Ed Jones works for Firebrand Training, a Microsoft Gold Learning Partner. He has worked in the IT training and certification industry for the past 3 years. He is a tech enthusiast with experience working with SharePoint, Windows Server and Windows desktop.
Having been part of a team that has launched or upgraded hundreds of courses, it’s not often I get really excited about a new certification. The Specialist track released for Microsoft Azure falls into that elite list of new certs which gets my geek side buzzing.
As businesses continue to transition to the Cloud, demand for skilled and certified professionals continues to outstrip supply. If you’re a Developer or IT pro working with Cloud technology, these Specialist certs are career changers.
In this post we will look at the IT pro focussed Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions Specialist certification. For those interested in the Dev focussed Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions Specialist certification, head to the Microsoft UK Developers blog for the low down. Without further delay I’m going to pre-empt all the questions now buzzing around your brains:
Q. Who is this certification intended for?
A. This certification will be invaluable for experienced IT professionals responsible for on-premise infrastructure. This course will teach you to migrate some or all existing on-premise infrastructure to the public cloud of Microsoft Azure.
So whether you choose to adopt a hybrid cloud option, or become fully immersed in the cloud, you will walk away from this course with the skill set required to do so.
Q. Why should I get this certification?
A. As I touched on during the intro, cloud technology is a rapidly expanding sector which infiltrates every facet of modern business. This rapid growth has created a skills gap where demand for cloud-qualified professionals outpaces supply. Only last week there was IDC report on cloud skills highlighting 56% of European IT departments now cannot find qualified staff to effectively support cloud projects.
Couple this with the fact that Microsoft Azure is now second largest provider of Cloud Infrastructure Services and the value of this certification becomes clear. If you hold a Microsoft Azure specialist certification, you are one of the most in demand IT professionals currently in the market place. A new job, salary increase or that promotion you were looking for just got a little bit closer.
Microsoft Azure is also growing fast than any other cloud services provider with a 154% YOY growth. So it looks like the demand for Microsoft Certified Cloud professionals is only set to rise.
Q. What will be covered during the curriculum?
A. You will cover the following modules when working through the official curriculum for the Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions Specialist course:
- An Introduction to Azure
- Implementing and Managing Virtual Networks
- To Implement Virtual Machines
- Managing Virtual Machines
- Implementing Websites
- Planning and Implementing Storage
- Planning and Implementing Data Services
- Implementing Cloud Services and Mobile Services
- Implementing Content Delivery Networks and Media Services
- Implementing Azure Active Directory
- Managing Active Directory in a Hybrid Environment
- Implementing Automation
Q. When will this certification be available?
A. You can sit the Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam and attain your certification as of now. You have two options, schedule exam 70-533 with Pearson VUE or Prometric. Though if you’re planning on sitting your exam after January 1, 2015, book it with Pearson VUE. As of December 31, 2014, Prometric will cease delivering Microsoft certification exams. Additionally you can sit the Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions.
Training providers across the world have been developing their offering, while instructors prepared for the exams required to deliver the course. There is now training available for the course, with Firebrand being one of the first to market.
Q. What are the Microsoft certification prerequisites?
A. Both Azure specialist certifications sit outside the traditional MTA, MCSA and MCSD/MCSE tracks, as such, there is no pre-requisite certification required to sit the course. However, having spoken with our lead Microsoft Instructor, Mike Brown, and reviewed the curriculum personally, it’s clear an in depth understanding of virtualization would be hugely beneficial.
Those in possession of the MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification will therefore be stood in good stead for this course. Those without the MCSA should consider this course due to the sound introduction to virtualization.
Q. What if I want to prepare for the Microsoft Specialist certs now?
A. Those wishing to gain a solid grounding in Microsoft Azure in preparation for the course should head to the Microsoft Virtual Academy. There are currently 28 Microsoft Azure short courses available, which you can self-study to begin a foundation of knowledge to build upon.
Again, having spoken with our lead instructor, it sounds like training will be necessary for this cert. Due to the scale and intricacies of Microsoft Azure, the sheer range of knowledge covered in this course and the current lack of external resources, self-study will be an exceptionally tough and potentially un-rewarding route.
I hope that this FAQ will have answered all your questions. If however I’ve simply generated more questions I’ve yet to answer please feel free to ask them. My final piece of advice, it’s never too soon to get started, give those MVA Azure short courses a quick look right now.