Introducing the SharePoint MCM Program and the First Microsoft Certified SharePoint Masters!



As the Program Manager for the SharePoint Master and MCA programs, I am pleased to introduce the programs and the first two groups of Certified SharePoint Masters! (Microsoft Certified Masters for SharePoint 2007)


To recap, the Alpha delivery (Rotation 1, or “R1”) was held in November of last year and the Beta delivery (R2) finished up in early April. Throughout this process I’ve had the great pleasure of working with the SharePoint MCM Instructor team to design, build, deliver, improve, update, redeliver, (repeat) the SharePoint MCM program.


The Instructor team is made up of 15 – 20 of the top subject matter experts in the world. Each Instructor is a SharePoint expert, either as members of the SharePoint Product Group or as deployment professionals in the field, and they’re exceptionally deep in the areas they instruct. Additionally, in a few target areas we pair Instructors with domain expertise in dependent technologies (SQL, AD, etc.) with SharePoint SMEs in the same area – such as paring our SQL Instructors (Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp) with our resident SharePoint SQL SME (Bill Baer.)


Each delivery, or “Rotation”, spans three back-to-back weeks of training in Redmond, WA. The first step in the SharePoint MCM journey is to ensure application pre-requisites are met. Once the pre-requisites have been met, the next step is to complete an application. After application pre-requisites are verified, the Instructor team will review the applicant’s documentation and then schedule a one hour technical interview conference call. This phase of the process is important for a number of reasons. Due to the intense nature of the program and the depth and breadth of material covered, the Instructor team conducts the technical interview to gain a better understanding of the applicant’s skill level and subject matter expertise. This is a very rigorous, comprehensive, and thorough application process. Applicants should expect to demonstrate a working knowledge, expertise, and hands-on experience across SharePoint Products and Technologies, as well as a willingness to share their knowledge with and learn from others. The documentation along with the technical interview provide the basis for assessing an applicant’s readiness to enter the program. Applicants whose applications are accepted should be very proud for having become “MCM candidates.” This in itself is a great accomplishment and having great experts in the room is a key aspect of each rotation.


The candidates that attend and work through each rotation bring a terrific amount of expertise and a wide array of experience to each delivery. As the SharePoint Master program is targeted at SharePoint professionals who actively design, build, configure, deploy, support, and troubleshoot SharePoint implementations, each candidate has a background across the SharePoint stack. If you’re a SharePoint professional, you’ll realize that this covers quite a lot of ground. In fact, to get a feel for some of the areas covered, a good place to start is the recommended pre-reading list for each rotation located here.


To provide more insight into the program, some of the members of R1 and R2 have recently posted blog posts describing their rotation experience. I’ve posted these below along with posts from Arpan Shah, Andrew Connell, and Todd Baginski as they provide a good view into the program from different vantage points: 


·         Bill Baer: An inside view of the SharePoint MCM Program


·         Russ Houberg: Master Training: Are You Ready?


·         Mirjam van Olst: My Microsoft Certified Master Experience


·         Maurice Prather: A Perspective on the Microsoft Certified Master Program for SharePoint


·         Spencer Harbar: Certified Master for SharePoint 2007 “R2”


·         Arpan Shah: Meeting Potential Future SharePoint Masters


·         Andrew Connell: Microsoft Certification Master for SharePoint – My Involvement in Helping Create the Certification Content and Some Thoughts…


·         Todd Baginski: SharePoint Certified Master – An Inside Look


Hopefully the above links provide more insight into the program and help provide a better understanding of the overall experience of a rotation.


So with that, without further ado, it is my great pleasure to introduce our first SharePoint Masters! Each of these individuals has demonstrated deep knowledge and subject matter expertise as well as real-world hands-on experience with SharePoint. As mentioned earlier, each SharePoint MCM has undergone a thorough interview process, attended a full rotation, passed three comprehensive written exams, and finally, has successfully completed a thorough qualification-lab (aka “the qual lab”) practical hands-on exam.


Please join me in congratulating our newest Certified SharePoint Masters!


Listed below in alphabetical order:


·         Aku Heikkerö: Aku is the Lead IW Architect for Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) in Europe and is based in Helsinki, Finland.


