I don’t profess to be a developer but I have managed development teams in the past and find a deeper knowledge of development and coding helps a great deal. As an Azure Solutions Architect Expert I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the Azure building blocks for modern application architecture as this will allow me to better serve my employers and colleagues in the future.
My ‘go to’ method for learning and gaining greater understanding is to book an exam to force myself into a schedule of studying. So whilst being conscious of the Microsoft Certification Exam Agreement (excerpt below) this is an overview of my study methodology and my preparation for this exam.
Any disclosure of the exam or information related to the exam, including exam questions, answers, content, computations, diagrams, drawings or worksheets (“Exam Related Information”) is strictly prohibited. You will not disclose, distribute, copy, display, publish, summarize, photograph, record, download, transmit or post the exam or any Exam Related Information, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means now known or hereafter devised.https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/certification-exam-policies.aspx
Firstly, I had signed up for the beta exam of AZ-204 a while back. AZ-204 is the new version AZ-203 with AZ-203 retiring at the end of May. I took the beta last week but won’t get the results for quite some time (2 weeks after it comes out of Beta).
As part of the preparation for AZ-204 I took AZ-203 two weeks ago and don’t mind admitting I failed with a score of 615/1000. So even though this was done as preparation for AZ-204 I decided to retake it anyway, as such this week was a second time around for me.
My Preparation for Exam AZ-203: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure
First place to start is on the exam page, in this case https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-203.
The first section of an exam page lists the audience profile:
Candidates for this exam are Azure Developers who design and build cloud solutions such as applications and services. They participate in all phases of development, from solution design, to development and deployment, to testing and maintenance. They partner with cloud solution architects, cloud DBAs, cloud administrators, and clients to implement the solution.
As I said I’m not a developer but I do understand development and its the partnering with Cloud Architects that interests me the most.
Candidates should be proficient in developing apps and services by using Azure tools and technologies, including storage, security, compute, and communications.
Storage, security, compute seem OK – the communications pat is the biggest challenge.
Candidates must have at least one year of experience developing scalable solutions through all phases of software development and be skilled in at least one cloud-supported programming language.
Not me but let me not let that put me off…
Further down the page you will always find the skills measured. In this case:
This gives you a good overview of the skills required to pass the exam and the weighting between different skill sets. For a deeper and more comprehensive outline under this you will find a link for the Skills Outline PDF.
Still on the exam page there is a list of learning paths from Microsoft Learning. Both Online and Instructor-Led
My primary checklist is the Skills Outline and I will tackle each section at at time. As an example:
- Implement batch jobs by using Azure Batch Services
- manage batch jobs by using Batch Service API
- run a batch job by using Azure CLI, Azure portal, and other tools
- write code to run an Azure Batch Services batch job
From that list it’s a matter of finding the right documentation and learning modules
- Microsoft Documentation: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/search/documentation/?q=batch&products=&docsids=batch
- Microsoft Learning: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/learn/browse/?term=batch
I tend to spend an evening looking into each section on a print out of the Skills Outline I tick each time I review an item. If a section is lacking in ticks I revisit it. I like to have three ticks next to each outcome
If you have a project you can work on so much the better otherwise set up a test environment and work there. You can get a free test account here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/free-account-faq/.
I hope my little over view of how I go about learning for exams will help someone who is maybe nervous about taking and exam.
If you have any practices you use to learn then leave a comment below.