Cloud computing is one of the fastest-growing segments of the technology industry. The worldwide cloud infrastructure services market grew 33% year over year in the second quarter of 2023. But 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 rival, Amazon Web Services. The rapid growth has led to a dramatic increase in the number of jobs requiring Azure skills. and one of the best ways to prove that you have those skills is to have certification on your belt. Well, by Microsoft Azure itself, one that has instant credibility to your portfolio, it will, right?
But here’s the catch: Microsoft does offer 20+ certifications in the domain of cloud computing, and it might turn out to be quite a hideous task to decide which certification is best suited for you. But don’t worry; today we are here to alleviate that concern by listing out the top 8 Azure certifications along with intricate details. details through which you will be able to judge which certification is best suited for you.
Table of contents
- What are Azure certifications?
- Why You Should Get Azure Certification?
- Which Azure Certification is Right for you?
- Exploring the Top 8 Microsoft Azure Certifications
- 1. Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) Certification
- 2. Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals (DP-900) Certification
- 3. Microsoft Azure AI Fundamental (AI-900) Certification
- 4. Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104) Certification
- 5. Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure (AZ-204) Certification
- 6. Microsoft Azure Security Engineer (AZ-500) Certification
- 7. Microsoft Azure AI Engineer Associate (AI-102) Certification
- 8. Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert Certification
What are Azure certifications?
Cloud computing technology is growing almost faster than any other industry, and in fact, the growth has increased by 17% in 2023 compared to the year 2022. That is because of many facts, like the tremendous increase in software as service companies as well as the power you get compared to what you paid for. This has made a lot of people think of using the cloud to store their websites and run their businesses. For this reason, many big-name companies have created their cloud services, and some of the best are Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, Line Node, and more.
But today, we’ll focus on Microsoft Azure, which is one of the leading cloud computing services in today’s cloud market. Cloud certifications with Azure have a lot of significance. Why? Azure ranks second when we talk about the overall cloud market. In the last few years, it has shown tremendous growth, whereas the growth of AWS has become constant. Besides that, the majority of Azure certifications are focused on work roles. That is, Azure certifications demonstrate to companies that you have a certain skill set for a typical profession.
However, don’t consider them an alternative to real-time Azure experience or practice. These certifications, for sure, will get you into cloud job roles, but they won’t faint for you if you don’t put your practical knowledge on display. Certifications are good for many things, but one thing they are not is a golden ticket that can be instantly redeemed for a six-figure salary.
Think of them more like power-ups to make the cloud career game a little easier for you and potentially unlock some shortcuts to help you reach the next level. To put it more simply, certifications assist you in moving forward by serving as an award or trophy, but nothing beats the experience gained through hard work. Ultimately, even to pass these certifications, you are going to need that hard work. Hence, we suggest you get into the cloud and get your hands dirty or cloudy.
Why You Should Get Azure Certification?
Whether you are looking to move into a high-paying cloud career or just looking to showcase your existing cloud skills, Microsoft Azure certifications are a great choice, whether you are starting there or migrating to Azure from another provider. But why should you pursue Azure certification rather than AWS or Google Cloud certification?
Well, Microsoft has taken sensible actions that 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 in terms of 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, and that makes Azure certifications free to renew indefinitely. This move makes Azure arguably the best certification renewal option out there. Besides the value they’ll bring to your employer and your career, all the Azure certifications can be obtained remotely. You can get certified while working from home. So, thinking about Azure certification is worthwhile.
Which Azure Certification is Right for you?
When you ask the question, which certification is best for me? Actually, there is no single best Microsoft Azure certification path for everyone. Getting started in the cloud can be very overwhelming. Once you have decided which cloud provider path is right for you, figuring out your next step is not exactly a walk in the park either. So let’s take things slow. Take a deep breath and read the following part carefully.
Novice to the Cloud Concept
If you find yourself in the first category, where technology is still a relatively new concept and your resume lists Microsoft Word as your primary technological skill, fear not. The AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals Certification is designed just for you. This entry-level certification acts as a gateway to the world of cloud computing, offering a vocabulary and understanding that even a complete newcomer can grasp. The dedicated training for beginners ensures that the intimidating cloud becomes more accessible, breaking down complex concepts in a way that’s beginner-friendly. It’s the perfect first step on your journey into the realm of Azure.
