The 9 Microsoft Azure Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?

Cloud computing is one of the fastest-growing technology in this modern era. According to the IDC report, “public cloud spending will grow from $229 billion in 2019 to nearly $500 billion in 2023.” Therefore, nobody can deny the rapid growth of cloud computing in recent years.

Many big names have made their presence in the cloud arena with their unique services in a cloud computing environment such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud, Rackspace, etc. — and Microsoft Azure is an emerging market-leader with 29% application workload of the overall cloud market.

To become certified in Microsoft Azure is the most demanding requirement of the cloud market. In this article, we’ll cover the nine Microsoft Azure certification exams and information to help you choose a career path.

Whether you are looking to study for an Azure certification or simply want to find out more about what Azure can offer your enterprise, Cloud Academy’s Microsoft Azure Training Library is loaded with Learning Paths, Courses, Quizzes, Certification Prep Exams, and Hands-on Labs to help you get excited to learn Microsoft Azure.

Cloud Academy Microsoft Azure Library

Microsoft Azure Role-Based Certifications

Microsoft has introduced nine Azure certifications into a role-base structure such as fundamental, associate, and expert level. These certifications purely focus on building knowledge and skills related to market job roles. This revolution was made with the engagement of the community after identifying the job requirements.

Microsoft has introduced the following nine Microsoft Azure certifications with eleven exams, which are organized into three levels: Fundamental, Associate, and Expert.

  1. Microsoft Certified Azure – Fundamentals Exam AZ-900
  2. Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator – Associate Exam AZ-103
  3. Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer – Associate Exam AZ-203
  4. Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer – Associate Exam AZ-500
  5. Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer – Associate Exam AI-100
  6. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist – Associate Exam DP-100
  7. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer – Associate Exams DP-200 and DP-201
  8. Microsoft Certified Solutions Architect – Expert Exams AZ-300 and AZ-301
  9. Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer – Expert Exam AZ-400

Fundamental-Level Microsoft Azure Certification

Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900

This certification is designed to validate the foundational level of knowledge of Azure cloud services. It also helps non-tech candidates to understand cloud services who are offering services such as sales, purchasing, and marketing Azure cloud services.  

Areas Covered

  • Understand foundational cloud concepts such as High Availability (HA), Scalability, Fault Tolerance (FT), Disaster Recovery, scalability, and the difference between CapEx and OpEx
  • Describe Regions, Availability Zones, Resource Groups, Azure Resource Manager, and Azure architectural components
  • Describe Azure Firewall, DDoS protection, Network Security Group (NSG)
  • Describe Azure subscription, understand purchasing of Azure services and products, Azure free account, and pricing calculator

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: No special prerequisites
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 40 – 60
  • Duration: 85 Minutes
  • Passing Score Required: 700
  • Cost: $99

Associate-Level Microsoft Azure Certifications

Microsoft Azure Administrator – Associate Exam AZ-103

This new certification was created on May 1, 2019, and validates the knowledge and skills of implementing, monitoring, and maintaining Microsoft Azure services, including compute, storage, networking, and security. It combines the skills of two expired exams, AZ-100 and AZ-101, which were retired on May 1, 2019.

Areas Covered

  • Manage Azure subscriptions, Resource Groups, analyze resource utilization and consumption and manage role-based access
  • Create and configure storage accounts, Azure files, and Azure backups
  • Deploy and Manage virtual machines (VMs) and VM backups
  • Configure and manage virtual networks, Implement Azure load balancer, and Network Security Group (NSG)
  • Create and manage Azure Active Directory (AD), AD objects, users, and groups

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (optional)
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 40 – 60
  • Duration: 150 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Microsoft Azure Developer – Associate Exam AZ-203

This certification is designed for developers to design, build, and maintain cloud applications and services with the coordination of cloud database administrators (DBAs), cloud solution architects, cloud administrators, and clients. Certified Azure developers participate in all phases of development such as solution design, deployment, testing, and maintenance with coordination of cloud DBAs, cloud solution architects, and cloud administrators.

Candidates must be skilled in at least one cloud platform supporting programming language and should have at least one-year experience in software development for scalable solutions.

