How to Study ...
You can prepare for the PL-400 Power Platform Developer exam in a number of ways. These could include formal training, provided by Microsoft Learning Partners, individual learning or group study. There is no right or wrong way to prepare. Our approach will generally depend on our own personal situation.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a big fan of self-learning. As a working mum of 4, my free time is seriously limited! Study groups are really useful, and I join them wherever possible. I tend to look out for anything being run by Julian Sharp, a Microsoft MVP. Julian’s study groups are extremely well organised both in terms of content and structure. And Julian is a master of all things D365 Power/Platform related who seriously knows his stuff! I have passed 5 D365/Power Platform exams while studying with Julian. Unfortunately there were no groups running while I prepared for this exam. However, I did get some help from another Community superstar … more on this below!
What to Study ...
PL-400 is the core certification recommended to become a Power Platform Developer. And this exam is also one of the possible routes toward gaining the Power Platform Solution Architect certification. The PL-400 exam measures the following skills;
- Create a technical design (10-15%)
- Configure a Microsoft Dataverse (15-20%)
- Create and configure Power Apps (15-20%)
- Configure business process automation (5-10%)
- Extend the user experience (10-15%)
- Extend the platform (15-20%)
- Develop integrations (5-10%)
As with most Microsoft Certifications, my first step in studying for PL-400 was to check Microsoft Learn. This gives full details of the required learning for the exam. An ‘exam skills outline’ can be downloaded that contains full details of what is covered.
Using Microsoft Learn ...
When studying for any Microsoft certification, Microsoft Learn is your key resource. When getting started with Microsoft Learn, I would recommend you set up a ‘Learning Profile’. You will need the Microsoft Certification ID associated with your profile when you schedule an exam. Additionally, your learning profile will help you keep track of what you have studied and what is left to cover.
Once you’ve set up a learning profile, you can browse certifications to find information relating to PL-400. Key resources include the Skills Outline, and the Learning Paths. Learning Paths are collections of Modules that lead you through the learning content covered by the exam. The Learning Paths for PL-400 are listed below.
- Create a canvas app in Power Apps
- Create a model-driven application in Power Apps
- Work with Microsoft Power Platform tenants, environments, subscriptions and Dynamics 365 apps
- Automate a business process using Power Automate
- Create and use analytics reports with Power BI
- Integrate with Microsoft Power Platform and Dataverse
- Create components with the Power Apps Component Framework
- Administer Power Apps portals
- Extend Power Apps portals
Wherever available, I would recommend always following the links to any further documentation suggested in Microsoft Learn. I would also recommend allowing more time than is estimated to complete the Modules. In my experience, it always takes longer to work through the resources than estimated.
As you can see from the number of learning paths, this is a hefty body of learning. Therefore I would recommend planning to study for PL-4oo over a number of weeks.
Other Learning Material ...
As with all certifications, I checked for Community resources to augment the MS Learn materials. I was super lucky, as one of my favourite Community contributers had created a series of blogs around PL-400. His name is Joe Griffin, and he has produced some awesome content around D365 and the Power Platform. If you are thinking of taking the PL-400 exam, I would definitely recommend checking out Joe’s blog.
As the PL-400 has recently replaced the MB-400 you might also find it helpful to search for resources for that exam. There is definitely an overlap in content between these exams. I found some great videos for MB-400 on the Microsoft events website.
In support of my own learning for this exam, I had also attended a number of Community Events. The first of these was the Global Power Apps Developer Bootcamp, run by the Powerthon team. The second was Power Apps Portals Zero to Hero, organised by Victor Dantas.
Taking the Exam ...
Information on the exam itself is available on the PL-400 certification page on Microsoft Learn. You can also book the exam from there. I would advise anyone new to Microsoft certification to check through the Exam Resources section. It is also a good idea to check the information relating to exams and question types included on Microsoft Docs.
You can either take exams remotely or in person at a test centre. Over the past year I have taken all of my Microsoft exams at home. And I have not experienced too many issues preparing for this. I usually allow at least 15 minutes to prepare the room for the exam. I normally cover my bookcase and TV with a blanket, clear my desk, and unplug my second monitor. This is normally good enough preparation for the security check.
I normally leave an additional 15 minutes for the security check itself. This is usually enough time to upload photos of my workspace and ID. Once uploaded these are verified, and occasionally need to be retaken.
Occasionally, the proctor has asked me to remove items from the room. This can be a pain and slightly unnerving. So if you do happen to find yourself in this situation don’t worry. Just patiently comply and try not to become anxious. And hopefully it will all turn out well in the end!