It is pretty common for every new student to be worried about exam software ⚙️ and its user expereince, in addition to being prepared for the exam. However, this is not an issue anymore.
Microsoft Learn has introduced a demo exam simulator that looks, works and feels like you are having a real Microsoft exam. This news was just announced by Microsoft Learn Blog.
I believe this is an important help for all the #cloudmarathoners and friends who are just starting their Microsoft Azure journey.
Why is it helpful?
Well, using this new exam sandbox should better prepare you for the exam experience. This should also increase your familiarity with the user interface, how to navigate between exam sections, pages and Q&A.
This simulator also shows you what actions are required to answer each of the different question types, where information about the exam is located, how to mark questions for review and how to provide comments at the end of the exam.
Keep in mind that a secure browser that will be launched during a real exam will block all third-party applications running on your computer. Thus, I would strongly advise you to install and run the exam provider’s (like, Pearson VUE or any other) simulator on your local computer a day or two before the actual exam date. This will be an additional peace of mind to have in your checklist for a pleasant exam experience.
I sincerely wish you Good Luck ❤️ in your upcoming exam(s) !
As it was the case last year, Microsoft Ignite is back and held digitally free of charge, during Nov 2-4 🎉 🎇
Microsoft Ignite is a signature event and held virtually for a global audience across a variety of industries to experience the latest and greatest technologies. It is an event where you could get a sneak peek at new products and services that will be coming in the future.
Cloud Skills Challenge
This year you could choose from 12 tech challenges and select the one that is right for you. Once you complete that challenge you will earn a free Microsoft Certification exam that can be applied to your choice from a select list of options:
Azure Developer Challenge
Azure Admin Challenge
Identity + Information Protection Challenge
Teams Admin Challenge
Teams Voice Engineer Challenge
Azure Database Admin Challenge
Desktop and Device Management Challenge
Windows Server Hybrid Admin Challenge
Dynamics 365 Sales Consultant Challenge
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Mgmt Challenge
Power Platform Developer Challenge
Security Operations Analyst Challenge
When does the challenge begin?
The listed challenges will begin on November 2, 2021 and end on November 30, 2021. You can start your registration here to join the challenge.
What happens when I complete my Cloud Skills challenge?
If you complete your challenge before it ends, one Microsoft Certification exam will be associated with your Learn profile on December 7, 2021. You will be notified via email when it becomes available.
What are the Terms and Conditions?
Check out the Official rules; including Terms and Conditions with FAQ in this web page.
That’s it friends, buckle up to complete your challenge before Nov 30, 2021 to earn new skills and receive a complementary Azure exam award 🏆.
How to get your Azure & Data Fundamentals (AZ-900 + DP-900) ⁉🤔
(Attention: you could get a free training + Azure exam voucher by the end of this article)
Microsoft Azure is one of the fastest growing cloud solution providers in the world. It has an “Azure Fundamentals” certification – an entry level cloud certification. Candidates for this exam (AZ-900) should have foundational knowledge of cloud services and how those services are provided with Microsoft Azure.
Azure Fundamentals exam is an opportunity to prove knowledge of cloud concepts, core Azure services, Azure pricing, SLA, and lifecycle, and the fundamentals of cloud security, privacy, compliance, and trust.
Are you excited to start your Azure study?
Check these absolutely free resources below and get ready for this exam then 🙂
Microsoft Virtual training events (check below 👇👇👇)
Well, next step will be the exam registration, that has a $99 cost in the USA. You could take this exam online, proctored through Pearson VUE or other exam providers.
I have a good news for you – for limited time, Microsoft generously provides complementary exam vouchers for its virtual event attendees. Thank you Microsoft for empowering people on their #cloudjourney!
Two weeks ago, I was able to clear the Azure specialty exam – “Azure IoT Developer” and get certified. More importantly, this was a good opportunity to learn about IoT technologies and services in Azure platform.
What is IoT?
An “Internet of Things” (IoT) device is typically made up of a circuit board with sensors attached that use WiFi to connect to the internet. Here are some examples of IoT devices and use cases:
A pressure sensor on a remote oil pump.
