Recently I passed the AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals exam from Microsoft. We could have a long conversation about the pros and cons of IT certifications in general, but for me wanting to pass this exam was great motivation to learn about a number of the Azure service offerings that I haven’t yet needed to use in a professional capacity.
The exam itself is a very broad, mostly non-technical, survey of cloud computing concepts and the various Azure services that are available. For example, you need to know that IoT Hub is the Azure service that you would use to manage large numbers of Internet-of-Things (IOT) devices, but you don’t need to know how to actually configure and use it.
Resources: Since I posted about passing the exam, several people have reached out to me asking what materials I used to prepare, so I’ve listed them here:
• Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam Ref AZ-900 book
• The official AZ-900 practice test from Measure-Up
• Tim Warner’s Azure Fundamentals Study Guide video series on YouTube
• The Azure fundamentals learning path on Microsoft Learn
Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam Ref AZ-900 by Jim Cheshire is the official study guide for the test. It was my number one resource, and was a bargain at only $26 from Amazon. If you read it cover-to-cover you will be well on your way to passing the exam! The official practice test from MeasureUp was hugely important too, and I may write a follow-up post to dive into more detail about how I used it effectively. It costs $120, or is discounted to $80 if you purchase it at the same time you register for the exam.
Tim Warner’s [b|t] video series on YouTube is particularly good, and as a bonus, it’s free! He is creating a separate video for each of the nearly 50 skill entries on the exam guide, and as of this writing has completed nearly half of them. Each one is a 10-15 minute treatment of what you need to know about that skill and usually includes a short demo. Highly recommended!
The Azure fundamentals learning path on Microsoft Learn is another very good free resource. It takes about 6-10 hours to complete and covers all of the objectives on the exam, many with practical exercises. Unfortunately I didn’t make completing this a high enough priority and ran out of time to finish it before the exam!
Key Concepts: Here are some of the concepts and services that either came up multiple times or that tripped me up on the practice test. Not all of these appeared on my actual exam, but that was only 34 questions drawn from a much larger pool. I’ve grouped these based on the published exam objectives:
Understand cloud concepts
• IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS
• Public vs private vs hybrid cloud models
• CapEx vs OpEx
Understand core Azure services
• Geographies, Regions, Availability Zones, Availability Sets
• Azure Load Balance vs Azure Application Gateway vs VPN Gateway
• IoT Hub vs IoT Central
• Machine Learning Service vs Machine Learning Studio
• Azure Functions vs Azure Logic Apps
• Azure CloudShell vs PowerShell vs CLI
Understand security, privacy, compliance, and trust
• AIP vs ATP
Understand Azure pricing and support
• Developer vs Standard vs Pro Direct vs Premier Support Plans
Effort: I put around 20 hours of work into passing the exam. I’m fortunate to be able to read very quickly and to be a good test-taker, so your mileage may vary. But with a modicum of effort most existing or aspiring IT professionals should be able to pass this exam quite easily.
I hope this post helps you get started on your way to passing the AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals exam!