Category: Certification

Certification

MCSA: Cloud Platform Certification

mcsa_cloud_platform_certAmong the many Microsoft Certification changes and updates announced around the Microsoft Ignite 2016 conference recently is the addition of the brand new MCSA: Cloud Platform certification. There are a total of 5 Microsoft Azure specific exam, and this new MCSA certification wraps those up into an easier certification to achieve. But, don’t worry, you only need to pass 2 of the exams to earn the new MCSA: Cloud Platform certification.

What exams qualify?

With the recent changes there have not been any new certification exams announced, so currently there are the same 5 Azure exams we’ve had for awhile now. Here’s the list of exams to choose from for the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification:

As you can see, the topics covered by the exams for the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification have a fairly good range in areas around the Microsoft Azure cloud; from infrastructure, to development, to architecture, to data and big data.

Which exams should I take?

mcsa_cloudplatform_certificateThe requirements for the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification are setup similarly to the new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification that it’s a foundational path for. You pick the specific exams that fit your expertise, work role, and/or interests in a way that tailors your MCSA: Cloud Platform certification in the direction you want. However, it can be difficult to choose which exams to take, so here’s a list of some example “expertise areas” and the suggested exams you could take to earn an MCSA: Cloud Platform certification that’s tailored for that area:

  • Azure / Cloud Developer
    • 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
    • 70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
  • Azure / Cloud Infrastructure and Architecture
    • 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions
    • 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
  • Big Data Architect
    • 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions
    • 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
  • Azure / Cloud Data and Big Data
    • 70-473: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
    • 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
  • Azure / Cloud Big Data Developer
    • 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions
    • 70-475: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions

The above are just a few examples of the different combinations of 2 exams you could take to earn the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification.

Foundation for MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

mcse_cloud_platform_and_infrastructure_certThe MCSA: Cloud Platform is one of the 4 different new MCSA certifications that provide the foundation to earning the new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification. There have been some “foundational” type paths in Microsoft certifications in the past, but the new changes to the program offer different certification paths in a fairly easy to follow way. You can choose the path that fits you best with the appropriate exams, and there’s plenty of room to turn it up to 11 and earn the full MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification.

The path from MCSA: Cloud Platform to MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification only requires a total of 3 exams to be passed. You take the first 2 to earn the MCSA: Cloud Platform (as shown above), and then you take 1 additional elective exam to upgrade that MCSA to earn the full MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification!

The MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure offers a total of 10 elective exams to choose from! This give you full flexibility to tailor your certification to your own interests, expertise or work role with plenty of options to choose the path best for you!

Happy studying!

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Certification

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure Certification

mcse_cloud_platform_and_infrastructure_certThere are a total of 5 Azure specific certification exams available from Microsoft currently. If you pass each of these individually you will earn a Microsoft Specialist certification for the topic/skills area the exam covers. Also, until this week if you took the 3 Azure Solutions exams you would earn the MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect. Well, the MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification is being retired, and instead replaced with an entirely new redesigned and restructured set of 5 MCSD and MCSE certifications. There are many changes afoot in the Microsoft Certification realm, so if you were targeting to obtain the MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification you might be wondering, “What do I do now?” What ever you decide, don’t stop studying! See it through because the exams are still here, along with a clear path to proving those hard earned skills!

On the path to earning the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification an MCSA certification will first be earned.

The MCSA Foundation

On the path to earning the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification an MCSA 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 first before the MCSE, there are 4 tracks to choose from based on your unique combination of expertise and interests.

Here’s the list of the 4 MCSA certifications and the exams you need to pass to achieve them:

As you can see the MCSA Foundations for the new MCSE, while they require you to pass either 2 or 3 exams depending on the track, offer a pretty wide range of expertise paths to follow! Anywhere from Azure/Cloud only, to Windows Server 2016 or 2012, to the MCSA: Linux on Azure that is a mixture of Azure and Linux!

The New MCSE

mcse_cloudplatform_certificateOnce an qualifying MCSA certification (as listed above) is earned, the next path is to pass only 1 more exam to earn the full MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification! And, the best part, is you get to choose from a fairly long list of exams to make that happen.

