Microsoft Certifications have been around since 1992. They provided IT Professionals with the ability to prove themselves and their understanding of the technology stack to which the certification was directed. Additionally, it was a way for Microsoft to recognize those individuals who understand the technology well enough to demonstrate an ability to learn and grow in that technology stack. The preparation methods for these exams were primarily experience and official Microsoft courses. With relatively few ways to obtain the necessary knowledge and with the industry still relatively immature, certifications were valued but still on trial within the industry.
With the releases of the MCSE, MCSD, and MCSA certification paths, the bar was raised for learners in a significant way. Instead of one test covering one topic, an IT Professional could take several tests and showcase their knowledge of a broader range of Microsoft technologies. These exam bundles exploded in popularity since the industry began to value these credentials, perceiving them as a good indicator of knowledge and performance. This period saw the rise of “exam prep” companies and bundled training packages from authorized training centers.
The Microsoft Azure cloud platform has arrived in a big way and IT professionals everywhere are ramping up. As the Azure platform moves away from cutting edge to mainstream, preparing for and obtaining an Azure certification is great way to set yourself apart and cloud-enable your career. Experience still reigns, but in the fast-moving world of cloud computing – the value of certifications is rising. So much so, that members of our Premier Developer team have all been asked to earn an Azure certification.
Azure is a platform that offers several high-level solution categories such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). In each of these categories, there are many different services and options from which an architect, developer, or implementer can choose to meet their customer’s needs. It’s tough to tell if you are using the right service in each scenario. Because of this, we offer several certifications that are tailored to showcase knowledge in these distinct spaces.
Microsoft offers three core Azure exams, one for each role on the topic of Azure technologies.
- For Architects, there is the 70-534 certification called Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions with more information at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-534.aspx
- For Implementers (think Operations), there is the 70-533 certification called Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions with more information at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-533.aspx
- For Developers, there is the 70-532 certification called Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions with more information at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-532.aspx
There are several paths that an individual can take to obtain a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer on technologies related to Azure. There is more information located at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mcsd-certification.aspx where, where you can find out more details on available certification paths. The MCSD App Builder https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mcsd-app-builder-certification.aspx is tailored for developers in either Web Applications or Universal Windows Platform Applications. The MCSD for Azure Solutions Architect certification, to be retired March 31, 2017, has been replaced by the MCSE Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mcse-cloud-platform-infrastructure.aspx), which offers greater flexibility in terms of exam to be completed than its predecessor.
Once you’ve selected your certification path, how do you start to prepare? Compared to 20 years ago, the resources available to those learning Microsoft technologies have greatly expanded, with many being free. The following are just a small glimpse of these almost unlimited options and resources:
- Microsoft Virtual Academy: https://mva.microsoft.com/
- Microsoft Certification Center: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/default.aspx
- Premier Services for Developer (through developer based workshops): https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftservices/premier-support-developers.aspx
- Microsoft Partner Network (Azure Skills): https://partner.microsoft.com/en-US/azureskills
Examples of Third Party Resources
- Lynda: https://www.lynda.com/Microsoft-training-tutorials/
- Pluralsight: https://www.pluralsight.com/
- Udemy: https://www.udemy.com/
There is a definite buzz around Microsoft Azure certifications and we hope you are convinced to dig deeper and start your cloud learning journey. Happy prepping and good luck!