For a while in 2019, I was unsure of whether or not I was actually good in Azure. I wanted to prove to myself that I understood the concepts and I was good enough to teach them to other students. Therefore, the next logical step I knew was to get Azure Fundamentals Certification (AZ-900).
A physical proof of my knowledge. However, I was scared and it was not until July 2020 that I did and passed my first exam. Five Azure certifications later, and am confident in my skills.
One of the ways I’ve learnt to deal with imposter syndrome is to dive right in and DO.
Other than gaining confidence in your skills, certifications open you up to a lot of benefits. For instance, you can land a new job, get a promotion or even attract more clients. Microsoft certification offers numerous opportunities, not just developers. Under the certification, you can upskill in different paths, for instance: as a Data Scientist, DevOps Engineer, Security Engineer, Solution Architect, Developer, Data Engineer, Functional Consultant, and an Administrator.
Microsoft Certifications are relatively affordable and prices range depending on your location.
If you are not able to pay for a certification, don’t worry, there are many opportunities to obtain one. As a Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador, I was able to get a free Microsoft Learn voucher, 2 actually as the program transitioned from being Microsoft Student Partners. This is just one way of obtaining a certification voucher. Other ways you can obtain a free voucher include:
- Attending specific virtual Microsoft Training Days will grant you an opportunity to take the exam at no cost.
- Attending major Microsoft events such as Build and Ignite which create Cloud Skills Challenges. On completing some learning modules, you get specific exam vouchers.
- Look out for training programs such as Andela Learning Community and Cert Matters which offer free exam vouchers to learners.
- Participating in Microsoft events and hackathons such as Game of Learners, that offer exam vouchers for the winning team(s).
- Participate in Microsoft 30 Days Learn It challenge, and get 50% off your certification exam.
- Become a Microsoft Certified Trainer and get 75% off select exams, 50% off MCP exams and 100% off beta exams
When starting out with Microsoft Certifications, it is advised to start with the fundamentals. What a better way to start than with AZ-900? As you prepare to get certified, the best place you can start is the Microsoft Learn documentation. The learning path contains different modules that will help you grasp the basics of Azure, a certification checklist and finally, practice questions to test your knowledge. It is definitely a one stop shop for everything AZ-900. Additionally, you can pay for instructor-led sessions, or opt for other learning platforms such as Udemy, Pluralsight or Coursera.
For my first certification, I was able to attend a 3-day training session by LGIT beforehand which enabled me to be well equipped for the exam. However, in my subsequent certifications, I self studied for them. One of the tips I can give is to learn your learning style. Myself, I learn better when I write down notes and revise them as the exam date approaches. Furthermore, I also do practice questions to test my knowledge and know which areas I need to improve on.
💡 Caution: avoid exam dumps as it is illegal and can lead to disqualification.
As I scheduled my exam, I set aside one hour each day to read the exam and do practice labs to ensure I was ready and prepared to take on the exam.
I hope you find this guide useful as you plan to get Microsoft Certified. In the next blog, I will talk about booking your exam and the Certification day.