Azure Certification FAQs – 21 Commonly Asked Questions

21 Commonly Asked Questions (FAQs) to know before you take Azure Certification Exam

Over the past few months, I received many queries from the readers of my blog regarding preparations for the Azure Certification exam. I compiled this post (Azure Certification FAQs) with all the questions I received. Make sure to go through them before you begin your preparation.

I will update this post as and when I receive unique questions.

Full disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I receive some commission if you purchase through them. This way you can support my blog at not extra cost to you!

1. Does it makes sense to take Azure Certification Exams?

If you are in unchartered waters, it is sensible to use a compass. Or in unknown terrain, a GPS

Well, if you are just starting out, the certifications are your GPS to to upskill yourself. Think of certifications as a systematic plan to develop your skills. So, in a way, I would say, yes! they are worth my dime

If you already have a ton of experience working in Azure, then probably not! I have not seen anyone getting hired solely because they have done certifications. You do not require a GPS to navigate your city

Although certifications themselves will not lead to a job, but at least a talking point with a recruiter

2. I am new to cloud computing. Which platform should I choose between Azure, AWS and GCP for better career growth?

You will not go wrong with any!

But, instead of thinking how any platform will add value to your career, think in terms of how you can add value (cost, scale) to your organization by being better informed about the major cloud platforms.

Organizations prefer to adopt a multi-cloud strategy, meaning they will not lay all theirs eggs in one basket (either Azure or AWS or GCP)

So, understand how each cloud platform’s services would best meet the needs of your organization. This course should get you started with that

3. Which Azure Certification should I take?

Microsoft has organized Azure Certification exams based on roles into 3 levels. You should look at your role in the organization and decide which certification to pursue. 

For example, if I was a C# developer with 5 years of work experience, I would go with AZ-203, but probably also AZ-900 before that to get all the bases covered.

Look at the available options and marry your role with roles offered by Azure or your goals

Fundamental Certification:
 
Associate Certification:
 
Expert Certification:
      • DevOps Engineer: Azure DevOps Expert (AZ-400)
      • Solutions Architect: Azure Solutions Expert (AZ-300 & AZ-301)
 
None of the exam has any prerequisites other than the AZ-400 exam which requires that you pass either AZ-103 or AZ-203
 

4. Can I pass the Azure Certification Exams just by watching videos?

Even if you can, please don’t do it. Microsoft sponsors you to get certified by offering a free subscription for 30 days. Make use of that. If you run out of that, get another

5. What if I fail in the exam? Will I get another chance?

If you are worried about the Exam result, purchase ‘Exam Replays’ which will allow you to have an additional go at the exam for a slightly higher exam fee

6. What is the single best source to prepare for Azure Certification?

Honestly, I get exhausted learning from a single source. I start with documentation, and when it becomes too much, I move on to watch some videos from Pluralsight or LinkedIn Learning. And when I get bored of them as well, I do some labs or practice tests. This helps me to study constantly without getting saturated (make sure to stick to one topic)

So, when you prepare, lay your hands on all the wonderful content available. Subscribe for trials at Pluralsight & LinkedIn Learning. They don’t cost a thing

7. Which learning resource has the most updated content?

The rapid pace of Azure release means that every other content provider will have tough time catching up. So, Microsoft documentation is the best place to look for the most updated information

Having said that, the documentation is in-depth and vast, sometimes more than is required for the exam. You can easily get lost in its contents. Hence I suggest certification paths from e-learning providers like PluralsightLinkedIn Learning & Udemy

8. You recommended so many courses. What is the best strategy to clear the AZ-103 exam?

The best strategy would be to take more than 1 course. 

First, take 1 module.

Start with the AZ-103 Study Guide. Also have free trials of Pluralsight, LinkedIn Learning or Udemy. Cross-refer them. The content is too exhaustive, so do a context-switch time and again. Learning the same concepts from different people will give you a different perspective and help you in understanding the concepts better.

It is similar to 5 blind men who never knew about an elephant, trying to conceptualize an elephant. If you learn only from a single source, then you touch an elephant’s tail and say the elephant is similar to a snake

Go through the labs Microsoft has provided and do them with Azure subscription.

Repeat for other modules

Once done, verify your understanding with practice tests

This will be the perfect strategy. Even if you will not be able to implement it 100%, since the process is there, you will do well!

