Contents tagged with Personal
Wow, 2013 was an interesting year and the time has come for my annual blog post to sum up the year that soon has passed us and looking a bit into the crystal ball for the next one. This is my seventh summary post and it is always fun to look back at what has happened during the last 12 months (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006).
For me the year has been really intensive on all levels; I don't think I´ve ever experienced such a huge demand for my professional services as of now, there is so much new stuff to learn and it´s harder and harder to keep up, I have a hard time resisting doing tons of community stuff and at the same time we had a huge construction work at our house, and of course having two soon-to-be teenager girls takes its toll!
The number of blog posts I create every year continues to decrease, but I do hope the quality improves and that you still get some decent value out of my posts. There are so many good bloggers out there and I don´t want to repeat what everyone else is writing about. There are a couple of posts that I´m quite proud of and here´s the list of the ones you have visited the most the last 12 months:
- Enabling PDF Previews with Office Web Apps 2013 March update
- SharePoint 2013 and Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010 Service Pack 3
- Office Web Apps 2013: Patching your WAC farm with no downtime
- Enabling PDF Previews in Document Libraries with Office Web Apps 2013
- Office Web Apps Server 2013 – machines are always reported as Unhealthy
There´s no coincidence that four of the top five posts written this year is about Office Web Apps Server 2013 (WAC) – it is my new favorite server product, and I think it is one of the core server products/services that will be a huge and integral part of the "One Microsoft" and its services.
I also had the benefit of participating in a "real" writing project – as a co-author of "Inside Microsoft SharePoint 2013". This was my second book written together with some of the most famous SharePoint book authors. If you still haven´t ordered yourself a copy then you´re missing out on something!
I´ve continued to do sessions at conference, perhaps not that many this year. I try to choose conferences that fits me, my family and clients and also I try to focus on creating good, new and interesting content. I´m not the kind of person that like to do the same content over and over again. I´m incredibly lucky being in this position and being able to travel and meet all the awesome people around the world. I know there are a couple of conferences that I would like to have presented at, but had to turn down due to other commitments…maybe next year. To read more about the presentations I´ve done over the last year and see the decks and some video recordings, check out my Presentations page.
I got re-awarded the MVP status once again, now my fourth time. It´s always really nice to be given this award.
Talking about the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master, MCSM, could be a couple of posts on its own, but let´s try to crunch it down. Early January this year I attended the beta rotation of the brand new MCSM program for SharePoint. This program was totally redone to suit both on-premises SharePoint 2013 and Office 365/SharePoint Online (contrary to what some people think and say). There is/was no better training for SharePoint, in the cloud or not, than this program, and there will never be such a good program again! I was fortunate to pass both the written exam and the qualification lab "in-rotation" (that is no retakes or anything), being one of the first ones. Unfortunately the whole MCSM program was cancelled during this year. But once a Master always a Master. I´m really proud that I am one of the few who has passed MCM for SharePoint 2010, MCA for SharePoint 2010 and MCSM for SharePoint (2013) – a bit sad I didn´t get the chance to get the 2007 exam and get a full hand :-(
Can´t write this post without a little section about SharePoint. What will happen to SharePoint, will it cease to exist? To some degree I do think so. But SharePoint as a product has played out its role in my opinion. SharePoint is just a piece in the puzzle of future collaboration software. Take a look at how Workflow has been moved out of SharePoint, how Office Web Apps is a separate product, how applications now are Apps outside SharePoint, how Enterprise Social now is a service (in Yammer). SharePoint will be there in the form of building sites and acting like a glue between all the other services. Will it be known as SharePoint? I don´t really know, but in a few years, I don´t think so. It sounds like judgment day for some, and it might be, unless you are prepared. I think this "brave new world" will for the ones who can accept the change be full of opportunities…and I´m looking forward to it! On the other hand the recent messages from Redmond that SharePoint on-premises ensures the current on-premises customers that SharePoint as a product will be here for another couple of years, which is good, it gives you good options to slowly move from a product to a service. But the innovation will be in the services, Office 365 and Azure, not in the products.
Last year's predictions was not that off the chart. The Cloud message is ever increasing, and there´s no end to it. I also predicted a "collapse" of the SharePoint community, to some degree I think that has started to happen. The community is still thriving but there is not a single community as it used to be. There has been several new community sites and community conferences started this year. Not that it is a totally bad thing, but in my opinion it does not help the community moving forward. We´re also seeing many of the old community celebs and influencers moving away from SharePoint as a specialty and instead focusing on the new set of services.
