Category: Cloud Advocate

PolarConf 2019

Speaking at PolarConf 2019 in Helsinki

Today I am excited to let you know that I will be speaking at this years PolarConf 2019 in Helsinki Finland, also known as the most northern Azure conference for IT professionals. PolarConf is a two-day, single track, conference focusing on Microsoft Azure and is organized by the Finland Azure User Group. PolarConf 2019 takes place from 16-17th of October in the Scandic Park hotel in Helsinki.

PolarConf is a two-day, single track, conference for all things Azure for IT Professionals, Architects and technology leaders. PolarConf will bring a world-class speaker lineup to Helsinki, Finland. Join us in Helsinki to hear the latest on cloud technology and tooling straight from the experts!

PolarConf 2019 is organized 16-17th of October in the Scandic Park hotel in Helsinki, Finland.
During the two fully-packed conference days, you will learn about the latest announcements, best practices and survival stories on the following topics:

  • Azure Platform, Tooling & Automation
  • Azure Case studies
  • Hybrid Azure solutions

PolarConf is built for modern technology professionals, who want to learn from experts speaking about their real-life production-level implementations, not slideware. PolarConf is a Finland Azure User Group event.

In my session, I will be speaking about Azure Cloud Shell.

Mastering Azure using Cloud Shell, PowerShell, and Bash!

Azure can be managed in many different ways. Learn your command line options like Azure PowerShell, Azure CLI, and Cloud Shell to be more efficient in managing your Azure infrastructure. Become a hero on the shell to manage the cloud!

This will be my first conference in Finland, and I am super excited. I hope to see you there!



Microsoft Azure Exam Certification Path

How to pick the right Azure Exam Certification Path

In my blog, why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified, I described why it makes a lot of sense to work on your Azure skills, take the exam, and become Microsoft Azure certified. Microsoft offers a wide variety of Azure certifications exams and role-based certifications to help you keep pace in your career with today’s business requirements. In this blog post, I want to help you, how you choose the right Microsoft Azure certification, exam, and learning path.

The question which comes up a lot is what Microsoft Azure exam should I take and which certification does matter for my job. To make this decision easier, Microsoft announced a new strategy to create role-based certification at Microsoft Inspire in 2018.

Overview and summary 📚

Before you read the whole article, here is the quick rundown of how you can pick the right Azure exam and certification path for you.

  1. Select the Azure solution area you want to achieve certification. This can be Azure Applications & Infrastructure or Azure Data & AI.
  2. Define if you want to get started with fundamentals or directly with the role-based certifications. The fundamental exams are optional to the certification process. However, by taking the fundamentals exam, you can make sure that you have the right base knowledge for the role-based exams, It also helps you if this is the first Microsoft certification exam you are taking, it makes you familiar with the testing process and the different types of questions.
  3. Select the role you want to achieve the certification. Depending on the solution area and type, you have different role-based certifications available.
  4. Read and verify the requirements like skills and exams for the specific certification.
  5. Select the first exam with which you want to start.
  6. Start learning 🎉

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification 🎓

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

The new Microsoft Azure exams and certifications are role-based. That means you have different exams and certification paths, depending in which role you are working.

Azure Solution Areas

Picking the right solution area is your essential starting point. There are two main solution areas of Azure certification and exams:

  • Azure Apps and Infra (Applications and Infrastructure)
  • Azure Data and AI (Data and Artifical Intelligence)

In both solution areas, you will find different role-based certifications available.

Microsoft Azure Certification Types

Microsoft Fundamentals and Role-based certification

Microsoft Fundamentals and Role-based certification

As you might have seen, the terms MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solution Associate), MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert or formerly also known as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) are going away. The new concept of certification is evolving our training and certifications away from product-focus, and more towards role-based focused.

Former NamingNew role-based certification
MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate)Fundamentals
MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate)Associate Roles
MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Engineer) or
MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer)
Expert Roles

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications and exams

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Azure Apps and Infra certifications are mainly designed for IT professionals and developers. There are the following role-based certifications are available in apps and infra:

Fundamentals

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals – With a focus on cloud concepts, core Azure Services, Azure pricing and support, and the fundamentals of cloud security, privacy, compliance, and trust. It builds the foundation of the Azure exams and requires the base knowledge about Microsoft Azure and cloud computing in general.

