Ouuh yeah – finally I had the chance (and the time!) to pass another certification exam I was preparing for for a really long time. As all of you might know I’ve been working on and with Azure infrastructures for quite a few years now and in the past I have always tried to stay up to date with my IT certifications. When Microsoft changed from MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) certifications back to MCSA (Solutions Associate) and MCSE (Solutions Expert) with the 2012/2013 product series I really liked the idea of having to re-certify the Expert certification in order to keep it. Given that there was a real chance to demonstrate that you’re always up to date and have working experience with cutting-edge technologies. Attending Microsoft Ignite 2016 I suddenly received the information that I had just earned the new MCSE: Productivity and MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certifications – without having passed an exam. For those of you who don’t know the story: read more here. In short – I talked to the guys from the Microsoft Certification Program team and asked them how certification paths might evolve in the next months; some interesting answers included.
Now more than half a year passed since then and things have changed quite a bit. You don’t have to re-certify existing MCSE certification anymore; you just can’t pass the former exams. Instead of that you have the chance to demonstrate your skills with certification badges that can be re-earned every year by taking an additional elective exam. One of those elective exams for MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure is the 70-533.
Now, what does it need to pass the exam?
As I’ve mentioned above I was preparing for the exam for quite a few months. I’ve been working with Azure IaaS for some years, I read books and docs.microsoft.com, I even tried exam preps offered by Microsoft. Then, in November 2016 Microsoft changed the skills that are measured within the exam in order to reflect Microsoft Azure technology changes such as ASM -> ARM. Great. So everything I had used to prepare for the exam in the past was not valid anymore. The skills that are measured today are:
- Design and implement Azure App Service apps (15-20%)
- Create and manage Azure Resource Manager (ARM) Virtual Machines (20-25%)
- Design and implement a storage strategy (20-25%)
- Implement an Azure Active Directory (15-20%)
- Implement virtual networks (10-15%)
- Design and deploy ARM templates (10-15%)
Because of the NDA you accept and sign at the beginning of an exam I am not allowed to leak some details to my exam such as number or content of questions but what I can definitely tell you is that you are likely to fail if you only rely on brain dumps. What definitely helped me in today’s exam was my longstanding hands-on experience with Azure infrastructures of all sizes. Let me give you some examples for the skill areas above:
- You should know what the differences between the Azure App Service SKUs are.
- Know the PowerShell-CMDLETs for ARM VMs!
- You should be able to administer Azure Backup, Azure Backup Server and System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM). Azure SQL Databases and their SKUs are also part of this section as well as Storage Accounts.
- Know what AD FS, Azure AD Connect, MFA are and how they are used together.
- Hybrid networking, VPN and ExpressRoute are technologies that fit this area
- JSON and PowerShell will be needed to pass.
Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions means knowing about DevOps. In order to be really good in this exam you need experience with Automation, PowerShell, JSON, Azure Storage, and concepts like Custom Script Extensions (CSE).
I have passed with 950/1000 points and you can do it as well if you are prepared properly. While writing this blog post just I realize that some important topics for the exam have already been covered in some of my previous posts. So it might be a good idea to read them when you are preparing for the exam. Good luck to all of you who are up to take it.
Kind regards and have a great week end,