Ep#2 : Collab365 Live Show with Christina Singletary

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Let’s face it – Microsoft aren’t going to slow down the release of new services, frameworks, feature packs or products any time soon.

If anything – it’s going to get faster. (Get ready for Microsoft Teams!)

To make sure you don’t get left behind in this ‘monthly release’ world – you need a learning strategy that keeps your skills relevant, measurable and current.

If you’ve got a few minutes this session may help

Christina Singletary, besides being one of the most AWESOME people at Microsoft, is also responsible for producing articles, videos and courses to help you learn what you need to know. – She also knows a thing or two about certifications and learning paths.

Here are the questions that were asked during the session with a brief overview of Christina’s answers:

  1. Release cadence for new features is now monthly, how do you keep up with the changes?
    • We catch up with the internal development teams every other week to ensure that learning content is kept up to date.
  2. How many people work within the learning team?
    • After recently merging with another team there are currently around 150 in the team split into areas such as Productivity, Windows, Azure & Academic each focusing on specific areas. Christina’s team, Cloud Productivity, contains 7 and oversees Office 365, Skype, Exchange and SharePoint.
  3. Please can you provide a short overview of the Certification pass process.
    • Certifications are constantly refining and we are trying to simplify the approach to make sure people can acquire the skills they need to level up in their career to stay on top of the certifications they need for their industry. In terms of SharePoint there is one exam (rather than the usual 2) mainly due to the fact that SharePoint 2013 and 2016 were fairly similar with few architectural changes and mainly feature changes so the certifications were consolidated into 1. It also contains more components relating to hybrid as Christina thinks that a level of understanding of this is really important.
  4. What drives the naming conventions for the certifications, e.g. MCSE Productivity Solutions Expert
    • SharePoint is just one Productivity tool with Office 365 offering lots of other ways to aid collaborative working whilst also helping productivity.
  5. Please can you describe how you provide training resources at the moment. So if someone were to go onto Microsoft Learning, what would their journey look like?
    • Within our team we are currently creating very diverse tracks moving content from MVA into edX to develop learning paths that allow students to learn in their own time. So as we bring productivity into the mix we have to decide what core learnings are required for Solutions Expert or Solutions Associate accreditation to help them prepare for the examinations. Some of the short bits of learning available on MVA are specific to a product (SharePoint, O365, OneDrive etc.) whereas deeper more committed learning is available on edX. There are currently 5 SharePoint courses that take up the 5 broader topics that form part of the exam. In April 2 hybrid courses will be released which will include labs to provide hands on focussed type of learning. There are also courses available for Office 365 (4 courses) courses have just been released for Skype and exchange.
  6. Is mock still available
    • Yes, it’s still available for those people who prefer more of a classroom learning experience
  7. Is there a seamless link from the courses you mentioned on MVA to those on edX (edX.org)?
    • We are currently working with MVA to do this, a new 8 hour recording with Brian Alderman for Workload Optimisation will be available in MVA which will then provide jumping points into edX.
    • We are also getting content from the product teams currently 5 micro courses (between 5 & 30 minutes long) are being created with lots of other things scheduled for release in the spring.
  8. How do you keep track of the popularity of courses? Also how do you progress course content due to demand?
    • We try to stay on top of all the data but are really interested in what people use the courses for, as this really determines their usefulness.


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Category: Live Show
Profile photo of Nick Brattoli
About The Author
- Nick Brattoli is an Ohio native, Productivity (SharePoint) MCSE, Office 365 MCSA, and self-employed Consultant, as well as the Collab365 Community Manager. He’s worked in the IT Field for 14 years, 8 of which have been SharePoint-focused. Over the years, he’s worked in a variety of industries, such as Healthcare, Finance, Law, and Manufacturing. He currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and has building experience in the technologies surrounding SharePoint/Office 365, such as Azure AD and ADFS. In his free time, he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, goes on adventures, works on nerdy projects.


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