Many people ask me how to shift careers from where they are, to where they want to go. Some people are stuck working in On-Premise Dynamics 365 Projects and feel they are getting left behind because they are not getting exposure to online Dynamics 365 Projects or working on the Power Platform with PowerApps, Flow and AI Builder.
Others are not even in the industry but want to get into it and trying to catch a break but find themselves in a catch 22 situation. In that situation you do not have the experience to get considered for a role, and you can’t, in your eyes, get the experience as no one will consider you for a position without experience.
Here is where your thinking needs to change. If you want something badly enough, you will do what it takes to get it. If you cannot get it one way, you need to find another way.
For those that are stuck on On-Premise Dynamics 365 projects either working as an employee or working for a Microsoft Partner, you need to figure out how to get Dynamics 365 online experience and, more importantly, Power Platform experience.
Things are moving fast in this industry, and it does not take much to be left in a position where your skills are outdated and no longer relevant to where the industry is going. It is not your employees’ job to prepare you for what is next in your career if there is no benefit to their business. You need to take ownership of you and your career and not just go with the flow of what your employer is doing. Decide what you want and then go after it with passion. There is nothing stopping you running your own project.
What experience do you have about a specific industry such as healthcare, hospitality, retail, agriculture, etc.? Come up with a fictitious project and play the role of the product owner and the implementer. Spin yourself up some free trials from Microsoft and build out your project on your own time, think of it like a project for a science fair at school. Make sure you blog about all your learnings and experience of this project and you will be surprised how that will attract the experience you are looking for.
Experience is significant, but it is not the only thing you need to focus on. You also need to be consistently creating a habit of learning. Learning and gaining in-depth knowledge should not be an afterthought in your career. You need to own your ongoing leaning.
Be quick to volunteer for new projects that you may not yet have the experience on, as you will gain that on the job. You can learn on the job, but it should not be considered a replacement for formal learning.
Microsoft has committed a massive amount of resource in the past 12 months to creating training content online at Microsoft Learn and Microsoft Docs, look at the courses and commit to a habit of learning every day. After all, it is free.
If you do not have experience, you need career certification. You need to study the courses that prepare you for certification. Systematically work your way through the training material from Microsoft as mentioned above and sit the exams.
When you pass the exams, add them to your LinkedIn profile so that future employers can see you are learning the skills needed to work in this industry. If you want to work for a Microsoft Partner, they needed certified staff to earn their Gold or Silver competencies with Microsoft.
By getting your certifications, you make yourself more valuable to them as an employee. Also being certified on an ongoing basis shows you have a learn-it-all attitude – an asset to any employer.
Breaking into the Power Platform Industry
If you want to take advantage of the explosive growth in the Power Platform space worldwide and are unsure where to start, I recommend you take a look at Microsoft Flow as a starting point. Watch the videos on why Flow is an important business tool and then, look at the Microsoft training on Flow and search YouTube for videos on how to create flows.
Once you have completed the available training and have built at least 20+ flows you are ready to take the next steps into building PowerApps. In less than six months, if you develop the habit of daily learning, you will find that you can acquire a new set of in-demand skills very quickly.
If you want more help in breaking into the Power Platform and Dynamics 365 area of IT, I have put together a 90-Day Mentoring Challenge to help you get focused. It’s available for free.
If you have questions, please hit me up in the comments.