Category: Certification

CertificationInfrastructure

70-247 Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud Certification Exam

Many of the newer certification exams from Microsoft target Azure and Public Cloud technologies. The Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud (70-247) certification exam is a little different since it will test expertise in monitoring and operating Private Cloud environments using Windows Server and Microsoft System Center 2012.

Retired Exam: This exam is being retired December 31, 2017.

Certification Target Audience

The focus on the Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud (70-247) certification exam is centered around Microsoft System Center. The exam is designed to target candidates who have experience setting up security, high-availability, fault tolerance, and networking of enterprise environments using Windows Server, and System Center 2012. Candidates should also have basic SQL Server and PowerShell knowledge, and application configuration experience.

Skills Measured

Here is a high level list of the skills and objectives measured on the Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud (70-247) The percentages next to each of the objectives represent the percentage of the exam questions that will be focus on that specific objective.

  • Design and deploy System Center (15-20%)
    • Design a scalable System Center architecture
    • Install the System Center infrastructure
    • Upgrade System Center components
  • Configure System Center infrastructure (20-25%)
    • Configure System Center components
    • Configure portals and dashboards
  • Configure the fabric (25-30%)
    • Configure the storage fabric
    • Configure the network fabric
    • Configure and manage the deployment and update servers
    • Configure clouds and virtualization hosts
  • Configure System Center integration (15-20%)
    • Configure private cloud integration
    • Configure integration of private and public clouds
  • Configure and deploy virtual machines and services (15-20%)
    • Configure profiles
    • Create and configure server App-V packages
    • Configure and deploy a service
    • Update a service

When studying for this exam, you’ll certainly want to look at the official exam page from Microsoft for the full list of exam objectives covered. You’ll need to study each and every one of the objectives measured on the exam before attempting to take it.

Training Materials

There are a few training resources (paid and free) for preparing for the Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud (70-247) certification exam. Below is a list of a few of these resources:

Free Videos

Practice Test / Exam

Book

Exam Ref 70-247: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud

Prepare for Microsoft Exam 70-247—and help demonstrate your real-world mastery configuring and deploying a private cloud using Microsoft System Center 2012 R2. Designed for experienced IT professionals ready to advance their status, Exam Ref focuses on the critical-thinking and decision-making acumen needed for success at the MCSE level.

CertificationInfrastructure

70-246 Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud Certification Exam

Many of the newer certification exams from Microsoft target Azure and Public Cloud technologies. The Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud (70-246) certification exam is a little different since it will test expertise in monitoring and operating Private Cloud environments using Windows Server and Microsoft System Center 2012.

Retired Exam: This exam is being retired December 31, 2017.

Certification Target Audience

The focus on the Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud (70-246) certification exam is centered around Microsoft System Center. The exam is designed to target candidates who have experience setting up security, high-availability, fault tolerance, and networking of enterprise environments using Windows Server, and System Center 2012.

Skills Measured

Here is a high level list of the skills and objectives measured on the Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud (70-246) exam. The percentages next to each of the objectives represent the percentage of the exam questions that will be focus on that specific objective.

  • Configure data center process automation (15-20%)
    • Implement workflows
    • Implement service offerings
  • Deploy resource monitoring (20-25%)
    • Deploy end-to-end monitoring
    • Configure end-to-end monitoring
    • Create monitoring reports and dashboards
  • Monitor resources (20-25%)
    • Monitor network devices
    • Monitor servers
    • Monitor the virtualization layer
    • Monitor application health
  • Configure and maintain service management (15-20%)
    • Implement service level agreements
    • Manage problems and incidents
    • Manage cloud resources
  • Manage configuration and protection (20-25%)
    • Manage compliance and configuration
    • Manage updates
    • Implement backup and recovery

When studying for this exam, you’ll certainly want to look at the official exam page from Microsoft for the full list of exam objectives covered. You’ll need to study each and every one of the objectives measured on the exam before attempting to take it.

Training Materials

There are a few training resources (paid and free) for preparing for the Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud (70-246) certification exam. Below is a list of a few of these resources:

Free Videos

Practice Test / Exam

Book

Exam Ref 70-246: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud

Prepare for Microsoft Exam 70-246–and help demonstrate your real-world mastery of monitoring and operating a private cloud based on Microsoft System Center 2012 R2. Designed for experienced IT professionals ready to advance their status, Exam Ref focuses on the critical-thinking and decision-making acumen needed for success at the MCSE level.

