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Desired Skill Set for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Resources – Part III

First of all, I am really sorry for this huge gap between the last post and this one, few unexpected things occurred and even though the draft was sitting on my desktop for a long time, I could not finish it sooner. I have taken a little more space and consequently few more seconds of your precious time in an effort to provide a complete view of skills (in my opinion) required at Microsoft Dynamics CRM Tech Lead level.

Introduction

In this third article of the series Desired Skill Set for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Resources, I will describe what is expected of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Tech Lead.

I would like to point out an obvious fact here. If you have followed these articles from the very beginning, the skill levels are additive i.e. as we climb the hierarchy, each level includes the skillset from the previous level and additional skills.

Ideal total years of experience – 7 to 10 years

Desired technical skills

  1. HTML (Level 300)
  2. JavaScript (Level 300)
  3. ASP.Net (Level 300)
  4. C# (Level 300)
  5. Reporting and Business Intelligence Tools (Level 300)
  6. Microsoft PowerApps and Flow (Level 200)

     

  7. Microsoft Azure (Level 300) – Expert level command on Microsoft Azure and its integration areas with Dynamics CRM are compulsory at this stage. Additionally, understanding (Level 100-200 is sufficient where it is mentioned otherwise) of the following sub areas of Azure is an added advantage.
    • Azure App Service – Level 300
    • Azure Active Directory – Level 300
    • Application Insights – Level 300
    • API Management
    • Azure Search
    • Azure SQL Databases
    • Redis Cache
    • Data Factory
    • AI + Cognitive Services
    • Internet of Things – Helpful with Connected Field Services

       

  8. Microsoft SQL Server (Level 300) – A Tech Lead must have good command over Microsoft SQL Server as it can play critical role in data migration, archival, warehousing activities. S/he should be aware of SQL Server Integration services and its role in various integration scenarios. Also, many Dynamics CRM deployment do demand for OLAP, which can only be answered with the help of SQL Server Analysis Services. And in the end, let us not forget SQL Server Reporting Services which is at the core of the reporting engine of Dynamics CRM.

     

  9. Microsoft Windows Server (Level 200) – A Tech Lead should know the basics of a Windows Server deployment. This includes (but not limited to), DNS and DHCP configuration, Domain configuration, IFD configuration, Certificate Authority configuration, troubleshooting and maintenance.

     

  10. Understanding of Enterprise Architecture Patterns and Practices (Level 200)– This is a new entrant if you have checked the previous two articles of this series. If you have spent 7 to 10 good years in technical roles then there is no way you have not heard of established Patterns and Practices (No, I am not talking about GoF patterns here) in software development. Similarly, there are patterns which exist. I am quoting the definition from Wikipedia as it is:

    An architectural pattern is a general, reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem in software architecture within a given context. Architectural patterns are similar to software design pattern but have a broader scope. The architectural patterns address various issues in software engineering, such as computer hardware performance limitations, high availability and minimization of a business risk. Some architectural patterns have been implemented within software frameworks.

    I strongly recommend a bit old book as a reference for aspiring / practicing Tech Leads / Architects: Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler (https://www.martinfowler.com/books/eaa.html).

     

    After you have delved in various Dynamics CRM implementations you would know that the moment you are trying to implement CRM / xRM for an enterprise, you will have to envision a bigger picture, and you certainly will not be limited to challenges presented by Dynamics CRM, in such cases, Enterprise Architecture patterns can increase your success rate by manyfold.

     

  11. Integration Tools and Practices (Level 200) – Yet another fresh candidate in our list. As a Tech Lead, one has to have knowledge of various integration technologies. Good grasp on an Enterprise Service Bus (Microsoft BizTalk Server / BizTalk Services, Tibco ActiveMatrix, Windows Azure Service Bus, IBM WebSphere ESB, SA Process Integration, to name a few) – now will help a lot as well. It is expected from a Tech Lead to understand the various interfaces / options available for integration and S/He must have technical capabilities to do a quick PoC to quickly demonstrate / finalize integration method from multitude of choices. It is also imperative that recommended practices are followed while the choices are made. This responsibility generally falls on the shoulder of an architect, but sometimes architects lean on Tech Leads to provide them inputs basis which the decision can be made.

