Getting Azure Fundamentals in place: why sit the AZ-900 exam?

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This week I sat my first Microsoft certification exam in ten years. When I posted on Twitter a question as to which exam I'd sat some of you found it within yourselves to be jokers, but at least a couple of you got it right 🙂

Now I know some of you reading this might be surprised that I sat the Azure Fundamentals exam and you might suspect, given my experience, that I was looking at an easy way to tick a box... well I'm here to tell you that a) don't be surprised and b) I ticked a box alright - the one that said I passed (yes, thank-you, Nelly 😉 ).

At the core of it though, I did this because I don't generally recommend things if I don't have an informed opinion about them.

Taking off the blinkers

Traditionally as a developer you've not had to worry about the infrastructure that runs your solutions, handing that responsibility over to "IT". It's true that this can still be the case with cloud constructs (and company processes) aimed at mirroring the on-premises world, but don't you really want to be able to identify and use the full features available to you in Azure?

Azure Fundamentals is the way to start your journey.

If you work in a large company it's unlikely that you will ever manage your organisation's Azure Active Directory setup, but I'm pretty sure you'll want register applications you write against it at some point. You should learn how.

If you want to "do" DevOps, then you'll also want to understand how you can automate environments using tools like Azure Resource Manager templates. It's not written in YAML so you'll enjoy using it!

Ultimately, Azure Fundamentals gives you a good grounding in the basics of cloud technology (provider agnostic), along with core areas of Azure that you should be across. It provides you with a common language you can use when dealing with others in your organisation or community who are running or managing services on Azure.

Do I need to have used Azure to sit this exam?

No, but it will help if you have.

Understand not only about the Azure Portal, but also about other tools from Microsoft for managing Azure.

Look at the services listed in Understand core Azure services section of the Exam and make sure to familiarise yourself with those. You don't necessarily need to deploy any, but understand what they are and how you can use them.

As the name suggests, the exam is aimed at building the core knowledge required to configure and manage Azure for optimal use.

You said it's not only about Azure


If you review the Skills measured section on the Exam page you can see one category is Understand cloud concepts, none of which are unique to the Azure platform. Concepts like the shared responsibility model and the various types of cloud deployment choices (Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)) are valuable to learn about, regardless of your cloud's colour.

Any other tips?

Glad you asked. 🙂

Microsoft Learn has a complete Learning Path dedicated just to this certification.

I used this resource when I was going to sit the exam and my feeling is that completing that Learning Path will give you the majority of the knowledge you need for the exam.

I think if you haven't ever touched Azure previously that doing a few other Microsoft Learn modules around IoT, Cognitive Services, Virtual Machines, Virtual Networks and Security should help too.

But, I...

No excuses. You should do this, even if you're already certified on another platform.

I sat through Azure training in 2009 and then several days of cloud training (not on Azure) back in 2012 that both immeasurably helped me develop my career through understanding concepts that many people in the industry still don't know about.

You're not one of those people though, right? 😎

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals