Mail is in the genes of the organisation I work for. To this day it still has one of the largest Hosted Exchange platforms in the country and some of the very best Exchange engineers in the business. I find these Exchange engineers - meaning those dedicated to Exchange management on a day to day basis, some of the most deeply passionate people I have met in all of IT. They love what they do - absolutely mad for it. I encourage anyone to talk to them about DAG's or SMTP Configuration, or TNEF, or Delegate Permissions, or Mailbox Protocols, or SmartHost integration, or Replay Queues, or RAID, or Jetstress or least cost routing paths.
I am not a hybrid SharePoint expert. In passing this exam, its fair to say that I am still not a hybrid SharePoint expert. Of all the exams I have taken over the course of the last year, this is the one where I have learnt the most. It's also the one I came out the other end having a far greater appreciation of both the technology and the experts who do this on a day to day basis.
I think it's fair to say that a lot of people will do this exam because of Microsoft Teams. Teams is, after all, the fastest growing app in Microsoft history. At the time of writing there are over 500,000 organisations using it. 91% of the Fortune 500. At the time of writing (May 2019) there has been lots of functionality introduced this year or coming in the next few months. It's hard to keep up - even for those administering it every day. Private Teams, Information Barriers, Busy on Busy, Round Robin, App Deployment Policies, Supervision.
I have recently been asked who is the ideal candidate to sit Dynamics 365 Fundamentals. Now, I'm not a salesperson. I'm not a technician starting out or pivoting my career to focus on business apps. I'm not even an experienced technician looking to consolidate my understanding since my understanding of Dynamics prior to the fundamentals - if you were to quantify it - equated to the square root of zero. These are all ideal cases. Yet my own case, I simply got up one day and thought you know - why not? I'd entered the industry when Dynamics CRM 4.0 was taking off and I've pretty much exhausted every possible synonym in the English language for words such as niche and specialist which is how most of the Dynamics conversations I'd ever been involved in typically ended up.
I must admit I enjoyed the security administration exam. I enjoyed studying for it. In fact, I congratulate Microsoft for introducing a Security certification which is so much more than a fundamentals exam (98-367).
In August 2018 I became a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). I had just passed MCSA Office 365 and having been a secondary school teacher (QTS) prior to IT (a Geography Teacher no less) it was a fantastic opportunity to dive head first back into the field. From a personal perspective, I don't think there has ever been a better time to be a learner. With so much uncertainty in the job market and in such a competitive market (at least, here in the UK) it is really important to get certified for both job security and career prospects. With Microsoft overhauling certifications with roles as opposed to products it really is an exciting time to follow the path for the job you do, or the job you want to do.
My experience with Azure parallels my experience of driving. Today, I am one of those who absolutely loves it; I'm out on the road every single day and now I can't quite understand how I actually got by before I had a set of wheels. But there was a time, and it was a long time, and during that time I had a lot of preconceptions that it wasn't for me; that maybe I was simply a person who was suited and destined to public transport as a passenger. So explaining all this to my wife she told me to get over myself and get on with it. That's what I really needed all along. And so it was with Azure - as someone who had spent many years in what is now termed Modern Workplace with Office 365 and Microsoft 365, I had to deconstruct all those preconceptions that Azure - and I mean here aspects that aren't Azure AD, Intune etc - wasn't for me. In the end it was force of habit and a degree of institutionalisation having worked with a set of SaaS apps for so long.