·         Ali Mazaheri: Ali is a Senior Consultant with MCS and is based in the West region of North America.


·         Bill Baer: Bill is a Technology Architect with Microsoft Online and is based in Redmond, Washington.


·         Brett Geoffroy: Brett Geoffroy is a Principal Consultant for Microsoft Consulting Services in the Netherlands. He originally hails from the US – most recently the San Francisco Bay Area – and currently resides in Amsterdam.


·         Ingeborg Struijk: Ingeborg is a member of Microsoft Services in the Netherlands and works as Information Worker Consultant.


·         Kimmo Forss: Kimmo Forss is an Architect in the Microsoft Online Services Group, with particular focus on SharePoint. Previously, Kimmo served as a Lead Architect for Microsoft Enterprise Services and is based in Helsinki, Finland.


·         Maurice Prather: Maurice is an enterprise architect, SharePoint MVP, and serves as the Lead Architect for ShareSquared, Inc. (http://www.sharesquared.com). 


·         Mitch Prince: Mitch is a Principal Consultant and Delivery Architect with Microsoft Consulting Services based out of New York City.


·         Nakul Joshi: Nakul is a Consultant with Microsoft Consulting Services and is based in India.


·         Peter Williams: Peter is a Senior Consultant for Microsoft based in Sweden.


·         Scott Jamison: Scott is a Director of Enterprise Architecture with the Enterprise Product Group at Microsoft.


·         Spencer Harbar: Spencer is an independent SharePoint consultant, trainer, and SharePoint MVP based in Edinburgh, Scotland.


·         Todd Carter: Todd is a Principal Premier Field Engineer with Microsoft and is based in Las Colinas, Texas.


·         Vesa Juvonen: Vesa is a Senior Consultant for Microsoft Consulting Services and is based in Helsinki, Finland.


Congratulations to all of our new SharePoint Masters. We expect to add additional names to this list in the coming months as we’ll have more qual-lab and written exam retakes in the next few months (from R1 & R2), as well as an R3 delivery in June. We’ll be sure to post updates with regards to new SharePoint MCMs as needed.


I’m looking forward to working with the new group of candidates in June and to continued collaboration with our new community of SharePoint Masters!


James Petrosky

Comments (23)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Introducing the first Certified SharePoint Masters

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ted,

    Thanks for your interest in the MCM. You bring up a good question regarding the return on investment of the certification for SharePoint 2007 in terms of where we are in the product lifecycle.

    In addition to the posts referenced in the comment above regarding Paul’s questions, I’d recommend reading Per’s recent "Let’s Talk Upgrades" post (http://blogs.technet.com/themasterblog/archive/2009/03/30/Let_2700_s-talk-upgrades_2100_.aspx) as he provides some good insight into this question.

    With regards to the release of SharePoint 2010, the SharePoint 2010 MCM certification will be a 1-week upgrade course (with exams) for SharePoint 2007 MCMs at a much lower cost than a full 3-week rotation.

    In terms of return on investment for being certified on the current version, one perspective is that it would be beneficial to be certified both on SharePoint 2007 as well as SharePoint 2010 as it relates to the many upgrade opportunities that will exist. There are many existing SharePoint 2007 deployments that will need to be upgraded to SharePoint 2010 over the next few years and having deep expertise (and certifications) in both versions of the product will be beneficial to those planning and executing these upgrades.

    I hope this helps to provide some clarity regarding our strategy and thoughts for the MCM for SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010.

    Thanks,

    James

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Frank. Thanks for your interest in our program and for bringing attention to this aspect of SharePoint MCM program prerequisites. At the time of this writing, our prerequisites include the following bullets:

    SPS + MOSS option

    * Two or more years of hands-on experience with Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003: installing, configuring, troubleshooting, and custom development

    * One or more years of hands-on experience with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007: installing, configuring, troubleshooting, and custom development

    These seem to be the source of your concern. The primary intent of these prerequisites are to ensure that MCM applicants have multiple years of hands-on experience with the product. The MCM programs typically require 3-5 years of experience with their respective products – due to product lifecycles, this will nearly always mean that some mix of current AND previous version experience is required. At the time these prereqs were posted in mid-2008, this was less than two years from SharePoint 2007 RTM, hence it wasn’t realistic to expect a significant subset of potential applicants to have multiple years of SharePoint 2007 deployment experience.