Big DataCertificationmachine learning

70-774 Perform Cloud Data Science with Azure Machine Learning Certification Exam (20774)

Machine Learning is one of the hottest topics and technologies in the industry right now. Machine Learning is being used to combine with Big Data to automate the processes of gaining insights and predicting future behavior of systems, devices, and people. In an effort to expand out the breadth of certifications and exams offered around Microsoft Azure and the cloud, Microsoft has added the Perform Cloud Data Science with Azure Machine Learning (70-774) exam.

Certification Target Audience

The focus on the Perform Cloud Data Science with Azure Machine Learning (70-774) exam is centered around Azure Machine Learning, Bot Framework, and Cognitive Services. The exam is designed to target candidates who are Data Scientists or Analysts using the Microsoft Azure cloud services to build and deploy intelligent solutions. This exam will test your understanding and familiarity with common data science processes such as filtering and transforming data sets, model estimation, and model evaluation.

Skills Measured

Here is a high level list of the skills and objectives measured on this exam:

  • Prepare Data and Analytics in Azure Machine Learning and Export from Azure Machine Learning
    • Import and export data to and from Azure Machine Learning
    • Explore and summarize data
    • Cleanse data for Azure Machine Learning
    • Perform feature engineering
  • Develop Machine Learning Models
    • Select an appropriate algorithm or method
    • Initialize and train appropriate models
    • Validate models
  • Operationalize and Manage Azure Machine Learning services
    • Deploy models using Azure Machine Learning
    • Manage Azure Machine Learning projects and workspaces
    • Consume Azure Machine Learning models
    • Consume exemplar Cognitive Services APIs
  • Use Other Services for Machine Learning
    • Build and use neural networks with the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit
    • Streamline development by using existing resources
    • Perform data sciences at scale by using HDInsights
    • Perform database analytics by using SQL Server R Services on Azure

When studying for this exam, you’ll definitely want to look at the official exam page from Microsoft for the full list of exam objectives. You’ll need to be sure to study every one of them that will be measured on the exam.

Training Materials

At the time of writing this summary of the 70-774 Perform Cloud Data Science with Azure Machine Learning, the exam is still in Beta as it was just recently published. This means there aren’t any exam guide books, or practice exams available yet. To study for this exam, you’ll need to rely mostly on the Azure Machine Learning documentation, as well as the documentation for the other Azure services and technologies listed in the exam objectives.

Not specific to just this exam, there are some additional resources available from various sources that do cover the technologies and skills measured on this exam. Here’s a short list of a few of these additional resources that may help in studying for this exam:

Happy studying!

ArchitectureCertificationDevelopmentInfrastructure

Microsoft Azure Certification Exams Get Major ARM Refresh

Over the last 2 years, since the 3 core Microsoft Azure certification exams were originally published there have been a tremendous amount of changes to the Microsoft Azure platform and ecosystem. These 3 core exams targeted towards Architecture, Infrastructure, and Developer roles were originally published before Azure Resource Manager (ARM) existed and fully covered Azure Service Manager (ASM). Not only has ARM been released since then, but also a very large number of new Microsoft Azure services have been released too! Newer services like Azure Functions, Logic Apps, DocumentDB, and others weren’t covered on these original exams.

However, these core Azure certification exams have been updated a couple times over the last 2 years. This has kept them relevant over the years, but the most recent previous update was published in March 2016, and it didn’t even full cover Azure Resource Manager (ARM) as well as a few other features and services. Since that latest update was about 8 months ago, it really is time for another refresh, and hopefully one that add much more than the last.

Luck is in our favor, as Microsoft will be publishing another new update / refresh to these 3 core Microsoft Azure certification exams on November 22, 2016. This update will include major ARM updates, including the removal of the old Azure Service Management (ASM) APIs, as well as the inclusion of Azure Functions, Logic Apps, DocumentDB, and other newer Azure services.

Microsoft will be publishing another new update / refresh to these 3 core Microsoft Azure certification exams on November 22, 2016.

For a full listing of the new exam objectives on these exams, see these links:

In addition to these 3 core Microsoft Azure exams, there have been 2 additional Big Data focused exams released. These 2 exams have been out for about a year now, and are not getting updated right now. I would expect these to be updated sometime in the next few months, perhaps. Here’s links to further information on these 2 Big Data focused exams:

Also, Microsoft recently announced some major changes to the Microsoft Certification program that greatly embeds the Azure exams into the various certification tracks. Along with these announcements was the release of the brand new Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification,and a few Microsoft Certified Solution Associates (MCSA) certifications it builds on top of.