Already Familiar with Cloud Technology
For those who fall into the second category, possessing some knowledge of cloud technology, perhaps through experiences with AWS, GCP, or Azure, the recommendation is to start with the Azure Fundamentals Certification. Even if you feel ready to dive deep into Azure, this certification serves as a crucial foundation for success. While it may be a smooth process for those well-versed in cloud tech, the fundamental certification ensures a comprehensive understanding that will be invaluable as you progress. The subsequent step, the Azure Administrator Associate certification, demands not only knowledge but significant hands-on experience with Azure before attempting the examination.
Experienced Cloud Users Seeking Career Advancement
The third category comprises individuals who are already familiar with cloud computing, actively utilizing it in their daily routines, and now aspiring to elevate their expertise. Microsoft Azure offers a range of role-based certifications tailored to specific job titles. If you can identify a job title aligning with your aspirations or current role, there’s likely a corresponding certification that suits your needs. However, it’s essential to note that these certifications might not perfectly align with every business’s expectations. It is crucial to scrutinize job postings for the certification names and assess whether the outlined roles and duties align with your career goals. Choosing the right certification based on your job aspirations ensures that your skill set aligns with industry expectations and opens up opportunities for career advancement.
The majority of Microsoft Azure certifications are role-based. Do you see a job title that you have or would like to have? That is exactly the certification for you. Of course, those certificates aren’t necessarily completely aligned with what every business could expect of someone with that designation. In those cases, it is critical to check the job posting for the name of the certification you are interested in and see whether the role and duties sound appealing.
Exploring the Top 8 Microsoft Azure Certifications
Let’s look into the top 8 Azure certifications that Microsoft Azure Cloud has to offer.
The entry point to Azure certifications, the AZ-900, is tailored 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.
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.
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 plays a crucial role as a foundational stepping stone. It builds a strong foundation for those seeking expertise, aiming for advanced certifications like Azure AI Engineer Associate and Azure Data Scientist Associate. Through AI-900 certification, professionals enhance their AI knowledge, strategically positioning for growth in Microsoft Azure and AI.
Ideal for intermediate users with knowledge of PowerShell and operating systems, AZ-104 teaches the management of various Azure services. Acting as an associate-level certification, it 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.
Geared towards software developers with at least one year of experience in Azure Cloud Solutions, AZ-204 focuses on designing, building, and developing solutions on Azure. With a 120-minute duration and a passing requirement of 70%, it’s a key certification for developers looking to enhance their Azure skills.
As organizations prioritize cloud security, the AZ-500 certification for Microsoft Azure Security Engineer becomes crucial. With a focus on implementing security solutions and threat protection, this certification is ideal for security professionals seeking expertise in securing Azure Cloud infrastructure.
The AI-102 certification is tailored for professionals with expertise in both artificial intelligence and Microsoft Azure. This certification is designed for individuals keen on architecting and operating AI tools within the Azure environment. 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 leveraging Azure cognitive services and applied AI services to enhance the development and deployment of advanced AI solutions.
For more information on the AI-102 certification, visit the official Microsoft certification page here. This certification not only enhances your skills but also opens up exciting opportunities in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
8. Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert Certification
The Solutions Architect Expert certification represents an advanced level of proficiency, specifically designed for seasoned DevOps professionals possessing comprehensive skills in Azure administration and development. As a prerequisite for attempting this certification, individuals must hold the Azure Administrator Associate certification.
For those interested in pursuing the Solutions Architect Expert certification, more details and prerequisites can be found on the official Microsoft certification page. This certification serves as a pivotal gateway, unlocking opportunities for roles that involve the design and implementation of solutions within the Microsoft Azure ecosystem. Certified individuals are in high demand among tech-savvy companies seeking expertise in architecting complex cloud solutions.
Pursuing Azure certifications is a valuable endeavor, offering a gateway to high-paying cloud careers or showcasing existing skills. The variety of certifications ensures that individuals at various stages of their cloud journey can find a suitable path for their career goals within the dynamic and growing field of cloud computing.