How To Pass Any Azure Certification in 2024 | Complete Guide
As 2023 winds to a close, you may want to consider 2024 to be the year that you get your first cloud certification or add another certification to your resume.
And while Azure is not quite as popular as AWS, it’s right behind it, is used by many companies out there, and will provide you many options in today’s job market.
In this post, I will give you a blueprint for passing ANY Azure certification in 2024.
This will include an overview of the certification options, a short intro to the new open book policy, what courses I would recommend based on my experience with these tests, and a handful of tips for exam day and the days leading up to it.
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Otherwise, continue reading.
How To Pass Any Azure Certification in 2024
So 2024 may be a great time to you to plan for a cloud certification.
Perhaps you’re looking to level up your position, salary, or are looking to add a certification to your brand new resume as you’re breaking into the industry as a new developer.
Whatever the case, cloud knowledge, in my opinion, is a required skillset of every developer nowadays.
And having a certification is a way to demonstrate that you posses it prior to anyone needing to see proof up front.
I, myself, took the AZ-104 a couple of years ago and did a video then on this topic. However, things have changed since then so I decided to do a full writeup where I will answer questions like:
What courses do I need to take?
How should I do practice for the exam?
How do I pace myself on the exam?
Since it’s now open book, how should I best prepare and use this for my advantage?
We’ll aim to answer these below.
AWS had the largest market share of cloud infrastructure services at 33% in quarter 1 of 2022.
Microsoft Azure had a market share of 22% in quarter 1 of 2022, with Google at 10% and all other companies combined to make 35%.
In quarter 4 of 2022, Microsoft Azure reached a market share of 23%, a 2% increase over its average of 21% in the last 4 quarters.
So zure is alive and healthy.
It’s used heavily in the government space.
In addition, any company that already uses Microsoft products will naturally want to integrate into a Microsoft-based Cloud as will extend services they already use like Windows, Active Directory, .NET, Visual Studio, etc.
Azure has led the way in online cloud security, PaaS, and hybrid cloud architecture.
SO it’s a solid option.
What Certs are offered? What should I take?
So what certifications are offered?
Which should you take?
Well, that depends on where you’re at in your cloud knowledge AND what field you’re in.
There are foundational certs like the AZ-900, DP-900, and AI-900.
If you are BRAND NEW to any cloud, you may want to consider taking one of these.
But if I wanted a solid starting point and a solid certification to put first on my resume, I would 100% go for the AZ-104, which is the Microsoft Azure Administrator.
If you are a Developer, you may want to consider the AZ-204, which is the developer-focused version of the AZ-104.
I’m considering taking the the AI-102 this year.
Open Book Azure Exams!
Yes you read that right. You can now use the Microsoft Learn website, during the exam on role-based exams!
If you visit the website you’ll specifically want to utilize the Documentation -> Azure part of the site.
During the exam there will be a button you can click on to the open the Microsoft Learn site.
You can also open multiple tabs, but not browse to other sites. You cannot log into Microsoft Learn.
Now there has been a lot of negative comments on this new policy. Some are stating that they worked hard to get their certification and it’s not a “dumbed-down version.”
I disagree completely.
For one, this mimics more of a real-world scenario. We don’t memorize answers in real life. We instead learn the concepts such that we can then consult the documentation for the details when executing some plan.
Second, you don’t get any extra time on the exam so this open-book addition isn’t a big advantage.
When I took the exam, I literally finished with like 3 minutes left. I had NO time at all to be looking through the documentation.
So be wise. Try to know everything you need to know, but there may be questions that you know you won’t be able to remember. For these, know EXACTLY where to find this information in the documentation if needed.
If you are correlating the documentation with the courses you are taking to learn Microsoft Azure, if you forget something on the exam, you’ll have a good idea where to look it up. BUT if you’re having to look up more than a few questions in the docs, then you’re probably not really ready to take it.
What Courses and Exams?
What resources do I need to study?
I’m going to give you a pathway that works for any of these exams.
So there are lots of resources and different pathways you can take here, but I’m going to give you the materials according to my own experience of taking these and passing them.
Remember, they will all aim to teach you the same things.
So choose a route and run with it, full speed ahead.
Here’s the plan I’ll lay out for you. Trust me, take this step by step, and you’ll be ready.
