If you happen to follow me on LinkedIn, you may have seen some of my posts recently about the "Learn Together" Microsoft Fabric live training series. As I watched each of the 9 sessions over the past 3 weeks, I would post a note about each with a link. Now I'm going to write a few short articles on my journey through the Learn Together series, the Microsoft Learn "Fabric Analytics Engineer" challenge and my attempt at the new DP-600 certification exam.
My background is mostly SMB (small and medium-sized business) so my takeaways and questions are based on that being my context. I'm familiar with PowerBI, having attained the Power BI Data Analyst Associate certification a few years ago, but most of the other elements of Microsoft Fabric are new to me. I wanted to go through the challenge to learn more about the various products and take a shot at the DP-600 exam!
The deadline for this particular challenge is in two weeks, February 22, 2024. Click the link below to sign up, it's free to join! The best part about joining - and completing - the challenge in the time while it is active is you will be eligible for a 50% discount on the DP-600 exam upon completion of the challenge. 👍
What the challenge covers
There are 13 modules in the challenge. The Learn Together wave 1 recordings cover 10 of the 13 modules (the first Learn Together training covered 2 modules since one of them was very short). My approach has been to watch each of the Learn Together sessions and walk through the exercises at the same time as the presenters were demo'ing them. Sometimes I watched live, sometimes I watched the recording. Some of the sessions I found more challenging than others to follow, and would pause or rewatch later to reinforce my understanding.
Where to find the Learn Together recordings
As of writing this, on February 9, 2024, the first wave of Learn Together sessions are all done. All were recorded and they can be watched by going to the Microsoft Power BI YouTube channel. This is optional of course, there is no requirement to watch the training to take the challenge, but if you find any of the modules challenging, try watching the recording (if there is one for that module) to augment the material.
The schedule itself can be found at https://aka.ms/learntogether. Wave 1 was held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, for 3 consecutive weeks, at the same time, two sessions per topic so that two different broad time zones were covered. So, on the Power BI YouTube channel above, there will be 18 total recordings (9 sessions x 2 time zones). While the content should be close to identical, often the presenters were able to put their spin on some of the content based on their experience with the product.
There are other "waves" planned for (I believe) later in February to do this again so if you like the thought of learning live and being able to ask questions, watch for announcements on your social media of choice.
How does the challenge work?
The Microsoft Learn challenges come up a few times a year, in various topics. They are typically a collection of modules about a specific topic, usually oriented towards content that would be useful for a particular certification or credential exam.
For example, the first "module" in this challenge is called "Introduction to end-to-end analytics using Microsoft Fabric", and the guidance is it should take the average user about 22 minutes to walk through the challenge. The content for this particular module is covered in the first Learn Together video, along with the 2nd module, since the first module is a short one.
Each module has a handful of "units", which are pages to read and understand the concepts around a given topic. Each module typically has an exercise to do, which is optional, but provides specific information to walk through the concepts "hands-on". Each module also has a Knowledge Check, with 2-3 quiz questions (multiple choice) to assess how well you understood the content.
Microsoft Fabric Trial
There are a couple of ways to try the hands-on approach, but I will not be covering this part of it in detail. I'm fortunate that I have two M365 tenants to choose from that I control and can enable/disable settings for my accounts.
Option 1 is if you already have an M365 account (and Fabric is enabled), you may be able to sign up for a Fabric trial. This link provides some information about how, and what is required for you to do that. Hint: it depends on what is enabled and for whom in your M365 tenant.
Another alternative is to create an M365 Developer account, which is a non-production E5 license developer subscription where a user could enable Microsoft Fabric to try some of the features and follow along with the exercises in Microsoft Learn.
DP-600 Exam Cram!
There is a 2-hour live session on February 13th, 2024 (Pacific time zone) and February 15th, 2024 (India time zone), where experts will walk us through the exam format, skills measured, sample questions and various tips and tricks.
I'll be signing up for the Exam Cram and shortly after that I plan on trying the exam for the first time, with the 50% off discount from this Microsoft Learn challenge!