     

  12. Network and Infrastructure (Level 200) – At this level, more than basic understanding of network and infrastructure is essential. From setting up IFD to providing bandwidth / network benchmarks, setting up dev/test/staging/prod environments, contributing to configure servers, providing and optimizing load balancing of various components, Network and Infrastructure knowledge will help a Tech Lead to contribute significantly to Infra/Network teams in their day to day activities.

You may want to have a look at the previous articles of this series at:

  1. http://crmxpress.net/blog/post/2017/03/08/Desired-Skill-Set-for-Microsoft-Dynamics-CRM-Technical-Resources-Part-I
  2. http://crmxpress.net/blog/post/2017/05/03/Desired-Skill-Set-for-Microsoft-Dynamics-CRM-Technical-Resources-Part-II

Desired Skill Set for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Resources – Part II

Introduction

In this second article of the series Desired Skill Set for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Resources, I will describe what is expected of a Sr. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer.

Ideal total years of experience – 3 to 6 years

Desired technical skills

  1. HTML (Level 300) – At this level it is expected that developer is able to decide how to resolve a particular problem by applying various HTML techniques and has a general idea of UI Frameworks. Good understanding of CSS is also required so that basic styling of the UI can be done.

     

  2. JavaScript (Level 300) – At this stage, the developer must have decent command over JavaScript. From understanding various nuances of this powerful and omni-present scripting language, the developer at this level must be able to write and understand JavaScript code that deal with UI, Web Services (SOAP and REST) Integration. Moderate knowledge of various JavaScript frameworks (JQuery, JQuery UI, ReactJS, AngularJS, KnockoutJS to name a few) is expected at this level.

     

  3. ASP.Net (Level 300) – Excellent command over ASP.Net and surround technologies (MVC, WebAPI, SignalR, etc.). At this level it is expected that you will create / support integration with other ASP.Net based web applications. Additionally, high level understanding of other web technologies can help at this stage.

     

  4. C# (Level 300) – This is a must have for *any* level of CRM Developer and is essential in extending Dynamics CRM via Plug-ins, Custom Workflow Assemblies, Actions and various integration scenarios. At this stage, developer should have a decent understanding of Windows based application as well. Hands on knowledge of Windows Forms, WPF, Windows Services and other aspects of Windows programming can help go miles at this stage.

     

  5. Reporting and Business Intelligence (Level 300) – This is not a must have but it can definitely help you if you are considering career in Dynamics CRM. In addition to good reports development skills, at this stage it is expected that developer is aware of various business intelligence solutions for example Microsoft Power BI.

     

  6. Microsoft Azure (Level 200) – Strong understanding of Microsoft Azure and its various integrations with Dynamics CRM are must have at this level. For example, Customer Insights, Data Export Service, Data Loader Service, etc.

     

  7. Microsoft PowerApps and Flow (Level 200) – This is an optional area which Dynamics CRM technical resources should explore if they intend to integrate Dynamics CRM with many other web service providers.

     

You can find the previous article of this series at: http://crmxpress.net/blog/post/2017/03/08/Desired-Skill-Set-for-Microsoft-Dynamics-CRM-Technical-Resources-Part-I.

Desired Skill Set for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Resources – Part I

Introduction

This is going to be a multipart series in which I will cover the following levels of Microsoft Dynamics CRM

  1. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer
  2. Sr. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer
  3. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Tech Lead
  4. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Architect

Please note that this is a guidance, not a rule book. There are exceptions everywhere and rules/guidelines do not matter to them.

With that said, let's begin with the first role: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer.

Ideal total years of experience – 1 to 3 years

Desired technical skills

  1. HTML (Level 200) – This is a basic building block of any web technology you will work with. Microsoft Dynamics CRM, at its heart is a complex Web application only and many of complex customization scenarios can only be handled by extensive usage of HTML.

