Azure Certifications: All You Need to Know

Microsoft Azure Certification path, all you need to know in one place

Welcome to this long blog post on Azure certifications. In this post, I will talk about everything you needed to get started/continue with your Azure journey:

This post covers the following details:

1. A lot of details of Azure certifications and the Azure certification paths to choose

2. Selecting the right Azure certifications, given that there is a host of them, which is really confusing for a newbie.

3. Some exam tips that are applicable in general for all the Azure exams.

4. Detailed information on each Azure exam, examination tips, and the skills measured and the weightage distribution.

But, first, let’s talk about Role-based certifications

Why Azure Certifications Are Role-based?

Earlier Microsoft Azure certifications were based on products & features. To keep pace with business requirements and to enable you to develop skills for a specific role in your organization, Microsoft has announced several Role-based certifications that replace the earlier ones.

They identified several roles for people working in the Azure platform. And the Role-based certifications, as the name indicates, are based on these roles.

Each role indicates the kinds of tasks you will do in your project. For example, an Azure Administrator will take care of the administrative side of Azure like Backup, Recovery & administering & maintaining the Azure infrastructure.

To fulfill the criteria for a role, you need to earn a related certification. For example, to demonstrate your skills for the Azure Developer role, you need to earn the Microsoft Azure Developer Associate certification.

And you earn the certification by passing relevant exams. So, here is how Roles, Certifications, and Exams are related.

RoleCertificationsExams to clear
Azure AdministratorAzure Administrator AssociateAZ-104
Azure DeveloperAzure Developer AssociateAZ-204
Azure Solutions ArchitectAzure Solutions Architect ExpertAZ-303 + AZ-304
Azure DevOps EngineerAzure DevOps Engineer ExpertAZ-104/204 + AZ-400
Azure Security EngineerAzure Security Engineer AssociateAZ-500
Azure AI EngineerAzure AI Engineer AssociateAI-100
Azure Data ScientistAzure Data Scientist AssociateDP-100
Azure Data EngineerAzure Data Engineer AssociateDP-200 + DP-201
Azure DB AdministratorAzure DB Administrator AssociateDP-300

Choosing the Right Azure Certification

The first step in beginning your Microsoft Azure certification journey is choosing the right certification based on your interest/skillset/role played by you in your organization.

Choosing the right certification is a multi-step decision process:

1. First, select a solution area (Refer to the image below). There are 2 solution areas within the broader set of Azure certifications.

a. Apps & Infrastructure and

b. Data & AI

2. Within each solution area, decide whether you want to do the fundamentals exam. The fundamentals exam is optional to achieve any Azure Certification, so technically you can ignore them. But, if you are new to Azure, it would make sense to do them and build a solid foundation for your upcoming Azure certifications.

3. With the decision on Fundamentals certification out of the way, you need to decide on the role to specialize in. There are several Azure roles (see in the Associate and Expert columns in the chart below), and as I said earlier, the certification exams that you take shall depend on the role you play in your organization, your skillsets, etc.,

For example, if you are a C# developer with 6 years of work experience, Azure Developer certification (AZ-204) makes sense.

Or, if you are new to the IT industry and manage your organization’s cloud infrastructure (for example, managing users in Azure AD or creating VM backups), then you are on the administration side of things in Azure, so Azure Administrator certification (AZ-104) would be more suitable.

You get the idea!

Microsoft Azure Role-based Certification Path

Azure Certifications path

As indicated in the above chart, Microsoft Azure certifications are organized into 4 levels:

1. Fundamentals

2. Associate

3. Expert

4. Specialty

Most of the certifications require just 1 exam to clear. For example, to achieve the Azure Administrator Associate certification, you need to clear just the AZ-104 exam (unless you choose to do the optional AZ-900).

But, there are exceptions to this rule. Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification requires you to clear both AZ-303 and AZ-304  (in no apparent order). Similar is the case with Azure Data Engineer Associate certification.

And Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification is the only one with a prerequisite that you achieve either the Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) or Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204) certification.

Note that the exam codes (AZ-104, DP-100) refer to the actual exam. You clear the exam (for example, DP-100) to achieve the Azure Data Scientist Certification.

Further to this, there are a few Specialty certifications (to the far right in the above image) which would be useful if you are working in a particular domain within Azure. For example SAP on Azure.

