D365 & Power Platform New Certifications & Exams

In the year 2019, D365 certifications and exams have undergone many changes. New certifications are replacing the legacy ones. By the mid of 2020, almost all past exams will be retired. I often get a chance to talk to people new to D365 or certifications. Few times I found they are not aware of these changes and focusing on something which is expiring soon. I hope this post will explain these changes and answer a couple of relevant questions.

Should I do certifications?

Years back, when I was planning to shift my career as a Dotnet developer to D365 Consultant, I found a piece of wonderful advice from Mark Smith (MVP). The suggestion was if you do not have a lot of experience of D365 implementations, you should focus on certifications to expand your knowledge and expertise through it. I found this tip profound, and it helped me learn about the product. Certifications are not only helpful when you are new to technology; they help you grow and learn even if you have a lot of experience.

What is the difference in certification and exam?

Certification is the title, document or badge one earns. To do a certification, we may need to pass one or more exams.

What were the previous certifications and exams?

Previously the following certifications were available:

  • Microsoft Certified Solution Associate
  • Microsoft Certified Solution Expert

The following exams are still available for above-mentioned certifications:

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration (MB2-716)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail (MB6-897)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent (MB6-898)

Of course, someone planning to go through these exams should wait (if relevant exams are not released yet) or focus on newly available titles instead of these.

What are the new certifications and exams?

New certifications are offered for the users of three different levels:

  • Fundamentals
  • Associates
  • Expert

One important thing is these new certifications are role-based. These are specific to a functional consultant, developer and solution architect. Fundamentals certifications are right for someone new to these products and technologies, but they are NOT prerequisite for associate certifications. But associate certifications are a must for architect certifications. Another difference is previous certifications were not covering Power Platform very well.

How to prepare for exams?

For preparation training courses are available, and most of the times, they are not free. Their details can be found under relevant exam detail pages. For fans of self-study and learning previously, Microsoft Dynamics Learning Portal was a great resource, but not accessible publically. To make this widely accessible, Microsoft has redeveloped training content which is free and publicly available at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/.

I hope these notes were helpful. Enjoy your day.

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