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Author's profile photo Denys van Kempen

Get Certified: Microsoft Certified – Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900)

In this blog post, you will find some personal suggestions about how to study for exam AZ-900 and get Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals.

For the AWS Foundation certification, see

Get certified at no (or little charge) with free online training, free sandboxes for the labs, free books, exam vouchers, practice tests, and more.

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Microsoft Certifications

Embrace

Although many SAP professionals, BASIS administrators, and ABAP developers are still working in a predominantly on-premises environment, the future of cloud computing is approaching fast. SAP partners with all mayor cloud providers – the hyperscalers – but the relation with Microsoft Azure is particularly intimate at the time.

In 2019, Microsoft and SAP launched project Embrace to make it easier for customers to move to cloud.

As a result, there is a lot of material (freely) available to learn about SAP on Azure and you can get certified for free (or almost).

Azure is favourite amongst SAP customers

Why Bother?

According to Microsoft

  • Get hired—faster: employers regularly use certification as a criterion for hiring.
  • Get recognized: certification demonstrates skills mastery, willingness to embrace new technologies, and your commitment to lifelong learning and growth.
  • Get rewarded: certified employees earn more than those without certification, are more productive, and have longer tenure.
  • Get promoted: employers regularly use certification as a criterion for promotion.
  • Satisfaction: 90 percent of people who earned certification said they would recommend it to a colleague.

But also for those happy with their jobs, studying for a certification provides an effective way to learn new skills. It sets a goal, helps to stay focused, and rewards the effort.

Certification Program

For general information about the Microsoft certification program, see

For the poster of the program, go to

Note that Microsoft certification structure is flat. You do not have to take Fundamentals first before taking on Associate or Expert level certifications.

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AZ-900 Exam

How Hard Can It Be?

Although Fundamental, the exam is still challenging as it covers a broad scope with questions about most of the Microsoft Azure services. This is exactly also the reason why you might want to consider preparing for the certification as it will help you get familiar with the platform.

Exam Guide

Everything you need to now about the exam and the certification is on Microsoft Docs. This is also where you can book your exam.

Microsoft has been in the certification business for a long time and it shows, as the exam experience is very smooth. You get the opportunity to provide feedback to each question once you are done with the exam (but before you get the results), to comment upon the language used, technical accuracy, or other observations.

The Azure Fundamentals certification does not expire.

Learning Dashboard

To book your exam, select Schedule Now to be redirected to your Microsoft Learning Dashboard.

From the Microsoft Learning Dashboard you can schedule (and re-schedule) your appointments, start the online exam, collect your badge, or print the certificate or a transcript of past achievements.

Make sure to check for discounts before check out as this may cover up to 100% of the cost.

Credly

Like SAP, IBM, Oracle, and other vendors, Microsoft uses Credly (f.k.a Acclaim) for cross-vendor overview, record keeping, and social media sharing. This requires your agreement, of course.

Skills Measured

Microsoft is very clear about what you need to know for the exam. The certification skill outline (PDF) lists them all. This is updated from time to time, so make sure you are looking at the latest version (accessible from the exam page).

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How To Prepare

Self-Study with Sandbox

The AZ-900 exam page lists two ways to prepare: self-study (free) or instructor-led (paid).

For self-study, 6 learning paths are listed which take about 10 hours to complete.

Most modules include exercises and for this a free sandbox environment (Concierge Subscription) is made available.

Make sure to go through the exercises attentively as many questions reference the Azure portal and assume you are familiar with navigation.

Instructor-Led

If you have the time and budget, you can also take the instructor-led course either with (2 days) or without labs (1 day).

See below under Microsoft Enterprise Skills Initiative for how you can attend at no charge.

Course Labs

The lab instructions of the instructor-led course can be found on the Microsoft Learning repository on GitHub, for those that prefer a yourself-led course.

Even when skipping the class, make sure to go through the labs as many questions are sourced from this material.

You can sign up for a free account valid for 12 months.

DIY with Microsoft Docs

A very effective approach is to look up all the topics listed on Skill Measured in the Microsoft documentation. An even more effective approach is to have someone else do the hard work and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Some recommended resources

Read the docs! Studying the materials from the source is the best way to prepare for the exam.

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From the Bookstore 

Microsoft Press Exam Guides

Microsoft Press by Pearson publishes the Exam Ref Series which includes books, videos, and practice tests (see below for how to access the test at no charge).

The challenge for publishers is to keep up with the rate of change. The 2nd edition is from August 2020 and was probably written some time before. Although you might prefer a book and marker for some oldskool studying, for the references you still would need to go online again.

A Month of Lunches

For those who like to read something while munching, you might appreciate

The book includes labs and exercises, again on GitHub. Microsoft offers both the e-book and audiobook, from Manning Publications, at no charge.

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Online Training

Coursera

You can enrol for free for the AZ-900 Exam Prep specialisation offered by Microsoft and hosted on Coursera. For the labs, you can use the Microsoft Learn sandbox subscription.

There are four courses in the specialisation, 17 hours of study.

Learners who pass all 4 courses will receive a voucher for 50% off the AZ-900 certificate exam.

Pluralsight, LinkedIn Learning, Cloud Academy, A Cloud Guru, Udemy, …

For those with a subscription to an online learning platform, you can also decide to watch your these courses as an alternative to the instructor-led course mentioned above.

Note that just watching the videos may not suffice for the exam. Easy come, easy go. As it takes less effort to watch videos compared to reading the docs, you may also have more trouble retaining the information.

Make sure to do some labs and reading as well to properly digest the material.

YouTube

For those without a subscription to an online learning platform, you can also decide to go for some binge watching on YouTube. Although there is a risk to waste precious time, there is also some first-class material available for free by the same instructors found on the online learning platform mentioned above.

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Practice Test

Microsoft Enterprise Skills Initiative

In case you work for a company that has embraced Microsoft Azure, you might be able to sign up for Microsoft’s Enterprise Skills Initiative (ESI)

This provides free (or cost-center charged) access to instructor-led training and free access to the Microsoft official practice test for the exam.

MeasureUp

MeasureUp is the official supplier of Microsoft practice tests. Unfortunately, the test costs almost as much as the real exam but they do reflect the real exam experience and provide excellent study material. For each question, explanations are provided with references to the documentation. If you are short on time and want results quick, MeasureUp practise tests might be a good investment.

Kaplan/Cybervista (Pluralsight)

Kaplan has been in the certification business as long as Microsoft. They offer practice test for most Microsoft certifications plus any other IT and non-IT test imaginable. As a consequence, their test are not always the most current.

Pluralsight partners with Kaplan (Cybervista) which provides free access to the tests (accessible from the learning path).

Cloud Academy

Cloud Academy ends its learning paths with a rigorous test. Although challenging, these tests tend to diverge a bit from the actual Microsoft exam as well.

Non-official Practice Tests

The Google search engine returns a few million results when searching for “AZ-900 sample questions”. Many website offer dubious material at a charge (old exam questions with incorrect answers) with little to no educational value.

The more serious efforts can be found on platforms like Udemy (Über for online learning), usually reasonably priced and with clear explanations. You might want to check the reviews and look up the course instructor on YouTube or LinkedIn before purchase.

Also make sure the material does not infringe on the conditions of the program.

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Share and Connect

Questions? Please post as comment.

Useful? Give us a like and share on social media.

Thanks!

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      4 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Ashish P
      Ashish P

      Hello Denys van Kempen

      Which one is the recommended or prefered cloud platform by SAP among Azure, AWS and GCP?

      I know SAP supports all of them, but if you have to recommend one certification among these three which one it would be?

      Best Regards,

      Ashish Patil

      Author's profile photo Denys van Kempen
      Denys van Kempen
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Ashish,

      It depends 😉

      AWS is worldwide the largest cloud service provider with about 40% market share.

      ... but, as mentioned above, at least according to the SAPInsider benchmark from June 2020, Azure is favourite for deploying SAP S/4HANA (today may be different).

      Most recently, Google and SAP announced an expanding strategic relationship

      My recommendation would be to look around a bit on the vendor website, see what training they have on offer. There are frequent programs to promote the certifications with discounts on training and exam vouchers.

      Author's profile photo Ashish P
      Ashish P

      Thank you Denys for your recommendation and for providing relevant links 🙂

      Author's profile photo Denys van Kempen
      Denys van Kempen
      Blog Post Author

      Judging by blog post view count, our SAP Community readers favour Azure