Useful Microsoft Azure Certification Tips & Information to Know

a. Azure exams are divided into sections. You can go back and update the answer but only within sections. Once you are out of a section, you cannot go back.

b. The questions in the exam are of the following types:

1. Case study questions: Here, you will get a set of questions concerning a specific scenario. The answer choices for each question have a long list of options than the normal ones (probably 7-8), & you need to choose 1 or more than 1 correct option. However, each question within the set will have the same set of answer choices.

2. Selecting the best answer: These types of questions may have more than 1 correct answer but there is only one best answer you need to choose. For example, both options ‘a’ and ‘b’ may be correct answers, but only one of them, for example, ‘a’ is the best answer. E.g., a solution that is the least time-consuming. 

3. Multiple-choice questions: As their name indicates, these questions have around 4 options and 1 correct option to choose.

4. Interactive questions: These questions require the user to interact with the exam designer. For example, they can be either:

Drag-and-drop: The user drags the right answer in the answer box, or order a sequence of actions to be performed, or,

Graphical multiple-choice questions (hot-answer): Here the user selects the correct graphic with the mouse click.

c. If a service or a feature is in preview, it will not be tested in the exam. So do not worry about them.

d. Don’t worry memorizing PowerShell commands. Understand the structure of the syntax and just know your verbs and nouns. For example, any command in the Az module is in the below format:

VerbAzNoun (where Verb describes an action like Get, Set, etc., & Noun describes a resource type).

So, in the exam, if you want to know all the commands for creating resources related to Storage Account, use the Get-Command and:

1. Specify any of the available verbs for the Verb parameter. For creating a resource, the value for the verb parameter will be ‘Get.’

2. And, concatenate the keyword Az with the resource type for the Noun parameter; in this case StorageAccount 

Below is an example of how to use the Get-Command with Verb & Noun parameters

Get-Command -Verb New -Noun AzStorageAccount*

The output lists all the cmdlets that are related to creating a new Storage Account resource. Use this way to look for PowerShell commands in the exam.

Azure Certification Examination Tips - Azure PowerShell

e. In case you forget the syntax/structure of CLI commands, use the below command to enable the interactive mode. 

az interactive

In this mode, you get more information about the CLI commands & the parameters to use. For example, once you type azure vm

1. It shows an IntelliSense of the list of commands to use, and

2. Also, a description of the command, which is ‘provisioning a VM.’

Azure Certification path

Once you select create:

1. It displays a list of all the parameters to choose, their descriptions, and,

2. Again, the description of the command at this level, which is ‘Creating an Azure Virtual Machine.’

Azure Certification path

This knowledge will come in handy during the examinations.

f. Don’t worry about memorizing trivial information like CDN features, SKU details, etc., as these can change too often and cannot be meaningfully tested.

g. Don’t skip any questions. There is no negative marking. You can even get partial marks if you correctly answer certain parts of the question.

h. Don’t use dumps to prepare. Doing so can get you barred from taking future Microsoft examinations. However, I strongly suggest you validate your understanding with practice questions.

i. Like all Microsoft certifications, the validity of Azure certifications is 2 years. The passing percentage is 70% & each question has a different weightage. So, if there are 50 questions in the exam, only 35 correct answers may not guarantee a pass.

j. Expect the labs, if they are in the exam, to be very slow. It will test your patience.

k. A good reason to take these exams now is that the labs are off. We do not know until when this will be the case, but without those labs (which tend to be slow), you can expect to easily complete the exam in time.

AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

AZ-900 is the entry-level exam aimed at beginners entering the Azure ecosystem. It is an optional exam to achieve any Certification, so many would consider skipping the exam.

However, in my view, if you are new to Cloud/Azure, or have considerably less experience, it makes sense to attend the exam and cover your bases on the fundamentals of cloud computing. Doing so would make future Azure certifications a breeze.

If your goal is only to achieve the Certifications (Architect, Developer, etc.,), feel free to skip the exam. If you are in it for the long haul, & looking to solidify your fundamentals, do the AZ-900 and minimize your knowledge gaps.

The AZ-900 exam covers a variety of questions: Drag and drop (move responses to correct order), questions in graphical form, multiple-choice questions (sometimes 2 or more correct answers).

