Tag: Azure Certification

Tips on how to take Microsoft Azure Certification Exams

Tips on how to take Microsoft Azure Certification Exams

As I wrote a couple of blog posts on Microsoft Azure Certification exams, like why should you become Microsoft Azure Certified, how you pick the right Azure Certification path or how you prepare for an Azure exam, I now got the questions if I have some tips to share about how to take the Microsoft Certification exams. I know that everyone takes exams differently, but I want to share what helped me to pass the exams. So here is a short list with tips on how you can be more successful when you take your Microsoft Azure Certification Exams.

Make sure you are prepared 💪

As mentioned in my blog post how you prepare and pass a Microsoft Azure Certification exam, you need to go through the topics and prepare. There are a lot of great resources to prepare for this exam. Great free resources I use usually are Microsoft Docs and Microsoft Learn, make sure you check out my blog post to get prepared.

There are also Microsoft Official Practice Tests available which are a great way to build your confidence and validate your skills, allowing you to identify gaps that you might need to resolve before you take your Microsoft Certification exam. Another resource you might find helpful is the Exam Replay offer, giving you the opportunity to retake the same exam if you failed the first time.

Empower your brain ⚡

Now it is essential to make your mind work best during the exam. Make sure you had enough sleep, and you have the right amount of sugar and caffeine in you. Depending on the exam, you will be spending quite some time on the exam, and you will read a lot, so make sure you have enough energy to get the answers out of your brain. Questions often come with a lot of different information. Parts of that information is relevant for the answer, and other parts are not. You will need to focus on sorting relevant and irrelevant information.

Plan enough time and avoid stress ⌚

If you are going to take the exam at a test center, make sure you show up early. It is not great if you have to rush into the exam room because you came late. The same applies when you are taking the exam from home. I like to be ready for the exam more-less half an hour before the exam starts. This gives me a little bit of time to get in exam mode and make my brain switch from the thing I was doing before, to the exam topic.

Get into the topic 📄

For some people switching context between different things isn’t a big deal. For me, it works best if I have some ‘stress-free’ time after the last thing I did, before getting into the exam mode. I usually do an extra round on Microsoft Docs to get my brain thinking about the right context.

Get comfortable 🛋

Make sure you are relaxed and ready for the exam at least half an hour before your exam is scheduled to start. Also, make sure you used the restroom, you had your coffee and water because you are not allowed to take a break during the exam, and you can’t have these things close to you during the exam. And again, be relaxed, if you don’t pass the exam it isn’t the end of the world, you can still retake the exam another time. That said, also make sure you take advantage of special offers, like exam replays.

Read the questions carefully 👓

Make sure you read the questions carefully, to understand what is really asked. It also helps you to navigate through the exam, usually, you can go back to specific questions later. However, in some cases, the exam will let you know that you cannot access the question later after you have clicked next.

Answer all questions and use the mark question feature ✔

Now, when you start with the exam, you will maybe find some topics you are not familiar with, and you might not be sure about the answer. In these cases, you can mark this question and come back to it later, so you don’t lose too much time on it. If you don’t know the answer, make sure you at least select an answer, it is always better to have a small chance in guessing the right answer, then not answering the question at all. If you want to know more about the different types of questions in a Microsoft exam, check out my blog, which has a couple of additional tips on how to prepare and pass the exam.

Write down what you have learned 📝

For me it doesn’t matter if I have passed the exam or not, I always write down things I didn’t know the answer to. This allows me to look them up later and learn more. Make sure you don’t share this information since that would violate the testing policies.

Do you have tips to take a Microsoft Azure Exam? 🤔

I hope this blog post gives you some useful tips on how to take a Microsoft Azure Certification exam. Do you have any suggestions and tips? Let me know in the comments!

By the way, make sure you take the 2020 IT Skills and Salary Survey from Global Knowledge and be one of the first to get the results of the report early next year.

Getting started! 🧪

Are you also interested in becoming Microsoft Azure Certified? Check out my blog posts about why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified and how to pick the right Azure exam certification path. And have a look at my Azure exam experience with the different Azure exams.



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.

You can also have a look at my experience with the different Azure exam certifications:

If you want to get started, check out Microsoft Learn and your Azure Free account.

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 Certified Azure Administrator Associate

Passed AZ-103 Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator

After the announcement of the new Microsoft Azure certifications at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas, I decided to take the beta exam, which was available to upgrade my current Azure certifications. Since I had already passed Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions, I needed exam AZ-102 to do the transition. Today I got confirmation that I passed the Microsoft exam AZ-102 and earned the Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate certification. Since that time, Microsoft changed the exams, and you will now need to take exam AZ-103 to get the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator certification. The overall content and exam subjects are still the same, but instead of taking two exams, AZ-100 and AZ-101, you only need to take AZ-103.

I already took the new available beta Exam for the Microsoft Certified Azure Architect at Microsoft Ignite; however, for the results, I still need to wait a bit.

What is Exam AZ-103 Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

The new certifications are based on different job roles, like Azure Administrator, Azure Developer, and Azure Architect. You can read more about the new Azure Certifications here on my blog.

Earning Azure Administrator Associate certification demonstrates understanding of services across the IT lifecycle, and ability to take requests for infrastructure services, applications, and environments. Candidates for this certification are typically Azure Administrators who manage cloud services spanning storage, security, networking, and compute cloud capabilities. They recommend services to use for optimal performance and scale, as well as provision, size, monitor, and adjust resources.

This is excellent news to start in the day while I am flying to a customer in Paris today for some more Azure work.

Exam Preparation

The skills measured in AZ-103 are a mix of the former AZ-100 and AZ-101 and will focus on Azure Infrastructure and deployment, Azure Integration, and Azure Security. If you are just getting started with Microsoft Azure, I recommend that you take first the exam AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals. This is not a required exam, but it is a great way to validate your knowledge. However, if you feel comfortable you can also directly start with the Azure Administrator Associate exam. To prepare for the Azure Fundamentals exam, check out the following Microsoft Learn module.

I often get asked how I prepared for exams such as this. It makes sense to certify the knowledge you already have. I usually use Microsoft free online courses on Channel 9, Virtual Academy and now the new Microsoft Learn. However, I realized that also the Azure Documentation is a great resource to learn. I recommend you check the skills needed for the exam, in this case, AZ-103 and read the specific Azure Documentation for these topics, and also try it out. The best training and learning experience you always get by trying things out. You will not just learn the specific subject you are looking on, but you will also learn a lot about other related topics.

AZ-103 Microsoft Learn Certified Azure Administrator

Microsoft Learn Azure Administrator

Microsoft Learn gives you the chance to filter the modules by related topics and is one of the best, if not the best starting point for the AZ-103: Microsoft Azure Administrator exam.

Are you also interested in becoming Microsoft Azure Certified? Check out my blog posts about why you should become Microsoft Azure Certified, how to pick the right Azure exam certification path and how to prepare and pass a Microsoft Azure certification exam. I hope this helps you to prepare and study for the AZ-103 exam and if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.