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# Microsoft Azure Certifications for Developers
There are many Microsoft certifications (opens new window) that you can study for and earn. Some of them are Azure certifications and some of those are for developers that work with Azure. In this post, we'll talk about certifications for Azure Developers so that you know which ones there are, and how to get started with them.
Why would I get certified?
Let's start by answering the most important question: why should you get certified? The main reasons to earn a certification are:
- To learn the topic (Azure in this case)
- To earn proof that you know about the topic
Both are very important reasons. Learning for a certification exam guides you through the topics of a specific technology, like Azure, and can teach you everything that you need to know to work with it. And when you've earned a certification, you can prove to your (potential) employer that you have the skills to work with a technology. This is very useful when you are looking to advance (or maintain) your career, or when you are looking for new opportunities. Many companies offer salary increases to employees that have learned more skills and can demonstrate that with a certification.
Which certification is right for me?
There are many certifications for Azure professionals. The certifications are all created around roles. For instance, you can earn an Azure Developer Associate certification (opens new window) or an Azure Administrator Associate certification (opens new window). In this post, we focus on Azure certifications for developers. You can see the ones that are available in the image below:
(Azure Certifications for Developers)
You can achieve the certifications by passing the exam(s) for the certification. Sometimes, you need to pass multiple exams to earn a certification, like for the Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification (opens new window).
- Azure Fundamentals
- Azure Developer Associate
- Azure Solutions Architect Expert
- AZ-303 (Azure Architect Technologies)
- AZ-304 (Azure Architect Design)
- Azure IoT Developer Specialty
Exams have a unique name and number, like the exam Azure Fundamentals exam AZ-900 (opens new window). These numbers and names sometimes change as Microsoft evaluates and updates exams on a regular basis to make sure that they include the latest services and capabilities of Azure. Check the role-based certification website (opens new window) for the latest news about which exams you need to take for which certification.
Certifications are categorized in experience level; fundamental, associate and expert. There are also specialty certifications, like the Azure IoT Developer Specialty. You can use these categories to determine which certification is right for you:
- Fundamental certifications are great for when you are new to a technology
- Associate certifications are meant for people that have been working with a technology for several years
- Expert certifications are for people that are very experienced in working with a technology.
How much does it cost to get certified?
What it costs to get a certification depends on the country you live in, the certification you want to earn and how you want to learn for it. The image below gives you an idea of what the Azure for Developers certifications cost for citizens in the United States:
(Azure Certifications prices)
The prices shown in the image are for scheduling one exam sitting. You can also buy the Microsoft Exam Replay offer (opens new window). This costs a bit more than one exam, but grants you one retry if you fail the exam.
Additional costs can come from buying a practice exam and learning from an instructor (you can also learn for free online (opens new window)). Here's an example for trying to earn the Azure Fundamentals certification:
- Learn from an instructor (opens new window) - $795 USD
- Buy and use a practice exam (opens new window) - $99 USD
- Schedule the exam (opens new window) - $99 USD
Total - $993 USD. This is a lot of money, but will definitely be worth it. Also, you can learn online for free (opens new window) if that fits your learning style better.
Sometimes, exams are in beta as Microsoft is testing them. Beta exams are often free or significantly less expensive that other exams. Beta exams do count fully towards earning a certification, so consider taking one if you get the chance.
How do I get started and study and what are the exams like?
To get started, you first need to pick the certification that you want to earn. A good way to do this, is to start with a certification that fits your level of experience and that interests you.
Next, you need to start studying for the exam(s) that will earn you the certification. Before you start studying, it is important that you take a look at which skills are measured during the exam. You can download a list of skills that you need to pass the exam from the exam page, as shown in the image below:
(Azure Certification online)
Once you know what skills are required to pass the exam, you can start studying.
- You can study for free, online, through Microsoft Learn (opens new window). Here, you can pick a learning path, specifically developed for a specific exam, which guides you through everything you need to know to pass the exam. You can also use other online resources to study for your exam, like Pluralsight (opens new window), Udemy (opens new window), A Cloud Guru (opens new window), LinkedIn Learning (opens new window) and others
- You can also study in instructor-led courses. These are always paid and can be virtual or in-person
Once you've studied for the exam, you can test your knowledge by using a practice test (opens new window) and by trying out your skills in Azure (which you can use for free for 12 months (opens new window)).
Next, you schedule your exam with Pearson VUE (opens new window). You pick the date and time and the location. You can take the exam in an exam location, or online, from your home or your work. The latter is called an Online Proctored Exam, which means that an exam proctor will be monitoring you and the room you sit in (through your webcam and microphone) whilst you take the exam. (Learn more about the process of online proctored exams in this video (opens new window)).
Finally, you take the exam. A Microsoft Azure certification exam consists out of many types of questions, including multiple-choice questions, drag-and-drop answers to the right positions and case studies. The difficulty of the exam depends on the level of the exam. An exam for a foundational certification will be easier than an exam for an expert certification. When you are done with your exam, you'll get the result instantly and if you pass the exam, you get a virtual badge (and other benefits) that you can show the world!
You can use Microsoft Azure Certifications (opens new window) to learn about Azure and to increase your expertise. This helps you in your career and keeps you up-to-date. You can start by selecting and earning a certification that fits your level of expertise, like the Azure Fundamentals certificate (opens new window) for beginners and the Azure Solutions Architect Expert (opens new window) for experts. Go and get certified!