Temperature and humidity sensors in an air-conditioning unit.
An accelerometer in an elevator.
Presence sensors in a room.
The Azure Internet of Things (IoT) is a collection of Microsoft-managed cloud services that connect, monitor, and control billions of IoT assets. In simpler terms, an IoT solution is made up of one or more IoT devices that communicate with one or more back-end services hosted in the cloud.
Check out the following short video, if you never hear about applications of Internet of Things (aka, IoT).
Is there a comprehesive study guide to follow?
The short answer is YES!
As always start with simple and straight forward Microsoft Learn modules on IoT learning path. But that is not the only resource that i have used.
I personally found it very useful to check the Microsoft Tech community blog posts. The IoT sub-section has many tricks and trips and recommendations. Thus, check the following post that has very good information on exam resources:
It is designed for Solution Architects, Business Decision Makers, and Development teams that are interested in building IoT Solutions with Azure Services. The content is comprised of 5 video based modules that approach topics ranging from IoT device connectivity, IoT data communication strategies, use of artificial intelligence at the edge, data processing considerations for IoT data, and IoT solutioning based on the Azure IoT reference architecture.
Thank you for reading this post till this point.
Please, feel free to share your experience, as i am planning to keep this post up to date with your valuable contributions going forward. #keeplearning
My little intro – well, skip this as it might be boring 🙁
Let’s start with a little bit of background to my somewhat unorthodox journey into Azure Developer cert way back in 2018.
Three years ago, I got a beta exam invite for Azure Core Developer (AZ-200) certification. At the time, there were no readily availiable study materials to learn from and prepare. My focus was on the exam objectives document, with a special highlight on Azure services that I did not have a chance to work with.
Long story short, at the end of the exam I did not know if it was a PASS ✅ or not ❌, as it was a beta exam. However, good and somewhat unexpected “pass news” with a cert email came back in 2 months. I was over the moon 🌜 and delighted to be one of the few candidates to succeed. Later, this exam was retired, as most cert nowadays…
Back to the current time, Feb 2021
Today, I was feeling excited & pumped to go after Azure Developer cert (AZ-204) 🏃♂️🚴♂️🏊♂️💪 – and yes, I posted earlier that I will share the result – either pass or fail.
Well, the good news is – I did not have to wait 2 months to learn the result 😃 It was a pass – and not an easy one though, as there were 60% more materials and more detail oriented questions on different inner workings of Azure services.
Let’s give a round of applause 👏👏👏 to Microsoft Learn modules and Learning path tracks – as they are getting better and better – and help me to cover this material in a somewhat fun way….
How was my actual exam experience?
The overall experience was exciting 😲 and scary 😱 at the same time. Mainly, because of the two case studies appearing at different sections of the exam. Well, at the end of the exam I shared this non pleasant experience by providing feedback ✍. I think every exam participant should be willing to share their experience, as it will be a good set of metrics for exam creators to assess and modify the exam experience to make it better overall.
Speaking about the exam, I got approximately 50 questions❔; where two case studies contained approx. 5-7 questions each. My surprise was to discover 👀, one case study right in the beginning, and another one right at the end of the exam. It threw my timing a little bit off.
So, be prepared to save enough time for exam case studies (yes, there might be more than one, and I had three in the Microsoft exams last year), no matter what, as they consume a considerable chunk of your time and could cause your brain to start steaming ♨ – due to time constraints.
If you are a Cloud Solutions Architect (aka, CSA) you may find certain questions too technical in nature, like knowing the exact sequence of operations to place each task correctly. Well, if you never played with that specific feature then don’t panic. Just focus on the question and use your #quizskills. As an example: I had several educated guesses ⁉ – on what might be the right order of operations without knowing 100%.
In the real world, you could easily find your way with a quick search on your favorite engine… but an exam is an exam… and you are not penalized for wrong answers.
Good news is: a certain number of questions are high level, and your current CSA experience will be very handy; like assessing/suggesting the workload for the most effective Azure service or solution based on customer requirements.