Azure Fundamentals Learning Path

Azure Certifications AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals Learning Path-5

AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals Exam Details

Exam NameAZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
Cost of the Exam$99 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions32-40
Duration of the Exam90 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleDeveloper

AZ-900 MS Azure Fundamentals Exam Tips

a. Since this is a fundamentals exam, many take it lightly. But if you look at the exam objectives, it still covers a wide range of topics, and sufficient preparation is necessary to clear the exam.

b. You do not have to memorize anything for the exam. Just make sure what each Azure service is about and how it will be used. It is also very important to differentiate similar-looking core Azure services (NSG & Firewall, for example).

c. You don’t need an Azure subscription for AZ 900. Save those free trials for the associate/expert-level exams further down the line.

d. Many AWS professionals also take the AZ-900 exam. But they often underestimate the preparation time required. These are different cloud platforms and have different names, and equivalent services in AWS are not always available for Azure and vice-versa. Unlearn and relearn is the mantra. No matter how much cloud experience you have, give AZ-900 its due respect and start from the square one.

e. This is a theoretical exam and as such no labs are expected.

f. To sum it up, have a good understanding of the following:

1. Pricing options, Compute options,

2. IaaS, SaaS, PaaS,

3. Different types of clouds

4. Topics related to pricing & cost

5. A Broad understanding of Core Azure & Infrastructure services.

g. You can also go through the sample AZ-900 practice tests before you attempt the exam. They have in-depth explanations for each question.

AZ-900 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Describe Cloud Concepts15-20%
Describe Core Azure Services30-35%
Describe Security, Privacy, Compliance, and Trust25-30%
Describe Azure Pricing, Service Level Agreements, & Lifecycles20-25%
azure certifications

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DP-900 Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals

DP-900, along with AI-900 and AZ-900 are fundamental level certifications in Azure.

As with AZ-900, you can skip this exam and directly take DP-200 and DP-201. But this exam covers a lot of data fundamentals. As a result, it will make your life easier when you prepare for either of the Data Engineer Associate or the Database Administrator Associate certifications.

The structure of this exam is simple. You will learn Azure services related to relational, non-relational & analytic workloads.

Azure Data Fundamentals Learning Path

Azure Certifications DP-900 Azure Data Fundamentals Learning Path

DP-900 Data Fundamentals Exam Details

Exam NameDP-900 Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals
Cost of the Exam$99 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions30-40
Duration of the Exam90 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleData Engineer, Database Administrator

DP-900 Azure Data Fundamentals Exam Tips

a. DP 900 is one of the easiest Microsoft Azure exams that you can take. It’s even easier than AZ-900 where the focus was everywhere around Azure.

b. DP-900 is a very focussed exam that tests very specialized knowledge around:

1. Different types of databases,

2. How to configure them,

3. Services like Databricks, Storage accounts, Data Warehouse, Data Factory, and so on.

c. Just go through Microsoft Learn/Microsoft product documentation in detail about various data services like Azure SQL DB, Structured & Unstructured databases.

d. And verify your understanding with practice tests

DP-900 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Describe core data concepts15-20%
Describe how to work with relational data on Azure25-30%
Describe how to work with non-relational data on Azure25-30%
Describe an analytics workload on Azure25-30%

AI-900 Microsoft Azure AI Fundamentals

Again, you can skip this fundamental-level certification and go directly for Azure AI Engineer Cert. But this exam is targeted at AI/ML beginners, so it builds your fundamentals. If you are new to AI/ML, give it a try.

You can use AI 900 to prepare either for Azure Data Scientist Associate (DP-100) or Azure AI Engineer Associate certification (AI-100).

The only good-to-have for this exam, according to Microsoft’s website, is some general programming knowledge. Data Science or AI knowledge is not required.

This exam tests an intersection of skills: Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, knowledge of the Azure cloud. The learning paths on Microsoft’s website will come in handy.

Azure AI Fundamentals Learning Path

AI-900 Azure AI Fundamentals Learning Path

AI-900 Azure AI Fundamentals Exam Details

Exam NameAI-900 Microsoft Azure AI Fundamentals
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals
Cost of the Exam$99 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions40-60
Duration of the Exam90 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleAI Engineer, Data Scientist, Developer

AI-900 Azure AI Fundamentals Exam Tips

a. A great focus is on different Azure Machine Learning modules (algorithms, data preparation modules, etc.,).

b. Understand the differences between:

1. Clustering, Classification & Regression,

2. How they work,

3. What kinds of problems they can be used for,

4. Also, look into topics of custom vision/computer vision, Chatbots, Face & Speech recognition systems.

c. Know when to use each of the learning techniques. Refer to the cheat sheet to get a good idea.

d. Spend some creating models in Azure Machine Learning designer by dragging those modules and connecting them. Experiment with different parameters and see how they impact the results.