There’s been lots changing technology-wise, as well as many major certification changes lately!

Happy studying!

CertificationDevelopment

Azure Developer Exam (70-532) Gets ARM Refresh

It’s been about 2 years since the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions certification exam was first release. Over that time there’s been a couple updates to keep it relevant with the ever changing landscape of the Microsoft Azure platform. The previous update was released in March 2016, which is a very long time when it comes to the cloud. The good news is that another update is on it’s way, and this time it will be including a full update of adding Azure Resource Manager (ARM) to the exam, in addition to many other new features and services. This update looks to be bringing the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions exam back to relevancy and not so outdated as it’s been for nearly an entire year now. Read More

ArchitectureCertification

Azure Architecture Exam (70-534) Gets ARM Refresh

Spec_Arch_AzureSol_logo_BWIt’s been about 2 years since the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions certification exam was first release. Over that time there’s been a couple updates to keep it relevant with the ever changing landscape of the Microsoft Azure platform. The previous update was released in March 2016, which is a very long time when it comes to the cloud. The good news is that another update is on it’s way, and this time it will be including a full update of adding Azure Resource Manager (ARM) to the exam, in addition to many other new features and services. This update looks to be bringing the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam back to relevancy and not so outdated as it’s been for nearly an entire year now.

Retired Exam: This exam is being retired December 31, 2017, and is being replaced by Exam 70-535: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions. The exam content will be similar but different enough that Microsoft is giving it a new number to differentiate it more clearly. Read More

CertificationInfrastructure

Azure Infrastructure Exam (70-533) Gets ARM Refresh

MS_Azure_Infrastructure_SolutionsIt’s been about 2 years since the 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions certification exam was first release. Over that time there’s been a couple updates to keep it relevant with the ever changing landscape of the Microsoft Azure platform. The previous update was released in March 2016, which is a very long time when it comes to the cloud. The good news is that another update is on it’s way, and this time it will be including a full update of adding Azure Resource Manager (ARM) to the exam, in addition to many other new features and services. This update looks to be bringing the 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam back to relevancy and not so outdated as it’s been for nearly an entire year now. Read More

Certification

MCSD: App Builder Certification

Along side the Ignite 2016 conference, Microsoft announced some changes to the Microsoft Certified Professional program. These changes outlined 5 new MCSE and MCSD certifications, along with MCSA certifications to go along with them. One of these new MCSD certifications is the new MCSD: App Builder certification. This certification requires 3 exam to be passed to earn, and it also will get you an MCSA certification on your way to earning the full MCSD: App Builder certification. This post gives a brief explanation on the exam that are required and / or qualify for the  MCSD: App Builder, as well as the MCSA certifications you can earn on your way to obtaining the full MCSD! Happy studying!

On the path to earning the MCSD: App Builder certification an MCSA certification will first be earned.

MCSA Foundation

On the path to earning the MCSD: App Builder certification an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) certification will first be earned. It’s really good to have a milestone along the way, instead of having to pass a ton of exams before claiming any single certification title / credential. Additionally, instead of just a single MCSA to earn on the path to MCSD: App Builder, there are 2 tracks to choose from based on your unique combination of expertise and interests.

The list of both MCSA certifications and their required exams are as follows:

  • MCSA: Web Applicationspass both of the following exams:
  • MCSA: Universal Windows Platform – pass both of the following exams:
    • 70-483: Programming in C#
    • 70-357: Developing Mobile Apps

As you can see the MCSA foundations for the new MCSD: App Builder certification require you to pass 2 exams. While not an extensive set of choices, the tracks to pick are either Web Application development or UWP (Universal Windows Platform) App development.

MCSD: App Builder

Once a qualifying MCSA certification (as listed above) is earned, the next path is to pass only 1 more exam to earn the full MCSD: App Builder certification! And, the best part is that you get to choose from a fairly long list of exams to make that happen.

Here’s the current list of Elective exams that can be taken to build on an MCSA to earn the new MCSD: App Builder certification:

  • 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • 70-487: Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services
  • 70-488: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions
  • 70-489: Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions
  • 70-354: Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI
  • 70-355: Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns
  • 70-496: Administering Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
  • 70-497: Software Testing with Visual Studio
  • 70-498: Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management

Regardless of the MCSA track you choose to start with (Web Apps or UWP Apps) you can continue on with earning the MCSD: App Builder with an exam in that topic area, or any of the other elective exam options.