Exam duration is180 minutes⏰ or 220 min including the feedback time. Generally speaking, this should be enough with a small caveat: You have to plan your time carefully and watch for the exact # of potential questions and remaining case studies of the exam. That said, there were several questions with true/false options, many drag-and-drop scenarios, and multi-select choices that seemed easy and tricky at the same time.
Where should I start my Azure Developer journey?
The official exam page AZ-204 is a really good place to start. Followed by the suggested learning track and modules in the bottom of the page.
The exam page AZ-204 gets even better with a final section on “Exam resources“. I consider this section a REAL “gem” 💎💎💎
Dear friends, stay tuned – as your information on how to earn a #free exam voucher is included in this post. Look into Microsoft’s “Cloud Skills Challenge” program below.
FREE exam voucher through Microsoft Cloud Skills Challenge (Expired – Not a Valid anymore)
For a limited time, Microsoft Learn provides a free, interactive way of learning by combining short step-by-step tutorials, browser-based interactive coding and scripting environments, and task-based achievements to help you advance your technical skills while earning achievements.
What are you waiting for? Register today via this link 👍
That is it folk, I tried to share and illustrate my exam experiences in this post. I hope you will find it helpful and apply to your “Azure developer” certification journey.
Please, feel free to share your experience or thoughts, as i am planning to keep this post up to date with your contributions going forward. #keeplearning
Stay safe and be the 4th with you … #nevergiveup #keeppushing
Last week, I was able to knockout the second “Azure Data Engineer” exam and get the certification. Most importantly, I got a chance to have a deep dive into Azure Data technologies from a holistic solutioning perspective. The main focus areas of this certification are neatly visualized below:
Those exam objectives, are high level focus areas that cover DP-200 and DP-201 exams. The first exam is more technical and has focus toward implementation while the second one is shifting gears toward design and solutioning options based on project requirements.
As dealing with data solutions was not my primary work responsibility, I was really impressed by depth of service options, capabilities and tools that could accelerate many data solutioning projects.
Starting an “Azure Data Engineering” learning journey will help any cloud professional to get deeper understanding on designing different data solutions based on project requirements. In fact, it helped me to get a well informed understanding technical limitations in each solution; like deciding between different data processing and/or storage options and their respective security configurations. Well, enough about intro, let’s look into what it means to be an “Azure Data Engineer” 😑🤔
Azure Data Engineer vs Database Administrator
A Database Administrator’s (aka, DBA) job is to ensure everything is working smoothly with things like performance tuning and monitoring, data migrations of third party systems, performing backups, checking performance, and load balancing, and everything to do with databases operations. On the other hand, DBA could also perform data engineering tasks in a small or mid-size organisations.🤠
Azure data engineers are responsible for data-related implementation tasks that include provisioning data storage services, ingesting streaming and batch data, transforming data, implementing security requirements, implementing data retention policies, identifying performance bottlenecks, and accessing external data sources. They are responsible for data-related design tasks that include designing Azure data storage solutions that use relational and non-relational data stores, batch and real-time data processing solutions, and data security and compliance solutions.👩🚀👨🎓
Getting ready for each exam 📆
There is no right or wrong starting point with this certification. I would start with the one that you find more familiar. Here is the exam flow diagram from the official Microsoft learn website:
Exam study resources for DP-200: Implementing an Azure Data Solution
This exam really tests your ability to demonstrate good understanding of setting-up a data processing pipeline and configurations of each component. A lot of questions were on optimizing, operating, loading and reading data from Azure SQL DB and Synapse Analytics (formerly SQL DW), I found them tricky and quite challenging.
The DP-200 exam has around 40-48 questions and is somewhat similar to other Azure Associate exams. The exam duration is fixed around 180 minutes with additional 30 minutes for reading instructions, signing the non-disclosure agreement, and giving feedback to each question at the end.
Expect different types of questions (single choice, multi-choice, binary choice and sorting order) and one or two case studies.
Exam study resources for DP-201: Designing an Azure Data Solution
My exam experience with DP-201 was much smoother, as mainly questions were focused on design related topics and solutioning options. As an Azure Architect – you may find them familiar and a bit easier than the previous exam.
