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Top 8 Azure Certifications for Career Success in 2024

Top 8 Azure Certifications for Career Success in 2024

Cloud computing is one of the fastest-growing services in the technology industry. The worldwide cloud infrastructure services market grew 33% year over year in the second quarter of 2023. However, Microsoft Azure grew even faster than the industry average, with a staggering 40% increase. It’s the second-largest public cloud vendor, with triple the revenues of the Google Cloud Platform, or GCP, and it’s rapidly closing the market share gap with its main competitor, Amazon Web Services. The rapid growth has led to a dramatic increase in the number of jobs requiring Azure skills. One of the best ways to prove that you have those skills is to have Azure certifications. These certifications, offered by Microsoft Azure itself, add instant credibility to your portfolio.

Microsoft offers 20+ certifications in cloud computing, and it might be quite difficult to decide which certification is best for you. In this guide, we will mention the top 8 Azure certifications along with intricate details so you can judge which certification is best fit for you.

What are Azure certifications?

Azure certifications are very important for professionals in cloud computing, which is expanding rapidly. This sector grew 17% in 2023 over 2022, driven by the growth of software as a service (SaaS) companies and the affordability of cloud solutions. This growth has increased interest in cloud services for hosting websites and running businesses. Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, and Line Node are among the top choices for these services.

Microsoft Azure is a leading choice due to its wide range of services and being the second-largest cloud platform after AWS. People highly value Azure certifications because they match specific job roles. They make them relevant and practical for professionals looking to demonstrate their Azure expertise.

However, it’s important to understand that Azure certifications do not replace actual experience with the platform. They can help secure cloud-related job roles but are not a guarantee of success without hands-on skills. The value of these certifications lies in their ability to match hands-on experience to prove your skills and knowledge in the field. Getting Azure certifications is wise. However, it’s crucial to have hands-on experience with Azure to move forward in your cloud computing career.

Exploring the Top 8 Microsoft Azure Certifications

Let’s explore the top 8 Azure certifications that Microsoft Azure Cloud offers.

1. Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Certification

The entry point to Azure certifications, the AZ-900, is especially for those new to Microsoft Azure. This certification covers cloud principles, Azure services, security, and pricing fundamentals. With a duration of 85 minutes and 40-60 questions, this certification acts as a foundational step into cloud computing. While it may not guarantee instant job offers, the knowledge gained forms a solid basis for aspiring Azure professionals. On average, Azure Fundamentals certification holders earn a respectable $126,000 salary, making it a worthwhile investment for beginners.

2. Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals (DP-900) Certification

Designed for beginners, DP-900 focuses on fundamental data concepts within Microsoft Azure, emphasizing database management and analytics. Passing this exam doesn’t act as a prerequisite for advanced certifications but serves as a strong foundation. DP-900 can be a stepping stone towards certifications like Azure Database Administrator Associate or Azure Data Engineer Associate.

3. Microsoft Azure AI Fundamental (AI-900) Certification

For those individuals keen on incorporating artificial intelligence solutions into the Azure platform, acquiring the AI-900 certification is highly recommended. Delve into the comprehensive details and specifics of the AI-900 certification here. This certification goes beyond the surface, covering essential AI concepts and Azure AI services in depth. It offers valuable insights for AI professionals aiming to craft sophisticated AI-driven solutions directly within the Azure portal.

While not obligatory for immediate career progression, the AI-900 certification is a foundational stepping stone. It builds a strong foundation for becoming an expert. Later, you can get higher-level certifications like Azure AI Engineer Associate or Azure Data Scientist Associate. Through AI-900 certification, professionals enhance their AI knowledge, strategically positioning for growth in Microsoft Azure and AI.

4. Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104) Certification

Ideal for intermediate users with knowledge of PowerShell and operating systems, AZ-104 teaches the management of various Azure services. An associate-level certification requires a deep understanding of Azure services acquired through foundational certifications. With an exam fee of $165, this certification is crucial for those aiming to become Azure administrators and pursue further certifications, including Azure DevOps Engineer Expert.

5. Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure (AZ-204) Certification

The AZ-204 is especially for software developers with at least one year of experience with Azure Cloud Solutions. It covers how to design, build, and develop solutions on Azure. The exam lasts 120 minutes and you must score at least 70% to pass. It’s an important certification for developers who want to improve their Azure skills.

6. Microsoft Azure Security Engineer (AZ-500) Certification

As businesses prioritize cloud security, the AZ-500 certification for Microsoft Azure Security Engineer becomes crucial. This certification is great for security professionals who want to specialize in protecting Azure Cloud infrastructure. It concentrates on implementing security solutions and threat protection.

7. Microsoft Azure AI Engineer Associate (AI-102) Certification

The AI-102 certification is specifically for professionals with expertise in both artificial intelligence and Microsoft Azure. This certification is for individuals keen on architecting and operating AI tools within Azure. By successfully obtaining the AI-102 certification, professionals validate their proficiency in essential tasks such as building, managing, and deploying solutions. This includes a deep understanding of using Azure cognitive services and applied AI services to enhance the development and deployment of advanced AI solutions.

Learn more details about the Microsoft Azure AI Engineer Associate (AI-102) Certification. This certification improves your skills and opens new artificial intelligence and cloud computing opportunities.

8. Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert Certification

The Solutions Architect Expert certification offers advanced-level skills. It is specifically for seasoned DevOps professionals possessing comprehensive Azure administration and development skills. Individuals must hold the Azure Administrator Associate certification as a prerequisite for attempting this certification.

Explore more details and prerequisites for those interested in achieving the Solutions Architect Expert certification. This certification opens opportunities for roles that involve designing and implementing solutions within the Microsoft Azure field. Certified individuals are in high demand among tech-savvy companies seeking expertise in architecting complex cloud solutions.

Which Azure Certification is Right for you?

Deciding on the best Azure certification for you can seem difficult at first. With so many options available, it’s not always clear where to start. Finding your path in Azure certifications is about aligning your career goals and skills with the right certification. Whether you are new to cloud computing or looking to specialize further, Azure offers many certifications to fit different expertise levels and career paths. Let’s explore how to identify the Azure certification that can specialize your career forward.

Novice to the Cloud Concept

If you are new to the technology and have basic skills like using Microsoft Word, the AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals Certification is a perfect starting point. This entry-level certification is for beginners and introduces you to cloud computing in an easy-to-understand way. It gives you basic terms and concepts, making huge cloud computing feel easier. The training is especially for beginners, simplifying complex ideas to make them easier. It’s an ideal first step into Azure’s cloud.

Already Familiar with Cloud Technology

If you are already familiar with cloud technology, maybe through working with AWS, GCP, or Azure, it’s still recommended to start with the Azure Fundamentals Certification. This might seem basic if you already have expertise. But it’s a solid foundation that’s important for everyone. It provides a well-rounded understanding of Azure, which is crucial for more advanced certifications. After mastering the fundamentals, you can move on to the Azure Administrator Associate certification. This next step requires a deeper knowledge of Azure and significant practical experience with the platform.

Experienced Cloud Users Seeking Career Advancement

If you are familiar with cloud computing and want to level up your skills, Microsoft Azure has role-based certifications for specific job roles. Look for a certification that matches the job you want or the role you are currently in. It’s important to remember that these certifications might not align perfectly with every employer’s needs. Always check job listings to see if they mention specific certifications, and make sure the roles and responsibilities match what you are looking for in your career. Picking the right certification based on your career goals can help make sure your skills meet what the industry is looking for and can help you move forward in your career.

Most Microsoft Azure certifications are designed for specific job roles. If you are looking for or currently hold a job title, there is likely a corresponding Azure certification. However, keep in mind that these certifications might not fully match every employer’s expectations for that job title. It’s important to look at job listings for the specific certification you are considering to ensure the associated roles and responsibilities align with what you are seeking in your career.

Why You Should Get Azure Certification?

Whether you are looking to move into a high-paying cloud career or just want to showcase your existing cloud skills, Microsoft Azure certifications are a great choice. They are also great for starting there or migrating to Azure from another provider. But why should you pursue Azure certification rather than AWS or Google Cloud certification? 

Microsoft has taken sensible actions to capitalize on its assets. For example, they exploited legacy footholds in enterprises to ease reluctant organizations into the clouds. There are several opportunities to apply Azure expertise. There can be many reasons that one can give. Common reasons are: maybe your employer is currently using Azure, or maybe you think the future is Azure cloud. Or, perhaps Bill Gates has inspired you, and since Azure is all about the cloud, you want to enter it. Whatever the reason you might be considering Azure certifications, it’s clear that this cloud runner-up is doing more than just keeping pace with AWS and warrants serious consideration when choosing your Azure cloud path. AWS may be the market leader regarding workload and adoption, but the gap is closing quickly.

According to the Flexxarat state of the cloud survey, enterprise Azure adoption is expanding, while AWS growth is relatively flat. This probably won’t be your deciding factor, but Azure offers one cool bonus. Last year, Microsoft rolled out some big certification renewal and expiration changes that make Azure certifications free to renew indefinitely. This move makes Azure arguably the best certification renewal option out there. Besides adding value to your employer and your career, you can obtain all Azure certifications remotely and get certified while working from home. So, thinking about Azure certification is worthwhile.

Wrapping Up

Azure certifications can significantly benefit your career growth. These certifications offer essential skills and expertise in cloud computing, which is increasingly becoming crucial in technology. Whether you aspire to work in software development, system administration, or cloud architecture, Achieving Azure certifications can greatly improve your expertise and open many career opportunities.

Getting Azure certifications shows that you are skilled in Azure services and committed to keeping up with industry trends and technologies. Take the first step to explore Azure certifications and be ready to succeed in cloud computing.

Which Azure certification gives the highest salary?

Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification typically offers the highest salary, with an average salary of $146,601 annually.

Which is easier: AZ-104 or AZ-204?

AZ-104 is generally easier than AZ-204. AZ-104 focuses more on Azure administration and infrastructure management, while AZ-204 focuses on developing solutions on the Azure platform.

Which Azure certification should I take first?

It’s recommended that beginners start with the AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals certification. This certification provides a foundational understanding of Azure cloud services, making it an excellent starting point for beginners.

Which pays more: AWS or Azure?

Typically, AWS certifications command higher salaries than Azure certifications. However, both AWS and Azure offer lucrative career opportunities in cloud computing.

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