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Complete Roadmap To Microsoft Azure Certifications

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The growth of the cloud computing platform has created a unique opportunity to capitalize on the market for IT professionals. Amongst other on demand jobs, one particular category is seeing an upward trend, it’s for Azure certified professionals.

As per Glassdoor, the average pay for an Azure professional is upward of INR 45 lakhs annually, making it a great investment for IT professionals. 

Obtaining Microsoft Azure certifications are, therefore, a lucrative option for proving your skills and advancing your careers.

Technological advancements have boosted the IT sector, helping businesses shift their operations online.  Microsoft Azure is a leading platform that facilitates this ongoing digital transformation. 

As a cloud computing giant, Microsoft Azure presents a fast, safe, and cheap alternative to on-field business operations. It holds 21% of the market share and has around 1 billion users worldwide. 

What Is Microsoft Azure Certification?

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service and platform that enables you to run, build, and manage applications with the tools and frameworks of your choice. A Microsoft Azure certificate is proof of any IT, data, AI or a developer’s professional skills and knowledge about the Microsoft Azure platform. 

Microsoft Azure is one of the best azure certificates for professionals looking to level up their skills. These certifications are achieved by passing comprehensive exams along the Azure certification path. They are preceded by training courses that help you handle the cloud computing system and provide cloud-based services to advance your career

Microsoft Azure certifications are divided into three levels: 

  • Fundamental
  • Associate
  • Expert 

And recently, Azure introduced Specialty and Role-Based certifications in their azure courses list.

Attaining Microsoft’s Azure certification boosts your credibility by showing your working knowledge of Azure's services, architecture, governance, and management. 

Azure Certification Path

As stated earlier, Azure certifications are divided into three levels. These include:

Fundamental-Level Certifications

Amongst the Azure certifications list, fundamental-level certificates are ideal for beginners or professionals without an IT background. These training sessions provide the groundwork for launching your career in cloud computing. At the fundamental level, you get introduced to concepts like Azure resource management, disaster recovery, fault tolerance, and scalability. 

Microsoft Azure fundamentals trainings include:

Azure Fundamentals AZ-900

This exam assesses your knowledge in fundamental concepts such as scalability, disaster recovery, high availability, use of Azure’s main products, differences between cloud types, Azure DDoS protection, firewall, and Network Security Group. 

Azure Data Fundamentals DP-900

In this certification course, you learn about the core components of data, analytics, and management such as modern data warehouse, data ingestion, and processing.

Azure AI Fundamentals AI-900

Through this certification, you can gather knowledge about AI workloads, considerations, features of conversational AI workloads, NLP workloads, and the fundamental principles of machine learning using  Azure. Basically, you are on top of all things AI.

Associate-Level Azure Certifications

The associate-level certifications are available for IT professionals who have a solid foundation in Microsoft Azure. It’s relatively advanced than Azure fundamental certifications and it can enhance your career.. Different certifications include:

Azure Data Scientist Associate DP-100

This exam assesses your ability to perform, explore, extract, scale, evaluate and more data science tasks leveraging Azure Machine Learning (ML) 

Azure Database Administrator Associate DP-300

For this certification exam, you should gain knowledge and skills at an operational level of data platform solutions like monitoring activities, configuring resources for optimal performance, reviewing queries, database tables, and index design, and implementing HADR strategy for continuous service. You need to learn about solutions built with Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure Data Services.

Azure Security Engineer Associate AZ-500

In this Azure certification path you learn how to manage and configure cloud-based data infrastructure and security for applications. You gain expertise on Azure operational processes and Azure services.

Azure Administrator Associate AZ-104

As a part of this certification, you must build expertise in owning, implementing and managing storage, deploying and managing Azure compute resources. Honing skills like monitoring and backing up Azure resources, maintaining Azure governance, and identities, and managing and configuring virtual networking. 

Azure Developer Associate AZ-204

With this certification, you enhance your developer skills and learn about Azure storage solutions and implementing Azure security.

