At the 2018 Ignite Conference, Microsoft released information about the proposed restructuring of its Azure certifications to convert it into a role-based model. The certifications are now more focused on aligning knowledge according to job roles. With every certification, there is a learning path. You start from the fundamental level and then move on to the associate level and then finally to the expert level. Here are the different roles associated with the different Microsoft Azure certifications:
- Azure Fundamentals
- Azure Administrator Associate
- Azure AI Engineer Associate
- Azure Data Engineer Associate
- Azure Developer Associate
- Azure Solution Architect Expert
- Azure DevOps Engineer Expert
Now, let’s get into this certification path in detail:
1. Azure Fundamentals
This is the foundational level exam created for people who want to validate their skills in using basic cloud services of Microsoft Azure. You can take this exam even if you are not from a technical background. You should take this exam before moving on to any associate or expert level certifications. Although it is not compulsory, it is highly recommended to validate your foundational knowledge.
To ace this exam, you must be familiar with the Microsoft Azure platform and its cloud services. Also, you must have knowledge of security, compliance, privacy, support and pricing of Azure. This exam is available only in English at a cost of $99 USD.
2. Azure Administrator Associate
You need to pass this exam to get the role of Azure Administrator Associate. After passing, you will get an Azure Administrator Associate badge and become a Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate. If you had already passed the 70-533 exam certification, all you needed was to take the Exam AZ-102: Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Transition. However, the Transition exam was shut down after 30th June, 2019. Now, for the role of Azure Administrator Associate Role, you have to take the AZ-103 exam. This exam is also a prerequisite for the Azure’s DevOps Engineer Expert exam. To ace this exam, you must have a thorough understanding of the following:
- Azure applications, storage infrastructure, cloud, and operating systems
- Virtualization tools and network components.
- Command line interface and PowerShell
Just like the Azure Fundamentals exam, this exam is only available in English and costs $165 USD.
There was also an Azure Administrator Certification Transition Exam for people who have passed the 70-533 - Implementing Azure Infrastructure Solutions Exam, but this Transition exam too was retired on June 30, 2019..
3. Azure AI Engineer Associate
This role is for developers working in cognitive services, knowledge mining, and machine learning. Their job is architecting and implementing Microsoft AI solutions using bots, agents, speech, computer vision, and natural language processing.
4. Azure Data Engineer Associate
This role is for professionals working in designing and implementing the security, privacy, monitoring, and management of data. To do this and satisfy the business needs, the full stack of data services from Azure is used.
5. Azure Developer Associate
To get a job as an Azure Developer Associate, you need to pass the AZ-203: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure. If you want to apply for the Microsoft Certified Azure DevOps Engineer Expert exam, you need to pass this exam as a prerequisite. All the candidates who want to take this exam must be familiar with the following:
- Using the Azure platform to design and build cloud solutions
- Implementing tools and technologies of Azure for developing apps and services
- Knowledge of at least one programming language supported by cloud
- >1 year of experience in creating scalable solutions
The exam will cover topics such as development for Azure Storage, developing infrastructure of Azure as a Service Compute Solution, implementing Azure Security, monitoring, troubleshooting, and optimizing Azure solutions, and connecting and consuming services of Azure and from third-parties. The exam is available in English at a cost of $165 USD.
6. Azure Solution Architect Expert
For the role of an Azure Solution Architect Expert, you need to pass two exams - Exam AZ-300: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies and AZ-301: Microsoft Azure Architect Design. To ace these exams you need to be an expert in designing solutions running on the Azure platform. You must have knowledge of computing, security, storage, and network. You also need to have an understanding of planning solutions for meeting the needs of business.
7. Azure DevOps Engineer Expert
For this role, you need to pass Exam AZ-400. The candidates for this examinations are the professionals working for combining people, technologies, and processes for delivering services and products. They are responsible for meeting the business objectives and the needs of the customers. A DevOps professional must be able to optimize practices, create automation, and improve collaboration and communication. Azure DevOps professional must have the ability of designing and implementing the practices of DevOps for configuration management, version control, building, testing, releasing, infrastructure as code using the Azure technologies.