Here’s the current list of Elective exam options to grow that MCSA certification into a brand new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification:

Even if you chose to focus on Windows Server 2012 or 2016 with the MCSA you earned, it’s very likely you will be mixing in some Azure / Cloud expertise and learning with the elective exam you choose to take for upgrading to the MCSE. Unless of course you go with the “Securing Windows Server 2016”, but that exam isn’t available yet so we don’t fully know what Azure / Cloud stuff might be on it; I’m guessing there’ll at least be a bunch of Private Cloud stuff given the direction that Microsoft is taking even on-premises Windows Server.

Once an qualifying MCSA certification (as listed above) is earned, the next path is to pass only 1 more exam to earn the full MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification!

From MCSD to MCSE

If you followed along the paths above for MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, you may have notices the 5 Azure specific exams, in particular the Developer 70-532, Infrastructure 70-533, and Architect 70-534 exams, and how if you pass all three you will now earn the new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification instead of the old MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification that will soon be retired.

The new MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure path replacement for the old MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect with the exact same exams looks as follows:

mcsa_cloud_platform_certStart by earning the MCSA: Cloud Platform certification by taking and passing any 2 of the following exams:

Then round out the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification by taking and passing the 1 remaining exam of the 3.

mcse_cloud_platform_and_infrastructure_certBasically, take all three of these exams and you’ll now earn the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification, instead of the (soon retired) MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect. The new certification title for the same exams is a little more ambiguous as it doesn’t specifically have “Azure” in the name. Also, there are many Developers who won’t be as interested in the new certification since it’s now an MCSE and not an MCSD anymore.

Lastly, for those disappointed in retiring the “Architect” certification, it is important to remember the “E” in “MCSE” stands for “Expert”. The gives the new certification the full title of:

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

Happy studying!

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Certification

Microsoft Certification Changes and Goodbye to MCSD Azure Solutions Architect

Both Fall and Spring time each year mark times when Microsoft normally announces changes to the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) program. It was 2 years ago they started releasing the Azure certification exams (70-532, 70-533, and 70-534) and in Spring 2015 they announced if you take all 3 you’ll earn the MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification. Today, coinciding with the Microsoft Ignite 2016 conference, there are some broader changes to the MCP program being announced. This article will go over what these changes are, as well as discuss some of their implications to help give a full picture of the coming MCP landscape. Read More

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35 Azure and Cloud eBooks for Amazon Kindle

Blog articles and Technical documentation are nice for learning technologies, but there are times when a good book just can’t be replaced. This is especially true when getting information from blogs that may have a snippet of “found code” that might or might not work as expected. At least properly technically reviewed book will have working code snippets and other directions / information.

So, here’s a bunch of eBooks on Azure topics that are available for the Amazon Kindle. After all, what better to read about the Cloud than with a “Virtual” book! Read More

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Microsoft Professional Degree in Data Science

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Update September 26, 2016: Microsoft has renamed the “Microsoft Professional Degree” (MPD) program to be the “Microsoft Professional Program” (MPP), and they are going to be added 2 more tracks for MPP in 2017.  Read More

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Azure Certification: 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions Specialist – Oct 2015

One of the most recent Microsoft Azure certification exams is the Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions (70-475) exam. It was published on October 27, 2015. Passing this exam will earn you the Microsoft Specialist: Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions certification.

There was an update made to the 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions certification exam, please reference the 70-475 exam Feb. 2017 update post for more information!

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Azure Certification: 70-473 Cloud Data Platform Solutions Specialist – Oct 2015

There have been a few Microsoft Azure certifications for awhile now, and on October 27, 2015 Microsoft added another with the Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions (70-473) exam. Passing this exam will earn you the Microsoft Specialist: Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions certification. This is a Microsoft Azure certification centered around SQL Server databases in the cloud; from Azure SQL Database to SQL Server running inside a Virtual Machine.

Update July 2017: This article is out-of-date. The 70-473 exam was update in June 2017 with new exam objectives. Please refer to the newer exam objectives and study resource list outlined in the 70-473 Designing and Implementing Could Data Platform Solutions Certification Exam – June 2017 Update article instead. Happy Studying!

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Microsoft Data Platform Specialist Certifications

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Open Source Azure Certification Practice Tests

Studying for the Azure certification exams can be a daunting task. One of the most difficult things is knowing whether you’re ready to sit the actual exam or not. Take the exam too early, you’ll fail. Not understand how the questions will be written, you could fail. Over prepare, and you’ll pass but possibly waste some time. To really hone in on a certification exam, the use of a practice test / exam can be extremely useful. In an effort to help others studying for these exams, I have started creating a couple Free, Open Source Azure certification practice exams. Read More