I Passed MB-901 (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fundamentals) and Here is Who Will Benefit from Taking this Examination

Many of you might be surprised to know that I even attempted the MB-901 (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fundamentals) examination. After all, I have 3 years of full-time experience on the Power Platform/Microsoft Dynamics 365 and MB-901 is now my 12th Microsoft Dynamics 365 certification.

I learned much more than I expected. This examination covered new topics that I did not have previous exposure to: cloud infrastructure and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations. However, I recognize that the exam is not for everyone. Here are the three main groups of people who will benefit from taking this examination. If you are in one of these three situation, I recommend that you pass this exam.

You Never Passed a Microsoft Examination

If you never passed a single Microsoft examination in your life, regardless of the product, you should go for MB-901 (Dynamics 365 Fundamentals). This will get you used to the examination format and the overall process. The Dynamics 365 core examinations for both Customer Engagement and Finance & Operations cover too much content and will quickly overwhelm a first timer who does not know what to expect at all.

You are Still Trying to Decide Between Customer Engagement and Finance & Operations

If you know you want to get into the Microsoft Dynamics 365 ecosystem but you are unsure on whether you want to specialize in Customer Engagement or Finance and Operations, this examination is for you. You will learn about the basics of both systems and will give you a great overview of the overall ecosystem. Therefore, it will allow you to make a much better informed decision.

You are an Experienced Microsoft Dynamics 365 Professional and Want to Eventually Get the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Solution Architect Certification

If you are an experienced Microsoft Dynamics 365 professional and eventually want to get the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Solution Architect certification, you might want to pass MB-901 (Dynamics 365 Fundamentals). Technically speaking, the MB-600 examination covers all topics of lower levelled examinations and you may not be comfortable with the risk.

 

A Note About Online Examinations

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I struggled with the check-in process of online examinations. I am happy to report that I found out why: I was using a Mac OS X computer, which greatly complicated the process due to security settings of a Mac computer.

Therefore, if you have a Windows computer at home, I highly recommend you to use it to write your exams. Your experience will be significantly less stressful.

 

Happy studying!

 

I Passed MB-240 (Dynamics 365 for Field Service) Today and Here is What You Need to Know about Question Types, Exam Structure and Online Exams

I just passed the MB-240 (Dynamics 365 for Field Service) examination today! Therefore, I now have all Microsoft Dynamics 365 Functional Consultant Associate certifications.

The two main things I learned about the examination are related to the types of questions that Microsoft likes to ask, a new examination structure and how to go through an online examination properly.

Question Types

Let’s be honest: we all know that Microsoft loves to make their examination questions tricky. That is not breaking news to anyone who has passed at least one Microsoft examination, whether it is related to Microsoft Dynamics 365 or not.

What might be new to many test takers, however, is that Microsoft is increasingly asking questions about small details that most test takers would tend to overlook. This is to make sure that test takers actually need to study for the examination and cannot use shortcuts.

Examination Structure

The examination how has 3 different sections and you cannot go back and forth between them. This is made to ensure that brain dump promoters cannot commit their crime and steal examination questions. I know people who used brain dumps and have simply abandoned them because they are now pretty much useless and seen as a waste of time.

Fortunately, the days of having 70% of the actual examination questions being found on Brain Dumps are over.

How to Take an Online Examination Properly

Here are some tips that I learned to take an online examination properly.

  1. A desk with a drawer is worth the extra ~$20.
  2. Have your phone and your ID with you in the room when you do the online check-in.
  3. Once you talk to the greeter, let them know that you are putting your phone and ID away in the drawer.
  4. The staff at Pearson VUE is super helpful to make sure that your experience goes smoothly. If you talk to them when you run into problems, you can work a solution together.

 

If you are interested to take the brand new preparation course on MS Dynamics Certified, you can have a look at it here.

 

Happy studying!

The Microsoft Partner Competency Requirements Changed (Again). Here is What Will Impact your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Certification Journey.

Microsoft has been quite active on the certifications front and therefore, these changes need to be reflected in the Microsoft Partner Competency for Business Applications. Here is what you need to know.

Introduction of Partner Contribution Indicators (PCI)

Instead of being assessed by threshold for each criteria, there are now certain accomplishments that can give you points. Microsoft Partners can get up to 100 points overall. Out of those, up to 35 can be obtained via having employees of a Microsoft Partner certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365.

