Who should take this exam?

The target audience for this exam is Developers. So, if you don't have any development experience, then this exam is not for you as you should expect some code snippets in the exam. More specifically, this exam is for SharePoint Developers who have some experience extending SharePoint Online functionality developing custom SPFx webparts and extensions and/or custom Apps for Microsoft Teams.

This is how the MS-600 exam fits into the Microsoft Role-Based certification model:

Job Role: Developer

Level: Associate

Technology: Microsoft 365

Note that there is no pre-requisite for this exam and currently it is not linked to any "Expert" level certification.

On passing the exam, you achieve the title - Microsoft 365 Certified: Developer Associate

Ok, so why should you take this exam?

Those who have been working on SharePoint since the on-prem days already know that we used to have 2 different tracks for SharePoint certifications - one for developers and another for Administrators. The developer track focussed on professionals who were more into developing custom solutions using different workloads e.g. webparts, forms, workflows, custom actions, timer jobs - a big part of it required farm solutions running on the server, developed using .NET Framework.  The introduction of JavaScript Object Model (JSOM) and SharePoint REST (Representational State Transfer) APIs changed the way these solutions were developed to some extent. It wasn't until the introduction of SharePoint Add-ins, that the way these solutions were developed, changed completely.

Since the introduction of SharePoint Online, and especially since the introduction of Modern sites in SharePoint, a lot has changed in the SharePoint development space. This is primarily due to the fact that custom solutions in SharePoint Online cannot execute on the farm directly and hence do not have access to the .NET based server-side object model. Custom solutions on SharePoint Online are now developed using SharePoint Framework which executes in the context of a browser and therefore rely on JavaScript. These solutions are mainly developed using SharePoint Framework (SPFx) which uses the open-source development stack such as npm, React/Angular, yeoman, gulp etc. This has changed the entire development story for SharePoint and hence the need for a new exam to validate the skillset required to develop these solutions in a modern way. 

Developers who want to extend into Microsoft Teams using custom Apps can also validate their skills by taking this exam. Once again, this exam solely focuses on the custom apps and development aspect of Microsoft Teams. If you want to focus on the administration, configuration, migration and governance side of Microsoft Teams, the MS-700:
Managing Microsoft Teams
exam is more suited for you.

A small portion of this exam focuses on Office Add-in development as well in case you want to develop Add-ins for Office Apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook etc. 

Finally, it is very important to understand that these custom solutions often require the developers to understand how to interact with data coming from SharePoint, Teams and other parts of Office 365 (such as OneDrive) using the Office Graph APIs. Developers might also need to interact with other third-party or custom APIs in these solutions. It is therefore also important to understand how these APIs are protected using Azure AD App registrations and Microsoft Identity. Therefore, almost 40 to 50% of this exam is focussed on validating your knowledge about Microsoft Identity and Graph APIs.

As a SharePoint Developer myself, I’ve developing solutions on SharePoint since the SPS 2003 days and transitioned to SharePoint Online and Office 365 a few years back. I have some experience developing add-ins using Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) in the past and I have some recent (albeit little) experience on developing Microsoft Teams apps. I have done several SharePoint Development exams in the on-prem days, but until recently, there was no exam for Office 365 Developer role. This is in a way, the first exam of its kind.  I prepared for this exam to enhance my knowledge in the Microsoft Identity and Graph domain and to learn more about Microsoft Teams app development.

What are the Skills measured on the exam?

Here are the five (5) broad areas covered in the exam with their weightage:

  • Implement Microsoft Identity - 20 to 25%
  • Build Apps with Microsoft Graph - 20 to 25%
  • Extend and Customize SharePoint - 20 to 25%
  • Extend Teams - 15 to 20%
  • Extend Office - 15 to 20%

You can get the list of complete exam topics in each of the above areas here.

What's the Exam Format?