This is A way to get there. It’s a matter of just putting in the study not buying and trying all the courses out there.
- First take a Microsoft Azure Exam Prep Course by Scott Duffy. Be sure to get the one for your particular exam. He’s the Azure whiz on Udemy and has a bunch of students, he keeps his courses updated, and is your go to guy for this. This is your first course that will give you a full overview of the Azure platform for administrators. It’s 17 hours and covers EVERYTHING you need to know. Follow along, take notes, consult the documentation along the way, and GET HANDS ON. Create an account and do the things he does. Remember, do NOT pay full price for this course. Consult my Udemy page for all current and upcoming promos.
- Second, work through the Microsoft Learn modules for your exam. This will be the step to solidify and really absorb this material. To find it, go to Google and type in “Microsoft learn AZ-104” substituting the exam you are plannning to take. Then choose the self-paced course and work through all the modules. It’s free and it gives you a learning path and training for for exam. Do it all, each module, again consulting the documentation AND building the projects. Get hands on!
By the time you’ve finished this second one, you’re ready to move into the Practice Exams.
What are practice exams and why do you need them?
Well, they give you real-world practice tests, grade you on them, AND give you long detailed reponses on why you got what you did wrong, so you can actually learn why you got it wrong and thus do better as you move through them.
And the practice tests you want to take are found on the website Whizlabs.
They have really good tests for cheap.
Again, don’t pay full price. Look for coupon codes on the internet. I actually use the Honey Chrome extension for this and there is always a coupon (use my link and you’ll get $5).
As for the exams, you’ll fail the first one. That’s the way it goes.
But you’ll work through your mistakes, discover the right solutions, and you’ll do better on the next one.
Continue until you pass.
There used to be some really, really accurate practice tests on Udemy (I actually used this resource prior to it being removed), but were removed for some reason (probably too accurate?). They were really good, almost too good. Anyways, many other people have also sworn by these practice tests. They can be found at a site called Crackcerts - https://geni.us/BoAIhk.
Microsoft also has a few exam-prep videos, a study guide, and an exam sandbox environment that will mimic actually taking the exam. Work through these as well. You can find them on the Microsoft Learn page for your particular exam.
How Do I Pace Myself
When I took the exam, I got the case studies first. There were 4 of them. You have to read the scenarios and answer the questions.
These took me longer than I expected.
But when I was done, I noticed I had x number of questions left and x number of minutes.
So when you do get to multiple choice, just be sure to keep track of how many questions vs how many minutes.
And keep up that pace, or move faster if you can.
If you get the multiple choice first (meaning you get the scenario-based questions at the end) then be sure to leave some ample time to do these. They take a while.
Exam Day Tips
- Take the exam early in the day. You’ll be clearheaded and you won’t have the stress of the current day yet (aside from this exam!).
- Don’t study on exam day. Keep your mind completely clear of this material up to the point of taking the exam. If you try to cram last-minute like this, you’ll start second guessing answers you already knew and get things mixed up. Let a clear mind guide you to a passing score.
- If you flag a question to come back to it, be sure you choose an answer anyway. This way, if you come to the end of the exam with no time remaining to go back to these flagged questions, you will have chosen something as opposed to it being 100% wrong.
Udemy Scott Duffy Courses - https://geni.us/WBQlZ9j
Honey Chrome extension ($5 for signup) - https://geni.us/3noHd81
Whizlabs AZ-104 Practice Tests - https://geni.us/ACRto
Whizlabs 20% off - https://geni.us/L07Bzj
As 2023 winds to a close, you may want to consider 2024 to be the year that you get your first Cloud certification or add another certification to your resume.
And while Azure is not quite as popular as AWS, it’s right behind it and is used by many companies out there and will provide you many options in the job market.
In this video, I want to give you a blueprint for passing ANY Azure certification in 2024. This includes and overview of the certification options, a short intro to the new open book policy, what courses I would recommend based on my own experience with these tests, and a handful of tips for exam day and the days leading up to it.
Are you looking to get cloud certified in 2024? Let’s discuss down in the comments.
01:21 Cloud Stats
02:28 What certifications to get?
04:47 Open book exams!
08:07 What courses should you take?
15:47 Tips on scheduling your exam
16:18 How to pace yourself
16:57 3 Tips for exam day
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