I have recently earned my Azure Solutions Architect certification exams. I got my AZ-300 and AZ-301 certifications in first week of March. So, I thought I will post a small article about how I prepared for the exams.
Why to earn certification ?
If you are already serious about getting Azure certification done, I am sure you are not interested in this question. You can skip this question.
For others, I will not answer this question for you. You have to answer this for yourself. Some of the reasons can be:
- If you do not know the technology, certification would help you to increase your knowledge in that area.
- If you already know the things, certification can help you to get your knowledge up to the date.
- If your job requires you to work on Azure, acquiring certifications can be very helpful to do your job effectively and efficiently.
- If your job does not require you to work on Azure, certification can help you to gain more knowledge about Azure. The certification will increase your ability to talk about it and understand other people talking about Azure.
- If you are aspiring for working on cutting edge Azure based software solutions, the certification will ensure other people that you have knowledge to work on the project.
I always like to keep myself up to date on Cloud Based technologies and thatls why I prefer to go for Azure certification exams.
How to prepare ?
I personally used two important resources for preparing the certification exams.
I personally feel that if you know nothing about a technology, you should watch it someone else using it first. That will let you know many important things in very short amount of time.
When I decided to appear for Azure Developer certification AZ-203, I went through PluralSight Path for AZ-203 certification. This path had a lot of video articles. They helped me to know more about how Azure Portal UI is located, how to monitor expenses, how to create / edit / delete resources etc.
Below are the PluralSight path for Azure Solutions Architect exams:
Microsoft Free Tutorials
Once you saw how the things are, next step is to try to read text about it. Microsoft has very well-written set of tutorials for every exam. Once you go to exam page, you can find these articles on the same page as shown in below snapshot:
These tutorials also has step by step hands-on guides with images, making learning experience awesome. On top of all of these, the best feature it has is “Sandbox” environment.
Every hands-on tutorial will have a “Create SandBox” button, which will give you access to Azure SandBox, where you can try the hands-on lab.
You do not need to get Azure subscription to learn it. I personally think that these tutorials are the best resources for preparing for Azure certifications.
For AZ-303 and AZ-304, the exams are still in beta phase and there are no tutorials available yet. But I believe if you use AZ-300 and AZ-301 articles, that should be helpful, as the goals of old exams and new exams are same.
Exam From Home
I am not sure if you know this, but you can also appear the exam from your home (or office). While scheduling the exam, you can opt for it as shown in below snapshot:
If you select exam at home option, you get an email with detailed instruction about the process you should follow on exam day.
On high level, the process is as below:
- You should perform the system test from the same computer and location typically a day or two before the exam date. You should make sure that web-cam, mic and speakers work fine on your computer.
- You should install PearsonVue software for exam
- On exam date and time, you should go to Microsoft learnings dashboard to start the exam.
- While starting exam, you will be asked to provide photos of your desk from all directions. You are not supposed to keep any devices like phones, iPads, TV, etc near desk.
- Once the photos submitted, you will be contacted by help desk person and he can check few more things with you before releasing the exam.
- Once exam is released, you are requested to be available in web cam frame. You should also keep the mic in unmute state. This is just to ensure that you are honestly appearing the exam.
I personally like to take exam from home as it saves time of commuting.
Earned Certification, What is next ?
Once you acquire Azure Solutions Architect certification, it is valid for 2 years.
But, every technology is changing rapidly and so is Azure. There may be changes in terminology, it is good to make sure you stay up to date even though your certification is valid.
If you are working on Azure based solutions, you can
- Subscribe to Azure updates
- Read articles in Azure Architecture Center
- Contribute to communities like Stack overflow
I hope this article has provided you all the information you were looking for. I would be happy to answer if you have any further questions on this topic.