Last week Microsoft announced Microsoft Applied Skills which is new platform that uses lab-based assessments to assess a user’s proficiency in a practical manner rather than learning just the theory.
I’ve completed over 50 Microsoft Certification exams over the years, and I could probably count the live lab environment based scenarios I’ve faced on one hand, and it’s been at least a couple of years since I last saw one.
“With Microsoft Applied Skills, we are offering a streamlined path to validate someone’s skills. So, whether you are a hiring manager, a recruiter, or simply a teammate looking to collaborate, when you see a credential that is verified by Microsoft, you know that you can trust that individual to do the task at hand.”Kim Akers, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Customer and Partner Solutions Enablement and Operations
I don’t think these are designed to replace certifications but to supplement them.
The initial list of scenarios that are available are:
- Secure storage for Azure Files and Azure Blob Storage
- Configure secure access to your workloads using Azure networking
- Deploy and configure Azure Monitor
- Deploy containers by using Azure Kubernetes Service
- Implement security through a pipeline using Azure DevOps
- Develop an ASP.NET Core web app that consumes an API
- Secure Azure services and workloads with Microsoft Defender for Cloud regulatory compliance controls
- Configure SIEM security operations using Microsoft Sentinel
- Create and manage automated processes by using Power Automate
Choose your assessment and navigate the the assessment page.
The page gives you an overview of what will be assessed and also gives you the learning paths to take to prepare for the assessment.
The test environment is all in the browser with a live environment on the left and the instructions, login details, etc on the right and you are presented with a series of tasks to complete within two hours.
Once all the tasks are completed you submit the assessment and hopefully you get a response somewhat like this one.
If you fail it would appear that there is a 72hr waiting period before you can attempt the exam again and it would appear that previous attempts remain on your transcript so even though it’s free it’s advisable to be prepared.
All in all it was a really smooth and enjoyable experience. I’m looking forward to seeing how the list of available exams expand overtime with promises of more announcements at Ignite.