by Sarah K. White

Microsoft 365 certification: Skills and training to advance your career in the cloud

Jul 27, 2020
CareersCertificationsIT Skills

Microsoft's cloud productivity suite enables employees to work from anywhere. These Microsoft 365 certs can give you the training and skills to move your career forward.

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With many organizations moving to the cloud, Microsoft 365 has become a popular productivity suite for businesses of all sizes. The service hosts familiar Microsoft apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Exchange alongside a range of enterprise services offered by Microsoft. With Microsoft 365, businesses can enable employees to access, store and share files anywhere, with up to 1TB of storage per user. It’s also a useful collaboration tool, allowing for group chats, and online meetings, as well as instant feedback and collaboration features, all while ensuring data and customer information stays secure.

Microsoft 365’s popularity has increased demand for IT pros who can set up, administer, develop for, and secure the suite. If you want to land a job working with Microsoft 365, Microsoft offers a range of entry-level and associate-level certifications that can help validate your skills. The certifications are free to maintain but you will need to pay $165 per exam. 

Here is an overview of Microsoft 365 certifications currently on offer.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals certification covers the basics of all Microsoft 365 cloud services and how they differ from their on-premises versions. Study modules cover migrating to Windows 10 and Microsoft 365, security basics, how to manage subscription services and how to choose the right cloud deployment model. The exam covers cloud concepts, core Microsoft 365 services and pricing and support. You’ll also be asked to explain how security, compliance, privacy and trust apply to Microsoft 365’s services. It’s a great place to start if you’re just dipping your feet into the Microsoft 365 suite, as you won’t need to pass an exam. The course consists of nine modules that cover all Microsoft 365 services and products.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate certification is for developers responsible for designing, building, testing and maintaining applications and solutions on the Microsoft 365 platform. The Building Applications and Solutions with Microsoft 365 Core Services exam covers topics such as implementing Microsoft Identity, building apps with Microsoft Graph, extending and customizing SharePoint and creating extensions for Microsoft Teams and Office. To qualify for the exam, it’s recommended to be proficient in Microsoft Identity and Microsoft Graph, have general knowledge on UI elements, understand integration points and be able to determine workload platform targets.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate certification is designed for IT workers responsible for deploying, configuring, managing, troubleshooting and monitoring receipts, permissions, mail protections, mail flow and public folders in “hybrid and cloud enterprise environments.” The Microsoft 365 Messaging exam covers skills, including your ability to manage organizational settings and resources, plan and manage mail architecture, plan and implement hybrid configurations and migrations and to create secure messaging environments.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator Associate certification is designed to certify your skills securing Microsoft 365 enterprise and hybrid environments, implementing and managing security and compliance solutions, responding to threats and enforcing data governance. To earn you certification, you will need to pass the Microsoft 365 Security Administration exam. It’s recommended to be familiar with Microsoft 365 workloads and to “have strong skills and experience” with identity protection, information protection, threat protection, security management and data governance.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification verifies skills, including deploying Windows, managing devices and data, configuring connectivity, maintaining Windows, deploying and updating operating systems, managing policies, protecting data and managing apps. Candidates should be familiar with Microsoft 365 workloads and proficient in deploying, configuring and maintaining Windows 10 and non-Windows devices and technologies. You will need to pass both the Windows 10 and Managing Modern Desktops exams to earn your Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Teams Administrator Associate certification is for anyone responsible for configuring, deploying and managing Office 365 workloads for Microsoft Teams, especially those who are focused on implementing services for efficient and effective collaboration. You will need to pass the Managing Microsoft Teams exam to earn your certification. Candidates should be “proficient at managing Teams settings by using PowerShell,” understand the basics of integration points and experience working with SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Exchange, Azure AD and Office 365 Groups.

Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert

The Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator Expert certification verifies your ability to evaluate, plan, migrate, deploy and manage Microsoft 365 services. The certification covers skills such as designing and implementing Microsoft 365 services, as well as your skills managing user identities, roles, access, authentication, security, governance and compliance. It’s the only expert level exam on the list, but you’ll need to pass several exams to earn the designation. You’ll need to complete another Microsoft 365 Certified certification on this list and then pass the Microsoft 365 Identity and Services and Microsoft 365: Mobility and Security exams.

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