Benefits of Azure Certification

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn which Azure certification is right for you, along with the benefits of becoming Azure certified at the Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert levels.

[Featured image] A cloud computing professional considers the benefits of Azure certification.

Becoming Azure certified can help you advance your cloud computing career by showing you know the fundamentals of the cloud along with Azure's services, architecture, governance, and management. This guide will answer what the certification is, whether this certification is in demand, what the benefits of Azure certification are, and how to earn Azure certification. 

What is Azure certification?

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service. Azure certifications are for information technology (IT) professionals, developers, and data and artificial intelligence (AI) professionals who work within the Microsoft cloud computing system. Through Azure Certification, you can learn how to use various cloud-based services and help secure a job in the field or advance your career. Microsoft organizes Azure certifications into three levels: Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert. Azure also includes Specialty certifications, such as Cosmos DB Developer and Virtual Desktop.

Azure Certifications are in demand

Azure certifications are in high demand as the need for cloud computing technology rises. Cloud computing is one of the fastest-growing technologies, and more companies are looking for certified Azure administrators, solution architects, developers, and security engineers.

According to the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report, 80 percent of companies use Azure to run their workloads, surpassing the Amazon Web Services (AWS) adoption rate as a cloud provider for the first time [1].

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Benefits of Azure certification

The benefits of Azure certification include the ability to grow in your career, access to flexible career options, the potential to earn a higher salary, sharper skills, and improved security offerings for your employer. Take a look at how getting Azure certification can offer these benefits.

Career growth

Whether you are already in a cloud computing position or looking to enter the field, you can often advance your career with Azure certification. Azure certifications are some of the most sought-after certifications in IT right now, and they can help you land a better job or move into a higher position within your company.

Flexible Career Options

A Microsoft azure certification can enable you to pursue a wide range of career options. You can become a cloud architect, a developer, or a solution architect. In addition, the certification enables you to work in various industries at different locations.

Companies in all industries migrate to the cloud because of the benefits they get in storage, computing, and networking. An Azure certification can get you into different roles in industries like health care, finance, and entertainment. In addition, many certified Azure professionals work in different places like France, the UK, France, the United States, and more.

Higher earning potential

If you pursue an Azure certification at the Fundamentals level, you have the potential to earn an average annual salary of $101,002, according to ZipRecruiter [2]. According to salary data collected by Glassdoor, Azure certification makes a difference in your earning potential. Azure cloud architects, for example, have an average annual salary of $120,275 [3], while cloud architects earn less at an average of $114,770 [4]. Notice similar trends in additional cloud-based roles:

  • DevOps engineer: $105,441 [5], Azure DevOps engineer: $110,635[6]

  • Cloud engineer: $104,233 [7], Azure cloud engineer: $114,631 [8]

  • Data engineer: $98,363 [9], Azure data engineer: $111,526 [10]

Sharpened skill set

The more knowledge you have about cloud computing, the more competitive you will usually be in the job market. As shown in the salary figures previously mentioned, those with more advanced skill sets in Azure are compensated more for that knowledge. Azure certification can help you sharpen your skills in artificial intelligence and machine learning areas. 

Among the skills measured in the certification exams is knowledge of cloud concepts and an understanding of Azure's core architectural components. Other skills covered are Azure identity, access and security, and governance and compliance.

Improved security 

Becoming certified can help you improve cloud security for your company because you can stay on top of the latest trends and options. You must also renew your certifications, which can help you stay updated on changes and new technologies. This heightened security awareness typically makes you more attractive to companies looking to hire, especially in cloud security roles.

How to become Azure certified

You can start on your path to becoming Azure certified by beginning your training until you meet the prerequisites for each level of certification, and then sign up for and take the certification exam. Stay certified by renewing your certificate each year. 

Get training and develop the relevant skills.

You can find courses and training online, including some which are free. But to become Azure certified, you will need to complete Microsoft’s examination. 

Microsoft offers a collection of self-paced content for all certification levels and specialty exams. They contain videos and lessons that help you prepare for the certification exam. The online learning paths are free to complete, or you can enroll in instructor-led classes for a fee.

Microsoft also hosts free virtual training events called Microsoft Azure Virtual Training Days. You can choose which to attend based on skill level and topic. After completing corresponding Fundamentals training sessions, you can take the following certification exams for free: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, Microsoft AI Fundamentals, and Microsoft Data Fundamentals.

Meet the prerequisites for each level

Each Azure certification lists recommended skills before attempting the exam. Microsoft's self-paced or instructor-led content and third-party courses can help you gain the necessary skills in preparation for the certification exams. 