Now, let’s take a look at the different exams you need to pass for becoming an expert in different roles of Azure.
1. AZ - 300: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies
This exam validates your knowledge of secure and reliable architecting solutions. All the candidates participating in this exam must be familiar with the following:
- Identification, IT operations, data management, and security
- More than 1 year of experience architecting solutions
- Knowledge of Azure administration, development, and DevOps
The domains covered in the exam include deployment and configuration of infrastructure, implementing security and workload, architecting cloud technology solutions, creating and deploying apps, developing for the cloud, authentication implementation and securing data.
The exam costs $165 USD and is only available in English.
2. Microsoft Azure Architect Design (AZ-301)
The prerequisites for this exam is same as the AZ-300: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies. You need to pass the AZ-300 exam to be eligible for the AZ-301 exam. The exam will cover the following domains:
- Determining requirements of workload
- Designing for security and identification
- Designing a data platform solution
- Designing a strategy for business continuity
- Designing a strategy for infrastructure
- Designing to deploy, migrate and integrate applications
The price of the certification is $165 USD and the exam is available only in English.
3. AZ-400: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions
Candidate with a badge of Azure Developer Associate or Azure Administrator Associate can become an Azure DevOps Engineer Expert. In both cases, you have to take the AZ-400: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions Exam. the prerequisites for the exam includes the following:
- Expertise in Azure administration or Azure development and knowledge of both.
- Ability of designing and implementing practices of DevOps for infrastructure as version control, code, build, release, compliance, testing, and configuration management using the Azure technologies.
- Proficient in Agile practices.
The exam will cover the following domains:
- Designing a DevOps Strategy
- Implementing DevOps Development Processes
- Implementing Continuous Delivery
- Implementing Continuous Integration
- Implementing Dependency Management
- Implementing Continuous Feedback
- Implementing Application Infrastructure
The exam is available in English at a cost of $165 USD.
4. AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies
The role of Azure Security Engineer is the latest to be added in the Azure certification path based on roles. There is only on exam required to get this certification, AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies. Although not a necessity, passing the AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals exam is recommended before you take the Azure Security Technologies exam. Here are the prerequisites for this exam:
- Knowledge of how to use the Microsoft Azure platform to implement the security controls.
- Familiarity with networking, cloud N-tier architecture, and virtualization.
- Using the security tools for recognizing and addressing vulnerabilities.
- Protecting the data, applications, and network by implementing security solutions.
- Ability to automate and script, maintain security status, and knowledge of identity and access management.
The AZ-500 exam will cover the following domains:
- Securing data and applications
- Implementing platform protection
- Managing security operations
- Managing identity and access
This exam costs $165 USD and is available only in English.
Expired Role-based Azure Certifications
After getting feedback from candidates, Microsoft launched new certifications and expired a few. Here are the expired Azure certifications for the role of Azure Developer Associate and Azure Administrator Associate:
Newly Launched Microsoft Azure Certifications
Apart from the above-mentioned role-based certifications, Microsoft had launched 7 other certifications that contribute credit towards MCSE, MCSA, or MCP. Note that a few of the exams in this list have been retired in June 2019 (mentioned below).
1. Exam 70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
The exam is created for professionals who know how to design and implement Microsoft data platform solutions. They must also have some experience working with cloud-based platform solutions. The exam will include areas like designing and implementing database solutions for Microsoft Azure SQL server and Microsoft SQL Database, designing for scalability, high availability, and disaster recovery, managing and monitoring Azure’s database implementations, and designing and implementing security.
This exam has been retired on 30th June, 2019.
2. Exam 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
This exam is for data developers, data architects, data management professionals, and data scientists who use the Microsoft Azure to design big data analytics. They also must have experience in working with big data analytics solutions. The exam objectives include:
- Design big data interactive solutions and batch processing
- Design big data real-time processing solutions
- Operationalizing of end to end cloud analytics solutions
This exam has been retired on 30th June, 2019.
