Yesterday, I passed the Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) exam. It’s my first Microsoft and cloud certification. I didn’t plan for Azure to be my first cloud certification, but things don’t always go according to plan.
The main reason Azure became my first cloud certification was because of a free exam voucher that I received. My colleague informed me that Microsoft was offering a free exam voucher for attending a two-day webinar. As a sucker for freebies, I signed up for it!
Why am I learning the cloud?
There are two main reasons why I’m learning the cloud. The primary reason is that, at work, we’re getting more VPN connectivity requests between the three major cloud providers and on-premises.
The secondary reason is that I believe it will help me with potential projects in my professional services business. There are projects out there that require me to know the cloud.
For example, I recently missed out on an opportunity to work on a project that involves Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Additionally, I helped a client troubleshoot a VPN issue between his network and Azure not too long ago.
I can’t seem to find an official exam details page. The ones I’ve seen on the Internet doesn’t match with what I experienced. Here are some of the exam details for your reference:
- 99 USD for each exam attempt
- 31 questions (your mileage may vary)
- 60 minutes to finish the exam
- 700 is the passing score
- Take the exam at an authorized testing center or in your own home
- Can skip and go back to the questions
- Mark questions for review
Microsoft expects that the candidates should have a foundational knowledge of cloud and Azure services. They designed the exam for candidates that are new to the cloud or new to Azure.
The exam doesn’t require prior IT knowledge or experience. That said, both technical and non-technical folks can take and pass this exam.
Click here to view the complete exam objectives.
Aside from the two-day webinar, I used the free resources provided by Microsoft. I started with the Azure Fundamentals learning path. Then, I realized that in the Azure Fundamentals certification page, there are other learning paths as well.
The one on the certification page has four different learning paths. Microsoft estimates that a candidate will spend about 8.6 hours to complete.
For the Azure Fundamentals learning path, they estimate that a candidate will spend about 9.5 hours to complete the modules.
I completed both of them, so my total preparation for the Azure exam is about 18 hours. A lot shorter than A Cloud Guru’s AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamental course, which they estimated about 58 hours to complete. However, you can’t really compare the two.
The former is more focused on introducing cloud concepts and Azure services, while the latter is more focused on teaching you the concepts and how to use Azure.
This exam is my second time using the OnVUE online proctoring format. This time, I had a terrible experience. As I was waiting for the proctor, my screen turned black, and the only thing I could see was my mouse pointer moving. I gave it a few minutes before I reached my phone to call Pearson VUE.
Terrible experience with @PearsonVUE online exam today. Still on the phone (on hold) with them for an hour now!— Andrew Roderos (@andrewroderos) September 14, 2020
I was on hold for 15 minutes before a real person picked up the phone. I let the agent know what happened to my exam. He opened a case for me and said that it would take three to five business days to have a resolution.
Luckily, I convinced the agent to talk to a supervisor to reschedule the exam on the same day. It took an additional hour for the agent to provide me an update about the reschedule. Fortunately, the supervisor approved the request for a reschedule on the same day!
The OnVUE application ran smoothly for the second time around. It was a relief to see that the exam started properly. It was a stressful day for me because Microsoft was supposed to change the exam objective starting today. However, I found out after the exam that they aborted that plan and moved it to November.
The exam wasn’t difficult, but they did ask some questions where I had to guess. I think it’s a relatively easy exam, but this is coming from someone with some Azure, AWS, and GCP experience. Additionally, I’ve taken Linux Academy’s AWS Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA-C01) course earlier this year. While a different cloud provider, there are similarities with them.
I think it’s useful to know the cloud as more organizations are utilizing it, whether it’s pure public cloud or hybrid. Even as a network engineer, you’d want to get to know the cloud, in my opinion. You don’t need to take certification exams, but at least learn the concepts.
It’s quite generous for Microsoft to offer free exam vouchers and study materials. While I could speculate why they do such things, it’s better left unsaid.
If you are a technical person, it’s best to skip this certification. The majority of the concepts here will be in the higher tier certifications. As mentioned earlier, I’m a sucker for freebies, so why not take the exam to validate I know a thing or two about the cloud and Azure.
Will I take another Azure certification? I might check out the Azure Security Engineer Associate certification in the future. For now, I need to concentrate on getting CPE or CE credits for my other certifications.
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