Associate and Expert roles

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate – Has a focus on implementing, monitor, and maintaining Microsoft Azure solutions, including primary services related to compute, storage, network, and security. It covers topics infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and others, which makes sure you have the technical Azure foundation. This is the certification I recommend to most people to get started with after they have done the Azure Fundamentals. It is not just for administrators, it helps everyone to understand different base Azure services.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate – Main focus on designing, building, testing, and maintaining cloud solutions, such as applications and services, partnering with cloud solution architects, cloud DBAs, cloud administrators, and clients to implement these solutions. With this focus, the certification is great for developers to understand different Azure services.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate – Focuses on implementing security controls and threat protection, managing identity and access, and protecting data, applications, and networks in cloud and hybrid environments as part of the end-to-end infrastructure. This certification goes through different security configuration, architectures, and services across Azure.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert – Azure DevOps professionals combine people, process, and technologies to continuously deliver valuable products and services that meet end-user needs and business objectives. This exam not only focuses on Azure DevOps but also on different general DevOps practices, such as source control, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD).
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert – The Azure Solution Architect exam focuses on expertise in compute, network, storage, and security so that they can design solutions that run on Azure. This exam has a strong emphasis on understanding different Azure services and architecting solutions on Azure.

This means you have to take the following exams:

LevelCertificationExams to takePrerequisites
FundamentalsAzure FundamentalsAZ-900none
AssociateAzure Administrator AssociateAZ-103none
AssociateAzure Developer AssociateAZ-203none
AssociateAzure Security Engineer AssociateAZ-500none
ExpertAzure DevOps Engineer ExpertAZ-400AZ-103 or
AZ-203
ExpertAzure Solutions Architect ExpertAZ-300 and
AZ-301
none

Azure Data & AI certifications and exams

Azure Data and AI certifications

Azure Data and AI certifications

In Data and AI, you have the following Azure Data & AI role-based certifications are available:

Fundamental

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals – With a focus on cloud concepts, core Azure Services, Azure pricing and support, and the fundamentals of cloud security, privacy, compliance, and trust. It builds the foundation of the Azure exams and requires the base knowledge about Microsoft Azure and cloud computing in general.

Associate and Expert roles

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate – With the main focus on applying Azure’s machine learning techniques to train, evaluate, and deploy models that solve business problems.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate – Focuses on designing and implementing the management, monitoring, security, and privacy of data using the full stack of Azure data services to satisfy business needs.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate – Includes a strong focus on using Cognitive Services, Machine Learning, and Knowledge Mining to architect and implement Microsoft AI solutions involving natural language processing, speech, computer vision, bots, and agents.
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert – The Azure Solution Architect exam focuses on expertise in compute, network, storage, and security so that they can design solutions that run on Azure. This exam has a strong emphasis on understanding different Azure services and architecting solutions on Azure.

This means you have to take the following exams:

LevelCertificationExams to takePrerequisites
FundamentalsAzure FundamentalsAZ-900none
AssociateAzure Data Scientist AssociateDP-100none
AssociateAzure Data Engineer AssociateDP-200 and
DP-201
none
AssociateAzure AI Engineer AssociateAI-100none
ExpertAzure Solutions Architect ExpertAZ-300 and
AZ-301
none

Conclusion 📝

As you can see, there are many different certifications and exams available depending on your job-role. If you are new to Azure, I recommend that you start with the optional Azure Fundamentals exam. If you are confident with cloud computing and Azure, you can directly go to the role-based associate and expert exams.

Microsoft Learn 🎓

Up your game with a module or learning path tailored to today’s IT Pro, developer, and technology masterminds and designed to prepare you for industry-recognized Microsoft certifications.

Create free Azure Account ☁

Create your Azure free account today and get started with 12 months of free services!

