17 Hours of Dog Food: How I Passed the Azure DevOps AZ-400 Exam

How I passed the Azure AZ-400 DevOps Exam

Taking the Azure AZ-400 exam

I want to tell you how I ate dog food to pass the Microsoft Azure DevOps AZ-400 exam. I’m not talking about wolfing down a punnet of premium beef mince for dogs, but I’m referring to the practice of a company using its own product. (Coincidentally, back in the late 1980s an email titled “Eating our own dog food” was circulated within Microsoft challenging staff to increase the internal usage of the company’s own products.)


My first few assignments at Cloud Academy were putting together a couple of courses for the Azure DevOps Learning Path. Before joining Cloud Academy, I spent most of my professional life as a coder in one form or another, but in no way considered myself a DevOps expert.

I felt like agile was something I used to be, and scrum was something that happened on the rugby field. At the time I was creating the courses, I thought that the AZ 400 exam was probably something I should sit. I booked the test several months in advance to give myself time to prepare as the courses I created were only a small part of the Azure DevOps Learning Path. DevOps covers a wide range of topics, and Azure has a lot of products and services in this area.

Anyhow, life rolls on, and I forgot about the exam and moved on to working in other subject domains. Imagine my surprise when my calendar pops up, telling me the exam is 24 hours away — on a Friday. I’d been nose to the keyboard all week, so my first instinct was just to write off the exam fee and chalk it up to experience. Still not sure why I thought Friday would be a good day to sit a test.

Self-doubt first, then forward progress

Pondering my options, I realized I had the ideal preparation material at my fingertips — the Cloud Academy Azure DevOps Learning Path. If it’s good enough for Microsoft to eat their own dog food, then it’s good enough for me to eat our own Microsoft and Azure flavored dog food. The only issue is that the whole learning path is in excess of 17 hours, and I’m at an age where pulling an all-nighter is not a viable option.

I made myself comfortable, got some snacks, and started watching the learning path from the beginning on fast forward at 1 ½ speed. By 9 o’clock at night, my eyes were beginning to glaze over, so I went to bed and then got up the next morning at five and watched three more courses.

At this stage, it did feel like a little bit of a lost cause, and when I jumped in the car and started on the 90-minute drive to the testing center, I wasn’t brimming with confidence, but definitely felt more knowledgeable than the day before. There was the usual nervous tension cruising the streets looking for a park. Still, after signing in at the testing center with the obligatory watered-down hand sanitizer, I was overcome with a fatalistic calmness.

Jumping in…

Once the test timer started counting down, I became fully immersed in the task at hand and caught myself smiling as I came across questions related to the content I just learned. Several times I even chuckled to myself, “I learned that two hours ago,” and congratulated myself on getting up early to cram in the extra three courses.

I’m not a DevOps black belt (maybe a brown belt now), but what I found heart-warming was confirming that Cloud Academy courses are more than fit for purpose. They teach you what you need to know to do the job, and they are a one-stop-shop for passing certification exams.

Watching 17 hours of DevOps on fast forward may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but the AZ-400 Learning Path covers all you need to know to become proficient in Azure DevOps and pass the exam.

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