Microsoft Azure Cloud Certification

Here’s a simplified Microsoft Certification Roadmap for the role-based certifications from Microsoft. These are the Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert certifications. Navigating the Microsoft Certification landscape and deciding on which certification path to follow, and which exams to take, can be a little difficult at first. Hopefully this article will help clarify things for you, and don’t forget to download the infographic at the bottom of the article that you can use for future and/or offline reference.



Why get certified?

There can be many reason to pursue a technical certification in Microsoft Azure. Microsoft certifications are among the most highly regarded certifications in the IT industry. This goes for any Microsoft certification, and the Microsoft Azure related certifications are among those at the forefront of the leading edge of technology.

Microsoft certifications are among the most highly regarded certifications in the IT industry.

There are different certification paths to choose depending on your expertise and background. There are a few benefits Microsoft Azure certifications can offer regardless of the certification path you choose.

Microsoft Azure certifications help you prove your expertise and skills with the latest cloud technology that is powering the datacenters, applications, and solutions of the future.

Here are some of the top reasons to get certified with Microsoft technologies!



High Growth Opportunity

Often increased training and certification can lead to pay increases or even new job opportunities. Certifications offer a trusted and verified credential to show off and promote your technology expertise. You even receive badges that can be shared on your resume or across social media to show off your hard-earned accomplishment.

Become a Leader

There are many things to learn and master through Microsoft certification. You will be much more knowledgeable in these technologies through your efforts to study and eventually pass the certification exams. Plus, passing the exams and earning the certifications should give you the confidence to speak as an authority within your team or organization. This can result in others seeing you as a leader in these technologies, and begin to look to you for the hard answers they aren’t able to find anywhere else.

Microsoft Certification Roadmap for Role-based Paths 1

Higher Productivity

Certification will help you be much more productive with the various technologies you’re working with. There are many features and techniques that you’ll learn through the certification process, that you may not come across without the structured and in-depth learning necessary for certification. The increase in expertise, productivity, and efficiency gained will help you to realize many potential benefits; of which may include peer recognition, pay increases, promotions, or even new job / career opportunities.

Certification Stats

If you’re looking to get certified, or even earn your next Microsoft certification, then it’s nice to know that you’re not alone. There are many people in the IT industry looking to get certified; especially in the cloud. In fact, it’s estimated that by the year 2021, the number of IT jobs relating to the Cloud will be up to 38%.

Microsoft Certification stats: Cloud IT jobs by 2021

With the ever increasing number of jobs requiring cloud related skills, there is huge potential career growth in learning more about the cloud and getting certified. The estimated 38% of IT positions being cloud related by the year 2021 marks the growth of a trend towards the cloud. You need to keep learning in order to stay relevant in IT, and at this time the cloud is where your learning needs to be in a big way.

There are a couple of other interested statistics relating to Microsoft Certification and the cloud. These statistics help reinforce how important Microsoft Certification and Microsoft Azure certification could be for your career.

  • 35% of IT Professionals say they’re more influential during cloud deployments; than if their non-certified counterparts.
  • 36.9% of IT Professionals claimed certification helped them perform complex tasks with higher confidence.

Sources:
IDC/Microsoft, Cloud Skills and Organizational Influence: How Cloud Skills Are Accelerating the Careers of IT Professional, May 2017

Pearson VUE, The Value of IT Certification Survey, January 2017 https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/certification-benefits.aspx

Certification Job Roles

There are four main job role categories that Microsoft has organized the rolebased certifications into. These job roles are sort of large personas that group a broad set of job skills and duties into a specific role grouping. These allow Microsoft to better target groups of specific real-world jobs with the various certifications offered.

There are four main job role categories that Microsoft has organized the role-based certifications into. These job roles are sort of large personas that group a broad set of job skills and duties into a specific role grouping. These allow Microsoft to better target groups of specific real-world jobs with the various certifications offered.

line of people graphic

Developer

The Developer role is a persona that defines software developers using Microsoft technologies to design, build, test, and maintain solutions.

The certification offered in this category is the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification. This is a cloud focused developer certification offering

Administrator

The Administrator role is a persona that defines Administrators who implement, monitor, and maintain solutions using Microsoft technologies.

The certifications offered in this category are centered on either Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Azure administration. These Administrator certifications are cloud-focused.

Solutions Architect

The Solutions Architect role is a persona that defines solutions architect that have experience using Microsoft Azure technologies to design solutions that meet the needs of the business.

The certification offered in this category is the Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification. This is a cloud focused solutions architect certification.

Functional Consultant

The Functional Consultant role is a persona that defines consultants who can anticipate and plan for customer needs while leveraging Microsoft Dynamics 365 to meet those needs.

The certifications offered in this category are focused around a few different consulting roles:

  • Marketing
  • Field Service
  • Customer Service
  • Sales

Microsoft Certification Expertise Levels

The job-role focused certifications are structured into 3 expertise levels. It starts with the Fundamentals level, then goes on to the Associate, and finally at the top is the Expert level certifications. These are meant to offer Microsoft certifications that will fit any professional, at any point in their career.

Whether you’re at the entry-level just getting started, looking to change careers, or a more experienced and possibly seasoned professional, there’s a Microsoft certification path that will fit your career path. And, with the role-based certifications this is even more accurate than the older technology based certification were. The certification paths are also clearer now with less “elective exams” to choose from that might be confusing to navigate. Simply earn the desired role-based certification by passing the required exams, and then move on to the next level by passing one or more additional exams to build your way up to a Microsoft Certified Expert!

Microsoft Certification Roadmap for Role-based Paths 2
Microsoft Role-based Certification Expertise Levels

Fundamentals

The “Fundamentals” certifications are targeted towards those just starting out with the technologies covered, having zero to 2 years of experience, or looking to change careers.