I hope this gives you a good overview of the available Azure certifications and exams. It should also give you an idea of where to start and pick the right Azure exam certification path. In the coming weeks, I will publish a blog on how you start learning for an Azure exam to get Azure certified. If you can’t wait until then, check out Microsoft Learn, which will provide you with different learning modules. If you want to know more about Microsoft Learn, check out my blog post called: Microsoft Learn – A Great Place To Learn!



Microsoft Azure Certifications

Why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified

If you have followed my recent blog posts, you might have seen that I used the time to get the Azure exams done and get Microsoft Azure Certified. In this blog, I want to show you why you should do the exams, and certifications to become Microsoft Azure certified. In another blog post, I will try to show you how you can become Microsoft Azure Certified. If you want to know which Azure certification and exam is right for you, check out my blog post.

Boost your career 💵

If you look why you should get Microsoft Azure certified, career reasons are always one of the first to come up. Of course, Microsoft and other industry certifications became interesting for companies to recruit new employees. IDC whitepaper (IT Certifications: Shorter Road to Valuable Positions) shows that Microsoft certification makes technology professionals more likely to get hired, demonstrate clear business impact, and advance their careers. The study shows that on average, Microsoft certified technologists earn 15% more than their uncertified peers. It is also needless to say that people holding a certification are getting hired faster. Don’t get me wrong; certification doesn’t mean that you are better than someone else. However, it is a great way to have validated your skills and have the validation on paper.

The potential of Cloud Computing ☁

Cloud is becoming more critical than ever, an IDC white paper (Cloud Skills and Organizational Influence: How Cloud Skills Are Accelerating the Careers of IT Professional, May 2017) says that by 2021, 38% of IT positions will be cloud-related. Companies are actively looking for the right skills of their employees, and getting your Azure certifications, will help you in your career. This doesn’t mean that you will immediately deal with a cloud-only environment, but it helps to strengthen your position in the future.

If you have a look at the growth rate of Azure, a career in the cloud business has tremendous potential.

Stepping out of your comfort zone 🛋

It doesn’t matter if we have been working in the industry for a while or if we are pretty new, cloud computing brings a new set of different challenges and things to learn. In my option, you will need to get a broader knowledge of different technologies, concepts, and services. Cloud services are changing fast and are usually well documented. This means if you worked with a service a couple of months ago, the chances are high that the service changed and became better. I don’t think that this is a big problem, we have documentation for that. However, I think it becomes more and more essential to understand different services and how they could work together.

Living in this fast-changing cloud world, also shows that you are willing to keep on learning and adapt to new technologies.

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification 🎓

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Overview

One question which comes up a lot from IT professionals as well as of people hiring IT professionals is: what certification does matter for which job. To make this easier, Microsoft announced a new strategy to create role-based certification at Microsoft Inspire in 2018. For the Azure certifications, this means that you can now pick your exam depending on your job role. If you want to get a whole overview of the Azure Certification exam, check out my blog post.

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications

Currently, you will find the following role-based Azure applications and infrastructure certifications:

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications

Azure Applications and Infrastructure certifications

Azure Data & AI certifications

And the following Azure Data & AI certifications

Azure Data and AI certifications

Azure Data and AI certifications

  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Scientist
  • Microsoft Certified Azure AI Engineer
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Data Engineer
  • Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect

Verify your skills and learn more 🤹‍♀️

Microsoft exams and certifications are not just here to get a better job and boost your career. For me, exams are also there to verify my skills and learn more about specific topics. This also applies to the Azure certifications. Taking an exam and preparing for an Azure certification, give you a defined set of technologies and topics you should learn, depending on the exam you take. I use certifications as a guide through different topics, to make sure I cover a base of all the relevant topics. This helps me to get some structure in my learning path. Whenever I take a Microsoft exam, I learn a lot, not just while preparing for the exam or about the topics I am looking for, but also many things around the exam. I called it the four stages of Microsoft exam learning, which will boost your knowledge.

