In my previous blog post I shared some experience from taking Microsoft certifications. In that blog post I mentioned that for some time ago an opportunity came up to do a review of a new book written by MVP Julian Sharp. This is the book: Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant: PL-200 Exam Guide: Learn how to customize and configure Microsoft Power Platform and prepare for the PL-200 exam. Since I like to learn by reading (in combination with trying out new things myself) and since I had in my plan to take the PL-200 exam, I thought why not take this opportunity, review the book and schedule for the exam. So I did and I passed the exam. In this blog post I will let you in on how this exam was for me.
In order to become a Silver Partner or Gold Partner with Microsoft within the category Cloud Business Applications a company needs (at the time of this writing) at least 5 individuals to have passed the MB-200 exam OR the PL-200 exam (and 15 individuals for Gold Partnership). MB-200 is valid until the 31st of December 2021, but PL-200 is the one to take from now on. For Silver/Gold partnership the individuals needs to take other exams too and there are also other measurements, but PL-200 is like the base exam that you need to take. Might be good to know, this exam is a good start. Talk to your employer about what certifications exams might be good for you to take, which also helps the employer and the partnership with Microsoft.
Here is the PL-200 exam page in Microsoft Docs: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/pl-200. Make sure you are familiar with the concepts and have work experience from the different parts or have gone through labs. Every exam is not completely the same. There are 40 questions in total during one exam and you will get 40 questions from a bank of more questions. Here follows examples of the type of knowledge that the exam questions in my exam required. Please note that below are just topics as examples and not real questions. See it as topics you need to understand when you take this exam.
- Business Process Flows – what it is, when to use it and how to create them. BPFs are used to guide the user through his/her work when the user inputs data. It is built up by stages and steps, in the steps you add fields or actions. You can think of BPFs as as checklists and at a certain stage the user adds data and then move on to the next stage. It is possible to trigger workflows when moving between the stages. More about BPFs here: https://docs.microsoft.com/sv-se/power-automate/business-process-flows-overview
- Power Automate cloud flows – Knowledge about how cloud flows are built up. Connectors, triggers, action steps. E.g. You can start with a blank cloud flow, choose a connector, use a trigger, use one or several actions steps. More about cloud flows here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-automate/overview-cloud
- Power Automate Desktop flows – knowledge about when to use these. When there is a lack of API or basic API functionality then you might want to consider using it. What are Unattended UI flows, what are Attended UI flows, when to use what? More info here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-automate/desktop-flows/overview and here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-automate/desktop-flows/run-desktop-flow
Power Automate in MS Docs: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-automate/
Power Virtual Agents
- Variables – what types of values that exists and when to use what.
- How to embed a PVA chat bot on a website.
- How to follow up on chats transfered to live agents.
- How Entities works.
PVA in MS Docs: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-virtual-agents/
Microsoft Dataverse (formerly CDS)
- Configuring custom tables (entities) including knowledge about creating/modifying views and forms.
- Knowledge about the types of views and types of forms as well as when to use what type.
- Virtual entities (tables) and when to use that – e.g. display data from other systems.
- Entity relationship, types of relationships and configuring cascading behavior.
- Dataverse security management. Adding users to AD groups, adding security roles.
- How it works with security roles. E.g. if you have several roles, what will you be authorized to.
- Quick find in views. How to Configure search columns.
Dataverse in MS Docs: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/maker/data-platform/
- Building Canvas Apps, type of controls and formulas. Galleries,collections, variables.
- How it works with version history with Canvas apps. Remember that you need to publish the app before users can see the latest version.
- How to create a model-driven app and how the sitemap is built up.
Power Apps in MS Docs: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/
- Configuring alerts, building and sharing dashboards.
Power BI in MS Docs: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-bi/
- Model types and examples of when to use what model type.
- The pre-defines models.
AI Builder in MS Docs: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/ai-builder/
- How it works with duplicate detection.
- Document management possibilities.
- Search functionality – categorized search, relevance search.
- Auditing, how and where to configure what and where to look at audit data. Don’t forget that logs for read auditing are found in the Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Center. Read more: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/audit-data-user-activity och https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/data-platform/auditing-overview
Some questions are related to a case study. First a lot of text and then several questions related to it. The format was like ”these are the requirements, how to create the solution for X Y Z. It was related to different parts of Power Platform (obviously) e.g. PVA, Power Apps portals etc.
For me, the parts about UI Flows and Power BI were the trickiest since those are the parts of Power Platform that I have the least experience from working with. Also remember that it is OK to guess and try your best. Always answer ALL questions!
Here follows other people’s guides to learning about PL-200 preparations.
PL-200 Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant article by MVP EY Kalman.
PL-200 – Power Platform Functional Consultant Carl Cookson article by MVP Carl Cookson.
Mind Map created by MVP Carl Cookson.
As a complement to having work experience and/or exploring it all by yourself, an excellent way to prepare for this exam is to read the book written by Julian Sharp. The book is so much more than just a preparation book and there is lots to learn, both for beginners as well as for people with much experience. In my next blog post I will tell you a bit about Julian’s book. I really recommend it for anyone who is looking for taking the PL-200 certification exam as well as for anyone new to the Power Platform and who wants to learn more about the main concepts from a low-code perspective. Did you notice that there is currently a code to be used until the end of May, giving you a better price if you want to buy the book, have a look here.