Often I get asked by people who are looking for jobs if it makes sense to get certified. While certification is not a requirement nor a guarantee, it can definitely help to land a job working in a team doing cloud computing. I also use it often to make sure, I learn the right things. So we see that getting certified is a great thing, now the question is how do I prepare for a Microsoft Azure certification exam?
Since I passed a couple of the Azure exams, I would like to share how I prepared for these exams and passed. Hopefully, this will make it easier for you to pass them as well.
To begin with, make sure you choose and pick the certification path and exam which is right for you. There are a lot of different exams and industry certifications out there. Microsoft’s approach of role-based certifications is aligned to relevant market and industry job-roles, to make it easier to find the right one. It makes a lot of sense to pick the right one for you, depending on where you are in your career and where you’re going. I wrote a blog post to give you an overview and pick thedifferent Azure exam certification paths.
Identify thecertificationof your interest to find the required exams. To browse all the Microsoft Certification exams, check out theofficial website.
If you are not 100% sure where and with which exam to start, I recommend that you start small by taking theAZ-900 Azure Fundamentals exam. This will help you understand how Microsoft exams work by not being too deep into technology. Having experience taking Microsoft exams helps you to focus on the actual topics and not on the testing process. Also, make sure that you have a look at thesespecial offers, you can find more information on special offers further down.
Know the exam content, read what is measured
The first thing after and during picking the exam is to see what is asked during the exam. Every Microsoft exam page lists the “skills measured” in the exam. This list is usually very accurate and helps you to focus and study the right content. The page itself even lists available training and courses to prepare for the exam.
Microsoft Azure Exam Page – Skills measured and prepare for the exam
Understand the question types
Understanding the exam formats and question types before taking the exam can help you a lot. Microsoft does not mention which question types for exam formats are exactly in each exam, but you can find a list of exam and question samples here in thisYouTube playlist. Understanding what questions types will be coming in your exam, will make it easier for you to answer them and get the most point per question.
Take free hands-on learning courses on Microsoft Learn
Microsoft Learnwas introduced at Ignite 2018 as a free learning platform for a lot of different Microsoft technologies, not just Azure.Microsoft Learnprovides you with various learning paths depending on your job role or the skills you are looking for. Most of the learning paths give you a hands-on learning opportunity so that you can develop practical skills through interactive training. And it is free! You get instant in-browser access to Microsoft tools and modules, no credit card required.
Microsoft Learn :graduation_cap: - Up your game with a module or learning path tailored to today’s IT Pro, developer, and technology masterminds and designed to prepare you for industry-recognized Microsoft certifications.
The best way to learn and pass the Microsoft Azure exams, or basically to learn anything, is most of the time through real hands-on experience with the technology. While Microsoft Learn gives you some free hands-on learning modules, there is also an Azure free account. The Azure free account will provide you with 12 months of free Azure services. You can find out morehere. Make sure you dive into the skills measured and try the tutorials in Microsoft Docs.
Read the Microsoft Docs
Next, to Microsoft Learn and Hands-on experience, this is one of my main recommendations to prepare for a Microsoft Azure exam. Read theMicrosoft Azure Documentation. Trust me on this, Azure and the topics which come up in the exams are very well documented. As mentioned, read the skills measured on the exam page, look up the specific Microsoft Docs pages and read through them and try out the tutorials.
And have a look at my Azure Certification Exam Study Guides, which will help find you the right documentation.
There are a lot of different video training courses out there, which allow you to do video-based Azure exam preparations. To mention a couple of them likeLinkedIn Learning,Pluralsight,Whizlabs,ITPro.TV,Udemy,A Cloud Guru, CloudSkills.io,and many many more! Just browse through the different offers and read the review to find the best match for you. There are also a lot of Microsoft Learning Partners which offer online courses.
Choose instructor-led courses and learning partners
As you can see, there is a lot of self-study learning materials out there to prepare and pass the Azure exams. However, the classroom experience can be super beneficial and efficient, especially with the right trainer. You can find a list of official Microsoft Learning Partners with Microsoft Certified Trainers depending on your countryhere. A lot of them offer different courses for different technologies and in combination with in-person or online training.
If you prefer to learn and prepare for an exam using books, Microsoft offers books written by the experts atMicrosoft Press. There are some excellent books that will help you learn more and prepare and pass the Microsoft Azure exams. However, if you get a hard copy of the book, it won’t be updated in the future, to reflect changes in technology or in the exams.
Take a practice exam
Some of the exams also have official practice exams available. These are great to see where in the learning process you are standing and on which topics you need to spend a little bit more time. I highly recommend that you only do the official practice exams and don’t use brain dumps. Besides cheating on the exam and yourself, brain dumps are often simply wrong and contain a lot of mistakes. You can find Microsoft's official practice testshere.
If you have a couple of colleagues, friends, or people you met at an Azure User group meetup, it can help to build a study group. Study groups don’t just help you to get more structure in your learning. They also help you to gain a new perspective on the study material and reduce procrastination.