     

  2. JavaScript (Level 200) – Again a basic building block and a *MUST* have today – does not really matter if you are targeting Dynamics CRM as a career path. JavaScript is omnipresent and there are arguments in favor and against it but as a Dynamics CRM Developer, you must have more than basic understanding of JavaScript. Additionally, if you are comfortable with popular JavaScript frameworks like JQuery, JQueryUI, AngularJS, KnockoutJS, ReactJS then it can help you develop amazing WebResources at a half(or even less in some cases) the effort.

     

  3. ASP.Net (Level 200) – This is a must have for *any* level of CRM Developer and while it is not directly related to Dynamics CRM development but it is a must have as many Dynamics CRM implementation require some sort of custom portal implementation or custom web development.

     

  4. C# (Level 200) – This is a must have for *any* level of CRM Developer and is essential in extending Dynamics CRM via Plug-ins, Custom Workflow Assemblies, Actions and various integration scenarios.

     

  5. Reporting (Level 100) – This is not a must have but it can definitely help you if you are considering career in Dynamics CRM. Dynamics CRM has ad-hoc reporting capabilities which are helpful to build simple reports. If you need to develop complex reports, SQL Server Reporting Services Report Builder tool is what you will need.

     

  6. Microsoft Azure (Level 100) – This is an optional area but having somewhat understanding of Microsoft Azure and its integration areas with Dynamics CRM can help you stand out in the crowd.

Your comments/inputs are welcome. Please wait and watch this place for the next parts of this series.

A Step by Step Guide to Avail Trial of Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation and Field Service

This is my first post on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and I am hoping it will help at least a few to get started on this awesome (Sounds Clichéd? But I think it is the only appropriate adjective I can think of) business solution/platform.

I did hear that some people are facing a challenge with setting up Dynamics 365 PSA and Field Service Trial so here it is a… step by step guide to configure PSA and Field Service.

  1. Click on Solutions, and select Sales. You will see the screen as shown below. Click on Try It.

  2. You will be presented with a simple form. Fill up the details as you see fit. Regardless of your Geo-location and language preferences, I suggest you choose United States and English here. (You can thank me later for that tip). Click on Just One More Step.

  3. Another simple to fill form will pop up. Once you have filled in the details. Click on Create my account.

  4. You will have to now authenticate with a Phone number. It works for any listed country so does not matter where you are. Just select appropriate country code and enter cell number that you can access. Please do note that it sometimes does not work with certain cellular providers (Pre-paid/IP). Try with a different number if that is the case.

  5. You will be asked to login now. Provide the credentials you created in Step 4.
  6. You will see a Please Wait… screen with your own Org URL and once it is ready a link to begin the Setup will appear. I ran into an error at this point. If you run in an error you can log on to https://portal.office.com and click on Dynamics 365 to reach to the next step of this process.

     

  7. Once you click on Set up. You will see the screen as shown below.

  8. Select All of These and click on Complete Setup.
  9. Now you will be redirected to the following screen.

  10. Now click on Dynamics 365 on top left and a navigation bar will popup. Click on Get More Apps at bottom left.

  11. Dynamics 365 AppSource will be shown. In the Search field, type Field or Project, based on your requirements. Click on Try on appropriate App.

  12. Provide Confirmation as requested. Agree to the terms and conditions and click on Continue.

  13. You will be taken to Dynamics 365 Administration Center. From here you can install multiple solutions (Portals, Insights, Gamification) etc. as per your requirements.

  14. In future if you need to access the Dynamics 365 Administration Center, you can always do it by navigating to https://portal.office.com and then click on the Office menu in top right corner and expand Admin Centers and then click on Dynamics 365.

  15. Click on Solutions to manage the Solutions for a given Org.

I hope this guide will help you to get started with Dynamics 365. If you have any questions/comments please do reach out to me via comments.