Azure and the AZ-900 exam

Now you may wonder why such a die hard VMware fan is writing a blog post about Microsoft Azure. Well the truth is…. actually there is no secret that Microsoft Azure is a major player in the public cloud space so I decided it was time to get involved in this growing area of technology. Now Azure is huge, and I’m not just talking about the global scale but the amount of services offered. If you’re new to Azure it can appear a bit confusing on where to start but fortunately Microsoft helps out here with their new role based certification program. Full details can be found here  

If you are new to Azure, or have a non-technical background Microsoft recommend starting with the AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification. As I’ve been knocking around the IT world for many years I was a bit apprehensive abut taking a fundamentals certification at first and though I should go for the next level up, but there’s that saying walk before you can run. After reviewing the skills measured section I was quite certain starting at the fundamentals level was the best choice for me.

The exam is (or was depending on when you read this) split into 4 sections, and focuses on your understanding of Azure. 

  • Understand cloud concepts
  • Understand core Azure services
  • Understand security, privacy, compliance and trust
  • Understand Azure pricing and support

Whilst you can pass the exam by reading the Azure documentation I tend to find this style of learning doesn’t always work for me so I made a few investments into some additional study material. Microsoft provide a free training course made up of 12 modules covering the fundamentals, and this is a mixture of short videos and text. My personal preference is to use some form of video training and I’ve heard good things about the Linux Academy so headed to their AZ-900 course. There were two things that stood out for me from this course, the first was all exam objectives were linked to a video so it was really easy to track my progress against the skills measured matrix. The second was the labs which were really good. From within the platform you could spin up a lab directly to Azure and complete an activity using the guides – awesome. Who doesn’t like a hands on lab these days! Finally I purchased the Kindle version of the official AZ-900 study guide from Amazon to read through and help confirm what I learned from the video course. 

After a couple evenings and weekends of study time I sat the exam and passed with a respectable score. A few hours later I also received a nice little badge from Acclaim. One thing that did surprise me when checking my Microsoft transcript was the last time I sat a Microsoft certification was in 2013! 

I will continue with the Azure certification track later this year with the AZ-103 next on my list. Now I’ve had a taste of some fundamental content I want to try my hand at the MS-900 certification as I am seeing a lot of demand for this in the day job.