This exam was 150 minutes long and had 42 questions, with much more case studies (i got three on my exam). There were few questions with set of drop-down choices that were easy and tricky at the same time.
That is it folk, i tried to share and illustrate my exam experiences in this post. I hope you will find it helpful and apply to your “Data Engineer-ing” journey.
Please, feel free to share your experience or thoughts, as i am planning to keep this post up to date with your valuable contributions going forward. #keeplearning
I am back with another study guide – as I passed the Microsoft Azure AI-100 exam. Now, I would like to share new Microsoft Azure AI Engineer Associate credentials with you. As I always post on LinkedIn platform the #SharingIsCaring❤️
In another words, I would like to see this success in you. To help you in this journey, I have compiled resources that contributed to my preparation for this special exam.
Earning the Azure AI Engineer Associate certification validates the skills and knowledge to use 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 Learn AI-100
Microsoft Azure Account – This is a free azure account that comes with a 12 months validity. $200 free credit is offered for the first 30 days and more than 25 products are accessible for free afterwards.
Microsoft Learn – is a #free tutorial platform and has following learning paths
Process and translate speech with Azure Cognitive Speech Services – also has 3 modules and helps you to learn – how to implement the Speech services found in Azure Cognitive Services by performing speech-to-text transcription, synthesizing text input to speech, performing speech translation, and implementing speaker recognition in your AI infused applications.
Create Intelligent Bots with Azure Bot Service – this one has a single module. It walks you through how you could enable customers to interact with computer applications in a conversational way using text, graphics, or speech, can be realized using Bots. It may be a simple question and answer dialog, or a sophisticated bot that allows people to interact with services in an intelligent manner using pattern matching, state tracking and artificial intelligence techniques well integrated with existing business services. Learn how to build a chat bot and add intelligence to the Bot by integrating QnA Maker and LUIS.
Process and classify images with Azure Cognitive Vision Services – the last one comes with 4 modules. It describes the Microsoft Cognitive Services. This service offers pre-built functionality to enable computer vision functionality in your applications. Learn how to use the Cognitive Vision Services to detect faces, tag and classify images, and identify objects.
Pluralsight video resources
Pluralsight –You can start with a free trial for 7 days, the Microsoft Azure Ai Engineer(AI-100) contains multiple courses and is a good source for an interactive, video leaning.
GitHub lab resources
AI-100 Labs – It has 9 labs that will introduce a workshop case study and setup tools on your local workstation and in your Azure instance to enable you to build tools within the Microsoft Cognitive Services suite.
Overall learning experience
I have found it very useful to complete all the labs and get familiar with all the Azure services mentioned in the Microsoft Lean tutorials and labs. Keep in mind that there is a big emphasis on understanding each Azure cognitive service and what capability it can provide.
Thus, I would strongly advice to take couple days and get very familiar with Azure AI website. I would also encourage to take a deep dive into Azure Cognitive Services website and understand every concept, use case and terminology.
There is a very cool website Hands on with AI that will help you to experiment with Microsoft AI platform capabilities for #free. Take this opportunity to learn and strengthen your knowledge before exam.
And one last point. Get very cozy with the Exam Objectives listed in the pdf on Azure AI-100 exam page . That should be your ultimate measure for the exam preparedness.
What is next?
The hardest part starts now, where a candidate have to actually learn these materials, practice and get ready for the exam. However, that is not all. Once you get Expert with Azure AI then you could create a learning model that could help you with all this information, right? 😕 hmmm…. Whaaaat ?
I want more guides, where I can get them?
You have landed to a golden coast mate. Check-out following study guides as well 👌👍
Actually, the first pre-requisite Expert Architect Technologies exam which I had, earlier in May, was not easy at all. The content of exam is quite BIG, in comparison what it used to be 2 years ago. It turned out to be true underestimate from me, when i failed my first attempt. The good or bad thing about this failed exam was the score – 679. I missed it with just one correct answer. Ah…
Anyway, repetition is the mother of perfection. If there is true perfection, it’s about getting ready, and doing something over and over again. Well, on the second attempt I was able to pass AZ-300 Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies much easier… If you curious about the score, it was in upper 900’s (where max is 1000).