9. Should I just use dumps to prepare for the exam?

Theoretically, you can. But, ponder over these questions:

a. Can you answer a job interview question?

b. Can you solve a real-world problem?

c. Can you meaningfully understand/explain what’s happening in the project?

Passing with dumps is like Being Confident without having Clarity. You will be confident in your skills. But you will look stupid! Do it the harder way, unlike 99% of your peers, so you stand out in the top 1%

On the other hand, I do recommend signing up for practice tests to validate your skill, so it will reinforce your understanding

10. Many people have passed the exam with dumps. Should I follow suit?

if the above answer doesn’t convince you, read the Microsoft policy on using dumps:

 If Microsoft learns that a candidate used a “brain dump” site to prepare for an exam, this candidate will be permanently banned or prohibited from taking any future Microsoft Certification exams and may be decertified from the Microsoft Certification Program. In addition, test scores and certifications, if applicable, may be revoked. These actions may be taken even if the candidate did not intend to defraud the Microsoft Certification Program.

11. I am a Project Manager handling cloud projects. Is there a certification that I can do?

Unfortunately, there isn’t any certification targeting managers at this point in time. But, if you want to enhance your skills, go for AZ-900 exam or check out this course from Scott Duffy which is designed for managers

12. I am into AWS, looking to get certified in Azure. Can you write a post, that compares the services from both the platforms?

Well, I am planning to write one. Until then you can check out course here and here

13. I want to do AZ-103. Should I do AZ-900 first and then AZ-103

If you already have good work experience in Azure, go directly to AZ-103. If you are getting started with cloud and Azure, begin with AZ-900

14. I have an exam in 2 weeks. How long does it take to prepare for the exam?

I get this question way too often. I cannot tell you anything without knowing your prior experience and how much you have already worked in Azure.

If you have never worked in Azure before, it is a mountain to climb. Sorry, nothing to scare you, but the amount of material to go through for even the introductory certification like AZ-900 is huge. 

On the other hand, if you have already work in Azure, with your bases covered, preparation should be a breeze

15. Do I need to memorize the Azure PowerShell and CLI commands for the exam?

The exam will test you to know both GUI and commands. A few questions require PowerShell knowledge. Even fewer tests CLI. But don’t bother memorizing each command as you would not be asked to write one. Get an azure subscription and follow the instructor/ebook/documentation. Just write the commands (preferably) or copy and paste commands when you do the labs. With time, the syntax will stick in your memory. 

Also, you don’t need to know the exact command name. Just understand the structure of the commands. The PowerShell questions will be like ‘Choose the right command of the following for this scenario‘ types

Also, for PowerShell, learn the AZ module, not the AzureRM module

16. The ARM template seems complex. How do I study them? How are they tested?

As with PowerShell commands, understand the way it is structured. For example, an ARM template has 5 top level sections, and so on,. They will never tell you to write the syntax to deploy a Virtual Machine. Mostly, it will be a case of identifying the missing parts

17. I heard there are questions with many correct answers. How do I know how many to select?

There are questions with a single correct answer and some questions with multiple correct answers. When it is the latter, the exam usually tells you to select ‘2’, ‘3’ correct answers from the options

18. Can you go back and change the answers you marked earlier?

The exam is organized into sections, probably sections of 3 or 4 questions that test on a scenario. Within the section, you can go back and change your answers. However, once you are out of a section, you can’t. Similar with Labs

19. Do I need to memorize the features of different SKUs? Or that of App Service Plans?

You don’t have to memorize anything. Remember that the features of any SKUs change too often to meaningfully test the candidate. For example, App Service Plan Free tier has 1 GB of memory. Microsoft may decide to upgrade to 2 GB based on customer feedback. So don’t worry about such trivial information

20. Does the lab require you to use PowerShell or CLI?

You can use any method you are comfortable with in labs. All that matters is the end result

21. How the labs in the Azure exam are designed?

The labs are a sequence of steps related to each other that must be done in order. For example, 

      • Step 1 may be to create a VNet. 
      • Step 2 may be to join the VNet to another VNet and so on.
You will be given a Microsoft account to login to Azure. The environment is restricted so you cannot do/find everything that you want. Be prepared, the labs may be painfully slow to complete, coupled with groggy hardware. So you want to manage your time better

I hope you get some value out of these Azure Certification FAQs. What do you think? Did I leave out any of your pestering concern regarding the exam? Let me know in the comments section below

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