Category: Cloud Advocate

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.

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.

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.



AZ-500 Microsoft Certified Azure Security Engineer Associate

Passed Exam AZ-500 Microsoft Certified Azure Security Engineer Associate

The new Azure Security exam just came out of beta, and I took some time to learn and see if I would pass it. I am happy that I just passed exam AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies, which focuses on Microsoft Azure security engineers who implement security controls, maintain the security posture, manages identity and access and protects data, applications, and networks. After passing this exam, you can call yourself a Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate. Azure Security Engineers implement security controls and threat protection, manage identity and access, and protect data, applications, and networks in cloud and hybrid environments as part of the end-to-end infrastructure. That means this exam covers different topics across the Azure infrastructure and many various Azure services like Azure AD, Azure IaaS, Azure Networking, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Databases, Azure Monitor, Azure Security Center and many more.

Exam AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies

Candidates identify and remediate vulnerabilities by using a variety of security tools, implements threat protection, and responds to security incident escalations. As a Microsoft Azure security engineer, candidates often serve as part of a larger team dedicated to cloud-based management and security and may also secure hybrid environments as part of an end-to-end infrastructure.

Candidates for this exam should have strong skills in scripting and automation, a deep understanding of networking, virtualization, and cloud N-tier architecture, and a strong familiarity with cloud capabilities, Microsoft Azure products and services, and other Microsoft products and services.

You can find more detailed information on the Microsoft exam website. There you will find all the skills measured in this exam.

How to prepare for the AZ-500 exam

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn

Exams always have a specific focus; this one covers a broad set of Azure security topics over different Azure services. This means you not only need to have particular security know-how, but also a good overview of the various Azure services. If you don’t have that right now, I recommend that you might start with other exams, such as AZ-900 and AZ-10X for the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate. But if you want to go forward with the AZ-500 exam and become a Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate, first have a look at the more detailed information on the Microsoft exam website. Start reading through the Microsoft Docs about the different security topics mentioned in the skills measured, and also get some hands-on experience by trining out the various technologies. My favorite place to learn and understand some tutorial about different topics is Microsoft Learn! On Microsoft learn, you can use a lot of different learning modules, and some of them are focused on Azure Security. If you want to know more about Microsoft learn, check out my blog post: Microsoft Learn – A Great Place To Learn!

At Microsoft Ignite The Tour, our team also presented a session on securing your Azure environment, my session in Amsterdam was recorded, you can watch it here: Microsoft Ignite The Tour 2019 Azure Hybrid Session Recordings.

With that, I wish you happy learning and good luck with the AZ-500 Microsoft Azure Security Technologies exam!



Microsoft Certified Trainer MCT

MCT Microsoft Certified Trainer 2019

After becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) back in 2017, I am happy to let you know that I requalified for the Microsoft Certified Trainer in 2019. Being an MCT again is a great honor and I am happy to be part of this community, even I am now working for Microsoft.

Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) are the premier technical and instructional experts in Microsoft technologies. Join this exclusive group of worldwide Microsoft technical training professionals and reap the benefits of MCT training certification and membership. You will get exclusive benefits as an MCT including access to the complete library of official Microsoft training and certification products, substantial discounts on exams, books, and Microsoft products. In addition, you will be able to use Microsoft readiness resources to help you enhance your training career and engage with other MCT members in an online community forum. You will also receive invitations to exclusive Microsoft and local MCT community events.

Microsoft Certified Trainer 2019-2020

If you want to know more about becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer or if you want to know more about Microsoft Certifications, please let me know in the comments. If you want to know more about the latest Azure exams like AZ-10X, AZ-30X or AZ-900, check out my blog posts.

You can find a general overview of the new Azure Certifications here.