Slinger's Thoughts

May 6, 2011

Where do you get started?

Filed under: 2010, SharePoint — slingeronline @ 12:00 am

A comment on one of my other blog posts asked me “Which SharePoint role would be a good starting position?” (I did paraphrase the question a bit. The blog post I am referring to is here.) What an awesome question. Where do you begin? When you are first branching out into the vast SharePoint world and looking for a career, what should your first steps be? What books should you read? What classes should you take? What certifications should you pursue? What’s with all the bacon? Hopefully I can shed a little light on this, and tell people the right place to start to begin on a career involving SharePoint.

So where do you start? Which SharePoint job role is the best place to start on a career in SharePoint? The answer to that is; “It depends.” There isn’t a right or wrong answer here. 

SharePoint Roles

Part of the problem with getting started is knowing what you want to do.  You could go over my blog post about SharePoint roles and see what you think might be a good fit and start from there. From what I have seen though, there are generally two SharePoint roles that server as a starting position for people in SharePoint (not that these are the only ways to start a career in SharePoint, but they are as good a place as any to start).  SharePoint Developers and SharePoint Administrators are probably the most common job postings that you will see on Monster or Indeed.  So there is a good chance that is the place you would dive in.  Do you know C# or how to program in .Net? It’s not too difficult to make a jump into SharePoint development. Are you a System or Network Administrator? Becoming a SharePoint Administrator should be a breeze. 

SharePoint Books

There are a myriad of SharePoint books available for everything from the most casual user, to the most dedicated developer. There are some books that are just good to have regardless of your role in SharePoint though, and I am going to list those that I personally believe you shouldn’t do without. This is only my opinion though, and others may differ. All of these books can be found on Amazon.com and I have included links for convenience.

SharePoint Training

Of course if you really want to get your feet wet, a training class on SharePoint really isn’t a bad way to get in. And there is no Shortage of ways to get training. USPJ Academy, SharePoint911, and CriticalPath are a few places you can get training online that I am aware of. And this isn’t a definitive list. There are also places that offer in person training. I received my SharePoint training at the C-Trec Hilton Academy in Houston. There are so many aspects to SharePoint, that some kind of formal training will help to shed some light on many of the abilities of SharePoint, and some of the little quirks as well.

http://www.uspja.com/

http://www.criticalpathtraining.com/Pages/SharePoint2010Training.aspx

http://www.sharepoint911.com/training/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.ctrec.com/

SharePoint Certifications

Of course the easiest way to prove that you know what you are doing is to get certified. If you follow my blog at all, you will know that I am not a huge fan of certifications alone to prove ones prowess in dealing with a subject and that real world experience is a much better representation of your abilities, but if you don’t have any real world experience to start out from, then absolutely, get certified. There is no shortage of certifications that are available for SharePoint either, and there are certifications for just about every SharePoint role. As a place to start, I would recommend getting an MCTS for SharePoint Administration, and then working up from there.

http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-sharepoint-server.aspx

SharePoint User Groups

Not only is there an abundance of online user groups, like the ones on LinkedIn, but there are also user groups where you can attend meetings in person. I attend most of the Houston SharePoint User Group meetings, and may even present at a meeting someday. To find a SPUG in your area there is a list at http://www.thesug.org/Groups/Pages/default.aspx. I would absolutely recommend finding a SPUG close to you and attending the meetings.  It will be well worth your time to do so. Not only to introduce you to SharePoint, but to the people involved in SharePoint as well.  There are also online user groups. One of my absolute favorites, is the SharePoint Discussions Yahoo group. It isn’t the only one though. There are a myriad of groups on Google as well.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/sharepointdiscussions/ 

http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?lnk=srgmt&q=SharePoint

The SharePoint Community

Above all else, if you are looking for a career in SharePoint, then please become a member of the SharePoint Community.  Many SharePoint experts are on Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn.  There are so many SharePoint blogs available that offer help and insight, that I couldn’t possibly list them all. (I follow roughly 70 SharePoint blogs in my feed reader.) One of the things that I have noticed about the SharePoint community, as opposed to other online communities or forums, is the absolute benevolence of everyone involved with SharePoint. You can ask almost any expert almost any question, and they are always glad to help. You won’t ever get called a “noob,” and I have only seen someone use the “let me Google that for you” link maybe twice.  You would be hard pressed to find a nicer group of people who are as willing to share their expertise and experience.  One of the reasons I love SharePoint as much as I do, is because of the people involved in SharePoint. They are passionate about what they do, and even people who work for competing companies get along famously. It would not be a waste of time to follow SharePoint people on twitter at all. I can make a few recommendations to get you started. This is not a list of everyone I follow, and this is by no means a list of all of the most influential SharePoint people on Twitter. If you are new to Twitter though, you probably don’t want to follow 300 people right off the bat. You can easily get overwhelmed. So here’s a list of 10 people, picked mostly at random, from the list of people I follow.

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3 Comments »

  1. hi its very nice & usefull

    Comment by sreekanth — May 12, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  2. how to make the sharepoint site home page makes faster than subsites the subsites

    Comment by ram — June 7, 2011 @ 6:47 am

  3. great info…I will be passing this info along.

    Comment by D3v0r4h — February 22, 2013 @ 8:42 pm


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