Is the PL-900 Worth It?
For years, Microsoft's Power Platform (including Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and now Power Virtual Agents) existed under Dynamics 365. Any certifications that included these tools did so in an exclusively supporting role, despite their widespread (and increasing) popularity. The relatively recent Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals certification is the tech giant's first attempt to draw these tools out and give them their own focus, highlighting how useful they are for numerous business applications.
What is the PL-900?
Passing the PL-900 Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals exam is the sole requirement to earn the Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals certification. It's designed to be an entry-level cert that spans the gap between technical proficiency and non-technical first-tier users. There are no prerequisites, and no follow-up certifications have been developed yet.
What Does the PL-900 Test?
When the PL-900 was first developed, it revolved almost exclusively around the business application side of things. The initial skills breakdown looked like this:
Understand the business value of Power Platform: 20-25%
Understand the Core Components of Power Platform: 25-30%
Demonstrate the business value of Power BI: 15-20%
Demonstrate the business value of Power Apps: 15-20%
Demonstrate the business value of Microsoft Flow: 15-20%
However, within a year and a half, Microsoft added a sixth domain and made some critical changes to what they were looking for in each area. Here's the current breakdown:
Describe the business value of Power Platform: 15-20%
Identify the core components of Power Platform: 15-20%
Demonstrate the capabilities of Power BI: 15-20%
Describe the capabilities of Power Apps: 15-20%
Demonstrate the capabilities of Power Automate: 15-20%
Demonstrate the business value of Power Virtual Agents: 10-15%
Initially, any domain requiring you to demonstrate something revolved exclusively around the concept of business value; dealing with core components or capabilities was relegated to a mere 25 to 30 percent of the exam. The current version of the PL-900 flips those priorities, with 25 to 35 percent of the test focusing on business value and the remaining two-thirds to three-quarters revolving around identifying, describing, and demonstrating your abilities with core components and capabilities of the Power Platform.
This transition implies that using Power Platform was more important than merely appreciating what it could do. The material isn't inherently technical (one of the skills is "create powerful chatbots by using a guided, no-code graphical interface"), but it does require that you understand how to work within Power Platform.
How Much Does the PL-900 Cost?
The PL-900 exam costs $99, making it very affordable. The Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals test consists of 40 to 60 multiple-choice questions and has a 60-minute time limit.
What Experience Do You Need for the PL-900?
Microsoft doesn't have any fixed prerequisites for the PL-900 exam. The first thing you should do is pull up the current skills outline and read through it, line by line; if you feel comfortable with each of the requirements you see listed, you're well on your way to being prepared to sit for the exam. If you feel less confident, use the skills outlined as a study guide to begin working through each aspect of the Power Platform.
Who Should Take the PL-900?
This exam is perfect for an experienced Power Platform user who wants to move to the next level and begin creating or modifying tools of their own. If your background revolves around exclusively working with applications your organization has already developed, studying to pass the PL-900 exam will prepare you to go inside Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents to design and develop tools to meet your needs.
PL-900 for Microsoft Power Platform Developer
There are really two reasons why a Microsoft Power Platform Developer would want to sit for the PL-900 exam. The first revolves around your career: if you're relatively early on in your journey, earning the Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals accreditation certainly won't hurt you and will likely add a bit more depth to what you already know.
If you're more experienced, you know that you're far beyond the material that the PL-900 is designed to validate. However, the second reason you might want to earn the Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals certification is because of what it could do for your clients, customers, or employers. Remember that many (and in some cases, most) of the people in these groups are non-technical. If this is the first certification that draws attention to these skill sets and you haven't earned it, non-tech business partners could reach the wrong conclusions. For a one-hour, $99 exam, it's worth earning the cert so you at least have the credibility to speak to it.
PL-900 for Power Platform Technical Lead
If you're a Power Platform Technical Lead, you should put the Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals cert at the top of your priority list for a few reasons. Although you might be more experienced in some of the tools than the others, rounding out your skill sets with complementary technology is never a bad idea. Additionally, earning the first cert that focuses on Power Platform skill sets as the central tech can only help you as a Power Platform technical lead.
PL-900 for CRM Solutions Consultant
Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are among the most popular ways to use the Microsoft Power Platform suite. Although your experience might revolve around more common software, such as Salesforce, knowing how to integrate, customize, and apply Microsoft’s CRM tools will only help your career. The more exposure you have to different mechanisms and ways to resolve problems, the more valuable you’ll be as a solutions consultant and the more you’ll have to offer an employer or a client.
Is the PL-900 Worth It?
The Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals certification exists at an extremely specific intersection: it’s a fundamentals cert on a niche skill set that most people will never interact with to any significant degree. For the majority of IT professionals, passing the PL-900 exam won't do much for your career. It certainly won't hurt, but your time and energy would be better spent investing in another, more targeted, higher-level certification.
However, if you work in the Power Platform world, there are two main reasons you should consider earning this accreditation. First, if you're a technical lead who works with each of these technologies, the Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals cert may add value to your career in a way you wouldn't expect. Because the material has such a substantial focus on business use cases, working through the study material and passing the PL-900 exam could add considerable depth to your understanding of how customers apply these technical capabilities every day.
Second, if you're a business user that doesn't have much of a technical background, you should consider earning the Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals. When you're used to working with tools that have already been programmed or created, it's easy to allow yourself to get pigeonholed subconsciously. You begin to assume that those ways of doing things are the only ways to accomplish what you're trying to do, and that inhibits your business growth. Gaining an appreciation for a few of the technical aspects behind the Microsoft Power Platform will accelerate your career by teaching you how to customize the tools you have and create new use cases in the future.
Using the PL-900 to Learn Skills
The PL-900 isn't so much designed to teach skills as it is to impart perspective. You'll likely pick up a few tips and tricks that will deepen your appreciation for various Power Platform tools, but the real value in the Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals certification is being able to speak to and understand how the tools work and how they can be applied in a business sense.
Using the PL-900 to Validate Skills
The PL-900 Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals exam is designed to validate your understanding of how various Power Platform tools can be applied in business settings and evaluate your ability to create and modify applications. Earning the Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals certification is an excellent way to say that you're skilled at both the business and the tech sides of the house.