I often get asked how to get “SharePoint certified”. This is actually an easy question to answer since there are four available SharePoint related MCTS certifications from Microsoft. The certifications are:
- MCTS: Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Configuration via exam 70-631
- MCTS: Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 – Application Development via exam 70-541
- MCTS: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – Configuration via exam 70-630
- MCTS: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 ― Application Development via exam 70-542
Usually, the next question I get is… Which one should I take? This question is a bit harder to answer since the answer depends on the individual goal of certification. Nevertheless, I will try to break it down.
Every person who wants to get “SharePoint certified” should start with exam 70-631 (WSS 3.0 Configuration). This certification shows that you understand how to install and configure a SharePoint farm, use Central Administration, and use and customize out-of-the-box features such as site templates, lists, libraries, and web parts. From a professional perspective, this exam is the corner stone for all things SharePoint since it ensures that the individual with this certification has the essential knowledge to create out-of-the-box solutions using WSS 3.0. To begin preparing for this exam, I suggest strong familiarity with the WSS 3.0 TechNet library.
The next certification to go for depends on your professional goals. If you are a developer and want to build custom solutions, then take the 70-541 exam (WSS 3.0 Development). If you are not a developer and plan on building out-of-the-box solutions with MOSS 2007, then take the 70-630 exam (MOSS 2007 Configuration). My reasons follow below.
Exam 70-541 (WSS 3.0 Development) certifies general knowledge of custom development and advanced customization of WSS features. This includes knowledge of the programming against the WSS object model and using the collaborative application markup language (aka CAML) to create custom applications, templates, features, definitions, and more. It also demonstrates the ability to package and deploy custom solutions using the WSS solution deployment mechanism. To begin preparing for this exam, I suggest strong familiarity with the WSS 3.0 MSDN library. If you are not a developer, then skip this exam.
Exam 70-630 (MOSS 2007 Configuration) certifies the ability to deploy, maintain, monitor, and administrate operations of MOSS 2007. This includes deploying and managing a Shared Service Provided (SSP), search, business intelligence, business forms, user profiles, my sites, business data catalog, and more. Basically, it’s the same as exam 70-631 but with a focus on the premium out-of-the-box features of MOSS 2007 not included in WSS 3.0. If you want to prepare for this exam, then get familiar with the MOSS 2007 TechNet library.
The last exam is 70-542 (MOSS 2007 Development) is another developer focused exam similar to the 70-541 exam. However, the focus shifts from the WSS object model and features to the MOSS object model and features. This exam assumes that you are comfortable with CAML, the .NET framework, and developing applications with WSS. If you want to prepare for this exam, then get familiar with the MOSS 2007 MSDN library.
Sometimes people also end up asking me if using TechNet and MSDN are enough to prepare for the exams. This totally depends on your experience and your level of familiarity with SharePoint and only you can decide if TechNet and MSDN are enough for you. Rest assured there are lots of good learning resources out there to help you prepare for the exams such as books, classes, and more. If you need helping preparing for an exam and finding classes or other learning resources, then go check out the Microsoft Learning.