How to Pass the PL-200 exam and become a Microsoft Certified Power Platform Functional Consultant

  • Microsoft Certified Power Platform Functional Consultant
  • PL-200 exam
  • Microsoft
  • Published by: ANDRÉ HAMMER on Sep 15, 2022

Are you looking to make a career in IT without learning to code? If yes, becoming a Power Platform functional consultant is a career worth serious consideration. From private companies to government organizations, Power Platform functional consultants are in high demand and are offered handsome salaries and perks. The power platform is still an emerging technology, and with the PL-200 associate level certification, you can increase your demand and value in the cloud job market. Power Platform is still one of the latest tools from Microsoft, and the supply of professionals in this field is still low thus you have more chances to make your mark if you are an earner or a proud member of the power platform community. Between 2018 and 2028, the career of a Power Platform functional consultant is expected to grow by 9% and produce 56,000 job opportunities across the U.S alone.

Read on as we dissect the role of a Power Platform functional consultant specialized and certified by Microsoft in the Microsoft Power Platform. We will go over all the nitty gritties, including roles & responsibilities, required skills, how to prepare for the PL-200, and clear the exam like a pro.

What is Microsoft Power Platform

Microsoft Power platform allows its users, including non-developer cloud professionals to create an end-to-end business solution without writing a single line of code. The Power Platform can do this with the help of its built-in templates to handle various out-of-the-box requirements.

Are these pre-built templates always enough to meet the requirements of the business? No - they are not and in such cases, Microsoft offers power platform developers to create custom solutions to bridge the gap between the platform features and the requirements.

For example, you can extend the functionality using Power 365 apps or Office 365 apps - all with minimal code, which is why it is called no code or low code way to build business applications. Professionals like consultants, architects, and managers can create end-to-end business solutions using the Power platform. It includes stand-alone applications that also work on mobile and in a web browser.

Here are the five main components of the Microsoft Power platform:

  • Power Apps: Power apps are essentially an application development service. Its core objective is to build an interface to allow users to submit requests and receive a response by accessing data in the database and performing database operations. You can create three types of applications using power apps:
    • Canvas app
    • Model-driven app
    • Portal apps

  • Power Automate: As the name suggests - Power Automate, earlier known as Microsoft flows - helps its users automate their business processes. Here are some practical applications of how you can use Power Automate to automate recurring tasks for managers and teams:
    • You can create a flow to take daily approval from managers by firing emails automatically and prompting action.
    • Or if you want to take the database back up daily.
    • Or if a manager wants to automatically assign a recurrent task to his team weekly on every Monday while sending them an automated email explaining the assigned tasks.
    • Or quite the opposite - firing them an email prompting them to update the manager on the task status. You can think also think of it as a flow chart in which the user can set if and else conditions to automatically direct actions.

  • Power BI: It is a data analysis and visualization tool for data analysts that allows its users to perform the extraction, transformation, and loading-related operations:
    • Power BI is used to extract data from discreet data sources
    • It is used to transform data by cleaning or scrubbing it and making it in a useful format
    • Power BI can then be used to load and export data into the target instrument for processing

  • Power virtual agents: It enables its users to easily create chatbots to quickly respond rapidly to your customer and employee requirements, at scale using smart bots built using Microsoft Power Virtual Agents. From providing cooking cutter responses answers to frequently asked questions to fixing complicated issues that require complex back and forth conversations - Power virtual agents do it all.

  • Power pages: This component allows users to quickly build minimal-code business websites to allow them to tell their customers about their products and services. Power pages allow you to easily build with ready-to-use templates or create customizable experiences. Design your pages with text, video, imagery, and business data forms and lists.

The most important feature of the Power Platform are:

  • Microsoft Dataverse - Dataverse lets its users save, manage and protect business applications' data safely. The tables in the Dataverse server are a secure and cloud-based repository option for data.
  • AI builder - It is a Microsoft Power Platform that delivers AI models designed to optimize the processes of businesses using it. It allows users to use data to automate processes and return actionable insights in Power Apps and Automate.
  • Data connectors - A data connector is a proxy around an API. It facilitates the underlying service to speak to Microsoft Power Automate, Microsoft Power Apps, and Azure Logic Apps. It enables users to link their accounts and use a set of readymade actions and triggers to develop their business applications and flows.
  • Portal apps - They enable Power Apps developers to create a powerful experience in the form of websites and allow users to log in with different identities. It also enables them to create and view data in Microsoft Dataverse, or browse content anonymously.

Roles & Responsibilities of Power Platform Functional Consultant

Similar to a business analyst, the role of a functional consultant is to understand requirements and suggest a solution without getting into the coding and development part.

He or she works as the bridge between the customers and the resource team. It is the responsibility of a functional consultant to gather business requirements, analyze those requirements, create documentation, and discuss with his technical team to start with app development.

Talking specifically about Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant - he or she should have a solid understanding of Microsoft power platform cloud services. The functional consultant is expected to have a complete understanding of all the key services and features that come as part of the Microsoft Power Platform, in terms of when and how to use them as per the unique requirements of a business.

A functional consultant is responsible to understand the business requirements, and based on the business requirements - he or she coordinates with the technical team to kick start app development.

Depending on the employer’s requirements, it is not necessary that only a functional consultant also creates applications using power apps, or makes flows using power automation. Depending on the size of the organization, there might be a separate team for app creation. However, the functional consultant stays in the loop during each phase of the application development process.

