A Guide to the New Azure Certifications — Prepare and Pass!

Cloud-related IT jobs are expected to grow 13% annually over the next 3 years, and according to the IDC, will account for an estimated 38% of all information technology positions by 2021.

With a majority of Fortune 500 companies now using Microsoft Azure,  it’s no wonder that IT professionals are looking to Microsoft Certifications as a great way to take the next step in their career.

If you are considering investing time and money in any Microsoft certification, you’ll need to first understand the recent transformation Azure certification tracks have undergone. You’ll then need to determine which certification is best for you, and have a winning strategy to pass the exam.

To that end, this article will offer a brief on the following:

  • Changes to core Azure certifications
  • Skill and knowledge break down
  • Prepare and pass


Azure certifications: What’s changed?

In response to criticism that exams were too broad and tested for skills that few professionals actually used on the job, Microsoft announced an overhaul of its Azure certification tracks in September of 2018 .

So, how does it work? The new paths focus on training specific skills that more closely align with job tasks, and cut out what’s not necessary.

Each path is intended to align with a specific role, including the three core role-based courses already released: Microsoft Azure Administrator, Azure Developer, and Azure Solutions Architect.

For exam candidates, this is good news! Exams will be leaner and more focused.

The new certification tracks represent an opportunity to hone in on the skill sets you are most interested in and will be of the most benefit to your career. Note, that the existing core certifications 70-532, 70-533, and 70-535, will be retired on December 31st, 2018.

New core certifications: Skill and knowledge breakdown

Azure Administrator Associate

Cloud administrators are tasked with configuring, managing, and upgrading an organization’s cloud solution. To become a Microsoft certified Azure Administrator Associate, you will need to pass exam AZ-100 and AZ-101.

Azure administrators have far-reaching responsibilities and opportunities, and should become experts in the following:

  • Managing subscriptions and resources
  • Performing server migrations to Azure
  • Implementing and managing storage
  • Managing virtual machines and networks


Azure Developer Associate

Cloud developers are responsible for translating business requirements into secure, scalable, and reliable solutions. They do so by designing, deploying, testing, and maintaining the cloud solution.

Cloud developers who want to become Microsoft certified must pass exams AZ-200 and . In preparing for the exam, candidates will learn about:

  • Selecting cloud technology solutions  
  • Developing for cloud storage and security
  • Creating Platform as a Service Solutions (PaaS)
  • Developing Azure cognitive services, Bot, & IoT solutions


Azure Solutions Architect Expert

In broad terms, a cloud architect designs and deploys an organization’s cloud strategy. This may include drawing up cloud adoption plans, application design, data management, disaster recovery, budgeting, and more.

The Microsoft Architect Solutions Expert certification consists of two exams: AZ-300 and AZ-301. Once certified, among other areas of expertise, participants will have gained knowledge on the following:

  • Deploying and configuring infrastructure
  • Determining workload requirements
  • Implementing workloads and security  
  • Designing for identity, security, & business continuity


Ongoing Updates Note, that both the AZ-200 series and the AZ-300 series are currently in beta phase. This means your test results will be delayed by a week or two, and the number of people allowed to register for the exam at any given time is limited.

These exams will likely move out of beta phase in the coming months. In addition to these three core role-based certifications that have already been released, Microsoft has teased an addition 10+ certifications that are in launch phase or will be released in 2019.

This includes certifications for DevOps Engineer, Microsoft 365 Modern Desktop Administrator, Enterprise Administrator, and more.

Prepare and pass

Considering the recent exam updates and the investment of time and money required, it’s imperative that you choose a prep strategy that will have you ready when test time arrives.

On their Azure certification page, Microsoft offers some supplementary preparation materials and practice exams. However, these are typically released well after exam updates, and for certifications still in beta, Microsoft may not have developed practice material yet.

Instead of relying on outdated blogs and YouTube videos, many exam candidates choose to supplement their learning with MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses). Most MOOCs follow a structured curriculum and have the benefit of allowing the student to continue their study at the time and place of their choosing.

If you are gearing up for an Azure certification,Microsoft on Demand Courses(MOC) are the ideal prep solution. These courses use a blended learning approach and are designed by Microsoft Certified Trainers. In addition, they are regularly updated to match exam requirements.

The SkillUp method

The SkillUp platform offers 26 MOOCs that pair with skills tested for in Microsoft’s certification exams.

To enhance the learning experience, Skill-up instructors supplement Microsoft’s curriculum with videos, animations, study guides, peer and instructor interaction, office hours, and more.

This helps learners to take advantage of the benefits associated with traditional on-site courses, while retaining the anytime, anywhere learning quality.

With the right prep and resources, you can advance your career with the Microsoft qualifications of your choice! Ready to Skill-up With an Azure certification?

Check out our Microsoft Azure learning options or contact us to learn more.

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