3. Exam 70-487: Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services
All the candidates taking this exam must be a developer with at least 3 to 5 years of experience developing web services and at least 1 year of experience developing web APIs and Azure Solutions. The objectives of the exam are:
- Accessing data
- Querying and manipulating data through Entity Framework
- Designing and Implementing Web Services
- Deploying Web Services and Applications
- Creation and Consumption of Web API based services
4. Exam 70-537: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack
This exam is for service administrators and infrastructure administrators using Microsoft Azure Stack for providing cloud services. The candidates must also have experience managing and operating Azure Stack environments and have knowledge of Microsoft Azure, Windows Server 2016 and hybrid cloud resources. The exam objectives include:
- Deployment and integration of an Azure Stack Environment
- Configuration of IaaS and PaaS for the Azure Stack Environment
- Maintenance and Monitoring of the Azure Stack Environment
- Enable DevOps for Azure Stack Tenants
- Provide Services to Azure Stack Tenants
5. Exam 70-774: Perform Cloud Data Science with Azure Machine Learning
Created for data analysts and data scientists working to build and deploy intelligent solutions through Azure cloud services. Candidates must have experience in Machine Learning, Data Science Processes, and Azure data services. Here are the objectives of this exam:
- Development of Machine Learning Models
- Preparation of Data for Analysis through Azure Machine Learning
- Exporting data from Azure MAchine LEarning
- Usage of services for Machine Learning
- Management and operation of Machine Learning Services
6. Exam 70-775: Perform Data Engineering on Microsoft HDInsight
Intended for data developers, data architects, data engineers, and data scientists who are working on implementing big data engineering workflows on Azure HDInsight. Working experience in big data analytics solutions is also recommended. The exam objectives include:
- Implementation of Big Data Batch Processing Solutions
- Implementation of Big Data Interactive Processing Solutions
- Administration and Provision of HDInsight Clusters
- Implementation of Big Data Real-Time Processing Solutions
Please note that this exam has been retired on 30th June, 2019.
7. Exam 70-776: Engineering Data with Microsoft Cloud Services
This exam is for professionals who design analytical solutions and build operationalized solutions on the Azure platform. Experience in handling issues related to data engineering is also recommended. Here are the objectives of the exam:
- Use the Azure Data Lake to design and implement analytics
- Use the Azure Data Factory to design and implement cloud-based integration
- Use the Azure Stream Analytics to design and implement complex event processing
- Design and implement Azure SQL Data Warehouse Solutions
- Manage and maintain Azure Data Lake, Azure Data Factory, Azure Stream Analytics, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse.
Preparing for the New Microsoft Azure Certifications
There are several classroom training programs and online classes to help you prepare for the new Microsoft Azure certifications. Various platforms also provide practice tests to take after the certification training. Here are a few steps that will help you prepare for the certification exam:
1. Exam details
Get all the information you can get regarding the certification. This will also help you know about the criteria.
2. Checking prerequisites and course content
To prepare for the Azure certification, you need to check out the course content. Also, before you select the certification path, you need to take a look at the prerequisites as well.
3. Checking exam overview
The overview includes information, domains and objectives of the exam. You need to check this out before selecting the training.
4. Taking help of exam guide
Exam guides will help you understand the roadmap and the components of the Microsoft Certification deeply.
5. Studying Certifications Whitepapers
The certification whitepapers will help you understand the exam objectives and prepare you for the Microsoft Azure Certifications Path.
6. Reading recommendation books
Recommended books are a great way for knowing more about the certifications. For this to work, you need to follow every instruction given in the book.
7. Taking sample questions and practice tests
You need to check out the sample questions and take practice tests after preparing for the certification path.
Whether you should go for the Microsoft Azure Certifications or not depends on its scope in the future. There are different aspects covered by this certification including storage, integration, security, reliability, networking, and administration. As you know that all these certifications are cloud-based, you should pursue these certifications to get ahead in your Azure career path.
Now you know all there is to know about the Microsoft Azure Certifications and how they can benefit your career. This will help you in selecting the best certification for you. For more information on Azure cloud and certification, try the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals course by KnowledgeHut.