Azure AI Engineer Associate AZ-102

With this Azure certification, you build the ability to implement NLP, knowledge mining, conversational AI, computer vision, and every other AI solution within the Azure environment.

Azure Data Engineer Associate DP-203

In this training, you can learn about storing and using datasets for analysis, and managing data pipelines and data stores. 

Expert-Level Certifications

Expert-level Azure certifications have been developed for professionals with a strong background in the cloud, associate-level certifications, and hands-on experience with  Microsoft Azure. These certifications include:

Azure DevOps Engineer Expert AZ-400

With this certification, you build on your experience as an infrastructure developer. Your knowledge horizon extends to Azure control management, security and compliance plans, cloud hosting infrastructure, instrumentation and SRE strategies, and continuous integration.

Azure Solutions Architect Expert AZ-305

In this expert Azure certification you master skills in designing cloud and hybrid solutions that run on Microsoft Azure. Along with Azure strategy, configuring Azure Kubernetes services, designing infrastructure, configuring serverless computing and DevOps processes. 

Besides these three levels of certifications, you can choose from different Specialty and Role-based certifications offered by Microsoft. 

Specialty Certifications

In the Microsoft Azure Certification path, you can also focus on different specialized and advanced concepts, including:

  1. Azure Support Engineer for Connectivity Specialty AZ-720
  2. Azure Cosmos DB Developer Specialty DP-420
  3. Azure Virtual Desktop Specialty AZ-140
  4. Azure IoT Developer Specialty AZ-220
  5. Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty AZ-120

Role-Based Certifications 

These certifications provide role-based knowledge and expertise to candidates working in unrelated fields and include:

  1. Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate
  2. Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate

Cost for Azure Certification

Certification LevelCertification NameExam CodeCost (USD)Cost (INR)Prerequisites
FundamentalAzure FundamentalsAZ-900$99₹8,200None
 Azure AI FundamentalsAI-900$99₹8,200None
 Azure Data FundamentalsDP-900$99₹8,200None
AssociateAzure Administrator AssociateAZ-104$165₹13,700None (AZ-900 recommended)
 Azure Developer AssociateAZ-204$165₹13,7001-2 years of development experience
 Azure Security Engineer AssociateAZ-500$165₹13,700None (AZ-900 recommended)
 Azure Data Scientist AssociateDP-100$165₹13,700Experience in data science and using Azure ML
 Azure Database Administrator AssociateDP-300$165₹13,700None
ExpertAzure Solutions Architect ExpertAZ-305$165₹13,700AZ-104 and AZ-204 recommended
 Azure DevOps Engineer ExpertAZ-400$165₹13,700Experience with Azure DevOps
SpecialtyAzure IoT Developer SpecialtyAZ-220$165₹13,700None
 Azure AI Engineer AssociateAI-102$165₹13,700None (AI-900 recommended)

Study Resources for Azure Certification

ResourceDescriptionFees
Microsoft LearnFree, self-paced learning paths and modules.Free
Azure DocumentationIn-depth technical guides and tutorials.Free
PluralsightCourses and practice exams.$29/month or $299/year
UdemyVarious courses for specific certifications.Varies (typically $10-$200 per course)
A Cloud GuruVideo lessons, labs, and practice exams.$49/month or $499/year
LinkedIn LearningProfessional courses and practice tests.$39.99/month or $240/year
Exam Ref BooksOfficial Microsoft books for exam preparation.$30-$60 per book
YouTubeChannels like Microsoft Azure, John Savill, Adam Marczak.Free
Practice LabsHands-on labs to practice Azure skills.$39/month
Azure CommunityForums like Microsoft Tech Community and Reddit.Free

Azure Certification Procedure

Microsoft Azure certification path is designed to help expand your knowledge and skills to advance your career. Therefore, it is vital to choose the right certification based on your:

  1. Current skill levels
  2. Career goals 
  3. Market Demand
  4. Learning Style
  5. Future Growth Plan with the certification

Once you have decided on the career path you want, may it be a data scientist, security engineer, database engineer, AI engineer, or cloud administrator, you can apply for the associated certification exam. 

