After passing the AI-900 exam to earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals certification, I decided to continue with my Microsoft Fundamentals Certifications detour. My interest in data and analytics took me down the path towards the Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals certification.
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 AI-900 exam as of Q1 2021, but you should always consult Microsoft’s Official DP-900 Exam Page for the contents of the exam.
What is Azure Data Fundamentals?
The Azure Data Fundamentals Exam is an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of the concepts of relational and non-relational data, and diverse types of data workloads such as transactional or analytical.
If you plan to take this exam you should have foundational knowledge of core data concepts and how they are implemented using Microsoft Azure data services.
Azure Data Fundamentals can also be used to prepare for other Azure role-based certifications, but it is not a prerequisite for any of them.
How Did I Prepare?
I used my limited Azure data and analytics exposure from the past six years. I was involved on the infrastructure side for a large-scale Azure Data Lake project with my previous employer but had little to do with the data processing and analysis work. This was a major driver in my choice to pursue the certification as I wanted to expand my knowledge so I could be better prepared to support future projects and opportunities. I spent about a week studying an hour or two a night for the exam which worked out well.
What Resources Did I Use to Prepare?
I used the following resources to get ready:
- Microsoft Learn: Azure Data Fundamentals: Explore core data concepts
- Microsoft Learn: Azure Data Fundamentals: Explore relational data in Azure
- Microsoft Learn: Azure Data Fundamentals: Explore non-relational data in Azure
- Microsoft Learn: Azure Data Fundamentals: Explore modern data warehouse analytics in Azure
Unlike past use of MS Learn resources, I completed all the modules above due to my limited knowledge on the topics.
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:
Non-relational Data related questions were the most challenging for me on this exam. I’m not sure why, but I find the concept of non-relational data more difficult to fully understand than I do relational data. I’m looking forward to opportunities for real world projects that can help to flush out any confusion I still have on this topic.
This was my sixth exam taken remotely through PearsonVue due to COVID-19. I gave myself a week to prepare and study when I scheduled the exam continuing to follow my pattern of giving myself a deadline to force the work needed to pass.
Same procedure as the previous three experiences. 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 around 45 minutes (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 Data 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 DP-900:
- DP-203: Data Engineering on Microsoft Azure
- DP-300: Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure
As for me, I moved on to AZ-204 to help expand my developer skills.