Learn about Microsoft Partners and the wide range of exciting career options that are available through them.
Microsoft Partner companies offer a wealth of learning opportunities and career options for anyone who is interested in transforming their Microsoft technology career. It is through this certified partnership with Microsoft that companies can transform Microsoft technologies to create innovative solutions, and successful opportunities for their customers, and their teams. Avantiico, a Microsoft Gold Partner, creates customized business solutions that expand Microsoft products through customer consultation and collaboration, innovation, and empowerment. This article will explain Microsoft’s career ecosystem and certification processes to illustrate how different career paths can develop and intersect when working for a Microsoft Partner.
A Microsoft Partner is a company that has met the competency requirements to operate in collaboration with Microsoft. Companies that are Microsoft Partner certified are given compliance training, certification education resources, access to an extensive partner network as well as additional licensing and product development services. To qualify as a certified partner, companies must meet certain competency criteria to be awarded either silver or gold status and must continuously meet these requirements to maintain their partner status.
A Partner company must acquire certain certifications and present performance evidence to ensure they meet competency requirements. One way that a Partner company is assessed through a scoring system called Partner Contribution Indicators (PCI). This process measures the performance of an organization based on technical capabilities, customer success and sales performance. Incorporated into the assessment are indicators of growth and stability that prove the ability of a company to grow in users and implement larger deployments. In being a Microsoft Partner, these companies have access to a comprehensive network with Microsoft and other certified partners. Within this advanced network of combined industry experience, Microsoft Partners can further innovate and collaborate to maximize their area of expertise.
The diversity within the Microsoft partnership network, and the collaborative relationship these companies have with Microsoft mean that there are a wide variety of paths for specialization in the Microsoft ecosystem. This means that there are a multitude of career options for you, that can not only be determined by your interests, but also by the unique industry position a Microsoft Partner can hold.
Regardless of the area of expertise a Microsoft Partner specializes in, there are several central fields to consider when considering a career in Microsoft technologies. These are:
A Microsoft Partner’s success is ensured by having a multi-faceted team to provide top-quality services. There are no one-size fits all model, and with increasing Microsoft technology developments, there are a greater number of ways in which Microsoft Partners can meet their customer needs. As such, there are numerous career pathways within the industry you can take.
Outlined below are key positions relevant to the Microsoft careers ecosystem. Included in the outline for positions at a Microsoft Partner are position definitions, desired hard and soft skills, associated certifications, and experience. This is to help identify useful knowledge and characteristics related to these positions to consider when choosing an area of interest to you.
It must be noted that a number of these areas of expertise overlap and interrelate, and there can be multiple starting points and interconnected pathways of advancement within these careers. This is what makes working with a Microsoft Partner an enriching opportunity as there are many ways to start and develop a career, and many Microsoft applications and services to gain expertise in.
The position of consultant is also an integral part of the Microsoft careers ecosystem. Functional, technical, and business consultants are three types of consultant positions at Microsoft Partner. These positions can be cross-disciplinary and interrelated, and the desired soft skills are similar. This is because consultants must work closely with clients to assess and advise on products and systems solutions. Soft skills for this position include, but are not limited to:
Problem solving, strong written and verbal communication, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.
Due to the variety of consultant positions at a Microsoft Partner, consultants can come from diverse backgrounds, making this an excellent way to advance an already established career in tech.
A technical consultant at a Microsoft Partner is responsible for the development, implementation, and support of Microsoft products and applications. Areas of specialization at a Microsoft Partner for technical consultants mostly center around Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM business applications, as well as Power Platform. Technical consultants use this experience with Microsoft applications to advise clients on industry standards and practices, and are responsible for coding, testing, and supporting existing and new products to meet clients’ requirements.
The technical parameters of this consulting position mean that a background in computer science, information technology or management information is useful. Frequently desired hard skills include a strong knowledge of programming and coding languages such as:
.NET, C#, Application Lifecycle Model (ALM), XLM, Azure, AIF, MDX.
Useful Microsoft certifications for technical consultants include:
Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate, Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate, Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate, Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert.
Functional consultants utilize technical knowledge of Microsoft products and applications to provide comprehensive business solutions for clients, with a strong focus on solution implementation. The position of functional consultant at a Microsoft Partner can specialize in several areas such as, Customer Engagement (CRM), Finance and Operations (ERP), and Power Platform.
