I recently had to sit the AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals exam for work. Here are some thoughts about it.
There are lots of ways to prepare for this exam. Here are the things I used…
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals – Learn : My initial plan was to just work through these notes and sit the exam. After I had completed two of the six modules I was going crazy. I found the material really dull. Even though I switched to using video tutorials, I still came back to this material, and used the knowledge check questions. There are also some things in this material that was not covered elsewhere.
- AZ-900 | Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Full Course, Free Practice Tests, Website and Study Guides : One of my colleagues suggested this YouTube playlist. It made the process of covering the material a lot easier. The guy who put this together included linked materials, which was handy. I used the free practice questions he provided to check my knowledge. This playlist was my main preparation.
- Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Certification Course (AZ-900) – Pass the exam in 3 hours! : Someone on Twitter recommended this video. I only watched about 20 minutes of it, but it seemed OK. A number of people said it was good. You might want to give it a go.
- Microsoft Virtual Training Days : This is a Microsoft provided 4 hour training session, spread over two days. It’s free, and if you attend it you get an exam voucher for free. They claim it is all you need to pass the exam, but I don’t think that is true. I did all my prep using the YouTube playlist mentioned previously, and attended this course as a revision session before sitting the exam. It is pre-recorded material, but there are people available to answer questions during the course. There are 2-3 sessions per month, so it’s easy to register for.
Remember, it’s a fundamentals exam, so it doesn’t go into any great depth, and it doesn’t qualify you for anything, but it visits a wide variety of features available in Azure. Despite the lack of technical content, it takes quite a lot of time to prepare to pass the exam.
My company uses Azure, and we are encouraged to take this cert. As mentioned above, if you attend the free Microsoft Virtual Training Days for the “Fundamentals” training, you get an exam voucher that will allow you to sit the exam for free.
The exam is multiple choice. There are traditional multiple choice questions, drag and drop questions, and sentence completion questions. There are between 40 and 60 questions and you need to score at least 700 out of 1000 points to pass. Some questions are simple True/False answers. Some are more complex, with multiple sub-questions, and are worth more points. The number of questions you get asked varies depending on how many of the complex multi-point questions you get asked. I read someone saying they had 30 questions, but the official site says 40-60. I had 37 questions in 45 minutes. 🙂
There are questions that are not covered in any of the training materials I used, but you can hopefully guess at them, knowing what you do know. I believe the Microsoft Learn, Virtual Training Days and exam are due to be updated in April 2022. We were told the exam would track what is in the current training materials. That was not true. There were questions on subjects not in the current Microsoft Learn training materials, or the Virtual Training Days. Sneaky.
I’m sure some people will attend the Virtual Training Days course and pass the exam if they have great memory retention and get lucky with the questions that come up. For most people, I think just attending the training days course would result in a failure in the exam. I would not have passed with just the Virtual Training Days course.
BTW: During the Virtual Training Days course someone asked what happens if you fail the exam. The tutor said you can get another free exam voucher if you attend the training course again. Free is a good deal. 🙂
I had a bit of a rant on Twitter while I was preparing for the exam, because I found the content really dull. I had a look through the equivalent exams for AWS and Oracle Cloud and I think I would have a similar experience with them also. The problem as I see it is cloud providers support a huge number of services, and most of them are of little interest to me. Despite that you have to visit loads of them for the fundamentals/foundations courses. The result is:
- For things you are interested in, you don’t get any useful information.
- You have to waste time learning stuff you are not interested in.
But it’s a fundamentals exam stupid! Yeah I know, but it doesn’t stop it being annoying.
In my company I will never get to define identity, governance, networking, pricing etc. At best I will be given a resource group and be told to work in there. As a result I couldn’t help but feel most of this was pointless.
As I said on Twitter,
“The vast majority of the cloud is amazingly boring, drab and shite! The fun thing is building solutions with it, not the boring fuckin’ paper work…”Me, 2022
So I’m not a fan of these types of cloud certifications. I don’t want to do any more cloud certifications, but that’s just my opinion. I guess as long as they are free, you can decide for yourself. There is no way I would pay for this…
PS. I passed it.
PPS. I know I’m a grumpy old git, but it wasn’t my choice to do this certification, so that kind-of coloured my whole view of it.
PPPS. I’ve suggested to other people they should attend the Virtual Training Days course, and then decide if they want to revise for the exam. I think the course gives you a good idea of what you can do on Azure. Whether you want to spend the time to prepare for the exam is another matter.