So what about 2014 – what do you think Wictor?
SharePoint is dead, long live SharePoint. I wrote it above; SharePoint as a product is slowly going away, instead "SharePoint as a service" is where the focus should be. If anyone of you watched the PDC08 keynote, when Azure was announced – do you remember the slide where "SharePoint Services" was one of the listed services. I think this is where we´re going, six years later.
Azure domination! The Azure team at Microsoft is really impressive right now, look at all the different services they announce and improve. Being a bit late to the game, but now being captain of the Cloud movement. If it was something I would bet my career on now, it would be Azure.
Services, services, services! Everything will be services. Combine the things I said about SharePoint, with the things about Azure and add the recent announcements of the killed ForeFront products (and others). Microsoft is all in on the Devices and Services thing and you should be too. This changes the way we design, build and sell our professional services.
The future does look a bit cloudy, doesn´t it.
Happy New Year
That was it! I do have a lot more to say, but you all should be on vacation right now stocking up on energy for 2014 so I keep it short. Next year will be an intensive year for me, I know it. I´m already excited about the new engagements I have planned for early 2014, about the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas (last SP conference?) where I will be a presenter for the first time, and also the big change at Microsoft with a new CEO – how will that affect me!?
So, to all of you I wish a Happy New Year and I´m looking forward to seeing a lot of you out there next year!
I just received the confirmation that I am renewed as SharePoint MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) for my fourth consecutive year. It’s an honor being chosen among all the professionals around the world, especially now when SharePoint is getting more and more widespread and is being adopted by more and more companies worldwide.
I’d like to take the opportunity to say thanks all my colleagues at Connecta, that put up with me, and all my friends around the world that I’ve learnt to know throughout these years. I’ll continue to write obscure blog posts and show up at conferences, and I will continue to organize the Swedish SharePoint User Group meetings.
Thank you all for the support!
Only one day and a few hours left of the year of 2012 and the time has come for me to make my (now traditional) summary post. I’ve done it now for six years (2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006) and it’s always fun to look back at what has happened during the last 12 months.
This year has been an interesting year to me and contained some really interesting milestones, happenings and events.
This year I’ve written basically the same amount of posts as in 2011, even though a new SharePoint version has been released. Basically it comes down to that I’ve been working a lot and haven’t had time to finish up some of the posts I’ve started and I’ve been busy with other commitments in the community. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed what I’ve written – I try to keep the quality up rather than the quantity.
What’s really cool is that I now on average have more that 1.300 daily subscribers to my blog, a 30% increase since last year. Thank you!
The most popular posts this year has been:
- How Claims encoding works in SharePoint 2010 – a post you should read IMO and still valid for SharePoint 2013
- Visual Guide to Azure Access Control Services authentication with SharePoint 2010 – part 1 – The first part of six posts in the series.
- SharePoint 2013 – Introduction to the Minimal Download Strategy – MDS – An MDS overview.
- SharePoint 2013 – Claims is the new black – the post title says it all
- SharePoint 2013 – A look at the hardware and software and other requirements – my pov on the hw and sw requirements
The most popular post (from all years) is still the “Fix the SharePoint DCOM 10016 error on Windows Server 2008 R2” post.
No books this year – done that once…
I was re-awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, MVP, award for SharePoint for the third consecutive year. I’m honored by still being a part of this group of community contributors.
Microsoft Certified Architect – MCA
What I’m most proud of this year is that I passed the Microsoft Certified Architect for SharePoint, MCA, certification. This is a certification, currently only held by five individuals worldwide, which proves that you can “architect” a business and technical solution based on SharePoint and related technologies. What I do like about this certification is that it is not just a test or a lab (you get those tests while doing the MCM/MCSM, which is a pre-requisite for the MCA) but instead it is a mix of interview, business case, portfolio, presentations and Q&A’s, where you really must show that you understand business requirements, budgets, time plans etc. You can read more about my take on the program here – What is a Microsoft Certified Architect?
Conferences and travels
I got my fair share of travelling this year as well, a bit less than last year – which my family appreciated though. I had the opportunity to speak at a couple of conferences – where the International SharePoint Conference 2012 was the highlight. This conference was something extraordinary for both the attendees and us speakers. I really enjoyed working together with the team on the dev-track building out our solution and sessions and it was so fun having the whole team on the front row supporting (and a little bit of heckling) each other during the three days. I will be back next year in London!