The Fundamentals and Associate certification levels do not have prerequisites per se, but Microsoft recommends you do the following before taking an exam:

  • Have a complete understanding of the skills the exam measures.

  • For Associate-level exams, have experience in the tested skills.

  • Take a practice exam provided by Microsoft.

  • Use Microsoft Azure with a trial subscription.

  • Take advantage of Microsoft's learning resources to prepare.

Azure Expert certifications do have prerequisites. The Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam requires that you complete the Azure Administrator Associate exam first. To take the Azure DevOps Engineer Expert exam, you’ll need to complete either the Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate exam.

Pass the certification exam

Each certification has an exam associated with it that you must pass. All technical exams receive scores graded on a scale of 1 to 1,000; any score of 700 or greater is a passing score.

Renew each year to maintain

Renewing your certification keeps you updated on the latest in Azure. You do not need to renew your Fundamentals level certifications because they do not expire. Renew your Associate and Expert certificates by passing the free online renewal assessment on Microsoft Learn. Renewal exams only ask you questions about updates made in Azure or related technology in the previous year.

Azure certification paths 

If you're new to Azure, start with a Fundamentals exam related to your career. After that, you can pursue several Associate and Specialty Azure certifications. Finally, show your expertise to current or future employers with Expert-level Azure certifications.

Fundamentals level:

  • Azure AI Fundamentals (AI-900) is for you if you want to prove your AI skills on the cloud and the services Azure can offer in this area.

  • Azure Data Fundamentals (DP-900) is for you if you want to develop a strong foundation in the core concepts of data and data analytics.

  • Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) is ideal for you, whether a beginner or a professional, to prove your knowledge of cloud concepts, models, and services and show your expertise in Azure. 

Associate level:

  • Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) is for you if you have subject matter expertise managing an organization’s Microsoft Azure environment. 

  • Azure AI Engineer Associate (AZ-102) is for you if you want to build, manage, and deploy AI solutions within Azure.

  • Azure Data Engineer Associate (DP-203) is for you if you are interested in storing and using datasets for analysis and want to manage data pipelines and data stores.

  • Azure Data Fundamentals (DP-900) is for you if you are looking to work with data in the cloud or are already doing this.

  • Azure Data Scientist Associate (DP-100) is the right path for you if you are interested in data science and using Azure Machine Learning and Azure Databricks.

  • Azure Database Administrator Associate (DP-300) is for you if you manage the operational aspects of data platform solutions built with Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure Data Services.

  • Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204) is right for you if you are a cloud developer with one to two years of experience and want to learn more about developing Azure computing and storage.

  • Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate (DP-500) is the proper certification to pursue if you have expertise in data analytics solutions, including how to design, create, and deploy them.

  • Azure Network Engineer Associate (AZ-700) certification validates your knowledge and skills in Azure network solutions planning, implementation, and maintenance.

  • Azure Security Engineer Associate (AZ-500) is for you if you want to be on a team that plans and implements cloud-based management and security. You should already have some experience in code, security operations processes, cloud capabilities, and Azure services.

  • Azure Stack Hub Operator Associate (AZ-600) is suitable for you if you are skilled at providing platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) using Azure Stack Hub.

Expert level:

  • Azure DevOps Engineer Expert (AZ-400) is for you if you are an infrastructure administrator or developer with expertise in working in DevOps. You should already be an expert in either Azure administration or development.

  • Azure Solutions Architect Expert (AZ-305) is for you if you are an expert in designing cloud and hybrid solutions that run on Microsoft Azure. You should have advanced experience and knowledge in IT operations, Azure administration, Azure development, and DevOps processes.

Azure Specialty Certifications:

• Azure Support Engineer for Connectivity Specialty (AZ-720)

• Azure Cosmos DB Developer Specialty (DP-420)

• Azure Virtual Desktop Specialty (AZ-140)

• Azure IoT Developer Specialty (AZ-220)

• Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty (AZ-120)

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Next steps 

Get started on your path to your next Azure certification with a prep class. Microsoft offers prep courses for its certifications on Coursera. For example, if you’re a beginner, you can enroll in Microsoft Azure Fundamentals AZ-900 Exam Prep Specialization. The class is self-paced and contains an applied learning project. You can also take courses within that specialization, like Introduction to Azure Cloud Services. Other providers, such as LearnQuest, offer similar courses as well. 

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Introduction to Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

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Describe the benefits of cloud computing in Microsoft Azure, Explain core cloud concepts, Describe core Microsoft Azure services, Describe core Microsoft Azure architecture components

Article sources

1

Flexera. "Cloud Computing Trends: Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report, https://www.flexera.com/blog/cloud/cloud-computing-trends-2022-state-of-the-cloud-report/." Accessed August 7, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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