AI-900 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Describe AI workloads and considerations15-20%
Describe fundamental principles of machine learning on Azure30-35%
Describe features of computer vision workloads on Azure15-20%
Describe features of NLP workloads on Azure15-20%
Describe features of conversational AI workloads on Azure15-20%

AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator

AZ-104 is the most popular exam in Azure, just after AZ-900. It is targeted at Administrators and it serves as a prerequisite for AZ-400 and as an unofficial prerequisite for AZ-303 and AZ-500.

As an Azure Administrator, you will implement, manage, and monitor Azure infrastructure services like Storage, Compute (VMs, Containers, AKS), Virtual Networks & Identity (Azure Active Directory).

Some of the differences from the earlier AZ-103 exam is that a dedicated domain is carved out for Backup and Recovery. Also, earlier exams have just Virtual Machines in the Compute section, which is now changed to Compute that contains a host of IaaS and PaaS services like VMs, Containers, and Web Apps.

There are no prerequisites for the exam. However, doing AZ-900 sets up a great platform for AZ 104

Clearing AZ-104 perfectly sets you up for AZ-303. So, go for AZ-303 next, in case you are asking what’s next?

Azure Administrator Associate Learning Path

AZ-104 Azure Administrator Associate Learning Path

AZ-104 Azure Administrator Exam Details

Exam NameAZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions60-65 including 1-4 case studies
Duration of the Exam180 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleAdministrator

AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Exam Tips

a. Don’t fret about ARM templates. You just need to understand its layout. You will not be required to create one but will be asked to pick the missing syntax.

b. Take an Azure subscription & practice the labs from Microsoft Learning

c. Labs don’t mandate the use of CLI or PowerShell; Only the end result matters

d. Focus on areas related to cost optimization/effectiveness. Also, Azure services like Storage accounts, ACI/AKS, Azure Web App, NSG rules, Azure Firewall, and Networking concepts like address spaces and Subnets.

e. You can also go through the sample AZ-104 practice tests before you attempt the exam. They have in-depth explanations for each question.

AZ-104 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Manage Azure identities and governance15-20%
Implement and manage storage10-15%
Deploy and manage Azure compute resources25-30%
Configure and manage virtual networking30-35%
Monitor and back up Azure resources10-15%

AZ-204 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure

The AZ 204 is a trimmed down version of the earlier AZ-203, with more focus on objectives aimed at the developer role.

Microsoft requires that you have worked at least 1-2 years as a developer with Azure before you attempt the exam.

Understand and spend more time in learning how to create and manage resources with C# SDKs and CLIs.

If you are coming from other programming backgrounds like Java, you still need to have some knowledge/understanding of C# as the code blocks were in C# (from Azure SDK and CLI).

Azure Developer Associate Learning Path

AZ-204 Azure Developer Associate Learning Paths

AZ-204 Azure Developer Exam Details

Exam NameAZ-204 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions45 & 2 case studies (around 15 questions)
Duration of the Exam210 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleDeveloper

AZ-204 Microsoft Azure Developer Exam Tips

a. Learn all the different ways the Azure services expose their APIs. Begin with all the ‘az’ commands. In addition to that, focus on the .NET library classes & REST API for all Azure services.

b. Although many Azure services provide similar functionality (for example, Event Grid & Event Hub), they are designed for specific use cases. Try to understand each of them, as the exam tests your judgment on the selection of services for any scenario.

c. Even though the exam tests for a developer role, you will not be asked to write any code. Probably you will need to select the right code/sequence of codes

d. There were some reports that questions from AKS were there, in spite of the fact that it was absent from the exam objectives. Microsoft later replaced AKS with Docker, so I think you needn’t fret on AKS anymore.

AZ-204 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Develop Azure compute solutions25-30%
Develop for Azure storage10-15%
Implement Azure security15-20%
Monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize Azure solutions10-15%
Connect to & consume Azure services & third-party services25-30%

AZ-303 Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies

Similar to other new Azure exams like AZ-204, AZ-303 has a narrower focus over the exam objectives compared to AZ-300, targeting the Solution Architects.

You need to clear both AZ-303 and AZ-304 to get the Microsoft Certified: Solution Architect Expert certification, however in any order. These exams do not have any prerequisites.

You are required to demonstrate expertise in designing & implementing solutions on Azure that use services like Storage account, VNets, & Azure Compute.

AZ 303 is going to be tough. It is an expert-level certification as there is a great deal of implied knowledge you need, which typically you accumulate over years of work in Azure, to clear the exam.

