I know a great many SharePoint administrators. That’s really not a boast (regardless of how it seems), but simply a statement of fact. Truth is, in every organization with even the smallest SharePoint presence, there’s at least one person who finds himself (or herself) becoming the de facto SharePoint administrator. These folks occasionally come from within the IT team, but are most often recruited from the business user ranks, as SharePoint is definitely a “client-facing” application.

Regardless of what your background is, you’re now a SharePoint administrator. What does that mean? Well, odds are that you’ll begin by administering lists, libraries, and permissions; then, your boss will ask you to add multiple sites, maybe some workflows, perhaps some mild branding.

Suddenly you realize that this is a whole new world, and that you are moving from a functional role to a tactical role in the organization. The work you’ve been doing to keep the farm stable and functional is received well enough, but now you’ll require additional effort to plan enhancements and growth for the farm.

What now?

Well, for starters, do you actually know how to do the tasks you’ve been assigned? Perhaps so, but you may be called upon to “prove it”. This proof comes in the form of a certification test. Microsoft has been certifying skills for over 20 years, and these certifications are still one of the best litmus tests for IT professionals.

Microsoft provides a comprehensive set of certification subjects, all of which can be found at the Microsoft Learning site. On this site, you can find information about training, study materials, and certification tests for Microsoft products.

I was recently asked by Microsoft Press to write the Exam Ref 70-339 book for SharePoint 2016; this certification test focuses on Microsoft SharePoint technologies (including SharePoint Online), and covers. This test covers a series of subjects, known as Objective Domains:

Skill Covered % of questions on the exam
Design SharePoint Infrastructure 15-20%
Plan authentication and security 15-20%
Plan workload optimization 15-20%
Plan productivity solutions 15-20%
Manage search capabilities 10-15%
Plan and configure cloud services 5-10%
Monitor and optimize a SharePoint environment 10-15%

Sounds easy, right?

Truth be told, none of the Microsoft tests are necessarily easy. Even if you are an experienced SharePoint administrator, odds are that this test will cover one or more topics which you don’t regularly work with. Perhaps you are quite familiar with permissions and authentication topics, but have never had to deal with disaster recovery topics – regardless of your skill level, a thorough review of the topics will give you the best shot at passing this certification test, and get you on your way to an MCSE: Productivity certification.

In the next few blog entries, we will walk through the structure of the Objective Domain and Exam Ref book, to focus on topics which will hopefully allow you to take and pass the 70-339 exam.