After three intense weeks in Redmond, three written 2-hours long exams and one final 8-hours long qualification lab (and I don't know how many ice tea cans), I'm now a Microsoft Certified Master for SharePoint 2007!
I made it! :)
Thinking about it, it's interesting how much involving this certification is, how challenging it gets during the three weeks, and how proud you become for passing all the exams. I mean, SharePoint is a very significant part of my job for something like 8 years now, almost 3 of which on the current version... after so much time you're expected to know your friend pretty well, to be a master already... shouldn't be so challenging huh?
Well, it is. First of all, SharePoint is huuuuuge! This is as obvious as it reads, but you really don't stop realizing how true is this, as you don't stop learning new things on this product day after day.Secondly, SharePoint is a moving ground. Your certainties can easily become false from a Cumulative Update to another if you don't stay up to date... potentially controverting a long series of dependent factors as a consequence of a small change... Not to talk about the upcoming new version, yet... ;)Moreover, the Master certification requires a good mix of development and infrastructure skills, something that is not so common in my experience. This is one of the things that I liked most of the course structure, as I'm a strong believer of the fact that you need to have skills on both sides to really master SharePoint (like many other products, but with a ++).And finally, the exams are hard! They're doable (I mean not just for extra-terrestrians), but really hard! Nothing to do with the standard MCP exams we're used to. To pass these you really need to know the details, and to have hands-on experience as well.
So, that's why it was challenging, and that's why I feel so good about being part of the SharePoint Masters community. And I see others being as proud as me for that.
I have to say, the value from this unique training didn't arrive from the trainers only. Of course they're the best-of-breed in every respective area, but what I found really amazing was the value that the class self-generated. We were all SharePoint experts already, with significant experiences and strong skills, and I think the preliminary selections were excellent as well. Peer discussions, ideas exchange, experience sharing in the class were just great, and everyone in the group contributed with passion. Can you imagine being in the same room with other SharePoint field experts from all around the world for three full weeks, fully dedicated? Boy, that was just amazing!
For more info on the program: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/master.aspx#tab2