SharePoint 2013 Learning Roadmap and Certifications

As with any new release there is an associated learning curve for anybody within the industry. In the past, Microsoft would rely solely on Microsoft Learning Centers to help get the information out. For SharePoint 2013 they are starting to do more. Recently multiple Learning Roadmaps for SharePoint 2013 were released to help IT Professionals understand what has changed with the platform. These Learning Roadmaps are broken down into:

  • Authentication in SharePoint 2013
  • Upgrade for SharePoint 2013
  • Virtualize SharePoint 2013
  • Windows PowerShell for SharePoint 2013

Within each of these Learning Roadmaps Microsoft breaks the information down into: Prerequisite information, 100 through 300 Level information, Ongoing Learning and other resources. A very handy tool for gaining knowledge on the SharePoint 2013 platform.

SharePoint 2013 Learning Roadmaps

Additionally it should be noted that the SharePoint 2013 certification path has changed, and in my opinion, for the better. My colleague Brian Caauwe wrote a post last October detailing the new and upgrade certifications for SharePoint 2013 within a post of SharePoint 2013 IT Pro Certifications. In essence for an IT Pro to be certified with SharePoint 2013 they will need to have their MCSA for Windows Server 2012. That is correct, you will need to understand the underlying server platform along with the SharePoint 2013 platform to become fully certified!

Luckily if you already have your SharePoint 2010 MCITP then it is a single exam (70-417 Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012) that you will need to worry about.

With all that said, I believe all of us will be putting in some time and studying to get ready for this within the coming year. Good luck to all going after your certifications.




SharePoint Productivity Hub–In Depth

One of my favorite add-on to SharePoint from a on going training perspective is the Microsoft SharePoint Productivity Hub. This free product from Microsoft allows organizations to have a self-help for training.

Microsoft introduced the Productivity Hub back in SharePoint 2007. The hub took much of the content that on Microsoft Office and made it readily available within the SharePoint environment on a number of topics related to Microsoft products including SharePoint. Information was broken down into different products including:

  • Access
  • Excel
  • InfoPath
  • Internet Explorer
  • OneNote
  • Outlook
  • PowerPoint
  • Project
  • Publisher
  • Ribbon
  • SharePoint
  • Visio
  • Windows
  • Word

The solution also including:

  • Internal forums
  • Product Coaches can be designated
  • User can bookmark specific content for later use
  • A Learning Roadmap can created and displayed on the Product pages (one of my favorite tools)

So with the addition of SharePoint 2010 the Productivity Hub has been updated to include more up to date content. This includes Microsoft Lync and Microsoft SharePoint workspace. The 2010 version also includes content from the 2007 version of Office.

Some more specifics about the installation of the product. This training solution is a site collection for 2007 and a Sandbox Solution within SharePoint 2010. You can download the Productivity Hub 2007 and Productivity Hub 2010 directly from Microsoft. Included with the download is the base installation as well as content packs that will need to be added.

** Word of warning: It is important to carefully read the installation instructions for the different content packs since they do not all install the same way.

One of the drawbacks from the SharePoint 2010 version of the Productivity Hub is the lack of ability to use Office Web Application for displaying documents within the web browser. Luckily I found an excellent blog post by Dave Mihalik that talks about how to use this features within the Productivity Hub. Just make sure that you adjust the link tags to account for your URL hierarchy.

Another interesting variation was created by Avi Sujeeth that deal specifically with internal policies called the Policy Hub.

Hope this has been helpful!


If you are on SharePoint 2010 SP1 you will need to get the SP1 version of the Productivity Hub. If you do not have that and you try to install the RTM version on SP1 you will receive an error when trying to run the install.ps1 script. Get the SP1 version here. They also made adding the content to the Productivity Hub easier to download (less files) and add into the hub.


Also make sure that you have your current farm to not only SP1 but anything after the SharePoint 2010 August 2011 Cumulative Update. Otherwise for the SP1 version of Productivity Hub you will get a PowerShell error when trying to install.


Training Your SharePoint Site Owner

Over the last 4-5 years I have been fortunate to train many business user and IT personnel on how to utilize SharePoint. These include End Users, IT Pros, and Site Owners/Administrators/Power Users. In the scheme of things the last one is one of the most critical roles you will need in a successful implementation of SharePoint.

In an earlier blog post I talk about why I believe this is a critical role, but to paraphrase what said. Ultimately a SharePoint Site Owner will be a business user embedded in a department who understands that departments processes and content. This is an important concept to understand from the beginning of your SharePoint implementation and having them help with that implementation by bouncing ideas around will be very beneficial. They could potentially end up being the foundation of your internal Governance and SharePoint User Group.

When it comes to training these individuals it is important to keep in mind the training will be about a semi-IT related topic. Information will be centered around a web application with many more new terms and features than before to somebody who is a business person. In essence it will take time for them to assimilate and make sense of the information they are hearing. Here are some of my thoughts as to how to train your Site Owners.

