I was asked some months ago to participate in the job task analysis (JTA) process as a subject matter expert (SME) for what is now defined as the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Architect job role. Last week at the Microsoft Ignite conference, I was privileged enough to be able to help unveil this new role and the related certification exams and courses to the world for the first time.
So, what is a job task analysis, and why is this important to our story?
Along with other leading SMEs we thrashed out what a Microsoft 365 (M365) Enterprise Administrator’s job role description should be, and which job tasks they are responsible for. In effect, we designed the blueprint for what would then be taken forward into designing courses and exams. Until recently this process was shrouded in secrecy until the big reveal at Ignite.
As of now, there are probably not many people who would describe themselves as M365 Enterprise Administrators, but that’s OK. We’re thinking ahead here. M365 itself as a product is only a year old, and much integration is still to take place and build on the suite that exists today. The product and therefore the role will develop with time.
What is Microsoft 365
If you’re not 100% sure what M365 is, it is a combination of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility & Security – as one subscription. Many companies may choose to extend their O365 license subscription to move up to this. As a package, it truly is greater than the sum of its parts, and I would recommend you spend some time finding out more as I truly believe it’s a best in class offering with all its bells and whistles.
So where did the JTA take us?
We found logical splits in the job tasks that helped us to align those into buckets that we then named. For example, ‘tenant and service management’. This is a specific area that only the global admin role in a subscription would be responsible for, so we included this for our M365 Enterprise Administrator tasks.
As you can see in the diagram below, there are two learning pathways, which each lead to an exam (if you wish to get certified, this is optional), but most people pursuing these tracks will be looking to earn a certification to demonstrate their attainment. Starting with this new generation of certification, you can now earn badges along the way that you can share with people like hiring managers and recruitment consultants (or your friends!).
As you can see from the roadmap, the two pathways lead you to the exams MS-100 and MS-101. Passing these and having one of the qualifying associate-level certifications like ‘Modern Desktop’ (others coming soon), will earn you the ‘Expert Level Microsoft 365 Certified: Enterprise Administrator’ certification. How you choose to prepare is your choice, you can study online, take an instructor-led course or visit partners like Pluralsight and LinkedIn Learning to learn at your own pace.
Microsoft 365 is not going away any time soon, and this represents Microsoft’s future vision of device and application management. Being skilled in this area is going to be extremely useful, now and in the future as more people take up subscriptions. Start planning your roadmap from where you are now – be it in Office 365, or Windows 10 or cloud management – to a more connected, integrated platform, and one that will need certified skilled people to support it across enterprises large and small. This will be a skills shortage area very quickly. Get ahead of the game and watch the overview session here, or get more detail for each exam here and here.
Chris is a Windows MVP, delivering technical training on Microsoft technologies for over 20 years. He is an event organiser and speaker with both the Windows User Group and Microsoft 365 User Group, and he regularly presents at conferences such as MS Ignite.