You can start on your journey to Azure certification by meeting the prerequisites for the level of certification you desire, and then sign up for and take the certification exam. You will need to stay certified by renewing your certificate each year. 

Get training

The fundamental-level certifications require basic knowledge of the  Microsoft Azure platform. You can take different certification courses to update your knowledge and develop the necessary skills.

For associate-level certifications, you must have the required knowledge for which multiple online courses are available. On the other hand, for expert-level certifications, you need to pass the exam in addition to having an associate-level certification and on-field experience. 

You can directly enroll in Microsoft’s free online learning paths to help you prepare for their certification exams, including Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, Microsoft AI Fundamentals, and Microsoft Data Fundamentals. You can also attend their free virtual training events or enroll in paid instructor-led classes.

Meet the prerequisites

Azure certifications lists recommend a certain level of expertise before you attempt the exam. These include related associate-level certifications and a certain number of years of experience.

As of today, Fundamentals and Associate certification levels do not have prerequisites.

As a measure, Microsoft recommends the following criteria before taking an exam:

  • Have thorough knowledge of the exam skills.
  • Enroll in practice assessments provided by Microsoft.
  • Gain a basic functional understanding of Microsoft Azure with a trial subscription.
  • Leverage Microsoft's learning resources to prepare for all certifications. 

Pass the certification

Once you have gathered the required knowledge and skill set, you can apply for the exam. Once you clear the passing criteria you pass the exam, you will get your Microsoft Azure certification. All exams receive scores on a scale of 1 to 1,000; you need a minimum of 700 as a passing score.

Maintain your credentials

It is also vital to renew your Associate and Expert certifications to stay updated on Azure changes. You can renew your Azure certification through the free assessments portal on Microsoft. 

Microsoft Azure certification can be applied in real job Scenarios

Certification LevelCertification NameReal-World Application
FundamentalAzure Fundamentals (AZ-900)Basic understanding of cloud services, applicable for roles like sales, purchasing, and marketing of Azure services.
AssociateAzure Administrator (AZ-104)Managing Azure identities, governance, storage, and computing and suitable for system administrators and IT professionals.
AssociateAzure Developer (AZ-204)Designing, building, and maintaining cloud applications and services for software developers and application developers.
AssociateAzure Security Engineer (AZ-500)Implementing security controls and threat protection for security engineers and analysts.
ExpertAzure Solutions Architect (AZ-305)Designing and implementing solutions on Azure is ideal for solution architects and senior IT professionals.
ExpertAzure DevOps Engineer (AZ-400)Combining people, processes, and technologies to deliver services and applications for DevOps engineers.
SpecialtyAzure AI Engineer (AI-102)Implementing AI solutions applicable to AI engineers working on natural language processing, speech, computer vision, and more.
SpecialtyAzure Data Engineer (DP-203)Designing and implementing data solutions for data engineers responsible for managing data on Azure.
Role-BasedAzure Data Scientist (DP-100)Building and deploying machine learning models ideal for data scientists working with Azure Machine Learning.

What are the path levels of Azure certification?

Certification LevelCertifications
Fundamental- Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900)
Associate

- Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104)

-Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204)

-Azure Security Engineer Associate (AZ-500)

Specialty

- Azure AI Engineer Associate (AI-102)

- Azure Data Scientist Associate (DP-100)

- Azure IoT Developer Specialty (AZ-220)

Expert

- Azure Solutions Architect Expert (AZ-305)

- Azure DevOps Engineer Expert (AZ-400)

Conclusion

Microsoft Azure is a must-have if you want to excel in your career fast. Cloud computing is the future and Microsoft Azure certified professionals are in demand. 

You can start your journey today, with Microsoft’s free guides, curated to take you one step ahead.

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