I also had a blast at the first SharePoint conference in Croatia, and I hope I’m invited again and as usual our local SharePoint and Exchange Forum – which just keeps growing!
Microsoft arranged the SharePoint Conference 2012 in Las Vegas to unveil the spanking brand new SharePoint version…well it turned out that the product was released a month ahead, so the conference didn’t have much new information. In my opinion this was a pretty bad conference – the depths of the sessions was to low, to many of the speakers should not have been allowed on stage, and what a total disaster when all Microsoft talked about was how good the cloud is and they had no Internet connectivity. I really hope that the conference team get their stuff together and rethink a lot of things for the next conference!
I can’t really write a summary post of 2012 without talking about the Cloud. Microsoft (and other vendors) really put all their money on the cloud this year – nothing new with this, it’s been going on for years, but this year it’s more clear than ever. Well, the cloud is nothing new – it’s just a new name for the Internet, Application Service Providers, etc etc, it’s more of a marketing term.
Since the release of Office 365 the transition of SharePoint to the cloud has started (BPOS was first but SharePoint wasn’t cloud ready at all at that time). With this new wave of SharePoint and 365 the SharePoint cloud offering is even more evident – and we don’t know now where it will end, I’m not sure even Microsoft knows that yet.
We’ve been running 365 for a year and a half now and we still suffer a lot from different strange issues (that could be a post on it’s own!). Hopefully once upgraded the service will be more stable and useful.
I might sound a bit doubtful about the cloud – and I am. For the vast majority the cloud (read 365) is a great option instead of hosting and managing their own instances. But for large enterprises (the clients I’m normally working with) 365 is not even an option…
Only time will tell…
This is the part I really enjoy writing and thinking about at this time of the year – looking back at my last years predictions and looking in the crystal ball for the upcoming year.
Last years predictions wasn’t that good – Silverlight is till not dead (someone hooked it up to a CPR machine) and all the browser vendors seems to be on some kind of honeymoon. My wish that 2012 was a bit less cloudy failed miserably! The only thing I think I got right was that Windows Phone would have momentum and by looking at some stats there’s some truth in that.
So what do I think about next year?
- Cloud, cloud and cloud! The cloud marketing will continue, it will be shoved down our throats, we’ll be so sick of it by the end of 2013. But this will be the way forward. It will be really interesting to see what will happen to traditional “on-premises” products – will they vanish? Just take a look at how Microsoft has discontinued a lot of products this year!
- Identities, certificates, federation! I think one of the most important things for next year and the years following are having a good identity infrastructure and identity management in place. This should be a priority for all companies and architects working in our business. It’s also the basic requirement to get any cloud services to work properly.
- Apps, devices and integration! For the cloud, hosted services etc to work the integration story must be better. We’ve seen a good start with Windows 8 (RT), Windows Phone 8, Office 2013 etc – but it’s not fully there yet. I think that this is what will be improved over the next 12 months and that might also be the key differentiator between the three large “ecosystems” – Windows, Linux/Android and the fruit camp.
What do you think?
Thank you and a happy new year!
With that I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and say thank you for 2012. I‘ve been having my doubts about 2013, but now I ‘m really looking forward to it. I have some cool events and travels planned, I know that my work at Connecta will contain some interesting opportunities and I know that the demand for SharePoint is ever increasing…
See you on the other side!
How to contact Wictor Wilén.
Wictor is using the @wictor handle on Twitter - follow him at http://twitter.com/wictor
To e-mail Wictor use the following e-mail address wictor (a) wictorwilen.se
YES! I'm finally alive with a new hosting provider - this time it's Microsoft (who could have guessed that!). Thanks to the just released Azure Web Sites I have now moved my blog from my old custom blog implementation (that has been a fun project though), to running Orchard on Azure Web Sites using SQL Azure. This finalizes my cloud migrations - last year I moved e-mail and everything but the site to Office 365 and started with a hosted service for this site, but for running this little blog that was a bit to expensive (you're not clicking the ads enough).
