While email isn't necessarily the cool kid on the block anymore, there is no doubt that it still is essential to the vast majority of organizations. Many use their messaging platforms as their primary communication and collaboration tool, both internally and when dealing with external parties. Some also use it for file storage (there might be better ways of dealing with this, but let's leave that to the individual users and admins to decide).
In this guide, you will learn about the Microsoft 365 Messaging Administrator Associate certification and the exam you can take to achieve it. The certification will provide you with up-to-date knowledge to perform well in this area.
The Microsoft 365 Messaging Administrator Associate certification follows Microsoft's departure from broader certifications like the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) or its older sibling, the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). Nowadays the focus is on specific roles.
The ideal candidate for this exam aspires to build solutions to simplify, automate, and transform tasks and processes for themselves and their teams where they have deep expertise in the solution domain. They are skilled in key technical business analyst tasks, such as data modeling, basic UX design, requirements analysis, process analysis, etc.
They create and enforce business processes, structure digital collection of information, improve the efficiency of repeatable tasks, and automate business processes.
They use the maker tools of Power Platform to solve business problems. They may have experience with Visual Basic for Applications, Excel pivot tables, Teams, and other tools. Those taking the exam should have a basic understanding of data models, user interface, and processes, and should be aware of the capabilities and limitations of available tools and understand how to apply them.
Candidates for this certification are self-directed and solution-focused. They may not have formal IT training, but they are comfortable using technology to solve business problems with a personal growth mindset. They understand the operational need and have a vision of the desired outcome. They approach problems with phased and iterative strategies.
A single exam, the MS-203, is required to gain the Microsoft 365 Messaging Administrator Associate certification. It is important to understand that Microsoft has taken up the practice of retiring and replacing exams at a much faster pace than in the past. Since the cloud is ever-changing, Microsoft updates live exams frequently. Please note that this exam is currently in beta.
The price for the exam is US$165/€165. Microsoft offers a student discount if you verify your academic status when booking the exam by using one of the following: a school email account, a school account, an International Student Identity Card, a verification code, or other documentation proving your eligibility for the student discount.
While there are no specific prerequisites to taking the MS-203 exam, it is worth noting that experience with the required skills is key to a successful experience.
Ensure that you possess sufficient experience and invest the time to go through the relevant Pluralsight courses and other resources.
Your skills will be measured in the following four categories:
These categories are broken down into details as follows, according to the exam skills outline:
Plan and manage organizational settings
Plan and manage client access
Manage recipient resources
Manage mobile devices
Plan and configure transport architecture
Manage mail flow
Troubleshoot mail flow
Plan and implement a hybrid environment
Plan and implement migration
Manage public folders
Manage role-based permissions
Manage message hygiene using Exchange Online and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
The following Pluralsight learning path and courses will help you prepare for the exam:
Make sure you also check out Pluralsight's Microsoft 365 Fundamentals (MS-900) learning path, which currently contains three courses.
Make sure you also regularly check the Pluralsight website for updates.
The cloud business has been booming in the last several years. Microsoft is a leader in this area and keeps growing. While COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way, it certainly doesn't seem to have had a negative impact on Microsoft's cloud growth.
Gaining an up-to-date certification like the Microsoft 365 Messaging Administrator Associate certification from a household name like Microsoft should make you much more attractive to both current and future employers, especially since the cloud is booming. Your current employer might not raise your salary, but the next time you go looking for a job, make sure you check trusted Internet sources for up-to-date information on salaries in your region.
It's difficult to provide absolute figures because they will depend on numerous factors like your experience, company type and size, industry, and region. According to Nigel Frank, expect average salaries for messaging administrators, consultants, and architects to range from $86,400 to $124,500 in the United States.
As an associate-level certification, the Microsoft 365 Messaging Administrator Associate credential, while challenging, will earn you recognition as a subject matter expert in this field. All it takes is a single exam.
Book the exam, which you can take right in your home or in one of many testing centers.
I hope that this guide is useful and wish you good luck in gaining your certification.