The above point is not meant to discourage you. You can still come in new, put in weeks of hard work, and luckily, even clear the exam, but I feel, you may not be able to do justice to the role of Solutions architect in your organization.

Azure Solutions Architect Learning Path

AZ-303 Azure Solutions Architect Learning Path

AZ-303 MS Azure Architect Exam Details

Exam NameAZ-303 Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions40-60
Duration of the Exam180 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleSolutions Architect

AZ-303 Azure Architect Technologies Exam Tips

a. Some reported not having any questions related to CLI/PowerShell. But Microsoft exams can definitely surprise you. Be prepared anyway.

b. AZ-303 (just like AZ-900, but more advanced) is at the intersection of all 3 aspects of building solutions in Azure:

a. Hybrid cloud infrastructure

b. Data analytics

c. Best-in-class applications

AZ-303 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Implement and Monitor an Azure Infrastructure50-55%
Implement Management and Security Solutions25-30%
Implement Solutions for Apps10-15%
Implement and Manage Data Platforms10-15%

AZ-304 Microsoft Azure Architect Design

The difference between AZ-304 and AZ-303 is this: AZ-303 is more implementation focused. AZ-304 is design-focused.

One more difference between AZ-303 and AZ-304 is that AZ-303 is skewed towards the administration side of things; that’s why it is a good idea to hop onto AZ-303 after AZ-104. Whereas AZ-304 is more oriented towards a developer (AZ-204). So, depending on which one you did earlier (AZ-104 or AZ-204), choose AZ-303 or AZ-304 to go next.

Preparing for AZ-303 will prepare you for AZ-304 too. AZ-304 is all about the same set of services as AZ-303. But just design.

In fact, a more efficient approach would be to study for both the tests together & take the exams in a week’s time while your memory is still fresh.

There is a reason that the design exam comes behind the implementation exam (order of exam code). Going through the actual implementation (AZ-303) will help tons in thinking about the design and architecture (AZ-304) of the solution.

Azure Solutions Architect Learning Path

AZ-304 Azure Solutions Architect Learning Paths

AZ-304 Azure Architect Design Exam Details

Exam NameAZ-304 Microsoft Azure Architect Design
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions40-60
Duration of the Exam90 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleSolutions Architect

AZ-304 Azure Architect Design Exam Tips

a. AZ-304 tests about how do you take your existing knowledge of implementing Azure solutions (Read: AZ-303) and design the right solution as per the business requirements. So AZ 304 is one level up.

b.  You should be able to analyze a set of requirements/project constraints and examine why a specific solution is the best.

C. ‘Best’ can mean different things in different scenarios. For example, the most cost-effective, least time-consuming, etc.,

d. In a nutshell, if you have to consider yourself well-prepared for the exam, you should be able to demonstrate the understanding of the entire suite of Azure services, so you can recommend one architecture over another, which is obviously more efficient, according to business requirements.

AZ-304 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Design Monitoring10-15%
Design Identity and Security25-30%
Design Data Storage15-20%
Design Business Continuity10-15%
Design Infrastructure25-30%

AZ-400 Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions

Microsoft Azure DevOps Engineer is an expert-level certification. So, in addition to clearing AZ-400, you also need to clear an Associate level certification, either Developer Associate (AZ-204) or Administrator Associate (AZ-104)

As I said earlier, most of these Azure certifications are inter-related, so it is best to take the DevOps exam while the memory of AZ-104 is still fresh.

There has been a lot of changes since June 2020. Earlier the certification was Azure Certified DevOps Engineer. Now, it is called Microsoft Certified DevOps Engineer.

So, as the name indicates, this certification is slightly less about Azure, compared to other Azure certifications, and more about Microsoft DevOps & GitHub.

Azure DevOps Engineer Expert Learning Path

AZ400 Azure DevOps Expert Learning Path

AZ-400 Azure DevOps Solutions Exam Details

Exam NameAZ-400 Design & Implement Microsoft DevOps Solutions
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions40 questions & 10 lab tasks
Duration of the Exam180 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleDevOps Engineer

AZ-400 Azure DevOps Solutions​ Exam Tips

a. There seems like a lot of content to go through. But the meat of it is centered around Azure DevOps Pipelines & Artifacts, Azure Repos, Test plans, GitHub actions, Migrating from Azure Pipelines to GitHub Actions, SRE, etc.,

b. There are a ton of third-party monitoring platforms like Dynatrace, Zabbix & Nagios included in the exam objectives, in addition to Azure Monitor and Application Insights. Don’t be overwhelmed. Just know how to integrate these tools to the Azure platform. Check my study guide. I pointed out links to all of them in Microsof documentation.

c. Again as I said, unlike the other Azure exams, AZ 400 is not completely Azure or even Microsoft-related. There are a ton of third-party tools the exam objectives point to.