  1. Preparing and learning of the Microsoft exam topics – These are the topics and technologies which are validated in the exam, and I focus on learning. These are mostly the topics listed on the skills measured page of the exam.
  2. Learning about related topics – While you are learning about the exam topics, you will also learn a lot about related technologies and concepts, which are not directly asked in the exam. However, these can be very important in your job or even another exam. For example, if you learn about Azure storage or databases, at one point, you will also learn about encryption and Azure key vault. This can be super helpful in the future, and it is a low hanging fruit since you are just discovering it while focusing on something else.
  3. During the exam – To me, it happens often, and I am always surprised by how much I learn even while taking a Microsoft exam. Depending on the questions and answers, I learn about new scenarios or how different services can work together. I agree, this is not the ideal time to learn a topic you should already know, but it is a subtle side effect.😁
  4. After the exam – Usually, there are always questions and topics you are not 100% sure about or even completely unaware of. It can help you to check out and read about these topics after the exam. Even when you passed the exam, it can improve your knowledge if you follow up on the topics you were not sure about. Especially if you consider that the questions which are asked during an exam are also most important for you to understand the topics.

I am usually excellent in phase 2 and 3 because they are more-less happening automatically and don’t require a lot of effort 😉. This is not ideal. I believe that the right focus for preparing the exam helps you and following up on topics you had difficulties, will improve your knowledge a lot. Getting Microsoft Azure certified can also help you to study and learn new technologies.

Become better at your job 👩‍🏭

Now, this might sound very obvious to you, but with more knowledge, you become better at your job. Microsoft certifications usually don’t just test you on a particular topic, but most of the time, you will be preparing and learning a lot of different topics. Which will make your knowledge much broader and will allow you to have a better understanding and overview of certain technologies. This means you can be much more impact-full in your job, influence decisions, and become a leader in your organization. If you are a consult and salesperson, it gives you more in-depth and broader knowledge about the technology. It allows you to better understand, and solve the customer challenges, which will be rewarded with more trust from the customer.

Microsoft competency for partners 🤝

If you are working for a Microsoft partner, certifications also help your company to get a higher Microsoft competency membership like gold or silver or even the Azure Expert Managed Services Provider program. And of course, it demonstrates your, and your companies proven expertise in Azure technologies.

How to become Microsoft Azure Certified

Since you are now convinced that becoming Microsoft Azure Certified is right for you, you might want to know how do I get started with Azure Certifications. Luckily for you, I am currently writing another blog post which will exactly cover that topic 😉. If you don’t want to wait until then, I would recommend that you get an overview of the role-based certification paths. If you are entirely new to Microsoft Azure, it is helpful to start with the AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals exam. To prepare for this exam, there are a couple of resources which you can have a look at, most importantly, Microsoft Learn. Microsoft Learn has an Azure Fundamentals learning path with different modules.

Microsoft Learn 🎓

Up your game with a module or learning path tailored to today’s developer and technology masterminds and designed to prepare you for industry-recognized Microsoft certifications.

In the next days and weeks, I will release a couple of post about how you can get started with your Azure certification and different study guides for the Azure exams to help you learn and prepare.



Top 10 Azure Influencers in 2019

Listed in the Top 10 Azure Influencers in 2019 by Whizlabs

I am proud and happy that Whizlabs listed me as one of the Top 10 Azure Influencers in 2019. I am honored to be on that list next to other top Microsoft Azure Influencers.

10 Best Azure Influencers You Should Follow
Azure influencers are the people who have either done the significant job in the Microsoft Azure or putting their efforts to help people learning and moving to Azure. The case of improvements in features and services provided by Microsoft Azure has contributed to the best azure influencers. This article aims at illustrating a list of the most notable Microsoft Azure thought leaders. The information about the experience of the top azure influencers in Microsoft Azure as well as their body of work is the prime highlight of this article.

After having my blog listed in the Top Microsoft Azure Blogs to follow in 2019 by Feedspot, this is a great honor to be listed as one of the top 10 Azure Influencers in 2019. I want to thank everyone how is following me and is reading and engaging with me on my blog. Having that engagement is driving my motivation.  If you have some topics or ideas I should cover in 2019, please let me know!