You have to bare with me for a little while until I get everything spinning. I apologize for any inconveniences with updated posts in your blog readers and other physical or mental illness caused from this. All blog posts should have been migrated fine (I know some stuff haven't got correctly through) keeping the old URL's and everything. I built a quick Orchard theme and haven't tried it in obscure browsers yet. Also Azure Web Sites is only in preview, so I expect it not to work 24/7 (my previous hosting provider didn't have that either though...).
If you do find something peculiar, don't hesitate to comment on it...
[Update] There seems to be an issue with Azure Web Sites/Orchard when I'm updating or adding modules, which makes the site go down for a couple of minutes. Hopefully I won't do this as often though...
Wictor Wilén is a senior SharePoint Architect working at Connecta AB as a Director. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 2010.
Wictor is specialised in SharePoint Solution Architecture and has been involved in the SharePoint industry since the birth of SharePoint. He is also heavily involved in the SharePoint commnuity and is co-founder of the Swedish SharePoint User Group, SSUG. Wictor is author of SharePoint 2010 Web Parts in Action and co-author of Inside Microsoft SharePoint 2013.
2009 - Director at Connecta AB
(2012 - Virtual Technical Solutions Professional, V-TSP, at Microsoft)
2007-2009 Architect at Pdb DataSystem AB
2000-2007 Co-Founder/Architect at iBizkit AB
1998-2000 SystemsDeveloper/Architect at Netsolutions/Framtidsfabriken/Framfab
Awards and Certifications
2013 Microsoft Certified Solutions Master - SharePoint (MCSM)
2012 Microsoft Certified Architect - SharePoint 2010 (MCA)
2011 Microsoft Certified Master - SharePoint 2010 (MCM)
2010 Connecta Specialist of the year
2010-2012 Microsoft Most Valuable Professional SharePoint Server (MVP)
2009-2012 Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)
Multiple MCP, MCTS, MCITP, MCPD SharePoint, Windows and .NET certifications
Wictor has published one book called SharePoint 2010 Web Parts in Action (Manning).
Last Friday I got the fantastic message that I had successfully passed the Microsoft Certified Architect - SharePoint 2010 (MCA) certification, something I'm really proud of - but something most of the community never ever heard of. During this weekend I've been pinged and messaged by a lots of people asking the question "What is a Microsoft Certified Architect?". In this post I intend to answer it as thorough as possible, including my own personal aspects of it.
First of all let's answer the most common question - "How does the Microsoft Certified Architect relates to the Microsoft Certified Master exam?".
I might agree that Master sounds way cooler than Architect, but that isn't the real story. The Master certification (MCM) is the most highly technical exam you could ever get in the Microsoft world. The term technical is important here. During the MCM rotation and the exam you explore and learn all the scary and exciting internals and externals of SharePoint (or the other MCM:able products/technologies) from a technical perspective. You will learn from the best teachers and SME's and you will be in a class together with some really awesome and skilled persons. The MCM is both a course (3 weeks on site, or 1 week on site and 10 weeks off-site), a written exam and a qualification lab. Read more about my MCM experience in one of my older posts. To even apply for the MCA you need to be an MCM on the specific product your applying for and on the current version. This means that Microsoft already tested and verified your technical skills! So one could actually say that the MCA is like the Microsoft Certified Grandmaster...
"What is the MCA then?".
So, let's take a look at the Architect certification (MCA). The MCA takes the certification to another level, and focus on the business side of SharePoint (or the other MCA eligible products; SharePoint, Exchange, SQL and AD). The MCA is not a course, it is not something you sit in class and learn for a couple of weeks, it is not something you can study for - it is something you learn over the course of several years of experience with the products, in real business cases together with one or more customers.
"How do I apply for the MCA?".
When applying for the MCA you must supply a portfolio which includes details about real customer gigs, your CV and other documentation to prove that you are in the business for real. Once the program manager thinks you have "what it takes" and that you proven that, you will be scheduled for a board appearance. You need to work on your documents and prepare for the board presentation. This is not something you should do with your left hand - you need to put in some real effort here to produce a good set of documents and a good presentation. It is up to you to prove that you have "what it takes".
"So, how does the MCA board appearance work?".
The board appearance is the certification. You will spend almost a day together with the MCA board (consisting of other MCA's or specific SME's). You will do a presentation, a case study and you will have several intense Q&A sessions. Enough to make you choke. The board will then grade you on six different competencies (full list and details on the official site). Once you are done - all you can do is wait for the pass/no-pass e-mail. This is an exhaustive day for which you need to prepare. But as I said earlier - it all comes down to the actual experience you have in the industry and how used you are to being in these situations with clients. You can't study for the Q&A sessions.
