Tag: Learning

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.



Prepare and pass a Microsoft Azure Certifciation Exam Microsoft Learn

How to Prepare and Pass a Microsoft Azure Exam

There are many good reasons to become Microsoft Azure Certified and take the Microsoft Azure exams. If you are reading this blog post, you might already have decided that you want to take a Microsoft Azure exam and get a certification. Since I passed a couple of the Azure exams, I would like to share how I prepared for these exams and passed. Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to pass them as well.

Passing exams is all about having the right strategy and preparation. If you are looking for tips and tricks to on how to take a Microsoft exam, check out my following blog.

Choose the right Azure exam and certification ☁🎓

To begin with, make sure you choose and pick the certification path and exam which is right for you. There are a lot of different exams and industry certifications out there. Microsoft’s approach of role-based certifications are aligned to relevant market and industry job-roles, to make it easier to find the right one. It makes a lot of sense to pick the right one for you, depending on where you are in your career and where you’re going. I wrote a blog post to give you an overview and pick the different Azure exam certification paths.

Identify the certification of your interest to find the required exams. To browse all the Microsoft Certification exams, check out the official website.

Start Small 🤏

If you are not 100% sure where and with which exam to start, I recommend that you start small by taking the AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals exam. This will help you understand how Microsoft exams work by not being too deep into technology. Having experience taking Microsoft exams helps you to focus on the actual topics and not on the testing process. Also, make sure that you have a look at these special offers, you can find more information on special offers further down.

Know the exam content, read what is measured 📏

First thing after and during picking the exam is to see what is asked during the exam. Every Microsoft exam page lists the “skills measured” in the exam. This list is usually very accurate and helps you to focus and study the right content. The page itself even lists available training and courses to prepare for the exam.

Microsoft Azure Exam Page - Skills measured and Prepare for exam

Microsoft Azure Exam Page – Skills measured and prepare for the exam

Understand the question types ❓

Understanding the exam formats and question types before taking the exam can help you a lot. Microsoft does not mention which question types for exam formats are exactly in each exam, but you can find a list of exam and questions samples here in this YouTube playlist. Understanding what questions types will be coming in your exam, will make it easier for you to answer them and get the most point per question.

Take free hands-on learning courses on Microsoft Learn 🎓

Microsoft Learn was introduced at Ignite 2018 as a free learning platform for a lot of different Microsoft technologies, not just Azure. Microsoft Learn provides you with various learning paths depending on your job role or the skills you are looking for. Most of the learning paths give you a hands-on learning opportunity so that you can develop practical skills through interactive training. And it is free! You get instant in-browser access to Microsoft tools and modules, no credit card required.

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn

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.

Hands-on experience 💪

The best way to learn and pass the Microsoft Azure exams, or basically to learn anything, is most of the time through real hands-on experience with the technology. While Microsoft Learn gives you some free hands-on learning modules, there is also an Azure free account. The Azure free account will provide you with 12 months of free Azure services. You can find out more here. Make sure you dive into the skills measured and try the tutorials in the Microsoft Docs.

Read the Microsoft Docs 📄

Next, to Microsoft Learn and Hands-on experience, this is one of my main recommendations to prepare for a Microsoft Azure exam. Read the Microsoft Azure Documentation. Trust me on this, Azure and the topics which come up in the exams are very well documented. As mentioned, read the skills measured on the exam page, look up the specific Microsoft Docs pages and read through them and try out the tutorials.

Microsoft Docs Azure

Microsoft Docs Azure

Video courses and training 📽

There are a lot of different video training courses out there, which allow you to do video-based Azure exam preparations. To mention a couple of them like LinkedIn Learning, Pluralsight, Whizlabs, ITPro.TV, Udemy, A Cloud Guru and many many more! Just browse through the different offers and read the review to find the best match for you. There are also a lot of Microsoft Learning Partners which offer online courses.

Choose instructor-led courses and learning partners 👨‍🏫

As you can see, there is a lot of self-study learning materials out there to prepare and pass the Azure exams. However, the classroom experience can be super beneficial and efficient, especially with the right trainer. You can find a list of official Microsoft Learning Partners with Microsoft Certified Trainers depending on your country here. A lot of them offer different courses for different technologies and in combination with in-person or online training.

Books 📚

If you prefer to learn and prepare for an exam using books, Microsoft offers books written by the experts at Microsoft Press. There are some excellent books which will help you learn more and prepare and pass the Microsoft Azure exams. However, if you get a hard copy of the book, it won’t be updated in the future, to reflect changes in the technology or in the exams.

Take a practice exam 📝

Some of the exams also have official practice exams available. These are great to see where in the learning process you are standing and on which topics you need to spend a little bit more time. I highly recommend that you only do the official practice exams and don’t use brain dumps. Besides cheating on the exam and yourself, brain dumps are often simply wrong and contain a lot of mistakes. You can find Microsoft official practice tests here.

Study groups 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓

If you have a couple of colleagues, friends, or people you met at an Azure User group meetup, it can help to build a study group. Study groups don’t just help you to get more structure in your learning. They also help you to gain a new perspective on the study material and reduce procrastination.

Relax 🏝

Make sure on the day of the exam you are relaxed. Have enough sleep and no stress and other appointments directly and before the exam, which could make you run into a potential time issue. Make sure you arrive early at the test center, to have enough time and no need to rush so that you can focus on the exam itself.

Take the exam online 💻

Taking Microsoft exam at home

Taking a Microsoft exam at home

Sometimes it is difficult to find a test center which is close to you, or they don’t have time slots available. To make it easier, you can also take an exam online by using at-home testing. For example, Person Vue offers an online proctoring service called OnVUE, which allows you to take the exam from home or your office. I take almost every exam online these days, which saves me a lot of time. However, it also comes with a couple of requirements. For example, you will need to have a room where no other person can walk in and no monitor or other things close by which cloud make it possible to cheat. You can find more about taking the exam online on the Microsoft Learning page.

