I am keen to give presentations including Q and A in any Data Analytics based event or user group on this subject since I genuinely believe I can and will transform lives by empowering others to achieve this certification or indeed study for any examination.
I understand that I was one of the first people in the world to obtain this new certification since I passed all the exams required for this award during November 2017. Passing exams is not easy for me since I have a formal mild dyslexia diagnosis. I am also married with young children. My day job consists of holding down a series of stressful contracts. So in summary I am very time poor as well as dyslexic.
Why is Microsoft Certification Important?
It is a tragedy that many consultants move from role to role where they are mainly re-writing other peoples’ designs. This is often caused by the original designers not having the pre-requisite skill sets. As data analytics professionals we are in a unique position to make the world a better place. Many of the world problems will be solved at least in part by good data analytics. Whether it be cancer treatment, hunger, mental health treatment, Alzheimer’s management or more mundane but no less important tasks such as ensuring a bank or insurance company can take a financial hit, ensuring local governments are making best use of their resources, etc.
Microsoft certification is therefore a significant tool is reducing the probability of us re-visiting the starting block and increasing the possibility of us making a difference!
You probably want to gain Microsoft Certification however you are daunted about how high the bar is set for this certification. So to achieve this certification you are concerned that you simply don’t have enough time to prepare.
How I achieved this certification in order of importance…
1) Get work experience which covers as much of the exam structure as possible.
a. You cannot pass with self-study alone. Although evidencing that you are working towards this certification on your CV does impress potential employers.
b. You may need to travel further to get relevant work experience.
c. You may even need to accept work at a reduced rate of pay to get relevant work experience.
d. A quicker certification to achieve is the Edx Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI course.
2) Self Study
a. Self study is no substitute for relevant work experience. So the reality is you won’t find a job which covers all the exam content. So self-study is essential to cover the exam structure not covered by your work experience.
b. Example self study resources are..
ii. Power BI Books,
iv. SQL 2017 download
v. Power BI download,
vi. Mock tests e.g. measureup
vii. Subscribe to blogs, e.g. Power BI Blog, Chris Webb, radacad, sqlbi, sqldusty.
3) Help Others
a. Forums, e.g. Power BI Community, Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, Analysis Services
c. Mentoring in the work place
d. Blog on your experience, invite constructive feedback
4) Learning Media
a. Memory Cards,
b. MP3 /IPOD,
c. Smart Phone,
5) Innovative Ways of Digesting Information when you have small pockets of time and / or you are tired.
a. Traveling to work
b. Waiting time, doctors, queues, dentist
c. Relaxing, e.g. in a bath whilst memory cards of potential exam answers are read out to you from a battery powered speaker.
6) Buddy up
a. Advertise for a friend at work, Facebook, college, LinkedIn where you can study together.
7) Re-discover your learning style.
The chances are it’s a while since you were at school, plus the tools available to self study are now hugely benefical. When managing expectations in terms of how long it will take you to be ready to sit an exam. Be mindful that learning or re-learning how to learn is a project in itself. Once you have found a way that works for you, you will find it much more easy to sit and pass future exams.
8) Boot camps
Boot camps are great when you need to hit the ground running for a new technology and the boot camp is funded by your employer. The quality of the learning material and tutoring is often very high. However since Microsoft set the bar very high the ratio of students actually passing the exams at the end can be quite low. Boot camps also tend to be quite expensive. Boot camps can get you over the finishing line however they don’t replace the right combination of work experience and self study.
Further Points to Note or Re-iterate
Studying for certification will sharpen your skills even if you never pass any certification exam.
Once you gain a certification it is much easier to maintain it. Just make sure you continue to learn the latest versions. Exam questions are generally biased towards the latest features.