CertificationTraining

Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) Open Enrollment

data_science_illustrationThe Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) is a new attempt from Microsoft to provide a training and educational platform to help fill the ever growing skill gap in the technology industry. According to Microsoft there are 1.5 million jobs awaiting qualified candidates, and the MPP programs goal is to help fill this huge need in better training candidates.

What is the Microsoft Professional Program?

The self-paced training spectrum is made up of certifications on the more self guided end to online courses on the more structure guided end. Both of these are very different than a traditional degree in the facts that they both focus more on the latest technologies and leave out any “general education” stuff. Basically self-paced training, both online courses and certifications, offer no fluff, to the point method of learning and proving skills in a given topic area.

The different between these more self-paced training options and higher education degree programs has really been quite large. As a result, there has been an ever growing skills gap in the technology world. Once someone earns a degree their skills immediately start to become outdated and eventually obsolete. So they need to keep learning new technologies all the time, however it can be difficult to decide what to learn.

There has been an ever growing skills gap in the technology world.

When looking at someone new to the technology industry, they generally have absolutely no idea where to start or what technologies to learn. To solve this people look at job listings as well as what’s popular online in general or with self-paced training course vendors. This generally leaves them with very little direction unless they choose to go with a higher education degree program.

The overall skills gap in the industry not having enough trained professionals to fill available open jobs affect those who are in college, after college, and working to learn new skills using self-paced courses. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of guidance available.

This sort of confused state of the technology industry as a whole not knowing what to learn to fill the skills gap is a growing problem. There are self-paced course companies like Pluralsight, Lynda.com, edX.org and others that are attempting to provide a solution. There are also vendor specific certifications like those from Microsoft that are attempting to provide a solution as well. While there are times when these can be very complimentary, it generally leaves a divided and confused industry thrashing to fill the skills gap needs.

The new Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) provides more of a middle ground between traditional higher education and what is provided by self-paced course and certification options. While it seem more helpful for those new to the technology industry, it looks to provide the direction many experienced in the industry are looking for to help them as well. The way it provides the middle ground is that it provides both individual courses and verified certificates of completion  as well as guided direction for what courses to take and skills to learn.

The goal of the Microsoft Professional Program is to help fill the skills gap with qualified candidates.

In a way, the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) is a sort of a hybrid between higher education and self-paced, online courses or certifications. While it’s certainly not a replacement for any of the three other learning / training options, it’s aimed to fill a need for people those other options don’t fit, as well as help prepare more skilled professionals to be able to fill the ever growing skills gap.

Information about the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) can be found at http://academy.microsoft.com.

FYI, originally, the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) was named Microsoft Professional Degree (MPD) program. Microsoft hasn’t stated why they renamed it since it’s initial announcement 3 months ago, but it’s likely due to some pushback and confusion in calling it a “Degree.”

Available Program Tracks

The Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) is still new, and currently there is only 1 program track available. The very first MPP program track available is:

  • Data Science

The reception of the MPP program as gone over very well so far, so Microsoft has announce they will be adding 2 more tracks to the program in 2017. These new MPP program tracks will be:

  • Big Data Engineering
  • Front-End Web Development

The number of MPP program tracks Microsoft is eventually targeting hasn’t been announced. The curriculum of the Data Science track looks promising, and the 2 new tracks will likely follow suit.

Degree Pricing and Auditing

edX-cert-verified-thumbThe cost of the entire Microsoft Professional Program is broken out so that students will pay for each individual course to get a Verified Certificate that will provide proof for them to earn the Microsoft Professional Program track in Data Science. It’s $49 for each of the verified certificates from edX.org, with the exception of the orientation class that’s $25 and the “Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics” that’s $99. This comes to a total of about $500 USD for all the verified certificates required.

When the additional tracks are announced / available the prices for their courses will likely be very similar, if not exactly the same.

Where to Signup?

The Microsoft Professional Program website has further information on the courses necessary to complete the program tracks available. If you’re interested in one of tracks in the MPP program, you can signup at the following link:

https://academy.microsoft.com/en-us/register/

Note, at the time of writing this, the Data Science track is the only current track available in the program, and Open Enrollment has just opened for anyone who is interested to signup and start taking courses!

Data Science Track Curriculum

The curriculum of the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) Data Science track is broken out into 9 courses, as well as a final Capstone Project that needs to be completed to achieve the MPP Data Science certification.

