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No matter if you are starting your career in IT industry or if you are a long-time consultant. One thing will never change: Certifications – today let’s have a look into the Azure Certifications to aim for in 2020.
Why are Certifications important?
There are multiple reasons to aim for a certification. For many out there it is a way to improve their career, to aim for a higher salary or to check their skills to feel confident in a certain topic.
But besides the personal reasons, it is also important for companies. If you work for a Services company like I do, certifications are often required when offering services to a customer or to participate on an invitation to tender.
On the other side if you work in an enterprise or somewhere else it is important for you to have a criteria that you can ask for. Certifications are good to check for, as they are standardized and created by a third-party.
So if you ask for an Azure Architect, it is easy to give someone the title inside the company. Print some new business cards and sell them as an Architect … but from a knowledge and experience perspective, they will never be as good as you expect. So a certification can help to tackle this…
One discussion that comes up quite often: „But I have x years of experience with Azure … why do I need a certification.“
Well, in Germany we say „Trust is good, control is better“ – or let’s translate this to „Better safe than sorry.
If you tell me, that you have 5 years of experience, I have to trust you. But also 5 years, does not mean anything in a world where most services in the cloud change every 3-6 months totally. So the main question for me is: Is your knowledge up-to-date? Can you prove it?
An here we go again: Certifications. 🙂
What about the Microsoft Certification levels?
Over time there had been a lot changes to the Microsoft certifications. From MCSE to MCITP to MTA and MCSE again …. so many names … but we always were talking about product based certifications.
Now the certifications have evolved to a role-based approach, which better fits the complexity of cloud and modern IT. So you can find certifications for Admins, Developers, Architects or Functional Consultants now.
The certification path is structured into 3 main layer and an extra:
- Fundamental – those certifications are designed for people, new in technology. Teaching the base and checking the technical knowledge
- Associate – designed for people with 2 years of experience in a particular area
- Experts – like the name says, designed for experts with a deep knowledge and 2-5 years of minimum experience. In many cases they require the Associate certification to be in place.
- Specialty – this is a pretty new level, which is focusing on a special topic like SAP or IoT
So check for yourself which level best fits to your current expertise.
What Azure Certifications do exist?
Right now, as of January 2020 we have a total of 11 Azure focused certifications:
So if you are planning for certifications in 2020, go for the cert that fits your level and role:
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate – Exam AZ-103
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate – Exam AZ-203
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate – Exam AZ-500
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate – Exam DP-100
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate – Exam DP-200, DP-201
- Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate – Exam AI-100
You can find the full overview also here.
How to prepare for Azure Certifications?
Now we know that there are a lot of certifications, but how to prepare for the exams?
There are multiple ways and it really depends on, what kind of learner you are. Some of us learn more when playing around, while others need some instructor led-things.
But there are some nice resources online to help you find the right starting points:
- Microsoft Azure Blog – Tips for learning Azure in the new year
- Microsoft Docs – Azure Learning Paths
- Thomas Maurer – Tips on how to take Microsoft Azure Certification Exams
- Videos – Azure Advent Calendar 2019
- Azure Hands on Labs
- Azure Citadel
- LinkedIn Learning Courses
There are also a lot of Meetups, conference, instructor-led trainings, etc. out there
Find you way and get certified!
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