other hand work on designing and developing SharePoint websites and spend their time writing code and optimizing the features and performance of SharePoint sites.
Microsoft has certifications for both SharePoint developers and administrators at both the MCTS and MCITP level. Let’s take a closer look at the certification and exam options.
Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Certifications
There are a total of five SharePoint 2010 certifications available, two geared towards SharePoint administrators, two designed for SharePoint developers and the fifth one is an amalgamation of the four, designated for the true SharePoint masters.
SharePoint 2010 Administration Certifications:
Exam 70-667 TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuring
The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) Exam 70-667 TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuring focuses on the installation, deployment, upgrading, managing and maintaining a SharePoint environment.
There are no mandatory prerequisites to take this exam however, Microsoft recommends that the candidate has a minimum of one year experience in SharePoint administration along with Windows Server 2008, Active Directory, and network infrastructure knowledge.
70-667 exam topics include deploying new installations and upgrades, managing accounts and user roles, managing web applications and site collections, backing up and restoring SharePoint environments, as well as monitoring, analyzing and optimizing SharePoint performance, among others.
Learn more about Exam 70-667 TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuring
Exam 70-668 PRO: SharePoint 2010, Administrator
The Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) Exam 70-668 PRO: SharePoint 2010, Administrator covers disaster recovery, infrastructure capacity, upgrading and migrating, security and compliance, information architecture, information search strategy and more.
Microsoft recommends a minimum of two years of experience in SharePoint administration, deployment, management, migration, and design before attempting this exam. You should have a good grasp of PowerShell, SQL mirroring and load balancing, security concepts and authentication methods, as well as Server 2008 and Active Directory administration, and network infrastructure services like DNS and IIS.
70-668 exam topics include designing physical architecture and SharePoint integration with network infrastructure, planning service applications, SharePoint backup and restore, search topology and enterprise content management, business intelligence and more.
Learn more about Exam 70-668 PRO: SharePoint 2010, Administrator.
SharePoint 2010 Developer Certifications:
Exam 70-573 TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development
The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) Exam 70-573 TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development revolves around a candidate’s ability to develop applications on the SharePoint 2010 platform. It is geared towards those with a programming background who are interested in working on customizing and extending the features of SharePoint to users.
To be eligible to take this exam, you should have at least one year experience with ASP.NET with Visual Studio 2008, along with SharePoint development experience and a minimum of 3 months exposure to SharePoint 2010 and Visual Studio 2010. The ideal candidate will be able to write code that extends SharePoint, add and support code in an existing SharePoint project and write code for custom features, such as Visual Web Part or EventReceiver. This certification could help you get the role of a software developer who uses SharePoint 2010 as a platform to develop and extend features.
70-573 exam topics include creating and applying branding to SharePoint sites, programming custom navigation and creating custom ribbon objects, creating and debugging Web Parts, managing features and solutions with Visual Studio 2010, creating and modifying custom content types, and much more.
Learn more about Exam 70-573 TS: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development.
Exam: 70-576 PRO: Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Applications
The Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) Exam: 70-576 PRO: Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Applications focuses on designing and developing custom applications for SharePoint 2010, including selecting appropriate technologies to build code, creating a strategy for code development, versioning and structure as well as custom design projects for SharePoint 2010.
The ideal candidate fits a team lead role on the SharePoint development team and has a minimum of two years of development experience, and at least three years developing with ASP.NET.
70-576 exam topics include managing application development, optimizing SharePoint application design, designing SharePoint solutions and features, designing user experience, and more. There is a long list of exam objectives for this certification and it definitely involves a lot of skills.
Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) on SharePoint Server 2010
There is one more SharePoint certification, and this is the grand master of all the other SharePoint 2010 certifications. The Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 is reserved for the true SharePoint experts.
The idea behind this MCM certification is to validate the skills around the entire SharePoint product, including the design, development, configuration, deployment, migration, optimization, troubleshooting, etc. A candidate at the MCM level possesses comprehensive knowledge and experience with SharePoint 2010 and is able to handle the most complex projects.
With great responsibility come greater requirements. The MCM certification requires you to complete all the four aforementioned SharePoint certifications before applying to the MCM program. Hands on experience with the tool in administration and development is a necessity, along with at least three years experience with SharePoint installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and custom development. Another prerequisite of the MCM program is the ability to speak, write and understand fluent English and this probably isn’t as much of a requirement for SharePoint itself, as it is for the testing process which is available only in English.
Learn more about the MCM SharePoint 2010 Certification.
Should You Get SharePoint Certified?
If you currently work with SharePoint 2010, then validating your skills with SharePoint certification is a good idea for several reasons. IT certifications are often requirements for many positions and hiring managers use this as a determining criteria when evaluating resumes. The certifications are also a good way to really get to know a product or technology; because of the exam objectives you’ll be making sure you learn all aspects of SharePoint as you prepare for your exam.
Salary statistics show that SharePoint is a good area to be in, with salaries ranging from upper $60,000 to upper $80,000 for SharePoint administrators and developers. The stats below are taken from SimplyHired.com.