In order to obtain the silver competency, a Microsoft Partner must have a PCI score of 60 or higher. For the gold competency, the PCI score requires increases to 80.

Another quirkiness was introduced. Traditionally, the certifications-related criteria were essentially to have a certain number of employees pass a particular exam. Now, on top of those, Microsoft Partners can get up to 15 points for the growth in numbers of certified on Microsoft Dynamics 365 to their team after March 31, 2020, whether by having non-certified employees becoming certified or by poaching certified employees from other Microsoft Partners or end-users.

Why is this so important? As per the 2019-2020 Nigel Frank International Salary Survey, 34% of Microsoft Dynamics 365 professionals have up-to-date certifications. The number most likely went down significantly since MB2-7XX certifications were retired since the survey was published. Moreover, 50% of professionals in the ecosystem work for a Microsoft Partner. As you can see, there is a massive gap between the number of certified professionals and the number of certified professionals Microsoft Partners need.

How is Your Certification Journey Affected

At the moment, here is what the Microsoft Partner Competencies work. 1 point is awarded per person holding a Functional Consultant Associate certification. You need to get at least one. Moreover, if you can get the Functional Consultant Associate certification and the Developer Associate certification. You can get 2 points if you get both.

In practice, it might be practical for you to have multiple Functional Consultant Associate certifications, especially if you work for a Microsoft Partner or want to work for one. The projects will be varied and need their staff to know multiple apps.

In the future, I predict that many people in the end-user community will ask Microsoft to reduce the number of points related to Functional Consultant growth, because it simply gives an incentive to Microsoft Partners to poach certified employees from end-users.

Another future addition will be the addition of the new Solution Architect certifications. I would not be surprised if the number of points for the growth in Functional Consultant Associates is reduced to 10 to allocate 5 points to people holding the Solution Architect certification.

 

If you are certified, congratulations! Your certifications will be even more valuable on April 1, 2020. If you have both the Functional Consultant Associate certification and the Developer Associate certification, you could (technically) count for 3 points, which could make the difference between getting a certain level of partner competency or not.

I Passed MB-200 (Power Platform + Dynamics 365 Core). Here is How the Experience was Different from other Microsoft Dynamics 365 examinations.

I passed MB-200 (Power Platform + Dynamics 365 Core) over the weekend! This exam marks a special milestone: it the 10th Microsoft Dynamics 365 examination I passed. Here is how this examination was different than the 9 other exams I passed so far.

The Examination Format is Completely Different

Without breaking the Non-Disclosure Agreement that all Microsoft Test Takers must abide by, there are 3 examination sections that each have its own style. Once you finish one section, you cannot review any question from it.

The Content Covered is a Combination of Many Examinations

Thought MB2-716 (Customization and Configuration) covered too many topics for one examination? You have seen nothing yet. MB-200 (Power Platform + Dynamics 365 Core) covers all the material in MB2-716 (Customization and Configuration), all the material in MB2-715 (Online Deployment), Power Apps, Power BI and Power Automate (formerly known as Flow).

I Had to Take the Examination Online

In the last few weeks, I got many emails from my MS Dynamics Certified students asking me when I am launching the preparatory course for MB-200. Truth is, the course content was already ready for quite sometime.

I had to take the examination online, because Vancouver has really a lack of available exam slots compared to Montreal and Toronto. To make things even worse, my apartment has really terrible internet reliability issues. Therefore, I had to wait until the internet got stable enough and took a spot in the early morning of a weekend, when everyone else is sleeping.

How was the experience? It was identical to the experience in the centre. The main difference is the check-in experience. I had to do the check-in experience three times (!!!) and it delayed my start exam time for one hour. Pro Tip: keep your phone next to you until you are prompted by the exam greeter to put your phone away. It will keep you sane and may also prevent you to try to check-in multiple times. If the first check-in fails, contact Pearson Vue support right away.

If you have an exam centre within reach with an exam slot that works for you, please take the exam in a centre. Only take the online exam if no spot is available near you.

 

Finally, if you are interested in taking the MS Dynamics Certified course for MB-200, you can get it here.

I Passed MB-220 (Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing) Today. Here is How I Did It and Why I Was Over-prepared.

I came back from the examination centre and I am happy to say that I just passed MB-220 (Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing). Here is how I did it.

