What is Microsoft DP420?

Microsofts new Exam DP420 covers the topic ‘Designing and Implementing Cloud-Native Applications Using Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB’. The exam covers quite obviously, CosmosDB!

What is a Beta exam?

The exam is currently in Beta until 10th January 2022, which means that you will NOT be given your score straight away. The exams are used to assess the curve and will be reviewed by a moderator within 2 months. If your final score is higher than the curve pass rate, then you will automatically receive the qualification once the beta phase ends.

Because it is in Beta, you can currently get 80% off your exam if you use the code ‘DP420ELLSWORTH‘. This code is limited to 300 uses as well as for use prior to the 10th so use it fast!

What is an Azure Speciality?

Azure Specialitiy is a tier of the Microsoft certifications focussed on demonstrating skills in a particular topic or area. They are scoped tightly to a particular topic such as CosmosDb and not linked to your roles. I.e. you could come at this as a Developer or a more traditional Db Admin background.

Currently, the specialities only require a single exam to become Microsoft Certified, so passing DP-420 will award you the ‘Azure Cosmos DB Developer Specialty’ title with no additional effort. Pretty nice right?

What do I need to learn to pass DP420?

The easiest way to plan your learning is to start at the official Microsoft DP420 page, which lists the current exam topics and weighting. The page can be found here. It is always worth starting here, as the exam topics and weighting are subject to change, especially in exams currently in Beta.

Currently, the topics and weighting are as follows.

  • Design and implement data models (35–40%)
  • Design and implement data distribution (5–10%)
  • Integrate an Azure Cosmos DB solution (5–10%)
  • Optimize an Azure Cosmos DB solution (15–20%)
  • Maintain an Azure Cosmos DB solution (25–30%)

Learning Materials

As CosmosDB is a specialist exam, we can expect it to go into a fair amount of detail in all the areas listed as exam topics.

The first place I tend to look when dealing with new (to me) Microsoft technologies, is MS Learn. In the past, Microsofts own learning materials have been a bit sketchy, but personally, I have really enjoyed the MS Learn platform over the last couple of years, so will always recommend it now.

They currently do not have a course dedicated to 420 on the site but we can expect that to come with time. That said, CosmosDb is well covered in other paths already created, so just search for it and pick what you need to learn.

If you need a quick starting point for an intro to CosmosDb, start here.

If you prefer videos, there is a great 60 minute intro on Pluralsight here. (Requries subscription)

There are also free videos on Youtube – like this one.

I will also update the blog next week with my own study notes for the exam, which might help you out if you choose to sit it in the future. If you do choose to sit the exam – good luck!

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