Special Offers 💵

Microsoft also has a great set of Microsoft Learning special offers like student discounts and exam replays. Exam replays allow you to retake the exam if you don’t pass it the first time. This can make your exam experience way more relaxed. It is worth checking out the special offers to see if there is one for you.

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.

I hope this gives you an overview of how you can prepare and pass for a Microsoft Azure Certification exam. In my next blog about the Microsoft Azure Certification exams, I will give you some tips for taking the exam itself. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



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. You can find a list of all the role-based certification here.

  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!



AZ-400 Microsoft Certified Azure DevOps Engineer

Passed AZ-400 Microsoft Certified Azure DevOps Engineer

Today I manage to pass the last Azure AZ exam. This time I took exam AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions, which gives you the Microsoft Certified Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification. This exam is focused on Azure DevOps solutions, DevOps strategy, implementing DevOps development processes, implementing CI/CD, and much more.

AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions

Candidates for this exam are DevOps professionals who combine people, process, and technologies to continuously deliver valuable products and services that meet end user needs and business objectives. DevOps professionals streamline delivery by optimizing practices, improving communications and collaboration, and creating automation. They design and implement strategies for application code and infrastructure that allow for continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous delivery, and continuous monitoring and feedback.

Candidates must be proficient with Agile practices. They must be familiar with both Azure administration and Azure development and experts in at least one of these areas. Azure DevOps professionals must be able to design and implement DevOps practices for version control, compliance, infrastructure as code, configuration management, build, release, and testing by using Azure technologies

You can find more about the exam and more details on the Microsoft Learning platform. If you successfully pass the AZ-400 exam, you will get the Microsoft Certified Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification, where you can learn more about here.

How to prepare for the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions exam

Microsoft Learn DevOps

If you want to prepare for this exam, I have a couple of recommendations for you. First of all, Microsoft Learn DevOps modules. Microsoft Learn is a fantastic learning platform to make you familiar with not just Microsoft Azure technologies, but a lot of other Microsoft products and services. Secondly, there is an excellent Microsoft Course on OpenEDX called Implementing DevOps Development Processes, created by Microsoft MVP Tarun Arora. To get some hands-on experience, I highly recommend the Azure DevOps labs on azuredevopslabs.com. Last but not least, I also recommend the AZ-400 study notes from Gregor Suttie, they will help you to find the right content and focus.

As for every exam, start working with the product and try it out, this is always the most effective learning experience. If you need some free Azure credits, check out this page.

Azure Certifications

Microsoft offers different certifications depending on various job roles. If you are just getting started with Azure, I also highly recommend that you are doing AZ-900, which is the Azure Fundamentals 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 gives you a quick overview of the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions exam, and if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Microsoft Learn

Microsoft Learn – A Great Place To Learn!

In a world with always evolving and fast changing technology, it can be hard to keep up with the latest innovation. However, in our just we need to keep learning and be more efficient. It can be difficult to find the right resources and the right content. This is why Microsoft launched Microsoft Learn, a new platform to learn technology and keep up with the fast pace of our industry.

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft recently switch the certification programs for Azure to role-based certifications, for example Azure Administrators, Azure Developers and Azure Architects. The new Microsoft Learn platform also gives you a training and modules based on your role selection.

Microsoft Learn Guide

Microsoft Learn Guide

The platform has a guided experience, explaining you the technology with text, videos, control questions, but also with hands-on training using sandboxes in Azure for free.

Microsoft Learn Sandbox and Hands-on

Microsoft Learn Sandbox

You cannot only read and watch videos, you also have a hands-on expierence. You can get a sandbox environment to live try code or even the portal experience to work with Azure or other Microsoft technology. In this example, I have the Microsoft Learn Guide on one site and Azure Cloud Shell on the other. I don’t even need to jump out of the learning experience, I just simply can try out the code.

Get started with Microsoft Learn

The Microsoft Learning platform is much more than I just explained. And Microsoft is working hard on adding even more content for more products and services to the page. If you want to get startet with Azure Certifications or just Azure in general, Microsoft Learn is the place to be!

And the best thing, it is free. You get amazing content guide and explained with labs to even try it out by yourself. The only thing you need is time and the willingness to learn. To try it out, just visit the Microsoft Learn homepage and let me know what you think!



Microsoft KiPi

Microsoft Learning: Know it. Prove it. Challenge for Hybrid Cloud

Some weeks ago I passed Microsoft Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions which means I am now Microsoft Certified on Microsoft Azure technology. Microsoft has just lunched a new certification challenge called Know it. Prove it. which leverages free resources at the Microsoft Virtual Academy and take  Microsoft exams afterwards.

A few things about the challenge:

  • There are 8 different learning tracks, ranging from Cloud Development over Web Development to Hybrid Cloud or Office 365.
  • Each track consists of a learning module which is accessible from anywhere so learners can watch video tutorials and do assessments whenever is easy!
  • During KiPi, learners can track their progress, earn badges and points, compete against other challenges, and share experiences with others who are participating.
  • Although the challenge officially kicked off on February 1st, it’s not too late to get started.
  • The “Know It” portion of the challenge runs all of February and the “Prove It” part (i.e. get certified) will start March 1st and end on March 31st

For all Virtualization and Cloud Architects and Engineers this makes really sense to prepare what is coming next for Microsoft Cloud or Windows Server as well as System Center and Hyper-V. So checkout the the Know it. Prove it. challenge on the Microsoft Virtual Academy.