The consultant here has to play the role of a problem solver for the entire team, especially while using any of the tools of the Microsoft Power Suite.

Notable job roles for Power Platform Functional Consultant

This certification is for aspiring consultants who want to use the Microsoft Power platform and cloud services to build an end-to-end business solution.

  • Power platform functional consultant
  • Data Analyst
  • Power BI professional
  • Data scientist
  • Solutions Architect
  • Enterprise Architect

Pre-requisites for the PL-200 Exam

Are you wondering whether there is any pre-requisite for this role? Good news! Even though there are no compulsory requirements for the PL-200 exam - it is recommended that the interested candidate acquires an understanding of Microsoft Power platform fundamentals and core components, including Automate, PowerBI, Power Apps, Power Pages, and Virtual Agents. Furthermore, it helps to have a basic understanding of model-driven applications and the ability to manage and modify Dynamic 365.

Also, a solid understanding of the knowledge of the Common Data Service and security concepts makes you an ideal candidate for this certification and later for the role of a Power Platform functional constant.

Talking about soft skills - people with an inquisitive nature turn out to be good functional consultants for their employers, especially if they have good communication and problem-solving skills. Having good listening skills can especially help a functional consultant gather clear requirements and suggest accurate solutions.

Key Benefits of the PL-200 Exam

The PL-200 certification can also be your key to working for the world’s leading IT companies, including Microsoft, itself. It works as recognition as a Microsoft power platform solutions consultant. Acquiring knowledge about power platform components helps you staying ahead of the Microsoft technology curve by identifying the business areas where power platform components can be reliably used. This certification works as a framework to help you master the art of designing a technical solution using power platform components and Dataverse, which was earlier known as Common Data Service. You also learn to manage the permissions and administer Dataverse environments.

Roles & Responsibilities of a Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant

Candidates interested in the PL-200 exam conduct discovery, and requirement gathering, from subject matter experts and stakeholders. It is their role to set up Microsoft Power Platform and apps as per the business needs. A Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant creates application enhancements, customizing user experiences, system integrations, data transformations, process automation, and visualizations.

A certified Functional consultant can effectively implement the design provided by a solution architect as per the standards, branding, and artifacts established by the UX team. Thanks to Power platform apps, functional consultants can create integrations with 3rd part applications and services.

A Microsoft Power Platform Functional consultant can actively collaborate with QA team members to ensure that the proposed solution meets the functional and non-functional requirements of the project or business. He or she identifies, forges, and delivers artifacts for packaging and deployment for the DevOps team, and provides operations maintenance and training to Microsoft Power Platform administrators.

The PL-200 Exam

You will be asked 40-60 questions in the PL-200 exam, which will cost you USD $165 to enroll. There is no negative marking - so please don’t leave any questions unattended. Some questions are mandatory and can’t be skipped. Please expect more than vanilla multiple choice questions. There will be question types such as build list, hot area, drag, and drop, etc. There will also be scenario-based questions in which you have to make the best decision based on the available information and your understanding of the Microsoft Power platform tools.

  • Configure Microsoft Dataverse (20-25%)
  • Create apps by using Microsoft Power Apps (15-20%)
  • Create and manage Microsoft Power Automate (15-20%)
  • Implement Microsoft Power Virtual Agents chatbots (10-15%)
  • Integrate Microsoft Power Apps with other apps and services (10-15%)
  • Manage solutions (15-20%)

Important tips to prepare and pass the PL-200 exam:

  • Make sure you go thoroughly over Datavserse, especially the features related to security and permissions.
  • Gather a solid knowledge of Power apps and the types of components involved in building an app as per the business requirements.
  • Spend enough time going over model-driven apps, when to use one and how to build one
  • Practice creating flows using Power automate
  • Make sure you know about the most common applications of the Microsoft AI Builder.
  • Try out as many exercises from the Microsoft learning path
  • Don’t skip the Power virtual agent module; you might see 4-6 questions from it

While self-learning is one of the most common ways to prepare for this exam, the results from the form of learning depend purely on the time you have, self-discipline, and access to learning materials. One of the biggest problems with self-learning is that there is an ocean of information available on the Internet and it can be challenging for a candidate to know if it’s current. Candidates who take the self-learning route make the classic mistake of only referring to Microsoft's learning material.

Need more help clearing your PL-200 exam?

If you need professional help to prepare and pass the PL-200 exam, you should consider the preparatory training for Microsoft Power Platform Functional consultants from Readynez.

At Readynez, our goal is to build a solid foundation of basics and train our delegates about Microsoft Power Platform so that they feel confident taking the PL-200 exam. We tell them about the exam requirements and make them go through a strategically created learning program to help them clear the Power Platform Functional Consultant (PL-200) exam. Our study program is not a list of pre-recorded videos with obsolete curricula and test papers.

With Readynez instructor-led training, you'll learn from experts about the core capabilities of the Power platform to prepare you for the PL-200 exam. During this preparatory instructor-led training by Readynez, you will supplement your learning with hands-on labs to create application enhancements, custom user experiences, system integrations, data conversions, custom process automation, and custom visualizations. Our unique teaching method is created to engage students with a problem-centric, case-based approach to mastering Power Platform applications in the real world.

If you have any questions related to this article or preparing for the PL-200 exam, you can contact us here.

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