AIIM, in their own words "the leading non-profit organization focused on helping users to understand the challenges associated with managing documents, content, records, and business processes", recently launched some new SharePoint certifications. Whereas the existing certifications from Microsoft focus on developers and server administrators, these new certifications rather target IT managers, business users, staff that is directly involved in the rollout of SharePoint, and similar.

The following image shows the structure of the certification program as a whole, including the 2 "main" certifications (Practitioner, Specialist):

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I had the opportunity to start with the SharePoint Practitioner certification end of July, and finished it (well, and got my certification!) 6 days later. I’ve also registered for the SharePoint Specialist course, which will be ready in another 2-3 weeks.

The website says about the Practitioner course: "The SharePoint Practitioner track covers concepts and technologies for SharePoint, and is available as an online or classroom training course leading to a Practitioner designation. The online course consists of 13 online modules, and each module is approximately 45 minutes. The primary focus of this training is on 2010 capabilities, touching on 2007 or earlier capabilities as needed." Or in other words, "What is SharePoint?"

For each module, you can download some resources (usually the presentation slides as well as a summary), view the online presentation (the slides including some audio with further information), and of course do the online exam:

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If you launch the online presentation, you will see the following screen:cd85c450-bb24-4fab-9c22-f5747b10ffd6

As you can see, the slides are presented on the right side, with the navigation on the left. Additionally, you can switch the navigation to a thumbnail view of the slides, a notes view (which is the text that is narrated), or a Search that searches all slides and their corresponding notes.

 

For example, if you switch to Notes, this is what you will get for the same slide:
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My recommendation while going through this online presentation is to switch to the Notes view and take notes where applicable. Not everything that is contained in these notes is on the slides, however all of it (slides AND notes) are relevant for the exams!

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For each module, there is an exam to pass. Once you passed all 13 exams (1 introductory exam, 12 for the modules), you get the overall certificate and can call yourself SharePoint Practitioner.

Each exam consists of 12 questions plus an additional three feedback questions (naturally, those three don’t count towards the result). A question is either a true/false question, or a multiple choice where you need to choose either one of four options, or select all choices that apply.

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Once you answered all 15 (12+3) questions, you get to this overview screen where you can go back to individual answers, or click on "Grade Exam" to get your result.

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Once you have your exam graded, you will see immediately if you passed or not. In either case, you will get a general hint in which areas you answered wrongly (though you have to remember which questions are applicable for these areas, you don’t have the chance to review them).

If you passed your exam, you can download a certificate that shows that you passed this particular module.

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My opinion:
For myself, I didn’t learn many new things, as I’ve been working with SharePoint for 3 years now. The course is more suitable for people who want to get a broad overview of the features an functionalities of SharePoint 2010, and how they can be used. If you already have some experience with SharePoint, it should be quite easy to pass it.

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