AZ-400 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Develop an Instrumentation Strategy5-10%
Develop a Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) strategy5-10%
Develop a security and compliance plan10-15%
Manage source control10-15%
Facilitate communication and collaboration10-15%
Define and implement continuous integration20-25%
Define and implement continuous delivery and release management strategy10-15%

AZ-500 Microsoft Azure Security Technologies

For this exam, you should have decent skills in automation & scripting. Also a good understanding of different Azure services, virtualization & networking.

You only need to clear AZ-500 to attain the badge Azure Security Associate certification. There are no other exam prerequisites.

As the name indicates, if you are working in the security domain or if you are the security guy, you would love this exam.

Most of the exam focus is around:

1. Managing identities in Azure AD,

2. Protecting your solution with different Azure services,

3. Securing compute solutions & databases, &,

4. Managing security operations with Security Center & Policies.

Azure Security Engineer Learning Path

Azure Certifications AZ-500 Azure Security Engineer Learning Path-1

AZ-500 Azure Security Technologies Exam Details

Exam NameAZ-500 Microsoft Azure Security Technologies
Requirement forAzure Security Engineer Associate Certification
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions33-41 MCQs, and Case Study
Duration of the Exam180 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleSecurity Engineer

AZ-500 Security Technologies Exam Tips

a. If you have already done AZ-104 or worked with a lot of things on Networking/network security, you should be comfortable in clearing AZ 500.

b. Know the differences in data & management planes in Key Vault, Azure VNets, Firewall, and how they work in the cloud & hybrid configurations, Azure Policy & its structure. And finally, for a security exam, it’s good to be really well prepared with Key Vault and its details.

C. Also, focus your preparation on the NSGs, ASGs & rules in NICs. Know how the VM connectivity works by placing them in different Subnets in VNets.

AZ-500 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Manage identity and access30-35%
Implement platform protection15-20%
Manage security operations25-30%
Secure data and applications20-25%

AI-100 Designing and Implementing an Azure AI Solution

This exam has no prerequisites. However, doing AI-900 will strengthen the concepts around the Azure AI platform.

AI Engineers analyze the requirements, recommend tools, design & implement AI solutions. They work with Solutions Architect, Data Scientists & Engineers to build AI solutions.

I would strongly recommend signing up for free Azure subscription and try out labs from Microsoft documentation.

In addition to using out-of-the-box APIs (like Vision, Text, etc.,), you should also analyze requirements and decide when a custom API is required.

Azure AI Engineer Associate Learning Path

Azure Certifications AI-100 Azure AI Engineer Learning Paths

AI-100 Designing Azure AI Solution Exam Details

Exam NameAI-100 Design and Implement an Azure AI Solution
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions30-35 (including case study questions)
Duration of the Exam180 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleAI Engineer

AI-100 Design Azure AI Solution Exam Tips

a. Some of the important topics to include Cognitive Services, Docker, QnA Maker, & Azure Bot Service, Text analytics API, LUIS, understanding different Compute engines & monitoring AI solutions.

b. The exam is focused on Design and scenario-based questions. Requires a lot of thinking & not a very easy exam to clear. Probably doing AI-900 should cover all the fundamentals.

c. Review this page & study different architectures & data components related to AI & Machine Learning solutions.

AI-100 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Analyze solution requirements25-30%
Design AI solutions40-45%
Implement and monitor AI solutions25-30%

DP-100 Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure

The difference between DP-100 and AI-100 is:

1. DP 100 is targeted at Data Scientists; AI 100 is targeted at AI Engineers.

2. DP-100 focuses on topics related to Azure Machine Learning to build custom AI. In AI-100, the exam objectives are about using pre-built AI to integrate into your applications. More details on the differences between DP-100 & AI-100

There are no prerequisites for the exam. However, AI-900 covers some fundamentals of Machine Learning on Azure.