"What's the value of an MCA certification?".
The MCA, and the MCM for that matter, costs a lot of money. So is it worth it? In my opinion definitely. It's really hard to say what the exact payback is. We're currently early in the SharePoint MCA process with quite few certified MCA's and only time will tell. I can directly say that I learnt a lot while preparing for the board appearance - with a lot of time reflecting on past projects. Also the actual board appearance was great in that way that the board tested me; both on my strong areas and weak ones - and now I know what parts I might need to step up on. Studies done on the MCM community shows benefits such as a higher hourly rate, easier recruitment, better and safer deliveries. So the MCM/MCA are really a quality stamp, with MCM focused on the technical aspects and MCA on understanding and implementing business requirements.
"Why did I do this?".
This is the question my wife asks me! Well, first of all I always try to be better in what I'm doing. And going down the MCA route surely did this. I now know what I know and know what I don't know and know what I want to know... Also I think it is great for my company, Connecta, to have this certification - it will definitely be a USP in attracting clients and co-workers. A big thank you to Connecta and my managers who believed in me enough to send me on both the MCM and MCA journey! In the end I know that both me personally, my company and my co-workers will benefit from this.
"I want to learn more about the MCA?".
So, now I've been ranting about the MCA (from my perspective) and there are probably tons of questions that remains unanswered. Use the following links to learn more.
- Microsoft Certified Architect program
- Microsoft Certified Master program
- Regularly held online events with the MCM/MCA program managers. If you're just a little bit interested make sure to attend one of these held by the awesome program mangers for the MCM/MCA programs and have your chance to ask your questions
- Announcing the Microsoft Certified Architect: SharePoint Server 2010 - MCA/MCM/MVP Spence Harbar writes about the SharePoint MCA program
That's it. I hope you have a far better understanding of what a Microsoft Certified Architect is.
It's that time of the year, when you're thinking about what you've done and accomplished the last twelve months. I've been writing a summary for the last five years (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010) and I always think it's fun to look back at the year gone and do some predictions for the upcoming one.
This year has been totally crazy - I've been enjoying my work and clients/projects at Connecta and I totally love that we have such a strong team and offering. I can really feel the momentum we have in our team and projects, and nothing is stopping us now...
As usual I've been jotting down a couple of blog posts, some better than others (IMO) and unfortunately there are several that I just haven't had time to publish. I have on average 1.000 subscribers to my feed and a whole lot of other users finding my writings through the search engines - thank you all readers! These are the top ones for the last 12 months.
- Calling a WCF service using jQuery in SharePoint - the correct way
- SharePoint 2010 Ribbon Controls - Part 4 - The TextBox control
- SharePoint 2010 Ribbon Controls - Part 5 - The Button control
- Improve performance of your SharePoint 2010 applications using Windows Server AppFabric caching
I also finally got my book SharePoint 2010 Web Parts in Action published in April. It took over a year of writing, re-writing, testing, reviewing etc etc to get it done. And when the books finally arrived in printed form it was such a great feeling. It's a tough competition on SharePoint books nowadays, and I'm glad to see quite good sales figures and especially great reviews (if you haven't already - head on to Amazon and tell me what you think).
In April I was re-awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional - SharePoint Server award. This is an award for your on- and offline community contributions. Being a part of the SharePoint MVP community is great and gives you a lot of amazing contacts with some great people.
The MCM - Microsoft Certified Master - program was the highlight of the year! In April/May I attended the R8 rotation of the SharePoint 2010 MCM program which was three long and tiresome weeks with best-in-breed SharePoint training by the best of the best. I passed all three written exams and the qualification lab on first attempt and was allows to call my self a SharePoint 2010 MCM in the end of May. Since that rotation I've really felt that my SharePoint skills and confidence has improved - and I do think that also my customers feel the same. I did a post about my experiences of the MCM program a couple of months back - and if you're interested go ahead and read it.