There are 3 Fundamentals level certifications available for those getting started with the technologies covered, or looking for a career change.

While it’s recommended to start with a Fundamentals certification, they are not required prerequisites to earning the Associate or Expert certifications

Associate

The “Associate” certification are targeted towards professionals that already have experience working with the technologies covered, having 2 or more years of experience.

The largest of the Microsoft certification levels is the Associate level; for those with two years of working experience. These are the certifications targeted towards most professionals working in IT.

Expert

The “Expert” certifications are targeted towards professionals that have advanced levels of experience and skills with the technologies covered. These professionals have two to five or more years of experience. Many Expert certifications require a specific Associate level certification as a prerequisite.

There are 3 Expert level certifications for those with more advanced expertise of Microsoft Azure and cloud technologies; for those with two to five years of deep technical experience. These are generally not the certifications you start with, but rather the certifications you work up towards after obtaining an “Associate” level certification.

Certification Paths: Microsoft Certified Associate

Microsoft Certified Associate

The largest of the Microsoft certification levels is the Associate level; for those with two years of working experience. These are the certifications targeted towards most professionals working in IT.

There’s a broad range of Associate level certifications. With Microsoft Azure being at the core in much of the Microsoft ecosystem today, there are a few role-based certification options dealing with Azure technologies. There are also quite a few role-based certification paths available with Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 technologies as well.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Associate

Whether you’re an Administrator, Developer, Data Engineer, or a couple other roles in the Microsoft Azure cloud space, there’s Microsoft Certified: Associate certification paths for you.

There are also multiple Associate level certifications for both Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 technologies in the following specialization areas:

Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Associate

There are the following different Microsoft Dynamics 365 certifications available for those looking to get certified with Microsoft Dynamics 365 technologies:

  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Marketing Functional Consultant
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Field Service Functional Consultant
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Financials Functional Consultant
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Manufacturing Functional Consultant
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Supply Chain Management Functional Consultant
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Customer Service Functional Consultant
  • Microsoft Certified: Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant

This list of Dynamics 365 certifications offer some great paths to follow for those working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 in many different job-roles.

Microsoft 365 Certified Associate

There are the following different Microsoft 365 certifications available for those looking to get certified with Microsoft 365 technologies:

  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Messaging Administrator Associate
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Security Administrator
  • Microsoft 365 Certified: Teamwork Administrator

This list of Microsoft 365 certifications offers a great list of certifications for those working with these technologies in a variety of Administrator job-roles.

Microsoft Certified Associate Roadmap

Here’s a simplified roadmap graphic to help you navigate the list of Microsoft Certified Associate certifications. This graphics does center around the Microsoft Azure certifications as those are the most popular.

Microsoft Certification Roadmap for Role-based Paths 3
Microsoft Certified Associate Roadmap

The Associate certifications require you to either pass 1 or 2 certification exams to earn. These are the certifications that the majority of professionals with at least 2 years of experience working in the industry will be working towards.

You do have the option of obtaining one of the Microsoft Certified: Fundamentals certifications prior to pursuing one of the Associate level certifications. This is, however, not required. If you already have the expertise, you can just straight to the Associate level exams and certifications. Although, if you are new to the technologies, then it is recommended you start with the Fundamentals certifications.

Certification Paths : Microsoft Certified Expert

Microsoft Certification Roadmap for Role-based Paths 4

There are 3 Expert level certifications for those with more advanced expertise of Microsoft Azure and cloud technologies; for those with two to five years of deep technical experience. These are generally not the certifications you start with, but rather the certifications you work up towards after obtaining an “Associate” level certification.

Currently, there are only three Microsoft Certified Expert level certifications. Hopefully we’ll see more announced and released soon, as there are plenty of job-roles that could benefit from Expert certification paths. For now, the Expert certifications are great as they apply to those working as Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect, both Administrators and Developers working as DevOps Engineers, or even Enterprise Administrators working with Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Certified Expert Roadmap

Here’s a simplified roadmap graphic to help you navigate the list of Microsoft Certified Expert certifications. This graphic lists all 3 of the currently available Microsoft Certified: Expert certifications.

Microsoft Certification Roadmap for Role-based Paths 5
Microsoft Certified Expert Roadmap

The Microsoft Certified Expert certifications are meant to build up a level further than the Associate level certifications. The Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification is earned by passing an additional exam, the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions, after already earring either the Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate certifications.

The Azure Solutions Architect and Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert certifications are a little different. The Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification has its own 2 exams, and once passing those exams you will earn the certification. The Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert certification has its own 2 exams that build upon one of the prerequisite Microsoft 365 Certified Associate certifications to be earned.

Downloadable Infographic

As part of this article, I’ve prepared a full infographic style document of the Microsoft Certification Roadmap for role-based certifications that can be downloaded. This document shows the above graphics and details in a little more pleasing manner that can be downloaded for offline use.

Download Microsoft Role-based Certification Roadmap Infographic

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Conclusion

There are quite a few different job-role based certifications available from Microsoft dealing with Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365 technologies. The different expertise levels also make certification options available to many professionals regardless of where they are in their career and level of expertise.

Microsoft has also announced that there should be more job-role based certification paths coming. It hasn’t been announced which or how many more certification paths are coming. Hopefully you’ll find a certification path that fits your career from the ones listed above, that are already available. If you don’t see one, then hopefully Microsoft will release one that fits you soon, or maybe you could still find an alternative one that fits with your future career goals as well.

If you’re looking for a Microsoft certification path that exists now, or even if it doesn’t, please leave a comment on this article. I’d love to hear what certification paths everyone is looking to pursue, and use to grow their career!

Happy studying!


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