Areas Covered

  • Provision VMs, create Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates, manage and implement batch jobs, create Azure Managed Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster, and create container images
  • Create Azure app services web apps, mobile apps, API apps, and implementation of Azure functions
  • Develop solutions for the usage of storage tables, blob storage, Cosmos DB storage, and relational databases
  • Implement Azure security as authentication, access control, and secure data solutions
  • Implement autoscaling rules and patterns, integrate content delivery and caching, and use Azure Monitor to analyze and troubleshoot solutions

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (optional)
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 40 – 60
  • Duration: 150 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Microsoft Azure Security Engineer – Associate Exam AZ-500

This certification is designed for candidates who implement and manage security controls, identity, and access management and are responsible for securing cloud data, apps, and networks. As a Microsoft Azure security engineer, candidates are responsible for managing and securing cloud-based solutions and may also secure hybrid cloud solutions as part of an end-to-end infrastructure.

This exam requires strong skills in automation and scripting, deep understanding of virtualization technology, virtual networking, and a strong familiarity with Microsoft cloud services and products.

Areas Covered

  • Configure MS AD for workloads, Azure AD privileged Identity Management, and Azure tenant security
  • Implement network and container security, host, and Azure resource management security
  • Configure Azure monitor and Azure log analytics, manage security alerts, and configure security policies
  • Configure and manage security for data infrastructure, configure SSL/TLS for application security, and configure and manage key vault and encryption for data at rest

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (optional)
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 40 – 60
  • Duration: 150 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Microsoft Azure AI Engineer – Associate Exam AI-100

This associate-level certification is designed for candidates who implement Microsoft AI solutions like natural language processing, speech, computer vision, bots, and agents using Cognitive Services, Machine Learning, and Knowledge Mining.

Candidates for this exam have to:

  • Analyze the requirements for AI solutions
  • Recommend appropriate tools and technologies
  • Implements solutions that meet scalability and performance requirements.

Areas Covered

  • Select the processing architecture, appropriate data processing technologies, AI models and services, and identify automation requirements and appropriate services and tools for a solution
  • Design a strategy for ingesting and egress data, pipelines for AI apps, integrate bots and AI solutions and define how users and apps will authenticate to AI services
  • Develop AI pipelines, implement AI workflow, and data logging processes
  • Monitor AI components for availability, maintain AI solution for continuous improvements and recommend changes to an AI solution as per performance data

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (optional)
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 62
  • Duration: 220 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Microsoft Azure Data Scientist – Associate Exam DP-100

This certification is designed to learn about designing and implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure. You will learn how to apply the Azure machine learning approaches in training, evaluation, and deployment of models that are used to solve business problems.

Areas Covered

  • Create and configure Azure data science environments, assess the deployment environment constraints, analyze and recommend tools to meet system requirements
  • Prepare and transform data into usable data sets, identify and resolve anomalies, and review visual data analytics to discover patterns
  • Perform feature selection, extraction, and scaling
  • Identify data imbalances, split datasets, and evaluate model performance

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (optional)
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 40 -60
  • Duration: 180 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Microsoft Azure Data Engineer – Associate Exams DP-200 and DP-201

To become a certified as Azure Data Engineer, you’ll have to pass two exams: DP-200 and DP-201.

Exam DP-200: Implementing an Azure Data Solution

This exam is designed to implement data solutions that include provisioning of data storage services, batch data processing, develop streaming, implement security requirements, implement data retention policies, and accessing external data sources. Candidates must have the ability to implement Azure SQL Databases, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Stream Analytics, and Blob storage services.

Areas Covered

  • Implement relational and non-relational data storage solutions
  • Manage data security by implementing data masking and encrypting data at rest and in motion
  • Develop streaming and batch processing solutions
  • Monitor data storage, data processing, and optimize Azure data solutions

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (optional)
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 46
  • Duration: 180 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Exam DP-201: Designing an Azure Data Solution

This is the second exam for Azure Data Engineer and this exam helps engineers to design data storage, data processing, and data security and compliance solutions for Azure services. Candidates must have the ability to design Azure SQL Databases, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Stream Analytics, and Blob storage services.

Areas Covered

  • Design relational and non-relational cloud data stores
  • Design real-time and batch processing solutions and provision compute resources
  • Design security solutions as encryption, auditing, and privacy of the data
  • Design data retention policies and plan archiving strategies

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (optional)
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 44
  • Duration: 150 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Expert-Level Microsoft Azure Certifications

Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect – Expert Exams AZ-300 and AZ-301

To become an Azure Certified Solutions Architect, you’ll have to pass two exams: AZ-300 and AZ-301.