Conferences and travels
This year has also been filled with a lot of conferences and travelling. First of all in march all MVP's met up in Redmond, at the Microsoft campus, for the annual MVP Summit. This was my first visit to Redmond and the summit and I met a lot of the people I've only met through the online world previously. I had a blast with paintball, late nights and beers talking to some really great friends. A couple of months later I went back to Redmond for the MCM - the weather was the same as in March! October and November was quite hectic with another trip over the pond to the SPC 2011, a trip to the European SharePoint Conference in Berlin and finally the Southeast Asia SharePoint Conference in Singapore. I also managed to do a couple of conferences on home turf as well.
I've already planned a couple of trips for 2012 - at least two trips to US again, one is the SPC 2012 in Las Vegas where I hope to meet a lot of you. I have also planned a trip to London in late April for the International SharePoint Conference. This will be an extraordinary conference with two really cool tracks - one IT-pro and one dev, where we'll build one big solution during three days. I promise to get back to you with more information about it as soon as it's available.
Yea, as usual this year has been all about SharePoint for me. I've seen the product mature, I've learnt more about it (again) than I ever could expect and I see a huge and increasing demand for the platform. If you're new in IT - bet on SharePoint! We've also seen the birth of Office 365. I'm running both my work and personal e-mail in the hosted Exchange solution and I'm very satisfied. This fall I've spent a lot of time with SharePoint Online trying to do real work and deployments. To put in in nice words I should say that I'm more of an on-premise guy!
In these recap posts I've done some predictions for the upcoming year. I had three last year and I was right about two of them: Windows 8 is communicated and with Hyper-V support. I've been thinking quite hard on what predictions to have this year, trying not to reveal anything or stating anything obvious. So here are my predictions for 2012.
- Second Browser World War - for a couple of years browsers have tried to strive for a common standard, and Internet Explorer has finally caught up. Since the HTML5 standard is far from standardized we will see Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE add its own proprietary "interpretations" of the standard which will diversify the browser world once again. It's already happening, unfortunately...
- Windows Phone momentum - I do think that the movement of Windows Phone 7+ will finally accelerate 2012. Great hardware, Nokia, great apps, unlimited marketing money and people getting bored of icons in a row are a few of the reasons. And I never ever had my WP7 phone crash - but for the Android devices we have in the family it's a part of the daily routine...
- Less cloudy - this is more of a wish than a prediction but I do hope that 2012 will be less cloudy. I'm so fed up with the term "cloud"! Of course hosted services will still be a major option but I do think that more and more customers are going to look at internal hosting and/or hybrid solutions.
What do you think?
Thank you and a happy new year
So, I do not think I will be posting anything more this year! It's been a fantastic year but I'm sure 2012 will beat 2011 big time. Thank you all readers and followers and thank you to all new friends I've met throughout this year and thank you to everyone supporting me and has to put up with late night IM's or e-mails (you know who you are!).
Now, enjoy your last days of 2011 and have really great New Years Eve - I know I will (even though enjoy incorporates some work!).
The 65th SharePoint Pod Show is out featuring...tada...me :-)
The SharePoint Pod Show is THE podcast about SharePoint and is done by Rob Foster, Nick Swan and Brett Lonsdale and has featured a lot of great SharePointers from all around the world throughout the years. If you haven't already listened to the podcasts, then you got 65 episodes to catch up on! There are some epic ones, such as my favorite one #50 - which is about performance tuning. And make sure that you subscribe - you don't want to miss their SPC11 Road-trip...
This episode was recorded at the MVP Summit earlier this year in Redmond between two sessions. It was my first time meeting most of the MVP's in real life and Rob was the one interviewing me. He's one heck of an interviewer asking questions like an ice-hockey radio commentator in some weird southern accent... It was great fun and we discussed SharePoint development and Web Parts development in particular. We talked through how to get started with SharePoint development, how to build Web Parts and why I wrote my book (SharePoint 2010 Web Parts in Action).
Until next time.
Now with the Microsoft Certified Master course two and a half weeks behind me and the great news that I accomplished all the exams, and might call myself a Microsoft Certified Master for SharePoint 2010, only a few days old I thought I should write something about the program, experience and value of it. Recent blog posts about the Microsoft certification programs also put some extra fuel onto the urge of writing about it.
About the Microsoft Certified Master Program
The Microsoft Certified Master Program is a high-end and exclusive training available for SQL Server, Active Directory, Lync Server, Exchange Server and SharePoint Server. The training is normally a three week course, held on site at the mothership in Redmond, tutored by the most skilled people on the respective product. It's the best training you can get! But it's not for everyone; first of all you need to pass several steps to even get into the program, then you need to pay the huge fee and then finally get out of the classroom with three exams and a qualification lab alive. If you need more information about the program, head on over to the MCM/MCA site.
