Microsoft Azure – Learn it, Love it, Certify in it!

Part of my role as a Technical Evangelist within Microsoft UK is to assist all and sundry to understand and engage with the whole range of Microsoft Solutions.


This includes our Cloud offering – Microsoft Azure. What exactly is Azure and what can we do with this service?

Well Wikipedia says;

Microsoft Azure  (formerly Windows Azure before 25 March 2014) is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. It provides both PaaS and IaaS services and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems. Azure was released on 1 February 2010.

So we are moving towards the fifth year of Azure and it bears very little resemblance to the service that was released back in 2010. There are monthly updates to current services and releases of new services either in Preview or generally available.

Love it or hate it the Cloud is here to stay. Microsoft provide 1TB of cloud storage to Office 365 users with OneDrive (Business and Home users) 50GB Exchange Online Mailboxes to all Office 365 Business customers and with the advent of private connections into the Azure Datacenters through Azure ExpressRoute event he largest enterprises with the greatest security and bandwidth requirements can extend their datacenters into the cloud.

Once you have signed up for your free trial, and your Office 365 Enterprise free trial you can start exploring all the services and features with a credit of £125 for the month. Azure is a pay as you go solution with many, many benefits from automatic scaling of websites and servers to integrating your on-premises Active Directory with Azure Active Directory and creating a Single Sign On solution.

Better still, why not sign up for one of our IT Camps. A full day of FREE hands on Training and Education from @Deepfat and I (@edbaker1965) one of which focusses on Azure.

The purpose of this post, however, is to talk about the certification paths
open to us in the Microsoft Azure platform.

pathsThere are currently two live Microsoft Azure Specialist certifications and one more currently in BETA. I have taken all three exams over the last few months.

I took the 70-532 Exam (Developing Microsoft Azure Solution) quite a while ago in its BETA phase. First I ought to explain that I am not a Developer and only really took it to witness the new Microsoft Certification Platform and interface, which is pretty cool by the way. I received my online score report from PearsonVue over Christmas and was amazed to have scored as highly as I did.


This is a very detailed examination and covers many different aspects of Development over five key areas.



Nearly all of these were well above my head and would be a good challenge for any Developer wanting to prove their proficiency in all aspects of various SDK’s and the Azure Graph API.

There is a five day Microsoft Official Curriculum Course for this exam 20532A.


The 70-533 exam is far more my scene and covers Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions spread over six core areas.

azure 3

There is an Official Curriculum course for this exam too, 20533A also over five days. I took this exam when I was not well enough prepared and achieved a sub-optimal score. So over Christmas I took the exam again after several weeks of intensive study and practice with the platform. I took my usual approach which is to create a OneNote Notebook based on the six categories above and all the detailed entries for skills measured. I then made sure that I had built and implemented everything in that list that was possible. Those that were not, I checked out MSDN and TechNet as well as the Azure help pages and marketing pages to ensure that my background knowledge was good enough. Lots of Azure specific PowerShell modules needed testing and learning for this exam.

I was successful second time round as you can see.













I was most impressed that the Score report was available online before I had even left the car park of the exam centre. It was also on my Microsoft Learning Transcript at the same time. This used to take anywhere from a few days to a week or more.

The final Microsoft Azure Exam is the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions, which is still in BETA and I do not yet know if I passed this, although I am already studying hard for the retake, just in case. This exam is pretty crucial to all those Partners and consultants wanting to advise customers what and how to implement azure solutions. This is a higher level solution design type exam, much like the old 2003 Server MCSE design exam. I did not find it at all easy but it was an enjoyable one as it made me think of the best way to do certain things.

On successfully passing any of the 70-532, 70-533 or 70-534 exams you become a Microsoft Specialist as shown by my transcript below.


















So if you are thinking about Certifying in Microsoft Azure, I would as usual point you to the following links

MSLearning website

MS Learning Born2Learn website

Microsoft Virtual Academy

MSDN website

TechNet website

And many more.

Just remember the exams, whilst kept as current as possible do not receive updates as often as the products, with new advances every month, some of the services and screen layouts will be very different.


Happy Studying.

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