Microsoft Learn

In this certification cycle, this was the first time I passed an examination that graduated from beta. Therefore, I had access to the full-fledge learning material on Microsoft Learn. Compared to the old Dynamics Learning Portal, it is already a massive improvement. Not only it is available for free to the general public, but the test candidate is not forced to sit through hours of videos. It becomes easier to go through smaller bits, one at a time.

You can access Microsoft Learn here.

Differences Between Beta and Regular Examinations

If you take an examination in beta, you will have a lot more questions than what the regular examination contains. After all, Microsoft is testing their questions on you. In this examination cycle, I changed the practice examinations on MS Dynamics Certified to have a structure similar to the beta examination. Luckily for my students, they now have the equivalent of 4 practice examinations per course because I passed the examination in beta.

This is what I believe to be the main reason of why I was over-prepared: I practiced almost any question that could potentially be on the actual examination.

Practicing in a Sandbox Instance is Now More Important than Ever

Due to the new question types that Microsoft introduced in this cycle, you should be able to remember the navigation and steps required to create or modify a record in Microsoft Dynamics 365. This is why you should get access to a sandbox instance when preparing for an examination.

 

If you are interested to get the course for MB-220 (Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing) from MS Dynamics Certified, you can find it here.

 

 

 

I Read All 59 Pages of the 2019-2020 Nigel Frank International Salary Survey So You Don’t Have To. Here Is What You Need to Know.

The 2019-2020 Nigel Frank International Salary Survey just came out. This is by far the lengthiest survey that came out, with information coming in from many more countries than before. I will not go into any country specific details, but rather give you a general overview of global trends.

Lack of Skilled Professionals is the Biggest Challenge During Implementations

According to 46% of end-users surveyed, the lack of skills was the largest challenge they faced during the implementation.

Certifications Do Pay Off

27% of Microsoft Dynamics professionals received a salary increase immediately after receiving their certifications. On average, the salary increase post-certifications is 17%. As mentioned in the Ultimate Guide to the Canadian Microsoft Dynamics 365 Market, the entry-level salary for Microsoft Dynamics 365 positions is $50,000. If you were to get certified, the value of your skills is now $58,500. Even if you had to pay for your certifications yourself (20% of Microsoft Dynamics professionals do), you would recover the money is less than 2 months.

Moreover, one of the main reasons why certified professionals can command a salary that is 17% higher than a non-certified professional is that only 34% of Microsoft Dynamics 365 professionals have up to date certifications (MCSE: Business Applications at the same the survey was done), while Microsoft Partners hire 50% of Microsoft Dynamics professionals. If you read my post about the new Microsoft Partner Competency Requirements, you will read what the exact requirements are for Microsoft Partners in terms of the certification level of employees required for them to obtain or maintain their partner status.

Most Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professionals Are Juniors or Intermediates

Microsoft Dynamics CRM professionals have an average of 3 years of experience on the platform. 29% of all Microsoft Dynamics professionals have 3 years or less of experience on the platform and 58% of professionals have less than 6 years of experience on the platform. Unfortunately, the survey does not go in greater detail by providing an experience breakdown for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. However, it is very likely that the percentage is even higher.

Work from Home is the Most Sought-After Benefit

25% of respondents cited the option to work from home as a reason to leave their current job and it is also the most desirable benefit for Microsoft Dynamics professionals.

Microsoft Dynamics Professionals and Relocation

When asked if they wanted to move to another country, 50% of professionals were interested if they were provided with the right opportunity. The top destinations are the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Most of the reasons cited for the United States and the United Kingdom are related to career growth, whereas respondents who want to relocate to Canada or Australia are not only motivated by better job prospects but also for an increased quality of life.

 

If you want details about salaries in your country, you can read the entire survey and see what professionals are earning in your area.

(Almost) Everything You Wanted to Know About Microsoft Dynamics 365 Careers and Certifications, Answered (Updated on February 27 2020)

Hi everyone!

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 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:

  • Mandatory: C# (including how to use the .NET libraries), basic notions of JavaScript and basic notions of MS SQL Server
  • Strong Asset: Proficiency in JavaScript (including the following JavaScript libraries: jQuery, Note and Angular) and good knowledge of SSRS
  • 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 new 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. For example, I got a freelance contract because I listed my ClickDimensions (largest marketing independent application made for Microsoft Dynamics 365) certifications on my LinkedIn profile.
  • 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.

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 8 times (as of July 10, 2019) 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, make sure to only revise the main concepts instead of stressing you out with the details. 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 February 27, 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 and fill out this 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!