You should have a fundamental knowledge of Azure concepts related to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

There has been a considerable focus on Python in this exam. So grab some experience on using Python to execute tasks in Azure Machine Learning

Azure Data Scientist Learning Path

Azure Certifications DP-100 Azure Data Scientist Associate Learning Paths

DP-100 Azure Data Science Exam Details

Exam NameDP-100 Design & Implement Azure Data Science Solution
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions40-60
Duration of the Exam180 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleData Scientist

DP-100 Data Science Solution Exam Tips

a. Practice working with the Azure Machine Learning Designer & the Python SDK. Spend a good amount of time doing labs. And brush up your Python Data Science skills.

b. By looking at exam objectives, the focus seems to be less on theory, and more on code aspects. But don’t worry, Microsoft never asks you to write code. They are more like drag-and-drop missing code snippets types. Probably the best way you can prepare for this exam is by doing.

c. Understand which compute instances to select in specific scenarios; Which data stores to use; & AutoML.

d. Do the following tasks:

1. Create a workspace

2. Train, Deploy, Register models

3. Monitor data from ML Service

DP-100 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Set up an Azure Machine Learning workspace30-35%
Run experiments and train models25-30%
Optimize and manage models20-25%
Deploy and consume models20-25%

DP-200 Implementing an Azure Data Solution

DP-200 & DP-201 are both required to achieve the Azure Data Engineer Associate certification.

This exam has no prerequisites. However, doing DP-900 will strengthen the concepts around the Azure data platform.

You should be able to implement Azure data solutions that use either/combination of SQL DB, Databricks, Data Factory, Blob Storage, Synapse Analytics & Cosmos DB.

Using the above services you should be able to implement the following tasks:

1. Ingest batch & streaming data,

2. Implement a data retention policy,

3. Connecting to external data sources, and,

4. Identify & troubleshoot performance bottlenecks,

Azure Data Engineer Associate Learning Path

Azure Certifications DP-200 Azure Data Engineer Associate Learning Paths

DP-200 Azure Data Solution Exam Details

Exam NameDP-200 Implementing an Azure Data Solution
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions40-60 & Case studies
Duration of the Exam180 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleData Engineer

DP-200 Azure Data Solution Exam Tips

a. Some topic areas to focus to be considered well-prepared for the DP 200 exam are (not exclusive):

1. Azure Synapse Analytics distribution

2. Cosmos DB APIs, Consistency Levels

3. Provisioning geo-replicated databases, Setting up Alerts, Altering SWU limits

4. Windowing functions in Azure Stream Analytics

b. You can also go through the sample DP-200 practice tests before you attempt the exam. They have in-depth explanations for each question.

DP-200 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Implement data storage solutions40-45%
Manage and develop data processing25-30%
Monitor and optimize data solutions30-35%

DP-201 Designing an Azure Data Solution

DP-200 is Implementation focused. DP-201 is design-focused. I found DP-201 much simpler than DP-200. It also has lesser coverage in technology topics than DP-200.

As with AZ-303/304, there is no specific order to take the exams DP-200 and DP-201. You just need to clear both to achieve the Data Engineer Associate certification.

IMO, it’s better to go with DP-200 first. Understanding how to implement data solutions (the hands-on part) will aid your thinking about design and architecture.

Azure Data Engineer Associate Learning Path

Azure Certifications DP-201 Azure Data Engineer Associate Learning Paths

DP-201 Azure Data Solution Exam Details

Exam NameDP-201 Designing an Azure Data Solution
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questionsaround 53-55 & 2 case studies
Duration of the Exam180 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleData Engineer

DP-201 Design an Azure Solution Exam Tips

a. Your preparation for DP-200 should suffice for DP-201. Check out my Study Guide & read up the entire documentation and the Microsoft Learning path.

b. Know about the SLAs of data services, read up a lot on different SQL tiers, Disaster Recovery, etc.,

DP-201 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Design Azure data storage solutions40-45%
Design data processing solutions25-30%
Design for data security and compliance25-30%

DP-300 Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure

The DP-300 exam has portions of SQL Server material sliced out of the MCSA exam 70-432 and merged with the contents of Azure Database Services.

This exam is targeted at DBAs. So, if you are a SQL Server DBA, or if you possess the MCSA Certification (MCSAs are going to be retired in early 2021), this exam will be a perfect fit.

This is a great certification to prove that your DBA skills are transferable from on-premises to the Azure cloud.

If you spend your day managing the availability & security of databases, optimizing database performance, monitoring DBs, this certification is right for you.

