How to Become a Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator

Microsoft Azure is one of the hottest cloud services on the planet, and it’s growing at a phenomenal rate. This rapid growth has created a huge demand for people who know how to administer and manage Azure implementations.

To make it easier for employers to verify the skills of Azure administrator candidates, Microsoft has released the AZ-103 certification exam. If you’ve looked at Azure certifications before, you might be surprised to see that this is Microsoft’s only administrator exam. After all, Microsoft just released the AZ-100 and AZ-101 administrator exams in late September 2018. Seven months later, they retired both of those exams and combined them into one exam. If you pass the AZ-103 exam, you will earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification.

Here is Microsoft’s summary of the skills you should have before taking the exam:

“Candidates for this exam should have proficiency in using PowerShell, the Command Line Interface, Azure Portal, ARM templates, operating systems, virtualization, cloud infrastructure, storage structures, and networking.”

AZ-103 Exam

Here are the topics covered in the AZ-103 exam and the relative weight of each section:

  • Manage Azure subscriptions and resources (15-20%)
  • Implement and manage storage (15-20%)
  • Deploy and manage virtual machines (VMs) (15-20%)
  • Configure and manage virtual networks (30-35%)
  • Manage identities (15-20%)

Managing Azure subscriptions and resources might seem like a pretty simple topic, but it’s actually very important because if you don’t get this right, you could end up with security holes and cost overruns. You need to know how to maintain governance by applying policies to subscriptions and resources. Azure enforces these policies to prevent actions your organization doesn’t want to allow. You also need to learn how to monitor resource consumption so you don’t end up with unexpectedly large bills to pay. The final topic on managing resources is role-based access control. This is how you can give users the right level of access to resources so they don’t have more privileges than they need.

Watch this short video to get an overview of how to manage Azure Subscriptions and Resource Groups:

Implementing and managing storage is the next section. It includes more than just Azure Storage. It also covers how to set up file shares using Azure File Sync and how to implement backups using a Recovery Services Vault.

Deploying and managing virtual machines (VMs) on Azure is pretty easy, but you need to know how to deploy VMs at an enterprise level. This includes automating the deployment of VMs using Azure Resource Manager, automating configuration changes using Desired State Configuration, and backing up your VMs using policies. You also have to be able to set up high availability and autoscaling.

Configuring and managing virtual networks is the biggest section of the exam. Again, this is about setting up enterprise-grade networks. First, be sure you know how to connect virtual networks together using VNet peering and network gateways, how to configure both private and public DNS zones for name resolution, and how to secure your VNets using Network Security Groups.

This section also covers advanced virtual networking. Topics include distributing an application’s load across multiple VMs using Azure Load Balancer, monitoring virtual networks using Network Watcher, and integrating your on-premises network with your Azure network using VPN Gateway and ExpressRoute.

Managing identities is the final section. It’s all about Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), which is a managed version of Microsoft’s tried and true directory software. Of course, you’ll need to know how to add users and groups to it, but Azure AD has lots of other features to help you keep your organization secure. For example, one practice that has become very popular is multi-factor authentication. This is where users have to use more than one authentication method to log in, such as having to enter both a password and verification code that was texted to their phone. You’ll also need to learn how to sync up your on-premises Active Directory with Azure AD and enable single sign-on.

Preparing for the Exam

That’s a wide range of topics covered in the exam, isn’t it? You’ll need to know how to use everything from Recovery Services Vault to Network Watcher to Azure Active Directory.

To fill in the gaps and to review all of the other topics, I recommend taking self-paced courses, getting hands-on experience in a few key areas of Azure and taking practice exams. The easiest way to do that is to go through Cloud Academy’s AZ-103 Exam Preparation Learning Path. It includes video-based Courses, Hands-on Labs, and a practice Exam.

Watch this short video for an overview of the AZ-103 Exam Preparation Learning Path:

Avatar

Written by

Guy Hummel

Guy is a certified cloud architect on all three of the major public cloud platforms: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. He launched his first training website in 1995 and he's been helping people learn IT technologies ever since. Guy’s passion is making complex technology easy to understand.

