Knowing how to properly and efficiently administer your cloud infrastructure is essential to both your and your users' experiences. In this guide you will learn about the Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate certification and what exams you can take to achieve it.
The Azure Administrator Associate certification follows Microsoft's departure from more broad certifications like the Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA) or its older sibling, the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). Nowadays the focus is on specific roles.
As the name suggests, this certification has "administrator" written all over it. You should have at least six months of hands-on experience administering Azure, along with a strong understanding of core Azure services, Azure workloads, security, and governance. In addition, people in this role should have experience using PowerShell, Azure CLI, Azure portal, and Azure Resource Manager templates. Having a traditional IT background does help as well but isn't a must have.
It is important to understand that Microsoft has taken up the practice of retiring and replacing exams at a much faster pace than in the past. To illustrate this, the Azure Administrator Associate certification is in its third version of the exam (fourth if you include the brief existence of the AZ-102 transition exam for candidates who have taken Exam 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions). Currently, to achieve this certification you must pass either the AZ-104 exam (currently in beta and the primary focus of this guide) or AZ-103 (which is scheduled to be retired later this year on August 31, 2020). The price is exactly the same but the newer exam should be your choice.
While there are no specific prerequisites to this certification beyond one of the applicable exams, it is worth noting that experience with the required skills is key to a successful experience with the exam. Please make sure that you possess sufficient experience and invest the time to go through the relevant Pluralsight courses and other resources.
Your skills will be measured in the following five categories:
These categories are broken down as follows:
Manage Azure AD objects
Manage role-based access control (RBAC)
Manage subscriptions and governance
Manage storage accounts
Manage data in Azure Storage
Configure Azure files and Azure blob storage
Configure VMs for high availability and scalability
Automate deployment and configuration of VMs
Create and configure VMs
Create and configure containers
Create and configure web apps
Implement and manage virtual networking
Configure name resolution
Secure access to virtual networks
Configure load balancing
Monitor and troubleshoot virtual networking
Integrate an on-premises network with an Azure virtual network
Monitor resources by using Azure Monitor
Implement backup and recovery
Make sure you check out Pluralsight's Microsoft Azure Administrator learning path, which currently contains 24 different courses split into beginners, intermediate, and advanced sections.
As always, the newer the course the more relevant the material will be to your learning journey.
Microsoft Learn provides several training resources free of charge. Take a look at the following learning paths:
The cloud business has been booming in the last several years. Microsoft has closed the gap with its main competitor and keeps growing. While COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way, it certainly doesn't seem to have had a negative impact on Microsoft's cloud growth.
Gaining an up-to-date certification like the Azure Administrator Associate certification from a household name like Microsoft should make you much more attractive to both your current and future employers. Your current employer might not raise your salary, but the next time you go looking for a job make sure you check trusted Internet sources for up-to-date information on salaries in your region.
It's difficult to provide absolute figures because they will depend on numerous factors like your experience, company type and size, industry, and region. Expect salaries to range from $80,000 to $125,000 in the US, £45,000 to £65,000 in the UK and €50,000 to €70,000 in Germany.
As an entry level certification, gaining the Azure Administrator Associate credentials should not prove to be very difficult for you. All it takes is a single exam, and you have dozens of excellent courses available to gain the required knowledge and earn that badge. Sign up to Microsoft Azure, utilize the free cloud credits and services and book the exam, which you can take right in your home or in one of many testing centers.
I hope that this guide is useful and wish you good luck with gaining your certification.