The Microsoft AZ 900 is the introductory certification to Azure.AWS has the cloud practitioner and GCP the digital cloud leader. getting any of these certifications proves that a learner has understood all the fundamental concepts of cloud computing.
Before sitting for my AZ- 900 exam I had attempted the AWS cloud practitioner exam a few months earlier and also passed, so I figured getting an azure certification would not only boost my resume as a cloud architect but also expand my knowledge on a different cloud.
I got Azure certified towards the end of January 2023 after 2 intensive weeks of training. having come from different clouds AWS and GCP I knew that while I had the added advantage of understanding azure services faster it was also a disadvantage in that most of the services across clouds can have similar names but different features and characteristics so if you are not careful it’s easy to confuse an azure concept for a GCP or AWS concept.
How I got certified for free.
Am sure most of you if not all just want to know how to get certified for free.in azure, they have Azure virtual training days and after attending the training day with sessions that last around 2 hrs a session you will receive an exam voucher to cover the cost of the exam. for the AZ-900 you need to attend the Azure fundamentals training day sessions.
The virtual training days however have to be booked in advance because when they come up the slots are usually grabbed up in no time. in my case, I booked and waited for 3 weeks before I received an email and a calendar notification of my upcoming training day.
How to prepare for the AZ-900 as a cloud newbie.
As I have said earlier if you come from no cloud experience this could be advantageous as you will not need to sift through information and get confused trying to differentiate if the database features you remember apply to Cosmos DB, cloud SQL(GCP) or Dynamo DB(AWS).
After attending the 2 training days sessions that’s if you need a free exam voucher I would suggest that you follow these learning paths by Microsoft as they will help you build your azure cloud knowledge. as you are doing this also take short structured notes don’t assume you will remember important points in my case I prefer handwritten notes as it enables me to have a quick point of reference.
How I prepared and passed the exam in 2 weeks.
After attending the 2 day’s virtual training and taking notes I had a good idea of what the exam covered and what topics are mostly tested on the exam. I noticed early and also found out during the exam that azure tests a lot on IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS. You will not miss several questions in the exam that gives a service let’s say cosmos DB and asks what kind of service it is. there is also FAAS like azure functions DBAAS etc..
Ensure that you know how to differentiate between the services and you will have around 5 questions sorted leaving you with around 35.
ensure you understand the basic services like Networking, databases, security, IOT, storage types Azure resources and resource groups, a good place to start is to peruse the azure documentation.
If you feel you still need more attention take this highly recommended AZ-900 course from a cloud guru that comes with 5 hands-on labs and 17hrs of lectures.
For the remaining days in the first week, I focused more on writing notes mainly from azure documentation to get a grasp of azure AD and resource groups and subscriptions which were confusing to me.
As I have said earlier I have both GCP and AWS certifications so similar services like IAM were confusing cause they are the same across clouds but different.
In week 2 I started attempting revision questions after finishing with all the theory work exam topics and whiz labs have free practice questions to get you started. there are also other resources so make google your friend.
As a rule of thumb, I believe you need to attempt at least 500 questions minimum before you sit for any cert in order to be fully confident. repetition will enable your brain to connect knowledge gaps as you would come to find out that cloud resources are connected and don’t exist in isolation.
as an example understanding virtual machines without knowledge of networking or storage is futile. a virtual machine will need an IP address to be able to communicate with other virtual machines this is networking you might also need to attach storage space to your VM that is storage.
Watch this youtube video as it has good questions and explanations to help with your revision.
On Friday of that week because I sat for my exam on a Sunday evening I booked my exam using my voucher.
On the day of the exam
If it’s your first proctored exam be sure to book it at an ample time when you have no distractions at all if a proctor sees you talking to someone during the exam high chance the exam will be cancelled if you leave with another people that they shouldn’t disturb you for whatever reason during the exam.
don’t worry though the rules will be explained before the exam this is just a heads-up.
I wish you the best of luck in your certification exam if you prepare well you will pass on the first attempt.