My Microsoft Certified Master experience


Since a lot of people are interested in the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) experience I'm going to try and write a blog about it. Note that this will just be a post on how I experienced the program. I can't elaborate on the actual content of the training, although I will blog on specific topics later on.


It was great, very intense, so usefull, terrific, brutal, fantastic, fascinating, informative, overwhelming…

Ok, so it's very difficult to describe. I will give it a try.


The group of students consisted of 16 SharePoint experts. All people that have a lot of experience in doing SharePoint implementations. Lots of them are also trainers and speakers. It's amazing to spend 3 weeks in a room with a group like that. We've had a lot of great and very valuable discussions, since people do different types of projects and have come up with different best practices. We were all there to learn and everybody was more than willing to share their knowledge and experience. I really want to thank everybody for the great three weeks!


Working with the instructors was also very special. All of them are the best in the field on the area that they covered. They are not just trainers, but people that actually work with the product and have an amazing depth on the subject that they covered. It was a priviledge to be able to learn from their experience and to be able to bounce thoughts and ideas off of them.


The training was conducted on the Microsoft Campus in Redmond. For me it was the first time that I was on campus and that really brought something extra to the experience. Being there also meant that it was possible for product team members to drop in when we were discussing a certain subject to elaborate even more, sometimes on the current version and sometimes on how things will change in vNext. Very valuable!


As I said before I can't say much about the actual content of the training, but I can say that it's very broad and very deep. It reaches from information architecture, capacity planning, infrastructure, SQL, a lot of SharePoint services (like Search, BDC etc), development and troubleshooting. All this material was covered in three weeks of training. That's a lot to cover in three weeks, which means that it's long days of instruction supplemented with hands on labs in the evening. It means that you eat, drink and breath SharePoint for three weeks. This is a stretch, but it's a great way to hugely expand your knowledge in a relatively short amount of time.


Of course your knowledge will also be tested. There are three written exams and one hands on qualification lab. These exams also take place during the three weeks. This means that the master program is not for the lazy and not for the faint  hearted.

At the moment I know that I passed the three written exams. The results for the qualification lab are not in yet. Personally I'm sceptical about me passing that one. But it really doesn't matter. I'm very proud that I was part of the R2 (beta) MCM SharePoint group. And I'm very proud to have passed at least three of the exams. If I haven't passed the qualification lab I will be able to retake it in a Microsoft office around here, so I don't need to travel to Redmond for that.


[Update: I took the retake of the qualification lab and I passed! I'm now officially and MCM SharePoint!]


Even though this was a beta the program was very well organized. Off course there were a couple of small glitches along the way, but the whole experience is already pretty well polished. I personally think that we've got the acting program manager to thank for that. He did an amazing job in managing content and logistics and watching out over all the candidates. He was terrific. Thank you.


All in all the experience was great, I'm still exhausted, but I wouldn't have want to miss it for anything in the world!



Some links to MCM related content:

Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

Blogpost by Russ Houberg, MCM R2 attendee

Blogpost by Spence Harbar, MCM R2 attendee (posted pre-R2)

Blogpost by Andrew Connel, MCM instructor

Blogpost by Todd Baginski, MCM instructor