Ever since I first heard about the MCM program for SharePoint it has been a dream going over to Redmond and endure the pain. Last fall me and my company decided that I should go for it. So in December I started the application for the MCM training. The application is done in several steps. Before even starting it you have to pay the non-refundable application fee of about $1.000. Once this is cleared the application process starts; you need to send in samples of what you have done with the SharePoint products like specifications and designs and then you will be scheduled for an interview. The interview was horrible and at the same time fantastic. I had three people, current masters, interview me trying to find all my gaps and pain points. Once you couldn't answer properly or directly the drilled even further until you almost had no idea what they were talking about. I was really impressed by the interview and the background research the interviewer had made - they even questioned me on details in my presentations that I had posted on my blog.
About a week after the interview I had a phone call where I was told that I was allowed into the program and schedule a rotation, after paying the huge fee. I also received very good feedback on what I needed to read up on and practice on. This was in January and I scheduled the next upcoming full rotation, which was in April/May. And now the hard work started. The pre-reading list is quite extensive and covers most of TechNet and MSDN and I finished that a couple of weeks prior to the rotation. I also did a lot of practice on my own using CloudShare where I could build me some virtual farms and experiment with different scenarios.
When the actual rotation started I thought I was well prepared! But, the depth and level of details was far more than I expected. Each and every session had so much information that needed to be placed somewhere in your head and I found myself sometimes not finding room for it. I especially remember the Search session and the Upgrades sessions! During these three weeks every weekday had scheduled sessions daytime and evening/nights were spent on reading and doing hand-on-labs. A huge credit to the MCM team with Brett leading the crew, for all the labs and the amazing lab environment! The weekends were spent on reading, reading, reading and doing labs to prepare for the weekly exams. These are Prometric like exams but where almost any answer could be the correct one - extremely hard.
The Qualification Lab
The grand final of the MCM is the Qualification Lab. It's an 8 hour long lab where you get a number of tasks, ranging from IT-pro to dev stuff to governance and architecture. I was quite nervous about this one, but as soon as it started I enjoyed every single minute of it. I usually drink quite a lot of coffee - but I forgot about that and I almost skipped eating my lunch to try to get as much as possibly done. After the qual lab I was completely drained, and I guess most of my R8 mates was as well.
After coming home I was so tired, should have taken vacation! Not only the jet lag but in fact that you have been receiving so much information and learnt so much over the past few weeks. A week and a half after getting home I got the fantastic news that I passed all written exams and the qualification lab. On my first attempt - hell yeah I'm proud!
The network you build during the rotation with the class mates, tutors and product group are invaluable. I've already after a few days seen the benefit of this!
MCM tips and tricks
Here are some tips and tricks for you already scheduled for a rotation or planning on diving into the MCM:
- Prepare and prepare well
- Plan your rotation - plan the pre-reading and practice on the different topics
- Read the pre-read list
- Exercise before and during your rotation - sitting in those chairs for three weeks really takes its toll
- If your used to a non-American keyboard - bring your own since you're going to write a lot of PowerShell and stuff and you don't want to waste time on mistyping for the qual lab. (I actually bought an American keyboard over there instead)
- It depends!
So what about the other SharePoint certifications...
I'm not talking about the MCA, that's for just a few brave ones. I'm talking about the four MCP exams. I've done them all, since it's a pre-requisite for MCM, and I've done the four for 2007 and one for 2003. I've previously wrote about them and I still stand by my post from last year. I do not think the exams are actually good - they have huge improvement potential.
But I'm not, like some others, that refuses to take them just to stand out and look cool. They provide value for businesses that are Microsoft Partners and if you're a MCT. Also the clients are actually aware of these exams, compared to other non-Microsoft sanctioned exams, and they sometimes request that you have them. Also they can be of real value when your learning SharePoint - you can see what areas you need to improve on etc. So I do recommend you to go and get them!
The problem with MCM though is that very few clients are aware of this certification. And that's what we/I are trying to change. And in fact I think this is changing right now, even before attending the training, I saw an increase in attention in my and my companies services.
Now I'm going to enjoy this and soon have a nice vacation to catch up with lost time with the family.