I have been getting lots of questions about what is involved in becoming a Power Platform Functional Consultant. What skills are needed, and do the skills align with the skills used by Functional Consultants who have a history of working on Dynamics 365?
Like anything in life, the only thing you can be sure of is that the skills needed will always be changing, and the quicker one embraces that change the sooner one is off on the journey of a lifetime filled with new opportunities.
What is a Functional Consultant?
First off let me define what I think a Functional Consultant is. A Functional Consultant is an agent of change; they have developed business skills and technical skills in their chosen field. When we consider a Functional Consultant in the area of the Power Platform, their technical skills will cover three core areas at a minimum with additional specialist skills added as desired.
The three core technical skills that every Functional Consultant in the Power Platform must have and continue to hone is:
- PowerApps Skills
- PowerAutomate (formerly known as Flow) Skills
- Power BI Skills
All good Functional Consultants will self-assess their proficiency in the above three technology areas and implement personal training programs to move to the point of documented ability. What I mean by documented proficiency is passing all current exams that cover these areas and being able to provide evidence of experience in these three areas.
The best way to document this experience is via a personal blog, where you share your learning plans, experience, and lessons learned. The other part of the Functional Consultant role is made up of the skills of a Business Analyst (BA). There are formal programs and qualifications available to learn traditional Business Analyst skills.
The above is what I consider to be a baseline for an average Functional Consultant. But if you want to lift your game to the next level it is time to learn a new set of skills. You need to add to your skills the following expertise, including gaining certifications and experience.
A good Functional Consultant will have intermediate-level skills, if not expert skills, in Project Management. This is a well-defined area in IT these days, and there is a range of methodologies that you can consider studying for. The three main once are:
- PMI – PMBOK
Note: people can get very passionate about what methodology to use, sometimes defending their methodology with religious fervor. Research the three above and then decide what will work best for you.
However, it is only a starting point. I have many friends that are now full time just running design thinking projects for customers and stakeholders. The value of this training is that it provides tools and skills to engage with stakeholders across domains and job roles, from executives to the least valued role in the organization.
You need experience, either on a live project for the company you work with, or you needed to join communities that can give you access to gain experience or create your own projects to learn on.
Study Resources for Designing Thinking
Here is a list of resources that I recommend you look at to start training on Designing Thinking, it will create the most significant transformation in your Functional Consultant career if you learn them.
Feel free to ask any questions or comment below.