Areas of expertise within Dynamics 365 for functional consultants can include: Finance and Supply Chain, Business Central, Customer Engagement (CE), and analytics.
Functional consultants are responsible for defining the business and technical requirements of a client that consider the full lifecycle and continued use of an application or system. During solution implementation, functional consultants also advise on the migration or integration of existing business processes from non-Microsoft platforms. Consequently, industry knowledge of other ERP solutions such as SAP, or Oracle alongside an understanding of Cloud environments and services such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS) are also useful.
Relevant certifications for the position of functional consultant at a Microsoft Partner include, but are not limited to:
Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant Associate, Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Marketing Functional Consultant Associate, Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Customer Service Functional Consultant Associate, Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Finance Functional Consultant Associate, Microsoft Certified: Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant Associate, Microsoft Certified: Finance and Operations App Developer Associate, Microsoft Certified: Finance and Operations Apps Solution Architect Expert.
Business consultant is a position at a Microsoft Partner that provides specialized guidance during the assessment of business requirements for clients. This position can be technical, functional or both. Business consultants at a Microsoft Partner provide holistic solution advisory by assessing a client’s capabilities and use data to generate insights that enable a client’s success. Relevant experience with ERP, CRM, and Business Intelligence (BI) systems are useful for this position. Other areas of specialization for business consultants at a Microsoft Partner include Dynamics 365 Business Central and Modern Workplace applications.
Relevant Microsoft certifications for this role include:
Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Business Central Functional Consultant Associate, Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate, Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate.
A means of further careers advancement for consultants is through the position of Solution Architect at a Microsoft Partner. Solution architects bring deep functional and technical knowledge to provide customer guidance on Microsoft solutions for cloud-based software. It is often an opportunity for many with excellent communication skills to develop their technical product expertise to implement and lead higher level system design, ensuring client success. The scope of the consultant role deepens in the transition to an architectural position, evolving as a senior subject matter expert.
This is a customer-facing, techno-functional position that requires an understanding of database and cloud technologies, project management methodology, and programming languages that can include, but a not limited to:
Useful certifications for a Solution Architect position at a Microsoft Partner include:
Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate, Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Solution Architect, Microsoft Certified: Finance and Operations Apps Developer Solution Architect Expert, Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert –Associate and/or Professional, AWS Certified Solutions Architect, AWS Certified Developer – Professional.
The position of Solution Architect as a Microsoft Partner involves strengthening partner and customer relationships, driving solution design, and implementation guidance. Solution Architects for a Microsoft Partner can come from a background in Microsoft Dynamics ERP, CRM, Azure and Power Platform.
Depending on company size, leadership roles and responsibilities can be undertaken by senior employees and subject matter experts alongside their technical roles. Larger companies can assign leadership roles to oversee larger teams with product and project managers playing pivotal roles. The positions of product and project manager at a Microsoft Partner require technical knowledge of Microsoft applications and services combined with problem solving and interpersonal skills to oversee implementations for end-to-end.
Project managers are also an integral part of Microsoft’s implementation teams. Project managers work directly with clients, guiding internal and external teams during solution implementations. This position at a Microsoft Partner mostly focuses on project management for Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications, but also Power Platform. Project managers use functional business and application knowledge to lead teams through implementation, change management, and support. This position combines specialized product and program knowledge with project management certifications and education to enable successful people management, and project success. Relevant experience and qualifications for project managers at a Microsoft Partner can include:
Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification, APICS, Microsoft Dynamics 365 certifications, Azure, DevOps, LifeCycle Services (LCS) and Visual Studio Team System (VSTS).
Product managers are responsible for creating and overseeing a product strategy to develop a new product or improve an existing product. This position of product manager at a Microsoft Partner requires working closely with clients, stakeholders, and teams to develop, strategize, and market Microsoft products and features. As a result, this is considered a cross-functional position that draws on experience and knowledge from a variety of areas such as management, engineering, sales, customer support, finance, and marketing. The position of product manager at a Microsoft Partner involves establishing a product strategy that accounts for customer business needs, product demonstrations, marketing, briefing analysts, and public relations.