  • Give your Site Owners a playground to practice in before and after the training. This can be a different site collection within the SharePoint Farm or even a development version. Anything that will replicate the look and feel of your production environment.
  • Start with the basics of SharePoint: Navigation, terminology, adding content, setting alerts, working with documents.
  • Move into semi-advanced topics: creating sites, lists, libraries with configuring document management features. You may want to introduce what a web part is and some basic configurations.
  • As they begin to understand what the product can do then get into advanced topics: Content Types, Site Columns, Metadata, Document ID’s (2010 version), etc.
  • Ultimately you will need to ensure that what you are teaching the Site Owner is within the scope of your SharePoint implementation. For instance, if you are using Office Web Application make sure to talk about the user impact of clicking on the link versus opening in the client.

After each of the training session make sure to give the Site Owner a chance to practice and work on their site. Give them support as they learn by doing and give them ways to refresh what they have learned. Here are some options:

The last thing I would like to mention is around the training itself. Some organization find they have internal staff that can do the training. Make sure they fully understand what features and functionality you are going to be using within SharePoint and the organization.

Another option is to find a Microsoft Certified Partner Learning Services (CPLS) for a specific course that will help give a hands on training for your Site Owners. You can find a local CPLS here on the Microsoft website. There are a handful of Microsoft courses that are out there. I am particularly partial to the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Site Collection and Site Administration (50547) course since I co-authored the title.

I truly hope some of this information has been helpful and would love to hear your thoughts and comments on what you have seen around this topic. Thanks.


SharePoint Training – What are you missing?

Being in the training industry for five years gives you a lot of different angles when having discussions about how to best train with SharePoint. The following are my observations that can help organizations who are looking at training internally or finding external training for their users.

There are different types of modalities when it comes to training for the organization. These include specific and guided training when needed, provide self-service resources for users and continue training with ongoing support and updates.  The wide range of training materials now available will assist City of Bloomington at fulfilling these requirements.


  • Classroom Hands On – This type of training can be done internally of your organization or through a training company. If training is provided by a training company, the course should include hands on demo environment that is not the same as your internal SharePoint environment. Information provided in a training company course will be general to the overall feature set of SharePoint.
  • On Line (Instructor Lead) – Similar to the Classroom Hands On, but participants watch the instructor via the web and will remote into a virtual environment to work on SharePoint.
  • On Demand Video – This training gives flexibility to the participant on when they want to take the training. This utilizes some video sessions that are pre-recorded and available at any time. This type of training will usually not have any type of demo SharePoint environment available for use. This type of modality is essential for the continued maintenance of training after the initial training.

Within every organization there are different levels of instruction that will need to take place. This will range from general use of SharePoint to specific targeted training at the department or process level.

Training Levels:

  • General SharePoint training – This training gives the participant training on how SharePoint works, terminology, etc.
  • Organizational SharePoint training – This training provides information on organizational specific features within SharePoint. This may include specific forms, calendars, libraries or customizations that are built the organization’s SharePoint environment.
  • Department/Division SharePoint training – Departmental specific modifications which can include metadata, processes, etc
Now if you take a look at a typical Roles Matrix (as I talked about in a previous post) you can see the different roles and in general what type of training is available for them.
Role Description Training Format
SharePoint Farm Administrator
  • Base documentation from Microsoft
  • Microsoft Official Curriculum training course
  • Knowledge transfer sessions
  • Operations documentation
  • Classroom Hands On Training
  • Online
SharePoint Business Analyst
  • SharePoint Site Owner/Power User course from Microsoft training provider
  • Classroom Hands On Training
  • Classroom Hands On Training
  • Online
SharePoint Designer
  • SharePoint Branding course (covering CSS and MasterPages)
  • SharePoint Designer 2010 knowledge
  • SharePoint XSLT knowledge
  • JavaScript or JQuery knowledge (optional)
  • Classroom Hands On Training
  • Online
SharePoint Site Collection Administrator
  • SharePoint Site Owner/Power User course from Microsoft training provider
  • Operations documentation
  • Classroom Hands On Training
  • On Line
  • Classroom Hands On Training
  • Online
SharePoint Site Owner
  • SharePoint Site Owner/Power User course from Microsoft training provider
  • Operations documentation
  • Classroom Hands On Training
  • Online
SharePoint Contributor
  • SharePoint end user training from Microsoft training provider
  • Internal knowledge transfer sessions
  • Classroom hands On Training
  • On Demand Video
  • Online
SharePoint Viewer
  • SharePoint end user training from Microsoft training provider
  • Internal knowledge transfer sessions
  • Classroom Hands On Training
  • On Demand Video
  • Online
SharePoint Approver
  • SharePoint end user training from Microsoft training provider
  • Internal knowledge transfer sessions
  • Classroom Hands On Training
  • On Demand Video
  • Online
Hopefully this will help you as you move forward on training considerations within your SharePoint implementation.