    That being said, your concerns are valid – these prereqs are due for a refresh. If we were continuing to offer SharePoint 2007 MCM rotations – the final rotation is currently underway – I would update the prereqs to deemphasize the importance of prior version experience due to the longer post-RTM period (three years yesterday) for SharePoint 2007. Our next rotation will be a SharePoint 2010 MCM rotation, so look for a prereq update in the near future that focuses only on SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 experience.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Reality check: Microsoft Certified Master for SharePoint 2007

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Paul and thanks for your comment,

    There have been a few questions and comments regarding the cost on a related post that Spencer Harbar posted last week. Per Farny is the Director in Microsoft Learning who owns all MCM and MCA programs and he has contributed to this conversation as well. You can view the comments at http://harbar.net/archive/2009/05/07/reality-check-microsoft-certified-master-for-sharepoint-2007.aspx

    In addition to Spence’s post, you may also want to review Devin Ganger’s post on this subject (he’s an Exchange MCM) at http://blogs.3sharp.com/deving/archive/2009/04/09/you-too-can-master-exchange.aspx

    With regards to your question about financial help for independents, unfortunately we are not offering special discounts or rates for independent consultants or trainers. However, we are offering discounted rates for all FY09 deliveries and we do everything possible to make our corporate housing rates available to attendees to help in lowering costs (as discussed in Devin’s post.)

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    Thanks,

    James

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Guys,

    Microsoft’s official blog for MCM Certification and latest material on it.http://www.borntolearn.net/

    And you also visit:

    <a href="http://www.sqlservermanagementstudio.net/2009/08/microsoft-certification-mcts_21.html">Sharepoint Certification</a>

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Isaac,

    Take a look here for details on becoming a SharePoint MCM: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/master/SharePoint/default.mspx .

    Thanks,

    Per

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your comment and your interest in the SharePoint MCM program.

    With regards to your question, we expect the requirements for the SharePoint 2010 MCM to include at least two years experience with SharePoint 2007, as well as relevant experience with SharePoint 2010.

    We’ll post more details on this in the longer term on our registration site at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/master.aspx.

    Thanks,

    James

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi Robert,

    Thank you for your comment and interest in the SharePoint Master program. To provide more clarity regarding your statement as to the current ratio of Microsoft employees who are Certified SharePoint Masters (12) to non-Microsoft employees who are Certified SharePoint Masters (2), this is primarily related to where we are today in terms of the timeline of the program. The SharePoint Master program is scheduled to RTM in June and we’ve completed our alpha and beta rotations over the past six months. If you’re familiar with our approach to testing alpha and beta versions of our software products, you’re aware that our alpha releases are usually only available to internal employees, while our beta releases are available to a smaller external audience. This is the same approach taken for the SharePoint Master program. The alpha rotation held last November was available to a small number of Microsoft employees, and the beta version that recently completed was available to both Microsoft employees and to the external world-wide audience as well. The beta rotation included more than two non-Microsoft employees, however not all have passed all four exams on the first attempt (this is not completely uncommon due to the advanced nature of the exams.) With this in mind we fully expect the number of external certified SharePoint Masters to increase as exam retakes are completed, and as we move to and beyond the RTM rotation in June. With regards to it being easy for Microsoft employees to pay the fee to receive the certification, I’m sure that both the Microsoft employees and non-employees who hold the certification would disagree with that opinion. From a certification perspective, all applicants undergo the same interview process and sit for the same exams.

    Thanks for your interest and your comment,

    James

  10. Prakash says:

    Congratulations to all SharePoint masters 🙂

  11. Robert says:

    Wow.  Anyone noticed that there is only ONE of these people that doesn’t work for Microsoft.  Kinda easy to pay the $15,000 to get the cert when you work there.

  12. Spence says:

    Robert,

    Worth noting a couple points…

    Firstly, you can’t pay to get the cert. You have to pass four extremely worthy exams. Being a MSFT empoyee really doesn’t have any impact there.

    As a R2 student, and a non MSFT employe I can also give another perspective on the view that it’s easier to attend MCM as a MSFT employee. I would state the opposite is probably true. Forget captial cost and think about how difficult it could be to pursuade your line manager to let you sit the course etc, especially if you work in the field, assuming you meet the pre-reqs in the first place.