Relevant experience and skills for product managers are:
Master’s degree in technology or business-related fields, especially Masters in Business Administration (MBA), functional experience in disciplines such as Product Management, UX/UI, Sales, Customer Support, Finance or Marketing.
Analysts in multiple specialties collate and assess data to identify challenges, as well as monitor programs or system performance. With continuous assessment they advise on program developments and provide necessary information to test applications and create solutions. Data and Information Security are two areas of specialization available within this field.
The position of data analyst in the Microsoft partner ecosystem is responsible for tracking and reporting on data. Other relevant skills in programming and scripted languages that are useful include but are not limited to:
Important non-technical skills for data analysts are: problem-solving, teamwork, verbal and written communication, attention to detail. These skills are useful when assessing and presenting data findings in addition to proposing solutions to client stakeholders.
Certifications relevant to this Microsoft position are Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate and Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate. Certifications in these interrelated fields are useful starting points for a career at a Microsoft Partner, with general and specific Microsoft application options for diversification. These certifications provide the fundamentals for this Microsoft position and are designed to be the stepping-stone to additional advancement courses and certifications.
The position of Information Security Analysts at a Microsoft Partner requires technical skills and experience in: cybersecurity processes and protocols, cloud-based systems, network security, assessment, and reporting methodologies.
Desired hard skills for the position include an understanding of, but are not limited to, these tools, programming, and scripted languages:
Access, ASP.NET, AWS, Azure, Excel, firewalls, HP Fortify, Jira, Microsoft IIS, MySQL, Oracle, PaaS, SharePoint, Oracle Solaris, SQL.
Likewise desired relevant security licenses and certifications can include:
CISSP, AWS Certified Security, Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Penetration Testing Consultant (CPTC), License Penetration Tester (LPT), GIAC Penetration Tester (GPEN), Cisco Cybersecurity Specialist.
Desired qualities for a position such as this are analytical, problem-solving, interpersonal and communication skills which indicate an ability to interpret and communicate complex information to propose solutions.
This is a specific area of expertise that relates to multiple Information and Technology fields. At a Microsoft Partner appropriate certifications include:
Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate, Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate, Microsoft Certified: Information Protection Administrator Associate and Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate.
Developers have a key role in assisting clients and teammates with Microsoft applications. They follow technical leads and provide comprehensive solutions by overseeing the full software lifecycle, from development and implementation to maintenance and support. By using data and feedback from across the organization they can enhance their specific area of performance to ensure the applications’ success and better the user relationship for the client.
Software, Data and Cloud developers are three such positions available within the Microsoft ecosystem. All three positions work closely with clients and teams and as a result important characteristics desired in people for this position are interpersonal skills, problem-solving, communication skills with an emphasis on oration, and a strategic mindset. Desired hard skills and project experience in analytic solutions, scripting and programming languages, and technologies such as:
R, Python, Scala, C#, Ruby, PowerShell
PowerBI, AWS, Azure, SQL Database, Cloudera, Oracle, SAS, Apache, Teradata
In choosing to work with a Microsoft Partner, the areas of specialization available for a developer can start with Microsoft certifications such as a Power Platform Developer Associate, Finance and Operations Apps Developer Associate, and Azure Developer Associate. Additional options for advancement are also available through specialty Microsoft certifications, especially within Azure applications.
Engineers create and execute the design and construction of a program. They are responsible for testing and evaluating program performance, for assisting clients and partners with technical difficulties, and for configuring the infrastructure of a program to be successful.
As with developers, similar hard and soft skills are desired for engineers at a Microsoft Partner. Desired experience in technology and programming languages include, but are not limited to:
Azure, AWS, Azure, Business Objects, Cloudera, Cortana Intelligence, Data Warehouse, Excel, IBM, Oracle, Power BI, Python, SAP HANA, SAS, SQL Server, Teradata, YARN.
C#, DMX, MDX, SQL, T-SQL, Java, Scala, Python, PowerShell, R, Ruby.
Desired soft skills for an engineering position can include: problem solving, communication, time management, teamwork, and adaptability. These skills are useful to engineers at a Microsoft Partner because they work with developers and analysts to consistently improve a program’s performance to satisfy clients.