Related Posts

Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 22, 2019

How to Unlock Complimentary Access to Cloud Academy

Are you looking to get trained or certified on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, DevOps, Cloud Security, Python, Java, or another technical skill? Then you'll want to mark your calendars for August 23, 2019. Starting Friday at 12:00 a.m. PDT (3:00 a.m. EDT), Cloud Academy is offering c...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • cloud academy content
  • complimentary access
  • GCP
  • on the house
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— August 13, 2019

Content Roadmap: AZ-500, ITIL 4, MS-100, Google Cloud Associate Engineer, and More

Last month, Cloud Academy joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider, and it put us in an excellent position to solve a massive skills gap problem. As a result of this collaboration, you will see our training library grow with additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • content roadmap
  • Google Cloud Platform
Avatar
Andrew Larkin
— August 7, 2019

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

If you want to deliver digital services of any kind, you’ll need to estimate all types of resources, not the least of which are CPU, memory, storage, and network connectivity. Which resources you choose for your delivery —  cloud-based or local — is up to you. But you’ll definitely want...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Orion Withrow
Orion Withrow
— July 24, 2019

How to Effectively Use Azure Management Groups, Subscriptions, and Resource Groups

When used individually, Azure Management Groups, Subscriptions, and Resource Groups are very powerful. But when used together, they can establish the entire organizational structure of Azure. In this article, I will explain Azure Resource Manager, Management Groups, Subscriptions an...

Read more
  • Azure
  • azure management groups
  • azure resource groups
  • azure subscriptions
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— July 22, 2019

Cloud Academy’s Blog Digest: July 2019

July has been a very exciting month for us at Cloud Academy. On July 10, we officially joined forces with QA, the UK’s largest B2B skills provider (read the announcement). Over the coming weeks, you will see additions from QA’s massive catalog of 500+ certification courses and 1500+ ins...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Academy
  • Cybersecurity
  • DevOps
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Paola Di Pietro
— July 19, 2019

Top 10 Things Cybersecurity Professionals Need to Know

There has been an increase in data breaches over the recent years. With almost 143 million Americans who have had their data compromised in data breaches. These breaches include all sorts of sensitive data, including financial information, election controversies, social security, just t...

Read more
  • Azure
  • cyber security
  • Security
Avatar
Guy Hummel
— June 26, 2019

Running Apache Spark on Azure Databricks

In this article, we’ll cover how to set up an Azure Databricks cluster and how to run queries in an interactive notebook. However, this article only scratches the surface of what you can do with Azure Databricks. If you would like to learn more, including how to create graphs, run sched...

Read more
  • Azure
Avatar
Thomas Mitchell
— June 25, 2019

Understanding the Core Azure Architectural Components

Microsoft Azure relies on a few key architectural components to provide redundancy and high availability. Core Azure architectural components include Azure regions, Azure Availability Zones, resource groups, and the Azure Resource Manager. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics ab...

Read more
  • Azure
Avatar
Guy Hummel
— May 20, 2019

Preparing for the Microsoft AZ-900 Exam

Microsoft has offered Azure certification exams for years, but until recently, they were all meant for technical IT professionals. Now non-technical professionals, such as salespeople and managers, can take the new AZ-900 exam to prove their understanding of Azure fundamentals. People w...

Read more
  • Azure
Avatar
Thomas Mitchell
— May 16, 2019

An Overview of Azure Storage (Part 2)

Archive Storage Archive Storage offers the lowest storage costs of all Azure storage. Its retrieval costs, however, are higher when compared to Hot and Cool storage. The archive tier of storage is designed for data that can tolerate several hours of latency when being retrieved. It’s a...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Storage
Avatar
Thomas Mitchell
— May 14, 2019

An Overview of Azure Storage (Part 1)

Welcome to part one of our series on Azure Storage. Stay tuned for the second part. An Overview of Azure Storage Microsoft Azure Storage is a cloud-based storage offering that provides multiple storage solutions for organizations. In addition to a massively scalable object store for ...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Storage
Avatar
Giacomo Marinangeli
— March 29, 2019

NEW: Custom Hands-On Labs for Azure and Google Cloud Platform

Harvard Business Review recently estimated that some 90% of corporate training never gets applied on the job. Given the $200B training industry, that is a staggering amount of waste. One reason for the disconnect? Lack of context. Cloud Academy’s platform was built to make it extraor...

Read more
  • Azure
  • Content Engine
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Hands-on Labs