MVPs Share Top Certification Tips
Published Sep 09 2021 04:00 PM 2,890 Views
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The Global Cloud Skills Challenge which took place this May required all participating MVPs to complete 40 modules on the Microsoft Learn platform. In this blog, we’re looking at three MVPs who shared with us how they became certified and how anyone who wants to can achieve the same results. 


Career Advancement through Constant Learning


“I’ve yet to meet an MVP that does not simply love to learn,” writes Sharon Sumner in her blog post about simultaneously completing all three of Microsoft’s MVP challenge topics - Azure Data & AI, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform.


In order to break down all the material in the three challenges into manageable, learnable chunks, Sumner says she focused on applying her unique four-step process.


The first step in her process is to, “Make a Collection. The first thing to do is to look at the content you want to learn and create/curate some learning sources that suit the time you have available and the way you like to learn,” Sumner writes.


Next, “Plan an exam data. It does not matter when the exam is, but I always book it and pay for it. This keeps me focused,” she says.


Step three is to, simply, “Relax. With an exam planned, I can work out how long I have to learn the content and how to break that learning into a realistic schedule. Having a schedule that allows you to learn at a relaxed pace means you are not trying to take on information too quickly.” she notes.


Sumner’s final step is to, “Seek other opinions. Talk to people (seriously, ping folks on Twitter they will talk to you) about why they used the technology in the way they did, what problems it solved, what challenges they faced and how they overcame them,” she concludes.


By challenging herself with exams, Sumner says she is not seeking to prove her competency but is instead fueling her passion for tech.

Accessibility, Challenges, and the Ultimate Meaning of the Universe


Carey Payette is a Microsoft MVP in Business Applications who recently developed a toolkit to help her colleagues prepare for the AI-102 exam after being certified as a Microsoft Trainer, and Azure AI Engineer Associate.


“These skills are essential to me, as I spend most of my workdays in the data and machine learning world, and pull in AI technologies as needed on various projects,” Payette wrote in a blog post on the subject. 


Part of the challenge of becoming certified included learning more about digital accessibility, Payette notes on her blog. 


“As a dyslexic person, I enjoyed seeing the focus Microsoft is putting on this area. One of the things that I am incredibly uncomfortable with is taking timed exams,” Payette wrote.


After completing four modules centering around accessibility, however, Payette decided that she was confident enough to attempt the certification exam. 


“[I knew,] if necessary, Microsoft would provide accommodations for my dyslexia,” she added.


Upon completion of her exam, Payette was instantly awarded her certification. “I absolutely love that there were 42 modules in this challenge :grinning_face:” Payette noted.


If you are having trouble studying for the AI-102 exam, don’t panic! Payette created a list of highly-rated and comprehensive training materials that will help you review the modules in great detail. 


A Masterclass on Revisiting the Basics


When Greg Low was considering which of the Microsoft MVP Challenges to take, he decided to stick with what was already familiar territory to him as, “one of the better-known database consultants in the world.”


“You can imagine which one I chose to complete. I did the Azure Data and AI challenge,” Low writes in a blog post.


“While I would have liked to also do both the other challenges, Power Platform is obviously interesting to me, but I've looked at Dynamics over the years, and it's just not for me. The Microsoft 365 aspects aren't also my territory, but it might have been interesting to see what I could have learned if I'd done it, given most of us use those products every single day,” Low adds.


Even given his broad expertise, Low found he was able to pick up new concepts from the study material that he had overlooked in the past and was now pleased to re-learn.


“I think that any time you go back over an area, you pick up something that you've missed before. Or perhaps there's something you've forgotten because it didn't seem useful to you at the time, and now you realize that it is quite useful,” Low writes.


“I'm already using some of the concepts that I picked up while doing the challenge, even though it was introductory level content,” he added.


After completing the challenge it appears the process of brushing up on old material had rekindled Low’s desire to take other exams as well.


“Now that I'm back into taking some exams again, I plan to do the other fundamentals exams (AI, and Power Platform) soon to see what's in those. Then I'll do the other data-related exams to complete those certifications,” he writes.

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