Which Azure Certification Should a Beginner Take?
If you’ve heard about Microsoft Azure certifications and are interested in becoming certified, it’s worth doing some research into which certification would be the best choice for you.
So, which Azure certification should a beginner take? A beginner should take the Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals certification. There are no pre-requisites for this certification and it is a great gateway to the world of Azure.
I did some research and I was amazed at all of the different directions you can go in with Azure. Even someone who has zero knowledge of Azure can use the resources available on the Microsoft Azure website (or elsewhere on the internet) to become competent in Azure and earn an Azure certification.
Azure certification overview
One great option when it comes to getting Azure certified is to go directly to the source. Meaning, check out the Microsoft website and see what types of Azure certifications they offer. I spent some time browsing their website and this is what I found. There are currently 10 different Azure certification available. Each certification will allow you to specialize in the specific area that will help you to make the most of your talents and skills.
Here are the 10 certifications:
Microsoft Certified: Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty
Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate
Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate
Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate
Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert
Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals
As you can see there are a few different tiers of certifications. The first step to becoming Azure certified is to complete the Azure Fundamentals certification. The Fundamentals certification is absolutely the best (and really the only) option for beginners. All of the other certifications listed above require at least some prior experience with Microsoft Azure. Read on to find out more about how to achieve the Azure Fundamentals certification!
The Azure Fundamentals Certification
In order to earn a Microsoft Certified Azure Fundamentals certification, you will first need to take the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam, which is also known as the AZ900 exam. The Exam will test you on a variety of skills such as your ability to understand core Azure services and cloud concepts. The exam will also test your understanding of security, privacy, compliance and trust as well as your understanding of Azure pricing and support.
Someone who only has a beginner-level knowledge of Azure probably won’t be able to pass the exam right off the bat. But, luckily, the Microsoft website provides a free 10-hour “Learning Path” that is designed to teach you the fundamentals of Azure and prepare you for the exam.
There are 12 different modules in the learning path and they will each teach you about a different aspect of Azure. Topics covered include creating an Azure account; core cloud services; Azure data storage options; Azure networking options; security, responsibility, and trust in Azure; applying and monitoring infrastructure standards with Azure Policy; and more!
If the self-directed Learning Path doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, you can also consider taking the instructor-led course: Course AZ-900T01-A: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals. The instructor-led course is broken down into the following four modules: cloud concepts; core azure services; security, privacy, compliance, and trust; and Azure pricing and support.
Both the Learning Path and the Instructor-Led Course will adequately prepare you for the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam so that you can go into exam day feeling confident in your abilities!
Why get an Azure certification?
You might be wondering why you should go through the effort of getting yourself Azure certified. Well there are actually a number of benefits that come with an Azure certification!
Credibility. A certification provides any current or future employer with a quality assurance. Just writing the words “Azure certified” on your resume will communicate a wealth of information to a prospective employer.
Career Path. The Azure certification system is actually designed to set you on a career path. If you are passionate about IT and computer-related work, but aren’t sure what career to pursue, the Azure certification paths might help point you in the right direction.
Industry Standard. By completing an Azure certification you are demonstrating that you can comply with the industry standard.
Expand your skill-set. The Azure Certification will give you the opportunity to expand on your current skill-set and probably even help you to master entirely new skills. It is never too late to learn something new and once you get started who knows where this journey will take you?
How to get an Azure certification
Getting Azure certified is pretty straightforward. When you feel that you are sufficiently prepared, you can head over to the Microsoft website and sign up for the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam. Before signing up for the exam you might want to consider attempting the official practice to make sure you are adequately prepared.
You can access the practice test on the Microsoft website, and you can choose between 30-day and 60-day access. You’ll have to pay for both the official practice test and the exam, but the prices are relatively low.
The price of the practice test varies according to whether you choose 30-day or 60-day access to the test, but it costs less than 100 USD regardless. The Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam costs $99 USD.
You can take either an in-person or online proctored exam – depending on your location. Sometimes you may only have the option to do the exam online.
What if I fail the exam?
If you’re one of those people whose mind always wanders to the worst case scenario, you might be wondering what will happen if you fail the exam. The good news is that you don’t need to fret too much about this. If you fail, you can just try again.
You’ll have to go through the same process of scheduling the exam and unfortunately you will have to pay the $99 USD exam fee again. But, other than that, all you have to do is study hard and do your best to improve upon your first attempt!
There are a few caveats to re-taking the exam. First, you will have to wait at least 24 hours before signing up for another exam (which is probably a good idea regardless). Second, if you fail exam for the second time, you will have to wait two weeks before re-attempting the exam.
You’ll have to follow the same process for your third to fifth attempts. However, you will only be allowed five attempts per year so after your fifth attempt you will be blocked from attempting the exam until it has been a year since you attempted your fifth unsuccessful exam.
For this reason, it’s in your best interest to just make sure you are prepared the first (or second or third or fourth or fifth) time.
What jobs can I get with an Azure certification?
I wanted to get an idea of what kind of jobs were out there for people with an Azure certification. Turns out there are a lot of options! There are jobs for people from all sorts of different backgrounds with all sorts of different skill levels. Here are some of the popular jobs for people with an Azure certification:
Azure Cloud Architect
Cloud Sales and Purchase Manager
Cloud DevOps Engineer
Azure Big Data Specialist
Azure Networking Specialist
Key Account Manager, Cloud
As you can see, the job possibilities are quite varied! Of course, not all of these job titles would be available to a beginner with just a Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Certification, but that initial certification can lead to further certifications that will make jobs like the ones listed above possible.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft Azure is the cloud computing platform that is specific to Microsoft. Microsoft Azure is comparable to other cloud computing platforms such as AWS (Amazon Web Services) and GCP (Google Cloud Platform.
It provides users with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service). It does this with the support of both Microsoft-specific and third-party systems. There are currently about 600 different Microsoft Azure services available.
The Microsoft Azure services cover a huge variety of categories such as AI + Machine Learning, Databases, DevOps, Internet of Things, Mixed Reality, Mobile, Networking, Security, Storage, Web, and much more.
Some popular Azure services are:
Azure Cosmos DB
Azure Active Directory
Azure Content Delivery Network
Are you wondering what your next move should be after achieving the Azure Fundamentals Certification? Your best bet would be to try and find a job in the field so that you can get hands-on experience with Microsoft Azure.
After you get some more experience in the field you might have a better idea of ways in which you might want to specialize. Then you can decide if you want to pursue an associate, expert, or specialty Azure certification.