After getting the AIIM SharePoint Practitioner certification in August, I completed all modules of the SharePoint Specialist course today and received the certification.
While the Practitioner course is mainly about “what is SharePoint”, the Specialist course focuses on the process of rolling out SharePoint in your organisation, so more like a “how do we manage the SharePoint project implementation”.
This course consists of the following 11 modules:
My favourite part of the whole course was the “Assess” category, I found the three modules “Information Gathering”, “Strategy”, and “Business Case” the most valuable. It is in this phase of a SharePoint project that the basis for success is created! I paused regularly during these modules to reflect on my current implementation project, and if we should revisit certain documents and phases again to update them.
One small “drawback” of this course (or one could even say such courses in general) is that the contents are usually on a relatively high level, and don’t go too deep. For example, in the “Migration” module you’ll hear about possible approaches to migrations and what to consider, but (naturally) it can’t go into too much detail and give you a step by step approach, telling you what to do specifically in each situation of your content migration. For these situations the live classes will be much better, as e.g. mentioned by Mark Own here and here in his report on the AIIM SharePoint Master class, as you’ll be able to discuss and share your and the other participants’ experiences.
As for the difficulty level, I actually found the exams for these modules easier than the modules from the Practitioner course. One reason could be that I was more interested in this course, and thus it was easier for me to remember and understand things. Or, my experience from my two Asia Pacific wide SharePoint implementations might play a big role in this, as there were many things that were not new to me, which I had encountered before, just not in a structured format. I could say that a lot of the contents from this course are things that I encountered through some way or another before, but this was the first time I actually sat down to learn it directly in a structured format, whereas before it was individual bits and pieces.
As for the value of this course, I would strongly recommend it to others that deal with SharePoint implementations regularly in a (project) management role and don’t have too much experience with it yet. However, if you’ve done several rollouts already, there might be nothing new for you in it, though, and the only reason to do this certification is for the sake of having a certification.