Baseline Certifications for Professionals working in the M365, Power Platform, and Azure spaces
Anyone selling, designing, delivering, or supporting Microsoft services in the M365, Azure, or Power Platform (I will call this Microsoft Cloud below) should consider studying for and obtaining the three ‘Fundamentals’ certifications from Microsoft.
For business or sales oriented professionals
Although these ‘Fundamental’ certifications include some technical content, it is mostly at the “100” level, and these certifications are achievable for non-technical personnel. Importantly, they will help you identify, describe, or explain the services includes in the Microsoft Cloud (take a look at the “Skills measured” listing for each of these certifications and you will see those are the most common words used to describe the requirements). This emphasis on understanding more than technical detail means that sales, business, and even technically oriented professionals can all benefit from the knowledge gained in the process of obtaining these certifications.
For technically oriented professionals
The process of obtaining these certifications should give you a broad understanding of the capabilities of the Microsoft Cloud and will help you to integrate with or recommend additional services as you encounter business requirements. The endeavor may fill in gaps in your knowledge that naturally develop as you focus your efforts on a particular part of these services in the normal course of delivering projects and meeting business requirements. Having a broad, reasonably up-to-date, and accurate (things change fast and we can forget more than we know) knowledge of the capabilities of the Microsoft cloud will benefit you and your customers or business.
My recommendation would be to work on these in this order:
- MS-900: Microsoft 365 Fundamentals
- AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
- PL-900: Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals
My reasoning for this recommendation is that the underlying Identity store for all of Microsoft Cloud (Azure AD) is covered in MS-900, and, additionally, almost every person I am making this recommendation to is going to be somewhat familiar with Exchange email, SharePoint sites, OneDrive, or Teams, all of which are included in the scope of MS-900.
Second, the AZ-900 will build on the knowledge of MS-900 and also applies to a very broad set of services available under the Azure umbrella.
Finally, I found PL-900 to be the most challenging of these certifications, possibly because I don’t personally work much with PowerApps, but I also felt like it was the most technically demanding of the three exams. It also builds on an understanding of MS-900 knowledge to some degree.
Below are links to each of the exams and Microsoft Learning Path for each one. In my preparation for these certifications in late 2019 and early 2020 I found these learning paths to be a great start for exam prep and in some cases sufficient without additional resources. However, I also link to helpful courses offered by Pluralsight in the links below.
MS-900 Microsoft 365 Fundamentals
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