Here’s a simplified breakout of the courses:

Unit 1 – Fundamentals

Course 1: Data Science Orientation
Course 2: Querying Data with Transact-SQL
Course 3: Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Excel OR Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Power BI
Course 4: Statistical Thinking for Data Science and Analytics from Columbia University

Unit 2 – Core Data Science

Course 5: Introduction to R for Data Science OR Introduction to Python for Data Science
Course 6: Data Science Essentials
Course 7: Principles of Machine Learning

Unit 3: Applied Data Science

Course 8: Programming with R for Data Science OR Programming with Python for Data Science
Course 9: Applied Machine Learning OR Developing Intelligent Apps OR Implementing Predictive Solutions with Spark in Azure HDInsight

Unit 4: Capstone Project

Project: Cortana Intelligence Competition

As you can see above, a few of the course areas have multiple options to choose from for which courses to take. For example, on the programming side you can choose between either Python or R to focus on. You can also choose between focusing on either Excel or Power BI for visualization as well. It’s nice when you have some choice in what courses to take since that really helps you customize the certification for your needs, expertise or interests better.

Happy studying!

Also, if you’ve already participated in the Microsoft Professional Program, please post a comment on this article to let us know your experience and overall satisfaction level with the courses and program as a whole. This program is still very new with a bit still unknown by many of us on the “outside”, however it does look very promising!

Certification

Azure Certification: Where to Start? 2016 Edition

The choice of choosing which certification to obtain can be a tricky one, especially if you’ve never studied for or taken a Microsoft Certification exam before. It can also be daunting if you don’t know anyone else who has done it either. You shouldn’t let this discourage you. It may be a bit confusing, but it’s actually not all that complicated. This article outlines some of the specifics in what certification you might want to target for your specific skills or interest, as well as some tips to help on your way to getting Microsoft Certified in Microsoft Azure.

What Azure Certifications are there?

Microsoft recently announced a complete revamp of the Microsoft Certified Professional program creating 5 new MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) and MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) certifications. While these MCSD and MCSE are the “big” certifications that require passing multiple exams to obtain, there are some alternatives that only require passing 1 or 2 exams.

Here’s a list of the specific Microsoft Certifications that include 1 or more exams that cover Microsoft Azure. The list starts with the “easier” certifications that only require 1 exam to get, then it moves to certifications that require 2 or more exams to get.

The certifications above really to work on a progression where they build on each other. You take 1 exam, possibly get one of the MS certifications, then take a second exam to get an MCSA, then take the third exam to build up to an MCSE or MCSD! The additive nature of the new certification structure is awesome!

The additive nature of the new Microsoft Certification structure is awesome!

There are also a few MCSA certifications that provide foundations for the bigger MCSE and MCSD certifications that don’t specifically cover an Azure exam that are worth noting. These let you target a specific specialty, while build an MCSD or MCSE on top of them by passing a more Azure focused exam.

  • 2 Exams Required
    • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Web App
    • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Universal Windows Platform
    • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows Server 2016
    • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Windows Server 2012
    • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL Server 2012 / 2014
    • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL 2016 Database Development
    • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL 2016 Database Administration
    • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL 2016 BI Development

The new certification landscape has the Microsoft Azure cloud focused exams much more interwoven within the various Microsoft Certifications. There is now a pretty diverse set of Microsoft Certifications that include Microsoft Azure skills.. You no longer have just 2 choices (an MS or MCSD) when getting a certification that includes Microsoft Azure skills.

Microsoft Certification Roadmap

At first read the above list of certifications can be a bit confusing or even overwhelming. An image to lay out the specifics can really help out, so the below image provides a nice visual representation.

2016_microsoft_certification_paths

Each horizontal track in the image is a very specific expertise category / area. Most of these areas offer multiple options of MCSA (2 exam certifications) to start with. Then each one has a single exam path in order to build on from the MCSA certification into either an MCSD or MCSE, depending on the specific skills area.

One note about the image that will help in reading it is to look at the white dots along the colored tracks. Each dot represents a single exam, then the star represents an MCSA certification that is achieved after passing those exams. Finally, after passing a chosen elective exam the MCSA is built on to obtain a full MCSE or MCSD certification.

Attribution: This roadmap image was originally posted on the Born to Learn site.

Certification Renewals

It takes a lot of work and can take a significant amount of time to pass certain Microsoft certification exams. The amount of time and work all varies depending on the individual. Once you do finally achieve that Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) or Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification it will stay “active” until Microsoft decides to retire it. This generally doesn’t happen for a few years.

