By Nicola Wright
More than 200,000 organizations and 190 million people use Microsoft SharePoint—a mobile, intelligent intranet service—for intranets, team sites and content management.
As the benefits of digital transformation prompt more businesses to turn to the cloud to store their data and promote communication between their teams, that number is likely to continue to climb in the near future, and of course, more SharePoint users is great news for SharePoint administrators.
Although it’s largely employed as a document management and intranet platform, there are almost innumerable things you can do with SharePoint—if you know how.
Its massive scalability and customization options mean SharePoint can solve a lot of pain points for organizations, but getting the most out of the solution means having someone on hand who has skills, knowledge, and experience.
IT professionals in the Microsoft ecosystem know how important a SharePoint Administrator can be to an organization. These admins assist companies and organizations in achieving the full potential of the powerful SharePoint platform.
The duties of a SharePoint Administrator include administering, configuring and updating a company’s SharePoint platform, along with managing the platform’s system and services day-to-day, and training other users on how to effectively utilize the platform and the data within it. Sometimes, a SharePoint admin will manage the SQL Server, a database that works in conjunction with SharePoint.
So how do you go about becoming a SharePoint Administrator? Obviously, it’s imperative that you fully understand how SharePoint works, and the best way to exhibit that understanding is to become certified.
Microsoft has recently rebranded its suite of business apps, and with that revamp came a lot of changes to its certification structure.
The company is seeking to align its certification paths with newer offerings like Microsoft 365 and reflect the way that many tech professionals work today, often with several overlapping technologies at a time. That change in direction has seen some of the more product-specific certifications that covered SharePoint—like MCSA: Office 365—shelved.
There are currently no SharePoint-focused certifications available to earn. All SharePoint Server-related certifications and exams have also been retired, with certifications such as Microsoft Office Specialist 2013 Master pathway now omitting the elective SharePoint exams.
These changes have significantly narrowed the options for SharePoint professionals and those looking to validate their SharePoint skills. However, there is still one certification that features SharePoint.
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Microsoft Certified: Information Protection Administrator Associate certification
The Microsoft Certified: Information Protection Administrator Associate certification is a multi-technology-focused badge covering many platforms and services that sit under the Microsoft 365 umbrella. Concentrated on data security, the certification validates the holder’s understanding of organization information protection and governance procedures, and their ability to translate business requirements into technical solutions that secure data across various platforms.
The accreditation is recommended for Administrators, Information Protection Administrators, Risk Practitioners, and Security Engineers.
The Microsoft Certified: Information Protection Administrator Associate exam
To earn this certification, budding Admins must pass exam SC-400: Microsoft Information Protection Administrator.
Microsoft advises that candidates should have considerable experience with Microsoft 365 services. Here are the topic areas that the exam covers:
You’ll need to score 700 or higher to pass the exam. If you want to test your knowledge before exam day, you can get access to practice tests online.
There’s no guarantee that everything below will be covered in the exams for this certification—or that topics not included in this list won’t crop up—but this list should give you a good idea of the kind of things you’ll need to know to earn this accreditation.
As well as taking part instructor-led classes, there are also self-paced online learning paths for this specific exam.
Burgeoning Admins should also check out the huge library of documentation available to dig into and help you prepare.
Microsoft associate, expert, and specialty certifications expire annually. You can renew by passing a free online assessment on Microsoft Learn.
Microsoft exams typically cost $165 USD per attempt.
So, if you wanted to earn the Microsoft Certified: Information Protection Administrator Associate certification, which requires you to pass one exams, it would cost you $165 USD if you hadn’t already passed Exam 70-339, and $264 USD ($165 USD + $99 USD) if you had.
If you don’t pass the first time, you’ll have to pay for the exam again. The good news is that Microsoft provides several exam packages that offer cheaper resits.
The Exam Replay package costs $230 USD, and includes one certification exam, plus a retake. Your other option is the Exam Replay with Practice Test, which includes one certification exam, one retake, and access to one official Microsoft practice test. This package costs $265 USD.
The process of earning a certification as a SharePoint Administrator may involve a lot of time, and a lot of studying, but at the end of your hard work you get a highly respected and sought-after award that will help you stand out in the competitive Microsoft specialist job market.
SharePoint skills are in demand, and if you can prove that you possess the abilities that employers are looking for, you can make a good living as a SharePoint Administrator; depending on experience, salaries can often reach upwards of $100,000, with those going on to SharePoint Architect or Developer roles achieving up to $150,000.
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