Everyone’s learning journey is unique and the process of acquiring new technical skills can be overwhelming. It's not always clear which resources will be the most beneficial for you and your learning path. The Microsoft Learn Community and our Learn experts are here to help you build expertise, answer your questions, and help you achieve career goals. One of the best ways to validate your skills is with world-class, industry recognized Microsoft certifications.
Benefits of getting certified
The process of getting a Microsoft certification will take time and focus, but the proven benefits are worth the effort. Microsoft Certification continues to be the industry standard in verifying technical proficiency and demonstrating that you’re keeping pace with today’s technology. They demonstrate that learners have the skills and ability to effectively perform current and future job responsibilities using Microsoft technologies. The advantages of achieving a certification include:
- Proof of technical proficiency
- Demonstrates that you are keeping pace with technology
- Showcases foundational, specific to job role, and technical skills
- Learn multiple aspects of a new technology
- Expand your skillset outside your current job role and build your technical profile
- Demonstrate your expertise to your existing or prospective employers
- Gain confidence in your skills and stand out from your peers
- Learn in your own timeframe
How to get started
You must first determine which path you want to follow. If you are pursuing a certification related to Azure, then we recommend you begin with Fundamentals. Microsoft offers several fundamental certifications to get you started that do not require previous knowledge. If you are completely new to Azure, then the Azure Fundamentals certification would be a great option for you.
Other than the Fundamentals, there are Azure Role-based or Specialty certifications. The Azure Role-based certifications validate your skills against a specific role instead of a specific technology. You will review the features and learn how to use a range of Azure Services for each certification. If you are passionate about a specific technology, go straight to the Specialty certifications, where you can find more in-depth learning regarding one particular technology or services such as CosmosDB.
The best resource to see all available Microsoft certifications by category and type is the certifications poster found here. (https://aka.ms/traincertposter) By clicking on each box, you will find all the information you need to study and schedule an exam.
Here you can see how many exams are required for each certification, and in the individual exam and certification pages you will find even more detailed information about:
- The prerequisites needed to understand the associated material (courses or learning paths)
- Learning Paths from Microsoft Learn with relevant material helpful for studying
- Announcements on recently completed or pending changes to this certification exam
- Study guides and the exam demonstration
- Free practice assessments
My recommendation is to bookmark the http://aka.ms/Traincertposter so that you always have the latest version.
Preparing for your certification exam
When you’re ready to start studying and preparing for your certification exam, there are several options that can help you including self-paced training, instructor-led training, and learning rooms. Let’s learn more about these exam preparation resources:
If you have limited time to devote to exam preparation, or you can’t commit many hours taking a course, you can find all the relevant material in the certification page under the self-paced category. Alternatively, go directly to Microsoft Learn and visit the Certifications tab. Login with your Microsoft Account to track progress, gain XP points, and get shareable badges for every path you finish.
You can complete the learning paths at your own pace and view exercises in a sandbox environment, where you will have the opportunity to demonstrate the skills you are learning.
There are a lot of virtual or in-person courses delivered by Microsoft Certified Trainers around the world. Find certified Learning Partners delivering courses virtually or in-person close to your region in the Find a Learning Partner resource. By completing a course delivered by a Microsoft Certified Trainer you can ask questions and discuss real-life scenarios. You will also gain some hands-on experience by participating in labs if they are available for the course.
Some topics might be delivered on the Microsoft Virtual Training Days. These are virtual sessions covering a wide variety of topics in Azure, Business Applications, Microsoft 365, and Security. Explore upcoming sessions on Microsoft Virtual Training Days.
Join our learning rooms, a new space to find connections with experts and peers. Facilitated by Microsoft Learn experts like myself, learning rooms are designed to offer you a dedicated and safe environment where you can directly engage with an expert and deep dive into topic-specific questions via asynchronous discussions and virtual sessions.
Scheduling the certification exam
As soon as you have completed the material and prepared using the practice assessments, you can schedule and take the certification exam. Explore the exam environment and review possible questions in the Exam Sandbox. To pass the exam you must score at least 700 out of 1000 points. You can expect anywhere between 40 to 60 questions, and you should plan for 120-140 minutes of exam time. If you are taking the exam from home, add an additional 30 minutes for the check-in process.
If you require any accommodations during the exam, like extra time due to English not being your native language, or assistive technologies due to visual or other impairments, visit this link to see the available exam accommodations and associated documentation requirements. The request must be submitted and approved before your scheduled exam, which can take up to 20 days, so be sure to plan ahead. These request forms can be found here.
Congratulations on achieving your certification! We encourage you to continue your learning, master new skills, and earn more certifications. Be sure to stay current on necessary renewals. Note: Apart from Fundamentals, Role-based and Specialty certifications expire after one year, so be sure you renew your certification for free before the expiration date by taking an online renewal assessment. You can take the renewal assessment any time in the 6 months prior to your certification expiration, via Microsoft Learn. Once you pass, your certification will be extended one year from the expiration date.
Please visit Certification Renewals for more information and to find support on your skilling journey.
Meet Georgia Kalyva, Microsoft Learn expert
Before Microsoft, Georgia was recognized as a Microsoft AI MVP, is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and an international speaker with years of expertise in Microsoft Cloud, AI and developer technologies. With a background in software development, her career has spanned solutions design to business and digital transformation. Georgia’s honors include awards from international technology and business competitions, and her journey to excellence stems from a growth mindset and a passion for technology.
Learn more about Georgia.