Just as your technical expertise and skills evolve over time, the Microsoft Certifications are setup to evolve along with you. For this reason, the MCSD and MCSE certifications stay current for 1 year after achieving them. Then, you can take 1 elective exam each year to keep your certification current and renewed for the following year. This allows you to show growth year over year and adapt your knowledge / skills to the ever changing technology landscape.

Instead of taking one “renewal” exam that include topics from multiple exams with update content, or requiring you to take multiple separate exams to earn a new MCSD or MCSE, the new certification structure allows you to take just 1 Elective Exam to renew and stay current. As your skills evolve over time and flow along with the pulse of the industry, you can take your choice of elective exam that fits what you need. You not only tailor your MCSD or MCSE more personally to you, but when you renew the certification each year you still have the option to keep your certification personalized to your skills.

You not only tailor your MCSD or MCSE more personally to you, but when you renew the certification each year you still have the option to keep your certification personalized to your skills.

As an example, when you’ve obtained the MCSE or MCSD certifications you have a list of up to 10 elective exams (depending on the particular MCSD or MCSE) to choose from when renewing your certification. This is a tremendous different from only a single choice of renewal exam that old MCSE or MCSD certifications have offered in the past.

Where are Study Materials?

There are many videos, articles, books and other materials available to use for studying for Microsoft certification exams. The details page for each specific exam on the Microsoft Learning site contains the list of objectives covered on the exam as well as links to books and practice exams that can be used to study.

Before I give you a big list of study materials, first here’s a list of blog posts I’ve previously published outlining the various study materials I’ve personally used to study for a couple of the Microsoft Azure Certification exams:

Here’s a list of some generally useful resources that can be used to study for certification exams and generally learn about Microsoft Azure. These resources are ALL FREE!

Here are some Exam Reference books from Microsoft Press that specifically target objectives for individual exams:

In addition to videos, articles, books, etc., it can be very useful to utilize Practice Exams. There are a couple different practice exam vendors that offer these. A couple of these vendors are MeasureUp and MindHub. Personally, I’ve used MeasureUp, but I’ve seen MindHub linked to from the Microsoft Certification site as well.

Speaking of Practice Exams; here’s a link to a Free, Open Source project I created while studying for the Azure developer exam that contains many practice test questions on the exam objectives for the Microsoft Azure developer (70-532) exam:

An important study note to be aware of is to stay clear of “brain dumps.” As I’ve outlined previous, brain dumps are cheating and violate the terms you agree to in order to take a Microsoft Certification exam.

In addition to all the free resources available and the exam reference books are training courses from online course providers too. Here’s a couple of the vendors that offer paid Azure video training courses:

There are many more vendors and resources available. The above lists are hardly encompassing, but hopefully the give you plenty of places to start.

How to take an exam?

Once you’ve studied and feel you’re ready to take a certification exam, you must then register for the exam. The exam information pages on the Microsoft Certification site for each of the exams offered contains a “Schedule exam” button. Just click this button and it’ll take you through the process of picking a date and time to take the exam.

Currently, each Microsoft Certification exam costs $165 USD to take; whether you pass or not.

There are 2 options for taking Microsoft certification exams. The main on is to physically take it at a testing center. However, if you have an isolated space you can elect to take certification exams from home (or really anywhere else) as well, or Online Proctored.

The online proctored delivery method of taking Microsoft Certification exams may not be available for all exams offered. When available it can offer a much higher level of convenience; especially if you live a considerable distance from the closest testing center. The below link contains requirements and other information necessary about the online proctored exam deliver option:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/online-proctored-exams.aspx

Exam Retakes!

microsoft_certification_boosterpackEveryone fails an exam from time to time. There can be many reasons, from not studying enough, not being quite ready enough, to just taking the exam to see if you can pass without first studying. There are MANY reasons you may fail an exam. Don’t let this discourage you from studying more and trying again!

Since it’s common for people to fail a Microsoft Certification exam from time to time, you are allowed to retake the exam again. However, you do need to pay the exam fee again for each time you attempt an exam. For this reason, Microsoft offers Booster Packs that give you a discount on exam retakes. A couple of the Booster Pack options even include a Practice Test to help studying!

Please post your own Microsoft Certification experiences in the comments. Also, don’t be afraid to post questions too. I’m always happy to help!

Happy studying!