Monday, February 18, 2019

Implementing Sitecore Experience Commerce™ 9.0.2 (300) Training Course Overview

Last week, I attended the Implementing Sitecore Experience Commerce™ 9.0.2 (Sitecore Commerce 300) training course with several of my fellow Rightpoint team members led by experienced Sitecore trainer Michael Mavrofrides (always highly recommended).  It was the first official on-site Sitecore training course I've taken in over 5 years and first training course I've taken for Sitecore's Commerce offering.

If you're planning to take the course this year, this quick overview may help clarify what to expect and how to prepare in order to get the most out of your training sessions.

Course Objectives

  1. Discuss the technical features Sitecore Experience Commerce (Shops, Pricing, Catalog, Promotions, Inventory, Fulfillment, Payments, Orders, Shopping Cart, Checkout, Entitlements, BizFX Merchandiser Tool).
  2. Build a storefront using SXA components
  3. Explain the benefits of SXA
  4. Understand plugin architecture and how to extend Sitecore Experience Commerce
  5. Pass a 'quiz' to obtain a Certificate of Training.  (This is not a certification for Commerce, but rather just an overview with ~32 questions covering material from the course)

Course Structure

The course offers 25 hours (4 days) of material which really ties together concepts covered in the Sitecore® Experience Commerce™ 9 100: Overview and Sitecore® Experience Commerce™ 9 200: Essentials eLearning courses.  The training is held onsite - in many cases -a Microsoft training center. 

The material is a combination of presentation slides and student labs. Student Labs consist of material covered during the slides and are completed on a VM provided by the trainer so you won't have to worry about installing anything locally.  Simply make sure you're able to access remote machines using Windows Remote Desktop Manager.

Getting the Most Out of Training

Complete the Prerequisite Courses

Definitely come with the minimum prerequisite courses.  It's important to come into class with a baseline understanding of what Sitecore Commerce has to offer.  If you have any questions from those lower level courses, this class gives you the opportunity to ask a certified Sitecore trainer for any clarification.

Have Exposure (If Possible)

One of our co-workers had a few weeks of real life Sitecore Commerce development exposure and he certainly benefited where the course was able to clarify certain aspects prior. If you have the opportunity to be exposed to commerce development  (specifically Commerce Plugin development and SXA integration), it's a great way to get ahead of the course material and discover things in-flight during training that you may have come across during development.

In any case, you'll still find the course material useful from a conceptual perspective.

Engage in Meaningful Discussion

One of the best ways to learn is to engage in meaningful discussions. Talking through architectural and development concepts that may not make sense right away in plain text will facilitate a better understanding of those concepts.

Our course was filled with Rightpoint developers and architects, so we had an extra advantage to openly discussing any specific questions regarding course material.  During the class, ask questions or clarification at any point to make an effort to understand the material fully. Even specific questions regarding specific scenarios not explicitly covered in the course are not off limits.  This is the time to ask!

Understand the Coding Exercises. 

The student labs have a technical side to them as the course is gear towards "advanced-level course for ASP.NET MVC web developers and solution architects with advanced C# skills". There's an expectation that you're comfortable working within various Windows tools including Visual Studio, IIS, machine certificates, system services, etc. 

Many of the labs require you to create a series of classes to build Commerce Plugin components. Luckily, the labs come with all the code snippets you need to complete each exercise. The downside there is because there's a whole lot of copying pasting, it may be difficult to understand what you're actually doing. 

Take the time to read all the notes within the student lab guide, as well as adding breakpoints/debugging through the code to build a proper understanding.  Ultimately, your Sitecore Commerce development skills will improve with real-world scenarios and repetition, but following the general code structure in the labs will help facilitate those basic building blocks.

Provide Feedback

There were some issues throughout the student labs - whether it was a lapse in steps or terminology confusion.  That's okay! The Sitecore training team is constantly trying to improve the course for a better experience for the next group.  Issues we ran into may no longer be problematic in future courses due to our feedback. 

Pass any feedback along to make sure future attendees and trainers can handle issues more swiftly.  After the quiz, you'll have the opportunity to provide an assessment of the course and trainer.  This feedback is imperative to improving the course for future students, so be specific and honest!

After the Course

After completing the quiz, you'll get a nice little certification and a code to take the Sitecore Commerce Certification exam (which expires 1 year after the course ends). 

Take the knowledge you learned from the courses and apply them to your Sitecore Commerce projects, and prepare to take the Certification exam by studying/reviewing all the material. If you have any questions after the course, you can always email your trainer.

Goooo Sitecore Commerce, Go!

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