Engineers at a Microsoft Partner there are a multitude of areas to specialize and advance in. Data, AI, DevOps, and Security are several areas of expertise available for the position of engineer at a Microsoft Partner. Certifications relevant to an engineering position at a Microsoft Partner include:
Certified Microsoft: Azure Data Engineer, Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer, Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate, Microsoft Certified: Azure Network Engineer Associate, Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert.
Marketing and Sales drive a company’s customer engagement and facilitate a broader reach for their company. Together, they are responsible for realizing the business value and increasing solution opportunities for their company. These positions at a Microsoft Partner are suited for those with an interest in technology who want to inspire customers and partners to learn about Microsoft products and capabilities.
The position of marketer at a Microsoft Partner is a cross-functional role that involves creatively developing cross-product and platform strategies and creating campaigns to demonstrate Microsoft products, especially Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform. This position is responsible for driving a Microsoft Partner’s sales, growth objectives, and raising brand awareness. As a result, this is a techno-functional position that requires data analysis, and web development skills alongside marketing campaign experience.
Sales is another example of a cross-functional role that specializes in developing customer relationships. The position of sales personnel at a Microsoft Partner requires a functional knowledge of Microsoft solutions. They are responsible for demonstrating products and assisting clients in navigating Microsoft licensing for solutions such as Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and Microsoft 365. They also work closely with marketing, by providing CRM software data driven insights gained through new or strengthening client relationships to enable a comprehensive end-to-end customer acquisition process.
As the technology industry shifts from a transaction-based to solutions-based approach, the need for customer-centric processes and customer satisfaction skills are in higher demand. This means that there is a lot of flexibility to grow within Microsoft regardless of your area of expertise because the Microsoft Technology sector is driving more collaboration and creativity.
The interplay of job roles and acquired skills within the Microsoft careers ecosystem is flexible and ever-changing. The different specializations that Partner companies provide mean that a career in Microsoft technologies does not have to be linear. Problem solving and communication skills can be used to access different avenues for career growth. For instance, problem solving and product expertise as an engineer can be transitioned to developer and consultancy positions. Additional knowledge growth or depth can be applied further along a career trajectory to managerial and architectural positions, as the solutions necessary require greater subject matter expertise and coordination.
In utilizing Microsoft certifications, individuals and Microsoft Partners can create further specializations to better suit their needs or interests. The education and certification options provided by Microsoft for Partners facilitate extensive and ongoing professional development that can assist with career transitions across the entire information and technology careers spectrum. This flexibility of Microsoft programs and processes by Microsoft Partners corresponds with the ability to customize your career by gaining cross-disciplinary skills that make for a dynamic career. Whether that be finding your niche or learning new roles entirely, the career opportunities available at Microsoft Partners are extensive and adaptable.
Avantiico has extensive industry experience and a strong relationship with Microsoft. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Avantiico can facilitate skill acquisition, certifications, and competencies in Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Power Platforms and Microsoft Dynamics 365 with training and on-the-clock study opportunities. Avantiico can provide you with the structure, expertise, and community necessary to expand your interests and skills in information and technology to become a talented business professional. If you are interested but are not sure where to start, consider the applying to the Avantiico Academy which has been designed specifically to lay the foundation for a career at a Certified Great Place to Work and Microsoft Gold Partner.
The Avantiico Academy aims to better meet the demand for innovative Microsoft solutions and cloud-based customer services. This is a job-specific, 60-to-90-day training program for business and IT professionals to gain the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to be a Trusted Advisor. Technology-based learning, on-the-job training, mentoring, self-learning, and collaboration will be provided throughout the course to develop cross-functional knowledge.
One of the goals of this Academy is to create a strong mentorship component, enabling an immersive and collaborative environment for candidates to closely learn from industry experts. This will be an opportunity to gain insights into the varied and unique ways a career at a Microsoft Partner can evolve, whilst simultaneously fostering industry insights to support the technical course material.
A career in Microsoft Technologies can be long and varied, with many beginner in-roads and emerging avenues for continuing professional development. Constant innovation by Microsoft is making skill diversification and depth more important than ever. By outlining critical positions at a Microsoft Partner, I hope to highlight the variety of career options and combinations available. You are encouraged to consider the ways in which Microsoft Partners like Avantiico are uniquely positioned to help you prosper and succeed in your career. Read more about making the switch to a Microsoft consulting position.
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