Azure Database Administrator Learning Path

Azure Certifications DP-300 Azure Database Administrator Associate Learning Path

DP-300 Administer Azure DBs Exam Details

Exam NameDP-300 Administering Relational Databases on Azure
Requirement forAzure Database Administrator Associate Certification
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions60-64
Duration of the Exam180 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleDatabase Administrator

DP-300 Relational Databases Exam Tips

a. Brush your understanding of important SQL features like Backups, SQL failover, Security, Query Store, and other on-premises related database features.

b. The exam is divided into different sections. You may have:

1. Yes/No questions

2. Hotspot questions/Drag-and-drop types/

3. Multiple-choice questions and,

4. Scenario-based questions

c. Not much content is available for preparation, other than this practice test.

DP-300 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Plan and implement data platform resources15-20%
Implement a secure environment15-20%
Monitor and optimize operational resources15-20%
Optimize query performance5-10%
Perform automation of tasks10-15%
Plan and implement a HADR environment15-20%
Perform administration by using T-SQL10-15%

AZ-120 Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads

AZ-120 is one of the few exams that will help achieve the Specialty certification (Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty)

Microsoft recommends that you already have an Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification before attempting this Specialty certification.

In addition to that, SAP HANA and Linux certifications are also helpful.

This exam is geared towards Azure IaaS. Knowledge of SAP migration & SAP Basis is helpful. So the certification will be more useful for Administration folks than developers (SAP ABAP, SAP BODS).

Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty Learning Path

Azure Certifications AZ-120 Planning and Administering Microsoft Azure for SAP Workloads SPecialty Learning Path

AZ-120 Azure for SAP Workloads Exam Details

Exam NameAZ-120 Plan & Administer Azure for SAP Workloads
Requirement forAzure for SAP Workloads Specialty Certification
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions50+
Duration of the Exam90 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleSolutions Architect, Administrator

AZ-120 Azure for SAP Workloads Exam Tips

a. To clear this Specialty level exam, you need to have good knowledge & understand the technical terms of both Azure & SAP.

b. If you are from SAP background & are new to Azure, probably doing AZ-303 will prime you up for the AZ 120 exam. Then, the exam becomes easy to manage. However, even without AZ-303, you should be able to clear with some Azure knowledge.

c. Good to have knowledge of the compatibility of different SAP component versions in HANA, migrating systems with classical DB to HANA using Database Migration Option (DMO), and so on.

d. There are only a few online materials available for preparation, in addition to Microsoft Learn

AZ-120 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Migrate SAP Workloads to Azure10-15%
Design an Azure solution to support SAP Workloads20-25%
Build and deploy Azure for SAP Workloads35-40%
Validate Azure infrastructure for SAP Workloads10-15%
Operationalize Azure SAP architecture10-15%

AZ-220 Microsoft Azure IoT Developer

The exam AZ-220 is most suited if you code/maintain cloud/edge parts of IoT solutions or configure IoT devices using cloud services.

Although this is a Specialty certification (the highest of the 4 levels of Azure certifications), there are no prerequisites for the exam.

The Specialty certifications are not for candidates new to the Specialty area. They are targeted at people who already have enough work experience in those roles. For example, SAP or IoT

However, even if you are new, you can still consider this certification as a gateway into IoT, as organizations are rapidly increasing their IoT adoption.

If you do not have any cloud knowledge, doing AZ-204/AZ-900 will help.

Azure IoT Developer Specialty Learning Path

Azure Certifications AZ-220 Azure IoT Developer SPecialty Learning Path

AZ-220 Azure IoT Developer Exam Details

Exam NameAZ-220 Microsoft Azure IoT Developer
Requirement forMicrosoft Certified: Azure IoT Developer Specialty
Cost of the Exam$165 [USD]
Total No. of. Questions40-60
Duration of the Exam90 Minutes
Passing Score700/1000
Job RoleDeveloper

AZ-220 Azure IoT Developer Exam Tips

a. Connect a Raspberry Pi online simulator to Azure IoT Hub. Generate the data and send the simulated sensor data to the IoT hub. Go through this entire workflow. If you are the curious type, you can get started with a Raspberry Pi (Amazon link) physical device.

b. Microsoft has a collaboration with Adafruit to make Microsoft IoT Pack for Raspberry Pi. You can check them out too.

AZ-220 Skills Measured and their Weightage

Implement the IoT solution infrastructure15-20%
Provision and manage devices20-25%
Implement Edge15-20%
Process and manage data15-20%
Monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize IoT solutions15-20%
Implement security15-20%

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