IT Career Energizer Episode Thomas Maurer

Part of the IT Career Energizer podcast

I had the chance to be part of Phil Burgess IT Career Energizer podcast. IT Career Energizer podcast helps those who want to start, develop, and grow their IT careers. Guests share their experience and advice, which will help others in their careers. It was great to talk to Phil as discuss some exciting highlights, like becoming a Microsoft MVP in 2012 and being part until 2019 when I joined Microsoft. We also discussed the challenges in my career and where I faced some difficult decisions, as well as some exciting times coming up in the IT industry.

When you listen to the I.T. Career Energizer you’ll hear from individuals from around the world.  Each guest gives their own perspectives on career development and their views on the future of technology. My guests include programmers, business analysts, project managers and testers to name but a few.

Phil did almost 200 episodes until today, and I am proud and happy to be part of it. You can listen and subscribe to the podcast on itcareerenergizer.com.



Altaro Azure Security Center Webinar

Free Webinar: Azure Security Center: How to Protect Your Datacenter with Next Generation Security

I am happy to announce that I will be speaking in a free webinar together with Microsoft MVP Andy Syrewicze about Azure Security Center. The Altaro webinar called Azure Security Center: How to Protect Your Datacenter with Next Generation Security will be focusing on Azure Security Center, and how you can protect your Cloud and Datacenter Infrastructure. The webinar will be free and it will be held twice on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019. You can save your seat by filling out the form here.

Webinar presented live twice:

  • Session 1: 2pm CEST – 8am EDT – 5am PDT
  • Session 2: 7pm CEST – 1pm EDT – 10am PDT

Free Webinar

Azure Security Center: How to Protect Your Datacenter with Next Generation Security

Azure Security Center: How to Protect Your Datacenter with Next Generation Security

Security has always been a fundamental concern of IT admins and now more than ever, in the age of the cloud datacenter, you need to ensure your workload security is ahead of the curve.

Join Thomas Maurer from the Microsoft Azure Team, alongside Microsoft MVP Andy Syrewicze, for a value-packed webinar that will show you how to batten down the hatches, even when your workloads are hosted in the public cloud! You’ll learn:

  • Azure Security Center Introductions
  • Deployment and first steps
  • Best Practices
  • Integration with other tools
  • And more!

With the industry’s transition to the cloud, we’ve seen a number of workloads migrate to service provider datacenters and public clouds like Azure. While many IT Pros are comfortable in dealing with core services in this manner, many find themselves at a loss when it comes to securing these next generation deployments. Pair that with an overly eager bad-actor community, and you have a recipe for disaster. However, new tools are designed to enhance existing security paradigms and help you sleep at night, such as Azure Security Center. Are you concerned about the strength of your Azure workload security? Struggling with where to start? We’ve got the webinar for you!

Taking advantage of the latest in security tools will ensure your organization stays one step ahead of the bad guys, and we’re here to help you get started!

See you there!

As mentioned, we will give you an overview of how Azure Security Center and strengthen your security posture and protect against threats with Azure Security Center. I will also show you features like Azure Just-in-Time VM access and many others.

I hope that you join the webinar and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments.



Nigel Frank Migrating and extending with Microsoft Azure

Article about Azure Migration on Nigel Frank International

This week my blog post on Azure Migration and Hybrid Cloud on the Nigel Frank International blog went live. The title of the article is, Migrating and extending your on-premises environment with Microsoft Azure. In that blog post, I what your advantages are by using the cloud and some of the different approaches to use Microsoft Azure. Before I then go deeper on different Azure scenarios and topics.

I cover a lot of different Azure options like:

Nigel Frank International

The public cloud is becoming more and more important for companies that want to stay agile and flexible to meet their business demands. But if a company decides to move to the public cloud, what are the best ways to migrate to Microsoft Azure? In this blog post, we’ll take a quick look at what services Microsoft offers to make your cloud migration easier.

It was fun to work with the team at Nigel Frank International and I hope you like the article.