Exam AZ-300: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies

This expert-level exam is designed for candidates who are the advocate for businesses and translate business needs into reliable, secure, and scalable Azure cloud solutions. Candidates require advanced knowledge and expertise in various IT operations including virtualization, identity management, virtual networking, security, business continuity, data management, disaster recovery, budgeting, and governance. This expert-level certification requires proficiency in Azure administration, development, and operations.

Areas Covered

  • Analyze resource utilization, Provision VMs, create Resource Manager templates, create and verify virtual networking and connectivity, configure storage accounts, and manage Azure Active Directory
  • Migrate to Azure, manage role-based access, configure serverless computing, implement application load balancing, and integration of on-prem with Azure
  • Create and deploy apps, configure Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
  • Implement multi-factor authentication and implement secure data solutions

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (optional)
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 40 – 60
  • Duration: 150 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Exam AZ-301: Microsoft Azure Architect Design 

This is the second expert-level exam for Azure Solutions Architect and Microsoft Certified Solution Architect is to be considered as the most distinguished job designations in the IT industry. To earn this certification title, you need to exhibit your knowledge and expertise in various aspects of IT fields including identity, data management, virtualization, networking, security, disaster recovery and much more. This expert-level design certification requires proficiency in Azure administration, development, and operations.

Areas Covered

  • Design compute, storage, networking, and monitoring strategy
  • Gather information and infrastructure requirements, define logical grouping and determine storage locations for logs
  • Design identity management, risk prevention for identity, monitoring strategy for identity and security
  • Design and document data flows and data protection strategy
  • Design a site recovery and data archiving strategy
  • Design deployment, migration, and API integration strategy

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 (optional)
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 40 – 60
  • Duration: 150 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Microsoft Azure DevOps Engineer – Expert Exam AZ-400

This certification is designed for DevOps professionals who bring people, processes, and technologies closer to deliver valuable services and products that meet business requirements and objectives. DevOps professionals are responsible for delivering cloud services by improving collaboration and communications, designing and implementing strategies for app coding, and creating automation, continuous delivery, monitoring, and feedback. For this job role, candidates should be proficient with Agile practices and familiar with both Azure development and operations processes.

Areas Covered

  • Design a secure development lifecycle and tool integration process
  • Design and implement version control and mobile DevOps strategy, implement and integrate source control, and manage to build infrastructure
  • Analyze and manage hosting infrastructure and Azure Kubernetes Service infrastructure
  • Implement infrastructure as code, compliance, and security of the infrastructure
  • Design and optimize the feedback mechanism

Exam Information

  • Prerequisites: Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate certification
  • Format: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
  • Number of Questions: 40 – 60
  • Duration: 150 Minutes
  • Cost: $165

Conclusion

Microsoft is one of the biggest players in the cloud market with 29% application workload of the overall cloud market. If you are interested in making a career using Microsoft Azure technologies, I highly recommended choosing an above-mentioned Azure certification in your Azure cloud career path.

These nine role-based certifications include configuration and management of compute, storage, networking, security, reliability, integration, development, and operations capabilities. Organizations are rapidly adopting Microsoft Azure cloud services and the demand is growing for certified Azure administrators, Azure Solution Architects, Azure developers, and Azure security engineers.

To become certified and successfully land a job, you’ll not only need to learn how to configure, manage, and secure Azure cloud environments, but you’ll also need practical, hands-on experience. Cloud Academy offers Microsoft Azure Certifications Learning Paths that not only help you pass the Azure certification exams, but also allow you to test your skills in real-world environments with Hands-on Labs. From configuring Azure infrastructure for cloud administrators to integrating Azure services for cloud architects, these Learning Paths fully prepare you with the knowledge and experience you need to start or advance your Azure career. 

Microsoft Azure Certification Learning Paths
Nisar Ahmad

Written by

Nisar Ahmad

Nisar is a Systems Engineer, double VCP6 (DCV & NV), vExpert 2017-19, and owner of tech blog, myvirtualjourney.com, with 10 years experience of administering and managing data center environments using VMware and Microsoft technologies. He is a passionate technical writer and loves to write on virtualization, cloud computing, hyperconvergence (HCI), and backup & recovery solutions.


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