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As a supplement to a recent event, I was fortunate to speak at I wanted to create a supplemental blog post on considering or expanding a career in SharePoint. My personal opinion, as with any career that you may choose, is that actually seeing someone perform the job and experiencing it yourself before you decide to invest in learning it is very important. Admittedly, I myself have started to jump on the bandwagon of careers that were in high demand before understanding what it really was all about. Although we all may not get to choose exactly what we do in life to earn a living, understanding if you will be somewhat happy and able to perform the job functions of a career are a reality that many of us do not consider. Hopefully this post will guide you in making an informed decision and enlighten you of the different careers currently available working with SharePoint technology.
If you have made it this far reading my post, I will assume that you already have a general idea of what SharePoint is and that you are ready to make the next step about making a commitment to pursuing a SharePoint career (or at least part of it). If not you can do some quick reading and investigation on the WikipediA SharePoint page or at DiscoverSharePoint.com.
Quick Overview of Career Opportunities & Benefits of a Career in SharePoint
At time of this writing, there are currently thousands of open jobs in the USA either specializing in SharePoint specifically or at least require some SharePoint knowledge. Typical uses of SharePoint (server) are intranets, document management, team collaboration portals, external customer portals, workflow scenarios, search, project management repositories and public internet sites for large corporations.
A sample of the types of companies and organizations using SharePoint would include financial, insurance, manufacturing, consulting and some government entities. Since the majority of the business solutions SharePoint are used for are needed by larger organizations (this may not apply to Office 365 users), there is usually a better chance you will get the better pay, benefits and career options that also come along with larger companies and organizations as well. In addition to this, SharePoint has grown in use far quicker than the amount of skilled labor available needed to create and support advanced solutions built upon it. Most rapidly growing technologies have this trait however.
Current Popular SharePoint Job Titles
- SharePoint Administrator / Engineer
- SharePoint Developer
- SharePoint Business Analyst
- SharePoint Project Manager
- SharePoint Power User (someone who uses SharePoint as a part of their job but is not all of their job)
- Architect (Solution Architect or Infrastructure Architect)
- Other (Designer, Trainer, etc.)
* Job titles are interpretive, find example job descriptions from job websites
*The following “infograph” was compiled by searching job websites in the USA by job titles.
If you would like a more detailed description of the skills needed for each job position please see my slides above, search job websites or check out the links I have to some other great SharePoint career articles at the bottom of this post.
What’s in a Name?
Job descriptions for SharePoint professionals can vary quite a bit. I have often been approached about a position titled as one thing but when reading the requirements it appears very much like something else. I have learned that often a recruiter, an HR representative or someone in IT who does not really understand SharePoint will create the job posting and thus it will not always be 100% accurate. Not to worry, this is just a suggestion to use job descriptions as a “guide” and not as a definitive rule on what you should learn.
How Do I Know a Career in SharePoint is Right for Me?
- You are willing to commit a lot of your time to your career
- You understand you will always be learning new technologies
- You are analytically inclined, work hard and like to work with people (or pretend to at least – lol)
- You are highly detailed and learn computer skills somewhat quickly
Creating a Career Plan
No one learned SharePoint or any technology overnight. It takes commitment more than anything. It won’t be easy, but having a career plan with several different resources will increase your options of succeeding greatly. To create a successful career plan for SharePoint, ask yourself:
- Where are you at now?
- What is your end goal (what job position or specific skills do you want to learn)? Have you researched popular job sites such as dice.com, indeed or LinkedIn to see what skills are currently in demand for the job you are pursuing?
- What will your plan include and how to do you learn best (see my list resources to learn SharePoint for suggesstions)?
- College courses
- Online video training
- User groups
- In person training & conferences
- Test environment to experiment with (see my articles on SharePoint 2013 Development Environments to create your own “playground”)
- What is your timeline? Be realistic! It will take weeks for an end user and months to a year for a Programmer or Architect.
- How are you going to stand out in the crowd to get that new SharePoint position? (certifications, examples of work)
Here is an example career plan of how I have learned SharePoint:
It is ok to reassess things as you go try no to get frustrated and quit. If you are not able to figure something out, make a note of it, move on to something else and when you find help ask questions later. Feel free to contact me later if you need help (I do my best to respond where I can).
- HOTCOE & Ihar for running such a great group
- Microsoft Store in Tyson Corner for allowing events to held there
- To SharePoint-Videos.com & Pluralsight.com (these are not paid endorsements). Thank you for offering some free training passes to participants of the career event. I know how valuable video training is and I appreciate your encouragement in helping others to learn SharePoint.
- MTA Certifications – For a beginner to get you started with certifications
- SharePoint Career Advice, SharePoint resume tips & more – Shadeed Eleazer (runs the Baltimore SharePoint User Group, cool guy!)
- Is There a Career for me in SharePoint? – Veronique Palmer
- Job sites – Dice.com, Indeed, LinkedIn