Overall, Microsoft Expert exams are much harder (probably 3x times) to get prepared than the Associate one. Thus, I was pretty excited and nervous while going for the next exam Architect Design 🙂 It turned out well this time, as I used those skills in my day-2-day work, so no surprises there…
By the way, the Microsoft also announced new exams (AZ-303 and AZ-304) for the Azure Solutions Architect certification. They are all in beta for now and there are no online training material yet. You can check these exams here Microsoft official post.
Earning the Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification demonstrates skills and knowledge to advise stakeholders and translate business requirements into secure, scalable, and reliable solutions. Candidates have advanced experience and knowledge across various aspects of IT operations, including networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data management, budgeting, and governance – managing how decisions in each area affects an overall solution.
There is an informative blog post by Chris Pietschmann, about the state of the current Microsoft Expert exams and how they are structured, if you are new to the Microsoft role based certifications i would recommend to have a look.
There is an informative blog post by Chris Pietschmann, about the state of the current Microsoft Expert exams and how they are structured, if you are new to the Microsoft role based certifications i would recommend to have a look.
Turning attention back to current Azure Architect exams, with a small detour, there are multiple overlapping topics between those two Expert exams. Completing one of them greatly help with the second one, as they share certain exam objectives.
Now, the list my study guides consisted from the followings:
Congrats to everyone, who already got the Azure Solutions Architect Expert badge and certifications! This is a good thing to accomplish.
For those who are planning to go with Azure Architect pass, I wish good luck in preparing and getting it done. It is going to be an interesting journey, a lot to learn, much more to practice and up-skill yourself to be better prepared for your next challenge!
Hopefully, my journey will be a tiny encouragement wave to start your own.
Feel free to comment on what exam preparation approach do you follow?
What challenges are you facing or already overcome?
What helped and what did not – in setting up yourself for a journey?
Updates: This exam had a number of changes from the mid 2020 till now. I have updated exam objectives and some of the listed references to be up-t0-date..
I am back with a new study guide AZ-500: Azure Security Technologies Associate.
This is a very important exam for anyone who puts security at the core of a solution – deployed into Azure Cloud environment. In this respect, it is invaluable for any professional whose responsibilities include: maintaining the security posture, identifying, and remediating vulnerabilities by using a variety of security tools, implementing threat protection, and responding to security incident escalations.
By the way, you could also check out the following study guides, if interested 👌👍
By learning this topic, you as a candidate will gain strong skills in scripting and automation; a deep understanding of networking, virtualization, and cloud N-tier architecture. Your strong familiarity with cloud capabilities and products and services for Azure is very critical to succeed.
Getting AZ-500 Microsoft Azure Security Technologies Associate
In this section, you will get to know the official exam objectives, free Microsoft Learn materials and additional materials that I have used. On a high level, the skills that are measured in this exam are:
Actually, you could find this information on the official Microsoft exam website.
Useful resources that helped me along the way:
Here are the references which will serve you a way for successful digestion of the security materials. I would like to thank Pete Zerger – a Microsoft MVP & Cybersecurity Strategist for his informative content & professional support. He has really valuable posts and training courses on the LinkedIn platform.
There were many breaks in my study where I paused to search for Azure Security documentation on Microsoft Docs. However, discovering the GitHub repo from AzureMentor highly helped me to save some time, while getting familiar with exam objectives.
Thus, the @AzureMentor GitHub pages on Azure-AZ-500-Study-Guide have direct links into each high level objective as well as outlined items within it.
I would like to thank my family and kids for providing me with the opportunity to complete my journey. Big thanks to close friends and #linkedinfaily for continued support.
That’s all friends! Hope this sharing will encourage you to start your own cloud journey.
And as always, feel free to get connected and leave your comment(s). The whole LinkedIn family will benefit from your suggestions and feedback.