    Being a MSFT employee really has very little bearing on this certification.

    Cheers

    Spence

  13. Ali says:

    Adding to what James and Spence mentioned, and as an MSFT candidate who passed the exams we all went through the same rigorous interview and having only 6 people clearing the exams (Of which two were non MSFT employee and hopefully more colleagues joining the team after re-takes in coming weeks) should be a good indication that Field experience, deep knowledge of MOSS/WSS, commitment to the program and long hours of study are crucial to clear this certification. I admire my company and my manager to give me the opportunity to attend and believe it or not being non-billable for 3 weeks is a big price to pay which impact individual’s utilization ratio which is pretty important for all of us field people but well worth it.

  14. Paul Swider says:

    Why is this so expensive? Are you doing anything to help independents? I am very interested in the cert and probably one of the lucky few qualified. When you add up the three weeks of missing consulting with cost and travel this is over 30k.

    Help?

  15. Isaac says:

    It seems Sharepoint is becoming the MS technology to pursue..What are the certification path to become a master of Sharepoint

  16. Ted Villella says:

    So after going through the gauntlet and becoming master certified on Sharepoint 2007.  What impact does Sharepoint 2010 have on that certification?  

    Is there an implied "future value"?

    I realize that 2010 is not RTM but if I am going to consider a 15-30k investment what is the payback from a business perspective?  How many years will it take to see the value returned.  

    Think of it this way.  If I pursue an MBA – after I complete it, 18-24 months later and 30-40K invested.  I will be able to say my salary is now boosted by 15K annually.  Thus the MBA pays for itself within 3-4 years.  Simple format.

    So following that logic loosely… will becoming a Sharepoint 2007 MCM be a fiscal asset that boosts my salary/profits enough to cover the initial cost?  As it relates to future products.

    Thanks,

    Ted

  17. Mark W. says:

    Per the last comment about both 2007 and 2010 certifications; what does the 2010 exam look like?

    In other words; I am only 2 years into my SharePoint immersion, and realize that by the time that I soak up and learn the rest of the pre-requisites, the 2010 release will be in the marketplace. (Read: this is a potential future customer here.)

    Some of the current requirements include SharePoint 2003 work. Will the 2010 certification be a combo of both 2010 and 2007 knowledge requirements?

    BTW, Congrats on building a program/certification that appears to be the gold-standard.

    //Mark

  18. Ivan Sandeers says:

    God Bless all of the SharePoint MCMs & MVPs who put in countless hours delivering solutions to clients, blogging, writing books, and helping out the rest of us along with the folks on the MSDN forums and giving back to the community in general. The world is a much better place with the great community and the leaders we have in the SharePoint space.

    My only regret is that we didn’t have the tests last year, the econmy was a little better. The good news is that the second half of 2009 is Rockin!! Let’s not forget to support Microsoft in the Betas, CTPs, RCs, RTMs and delivery and an amazing 2010 for all…

    Thank you to all of the SharePoint folks who make SharePoint the best development platform ever!!!

    -Ivan

  19. Frank Chiang says:

    I have spent all the last 3 years doing MOSS 2007 but have not experience in its previous version 2003. I have passed all 4 exams but it looks like your MCM program is excluding people like me. 2003 is quite irrelevant these days anyway so why put it as a pre-requisite.

  20. Frank Chiang says:

    Please note that this pre-requisite is going to FOREVER exclude people who have no 2003 experience! Don’t you think this is quite unreasonable?

  21. Axis Tech says:

    Yes, I am agree with this point is that it is so expensive comparison other services but it is due to new technology in market after some time it’s cost will be reduce.

  22. solartech says:

    wow! congratulations to the masters!!!!!! how i wish i would be one of them…. i am also into this stuff the

    <a href="http://www.solartechnj.com/sch_microsoft_sharepoint_training_moss.asp">Microsoft”>http://www.solartechnj.com/sch_microsoft_sharepoint_training_moss.asp">Microsoft Sharepoint 2007</a> and had my training on http://www.solartechnj.com/sch_microsoft_sharepoint_training_moss.asp and hoping that someday i would be one of them…