I am getting a lot of messages from people asking about Microsoft Dynamics 365 careers, how to get started in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and also an increasing amount of questions related to Canadian immigration. This post is meant to be a living document answering the most frequently asked questions related to these topics.
I would like to mention that this post is for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement. If you would like advice on Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations or Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Business Central, go to the Dynamics Community Forum where experts in these fields will be happy to answer your questions.
I am in a completely different career and have nothing to do with Microsoft Dynamics 365. How do I get started from scratch?
The best way to get started is to learn as much as you can. That’s why I encourage you to start by becoming certified: it makes you go through a curriculum. You can learn what you need to know in the right order. Afterwards, there are other things you can do (more on that later).
What product/app/module of Microsoft Dynamics 365 should I specialize in?
It depends on what your interests and existing skills are. Your location can be an important factor too. You can also have multiple product specializations by passing its related examination.
For example, if you are a marketer, you should definitely have your first product specialization in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing. Moreover, if you are a salesperson, you should start by Dynamics 365 for Sales.
If you are a Canadian citizen who is eligible for a security clearance, I would encourage you to start with Dynamics 365 for Customer Service. There are a lot of public sector contracts given to Microsoft Partners that require such specialists.
I have now developed a framework to help you decide what certification you should go for. You can view it here, as part of the slide deck.
I am a software developer. How can I pivot to becoming a Microsoft Dynamics 365 developer?
According to one of the top Microsoft Dynamics 365 headhunters in North America (Canada and USA included), here are the languages you need to know:
- Asset: HTML, MVC and Visual Studio
If you already know all of the above-mentioned, good for you! You will simply need to get one of the Functional Consultant Associate certifications and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform Developer Associate certification.
If I am a Microsoft Dynamics 365 administrator, business analyst or functional consultant, do I need to learn software development?
No, that is not necessary. However, it is a strong asset as you can be a Techno-Functional Resource. It is a fancy word that simply means that you can perform all aspects of a Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation.
I am a Microsoft Dynamics 365 functional consultant, but I can still read code from a developer and figure out where the bug is occurring, which is good enough for functional roles (administrator, business analyst and functional consultant).
Why is it so important for me to become certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365?
There are so many benefits to becoming certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365! Here is a list of some of those benefits.
- As mentioned earlier, it guides you through a curriculum that was designed by Microsoft. Therefore, you don’t have to read through a lot of random documentation articles to learn about the product. It makes the learning process easier for beginners.
- When you apply for Microsoft Dynamics 365 positions, your resume and first interview will be with a headhunter or someone from the human resources department. Since they are not technical experts, they rely on certifications to determine if you meet the job’s requirements.
- Similarly, many companies do not want to advertise positions publicly, they will conduct a candidate search on LinkedIn and message Microsoft Dynamics 365 professionals directly. That’s why having those certifications are a great way to make sure that your profile ranks high on those searches. I got many freelance contracts this way.
- Microsoft requires that their Microsoft Partners (information technology consulting firms implementing Microsoft products) have a certain number of certified employees. I detail the Microsoft Partner Competency Requirements here.
- If you work for a Microsoft Partner that has a lot of public sector contracts, your certifications are a way for them to win that contract. For example, I got an interview at one of the largest Microsoft Partners in Canada because I had the Dynamics 365 for Customer Service certification and 20% of their business is from the public sector.
- As per the 2020-2021 Nigel Frank Salary Survey, you can expect a salary raise that can be as high as 22% simply by getting certified. Moreover, in many salary grids, current certifications are worth 1 year of work experience.
Do you have any study tips or advice on how to become certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365?
Here are some tips that I learned by becoming 13 times (as of July 23, 2020) certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and from the hundreds of MS Dynamics Certified students:
- Make sure you pass the examinations in the right order, to make sure all the prerequisites are covered and to minimize your stress
- Stay away from brain dumps! They harm your study preparation since most of the answer key is wrong. Moreover, Microsoft has gotten much better over the years at catching people who use brain dumps. If you see people who are surprised to see why they failed so close to the passing score (700) on the Dynamics Community Forum, that’s probably why. Finally, if you get caught using or distributing brain dumps, you will get an automatic lifetime ban from the Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCP) program.
- Practice, practice, practice. You can play in a sandbox, use legal practice examinations (only on MS Dynamics Certified) or make your own practice examinations.
- The day of the examination itself, do not study. This sounds very counter-intuitive, but stress plays a big role on exam day performance. Having an intense session of physical activity before an exam is also a great idea.
Here are some great resources for you to explore in order to become certified (most of them are free):
What is the correct order for me to pass the Microsoft Dynamics 365 examinations?
If it is your first time becoming certified on a Microsoft product, you should start by MB-901 (Dynamics 365 Fundamentals). It will cover the fundamentals of Microsoft Dynamics 365, make you learn the basics of all apps and get you used to the examination format.
Afterwards, you should pass MB-200 (Dynamics 365 Core). In this examination, you will learn the different types of deployments, click-based customizations, configurations are integrations that are possible with Microsoft Dynamics 365. A major change with the new certifications is that there are a lot of configuration questions asked in the product examinations. Microsoft is implicitly enforcing a prerequisite.
Finally, you can pass one or more product examinations to get a Functional Consultant Associate certification or a development examination to get the Developer Associate certification. As of July 23, 2020, you have 5 options:
You can do them in the order that you wish.
Finally, once you passed a Functional Consultant Associate certification or the Developer Associate certification, you are eligible to appear for MB-600 (Power Apps + Dynamics 365 Solution Architect) examination and get the associated certification.
Can I get a job right after becoming certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365, even if I have no experience?
Yes (assuming you are in Canada), but I cannot tell you how long it might take or what compensation package you will get. If you are in another country, I don’t have information on their labour market. Sorry!
I want to build a portfolio of Microsoft Dynamics 365 development projects I could show to prospective employers. What should I do?
You can participate in open-source projects to build a portfolio. Here are the main three open-source projects:
They will be happy to get an email from you to let them know you want to get involved.
Do you have any advice on how to build a good LinkedIn profile or resume for a Microsoft Dynamics 365 professional?
I followed Ramit Sethi’s resume advice to get my first draft going. Then, I found a job post where I meet the requirements and ran it on Jobscan against my resume to fine tune it.
From my resume, I built my LinkedIn profile.
I am a Microsoft Dynamics 365 professional and want to immigrate to Canada. Where can I get more information about Microsoft Dynamics 365 opportunities in Canada and the Canadian immigration process?
I wrote a pretty lengthy blog post on Microsoft Dynamics 365 opportunities and generic information about Canadian immigration that you can find here.
If you believe that Canada is right for you and want to come here, I encourage you to ask your immigration questions to an immigration representative approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. I am not an immigration lawyer and unfortunately, I am unqualified to answer any questions related to Canadian immigration law.
I want to get information about a Microsoft Dynamics 365 job market which is not Canada. Do you have any information in that regards?
No, I do not have any information about the job market of any country except Canada. I encourage you to go to the Dynamics Community Forum where members of the country you are living in will be able to give you a much better answer.
How much can I get earn as a Microsoft Dynamics 365 professional? Do you have any information about salaries in the industry?
The best place to get salary information for a Microsoft Dynamics 365 role is from the Nigel Frank International Salary Survey. You can see last year’s survey here.
What if I have a question that has not been covered in this blog post?
Feel free to leave a comment on this blog post. I will get back to you shortly!