The exam comprises of two sections with 52 questions in total: 

  • The first section was a case-study with 3 Multiple choice questions (MCQs) 
  • The second section comprised of 49 independent questions
  • The second section also comprised of mostly MCQs, needing you to select a single right answer to a question with some questions needing multiple right answers
  • Additionally, some questions will require you to:
    • select the appropriate function (from a dropdown list) in one or more places in some source code (in most cases, source code is provided in both .NET and JavaScript)
    • select the appropriate configuration value (from a dropdown) in one or more places in a configuration (JSON) file
    • select the appropriate parameters in Graph API call (from an HTTP message)

Important:  Once you finish the first section and move on to the second section, you cannot go back to the first section.

You have a total of 210 minutes for the exam.

How should you prepare for the exam?

I used the following resources to prepare for this exam and I’ve listed them in the order of skills measured as stated in the previous section 

OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect (in plain English) - Video

This is an excellent introduction to OAuth 2.0 & OpenID Connect which is the foundation for Microsoft identity. I highly recommend this if you know little or nothing about this topic.

Implement Microsoft Identity - Associate - Learning Path

This learning path is a self-paced learning guide produced by Microsoft covering everything you need to know in the "Implementing Microsoft Identity" area of the exam. It contains 5 modules. The best thing about this resource is that it is accompanied by Screencasts which has text over video. Screencasts include demos for the Hands-on Labs which are included as part of modules.

Microsoft Identity Platform Documentation

Once you've finished the learning path, you can come to this official documentation to bridge any left-over gaps in your understanding.

I found these pages to be the most useful:    

Also, make sure you fully understand the flows below with Protocol diagram (notice which endpoint is being called in which flow with what parameters) and HTTP requests & responses as detailed here:

Build Apps with Microsoft Graph - Associate - Learning Path

This learning path is a self-paced learning guide produced by Microsoft covering everything you need to know in the "Build Apps with Microsoft Graph" area of the exam. It contains 7 modules.

This learning path is also accompanied by Screencasts.

Microsoft Graph Documentation - API Reference

Although the Learning Path is quite detailed, for the sake of completeness, if you have some time, I highly recommend you go through this API reference and make yourself familiar with it as much as you can.

Extend Microsoft 365 - Fundamental - Learning Path

This learning path is a self-paced learning guide produced by Microsoft covering the remaining three areas of the exam i.e. "Extend and Customize SharePoint", "Extend Teams" and "Extend Office".

As compared to the two (2) learning paths mentioned earlier, this one is quite high level and may not cover all the exam topics under these three areas.

Therefore, I recommend some additional learning paths (as mentioned below) for Microsoft Teams and SharePoint development especially if you think you need more details in some of the topics under these areas.

NOTE: You can skip some modules in the learning paths below if you've got enough understanding of the subject.

Extend Microsoft Teams - Associate - Learning Path

Extend Microsoft SharePoint - Associate - Learning Path

If you do not have time to go through this detailed learning path and you are already hands-on with SPFx, I suggest you go through the Additional Resources for SharePoint listed below.

Additional Resources - SharePoint

I found these videos helpful in doing a quick review of the SPFx and build/deployment process for SharePoint Apps.

Some Exam Tips

  • You won't be tested on React so don't worry if you have never used React for developing SPFx solutions
  • You are expected to understand the purpose of Office UI Fabric and Fabric React (there is no need to have a deep understanding of it for the purpose of this exam)
  • Understand the purpose and possible values for each configuration in the SPFx webpart manifest file and Teams App manifest file
  • Most of the questions showing code snippets, display the code in both JS and .NET
  • You don't need to spend a lot of time studying the individual host (Word, Excel etc.) specific APIs for Office Add-ins, I didn't see a question in this area
  • Do spend time referencing the Graph API reference documentation
  • Install Script Lab Add-in for Microsoft Office and try out some ready-made samples to get a feel of how it works
  • Read about what possible tools you can use to create Add-in solutions and also about to debug Add-ins
  • Understand the purpose of all the different types of Teams apps - you should be able to know what to use when
  • Finally, book in your exam! This will motivate you to get cracking

Good luck 😊