The Microsoft exams are a great way to validate your skills and earn an industry standard certificate of achievement for your CV.
The Microsoft certifications do have the same issues, namely that the technology stack moves much quicker than the content of the exams. When I completed my MCSD: App Builder last year, I found this was especially true, which made it really hard to be motivated to study as I knew I wouldn’t be able to use all of what I was learning. However, in March 2018, Microsoft did a bit of a wholesale update of their exam content and the Azure exams were updated to be much more relevant. I’d imagine for at least the next couple of years, this is unlikely to change a huge so it’s a great time to study and really be able to utilise the skills you learn.
What’s the Process?
Microsoft exams are fairly uniform in their exams and accreditation process.
- First exam pass, you earn Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).
- Second exam (in the same path) earns Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA).
- Third exam (in the same path) earns Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
What’s the Point of passing Microsoft Exams?
The primary reason for most of us (in my opinion) is CV fodder. Ultimately, the IT industry is full of people who have done a lot of different things and having an industry giant like Microsoft give you a piece of paper that confirms you can do some of those things to a good standard is gold dust for prospective employers.
If you log in to your learning dashboard you can get access to your ‘benefits’ as well as your exam history and certificates etc. You also get various benefits like discounts in the Microsoft Press Store, Dell (the USA only) and various third-party sign up offers, but realistically I don’t know anyone who has ever used any of these things.
What courses are available?
There are currently four exams available, of which you will need to pass two.
- 70-532 : Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
- Create and manage Azure Resource Manager Virtual Machines (30-35%)
- Design and implement a storage and data strategy (25-30%)
- Manage identity, application, and network services (15-20%)
- Design and implement Azure PaaS compute and web and mobile services (25-30%)
- 70-533 : Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
- Design and Implement Azure App Service Apps (10-15%)
- Create and Manage Azure Resource Manager Virtual Machines (20-25%)
- Design and Implement a Storage Strategy (10-15%)
- Implement Virtual Networks (15-20%)
- Design and Deploy ARM Templates (10-15%)
- Manage Azure Security and Recovery Solutions (25-30%)
- Manage Azure Operations (5-10%)
- Manage Azure Identities (5-10%)
- 70-535 : Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
- Design Compute Infrastructure (20-25%)
- Design Data Implementation (15-20%)
- Design Networking Implementation (15-20%)
- Design and Identify Solutions (20-25%)
- Design Solutions by using Platform Services (10-15%)
- Design for Operations (10-15%)
- 70-537 : Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack
- Deploying and Integrating an Azure Stack Environment (20-25%)
- Configuring Paas and IaaS for an Azure Stack Environment (25% – 30%)
- Providing Services to and Enabling DevOps for Azure Stack Tenants (25 – 30%)
- Maintaining and Monitoring an Azure Stack Environment (20-25%)
Personally, I am thinking of doing the 70-532 and 70-535 exams as I think they are most relevant to me and my role at this time. I will write some posts to follow my learning so that you can see what worked (or didn’t) for me and hopefully help you too.
How do I earn my MCSA?
Once you pass two of these, you automatically earn your MCSA. Simple right?