Cloud is just everywhere nowadays. It is becoming (or already is) an industry standard for creating modern applications. I didn’t want to stay behind so I decided to increase my developer knowledge about cloud and Azure.
Why Azure you may ask? I’ve chosen this platform because I’m a .NET developer so it makes a sense for me to learn cloud services provided by technology vendor which I’m already familiar with.
My journey started last year in the end of November, when I saw Azure Portal for the first time. In the beginning, I was struggling with enormous number of Azure services. I just didn’t know what should I learn first, so I was just navigating blindly across Azure Portal and documentation. After a while, I realised that I need a learning plan in order to be efficient in a new, unknown environment. Somehow I came across Azure certifications and there was an entry level certificate AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, which was a perfect match for me.
In this post, I describe why one should take AZ-900 exam and how to prepare for it.
The question is more about what is the point of doing any certification in general.
Here are some reasons to do that:
- Challenge yourself – passing certification is an extraordinary challenge for yourself and gives a big confidence boost. You can feel like a real expert, because your knowledge has been checked and approved.
- Consolidate your knowledge – during day to day development you learn what you need to complete the project you’re working on. You can miss some aspects of knowledge, because you didn’t need them. Learning for certification requires from you to learn more about a specific topic – the topic that you may never discover during daily job. Also, you are learning more about theoretical aspects that will allow you to better understand technology, which you are using.
- Proof of your knowledge – how someone will know that you have knowledge in specific area? You can tell them of course, but then you would need to tell that every time to every person you meet. Certificate shows that you posses certain knowledge on specific topic. Moreover, certificates can be trusted because they are issued by an independent organisation.
- Be seen as a pro – you can show off as someone who takes seriously his professional career and always seeks new ways to increase his knowledge. Passing certificate may also lead to new opportunities that weren’t available before.
How to pass AZ-900?
There are a lot of learning resources these days to learn Azure, so which should you choose? Below are some online and offline resources that I’ve used during learning and I can recommend them to you.
- „Azure fundamentals” learning path on Microsoft Learn – this is the best learning resource in my opinion. It takes you from I-have-zero-knowledge-about-cloud-and-Azure to I-can-work-with-Azure. There are also other learning paths on Microsoft Learn about other Azure specific aspects.
- „AZ-900 Azure Exam Prep: Understanding Cloud Concepts” and „AZ-900 Azure Exam Prep: Understanding Core Azure Services” – video courses on Udemy by Thomas Mitchell. These video courses were a nice way to refresh my knowledge after „Azure fundamentals” learning path.
- „AZ-900: Azure Fundamentals Exam Preparation” blog post by Taygan Rifat. This post has nice study notes – perfect to read just before exam.
- Certification training session slides by Daniel Baker (Daniel’s blog). This slides are also perfect to read just before exam.
- Microsoft Events – here you can find online and offline events about Microsoft technologies. Here is a link with filter that shows you online events about cloud. Before taking exam I’ve subscribed to few events on this site.
In my opinion, it is also good a good idea to attend local Azure meetups even if you don’t know anything about Azure. You will not understand most of the content on such meetups but you will learn about key-phrases and connect with people that are using Azure already. It was for me like watching english Cartoon Network in the 90s when I was a kid. I didn’t understood almost anything but I was learning how english language sounds like. What’s more, you will get the biggest knowledge boost for the invested time if you don’t know anything about certain subject.
Here are some local meetups in Poland that I can recommend to attend:
- Microsoft Azure User Group Poland – this group organizes meetings and workshops in different cities in Poland. I had a pleasure to attend workshop conducted by Michał Furmankiewicz, Damian Mazurek and Piotr Kalinowski.
- Stacja IT Warszawa – this group organizes workshops for different technologies. I had a pleasure to attend Azure workshop conducted by Kamil Mrzygłód
- Azuronet .NET & Azure Meetup – this group organizes meetings in different cities in Poland
In my opinion you should learn from different resources about Azure. I wouldn’t pass AZ-900 if I sticked only with one knowledge source.
This page show what knowledge is required in order to pass AZ-900. I don’t want to include complete list in this post, because simply it’s too long. This list may be scary at the beginning, but the key to success is learning regularly. Learn every day for 1-2h, but not too long. Bear in mind that you can’t learn everything in a day and you don’t want to make your brain exhausted.
I decided to take exam online from my home. To do that you need to have microphone and camera – you will be watched during whole exam. Moreover, you need to clean your desk – there can’t be almost anything on it. Your entire room will be scanned using camera – you will need to show even floor and ceiling.
On this page you can check what kind of questions may be asked at the exam. See section called „Exam formats and question types”. I highly recommend to do that, just to get familiar with exam format.
AZ-900 is just the beginning of adventure. You should remember that you won’t become Azure expert after passing it. Here you can check for other role-based certification about Azure. AZ-900 is not required for other exams, but I wanted pass this exam just to check my knowledge level.
Some small fact at the end: I’ve paid exactly 281,92 polish złoty to take the exam.
I have certificate, now what?
Be proud of yourself! You were challenged and you passed. Celebrate! Let others know in social media. Also update your CV and LinkedIn profile.
After passing it you will get this badge and diploma:
AZ-900 has no expiration date.
I encourage you to take certification, because it is a nice way to get new knowledge and consolidate the one you have already.
I wish you happy passing Azure certificates :)