I officially became a Microsoft Certified Master for SharePoint Server 2010 on March 22, 2012.

The journey began more than a year early. If you read my earlier blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/zwsong/archive/2011/02/24/passed-all-4-sharepoint-2010-mcp-exams-at-techready.aspx), you would know that I passed all 4 MCP exams for SharePoint 2010 in February 2011, and that was the hard pre-requisition for being accepted by MCM program.

Around April and May 2011, I started to consider if I wanted to pursue a MCM certificate. An MCM or Master title not only is the second highest Microsoft certificate (there is a higher MCA title for enterprise architects), but also highly respected by the whole industry.

However, MCM is not easy, actually it is very hard, time consuming and expensive to achieve. Not only do you have to spend large amount of time to prepare and take very intense trainings and exams, but also would cost more than $25,000, and significant billable hours (I am a consultant).

Fortunately, my manager was very supportive and was willing to spend the big amount of money for MCM on me. (Microsoft employees get less than 50% discount on MCM training and exam fees). So, like a fool, I decided to go down the route.

Here is a list of major events of my entire MCM experience:

  1. Pass all SharePoint 2010 MCP exams (Feb. 2011)
  2. Apply for MCM: online application with $250 fee (May 2011)
  3. Submit resume and a write-up about my SharePoint projects (May 2011)
  4. Telephone interviewed by MCM program manager and a SharePoint Master (July 2011)
  5. Being accepted by MCM program and pick up a training rotation (July 2011)
  6. Pay the MCM program fee ($25,000 minus discount) (July 2011)
  7. Prepare for the rotation (July – early September 2011)
  8. Attend the on-site 3-week MCM training rotation in Redmond, WA (September 2011)
  9. Pass knowledge exam (September 2011)
  10. Fail Hands-on Qualification Lab (September 2011)
  11. Prepare for QualLab retake (October 2011 – March 2012)
  12. Pick a slot for QualLab retake (February 2012)
  13. Pay QualLab retake fee ($2,500 minus Microsoft discount) (February 2012)
  14. Take the QualLab retake (March 20, 2012)
  15. Pass the retake and officially become a MCM (March 22, 2012)

As you can see, it has been a very intense year for me and my team has spent a lot of money and lost quite some billable hours on it. And frankly speaking, I still couldn't believe I am a Master now. I still couldn't believe that my name will be listed with the world's best SharePoint gurus whom I look up to.

My many thanks go to my manager, MCM program managers, MCM instructorsm, my classmates at the rotation, and especially my wife and kids, they suffered when I was away preparing and going on training, they comforted me when I did not pass all the exams at first try, they supported my efforts and rejoiced when it had finally come.

Here are some links for the MCM program if you want to learn more about it:

Zewei Song, Ph.D.
Microsoft Certified Master: SharePoint Server 2010
Microsoft Consulting Services