I started my Azure Certification Journey by studying for and taking the AZ-900 Fundamentals Exam. Did I have to take this one? Honestly no, my experience with Azure really should have pointed me to a higher exam, but I really wanted the exam taking experience on a less stressful exam (especially since I would be doing it from home).
Disclaimer: Microsoft reviews certifications regularly to help ensure that they remain relevant, technically accurate and that they assess the skills needed to thrive in a cloud-based world. Exams evolve over time and may change without notice. This post represents my best knowledge of the AZ-900 exam as of Q1 2021, but you should always consult Microsoft’s Official AZ-900 Exam Page for the contents of the exam.
What is Azure Fundamentals?
The Azure Fundamentals Exam is an opportunity to prove knowledge of cloud concepts, Azure services, Azure workloads, security, and privacy in Azure, as well as Azure pricing and support. Anyone looking to take the exam should be familiar with the general technology concepts, including networking, storage, compute, application support, and application development.
If you plan to take this exam you should have foundational knowledge of cloud services and how those services are provided with Microsoft Azure. The exam is intended for anyone who are just beginning to work with cloud-based solutions and services or are new to Azure.
Azure Fundamentals can also be used to prepare for other Azure role-based or specialty certifications, but it is not a prerequisite for any of them.
How Did I Prepare?
I relied on my on-the-job Azure experience. Two years as a Cloud Engineer and another two as a Cloud Solution Architect provided a great deal of real work experience. I also wanted to be sure that I knew the types of questions that would be asked so I could be prepared. I spent about a week studying an hour or two a night for the exam which in retrospect was more than I needed.
What Resources Did I Use to Prepare?
I used the following resources to get ready:
- Microsoft Learn – AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Learning Paths
- Scott Duffy’s AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam Prep Course
- Scott Duffy’s AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Practice Tests
Keep in mind that I did not work my way through every part of the resources above. I opted to focus on the sections of the exam where my knowledge was not as strong.
My Challenge Area
While I cannot talk about exam specifics for obvious reasons, I do want to point out the area that I struggled with the most:
Azure AD & Identity have become a bit of a nemesis for me as it pertains to taking Azure exams. I have no direct interaction with Azure AD due to the way the IT organization I currently work for is structured. The Security Identity Team handles all aspects when it comes to managing the service. The limited knowledge I have in this area comes from my interactions with that team and from the learning path and course I mentioned in the previous section.
Azure AD is the biggest differentiator that Microsoft has when compared to its public cloud competitors.
I took the exam remotely through PearsonVue due to COVID-19. I gave myself exactly seven days to prepare and study when I scheduled the exam. I knew that giving myself a deadline would force me to put in the work needed to pass.
The test setup was simple. I took the test in my home office. The night before I made sure to disconnect and clear out anything that might be an issue for the online proctor. I set up my laptop on my desk, provided pictures of my setup, driver’s license, and face, then sat in front of my computer while the proctor verified that everything was good to go. I never had to talk with them at all, the exam launched, and I cruised through it in under a half hour (you have a full hour for the test).
Immediately after the test, I received my detailed score breakdown in various areas and was told that I passed. An e-mail shows up no more than an hour later with details on getting my certificate, claiming it on Acclaim, sharing it on LinkedIn, etc.
Azure Fundamentals contains a surprising range of materials and requires a bit of depth in every area.
Here are a handful of other exams to consider if you’ve passed AZ-900:
- AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator
- AZ-204: Microsoft Azure Developer Associate
- AZ-303: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies
- AZ-304: Microsoft Azure Architect Design
- AZ-400: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions
- AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies
As for me, I moved on to AZ-104 to help expand my infrastructure skills.