from Alan Yue, CISSP, CCSP, CRISC, CBCP, PMP, PMI-ACP, 5xAWS, 1xMSFT
How I prepared for and passed the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals AZ-900 exam.
So, in addition to all the “alphabet soup” after my name, and the five (5) AWS certifications I hold, I had some time on my hands and decided to get some Microsoft/Azure certs. Why not? The first eight Fundamentals exam vouchers (US$99 each) are FREE! And, the reality is that even organization that are gung-ho AWS may have some Office 365, Sharepoint, or Active Directory that they are using. So, being a “multi-cloud / hybrid-cloud” kind of professional makes sense. Dollar$ and ¢ents.
Microsoft has a program called “Microsoft Virtual Training Days” (MSVTD). Where, for “XX-900” Fundamentals certifications, by attending a two-day (3.5 hours day #1; 2 hours day #2), they give you a 100% discount on a $99 Pearson Vue exam voucher. The MSVTD you attend doesn't even have to be in a language you speak! However, be ready to answer “Knowledge Check” questions and it helps to have Google Translate handy.
So, Basically, they're giving away Fundamentals level certifications for the cost of attendance. And, they're good forever! No continuing certification requirements!
Today, I passed with an 850 our of 1000. I'd post a picture of my score, but I haven't figured out how to embed images here yet. So, if I could do it, so can you.
Here's how I did it.
First, I read the rules for the certification on the Microsoft website. You can't win the game if you don't know the rules. https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/certifications/exams/az-900/
Then, I purchased Scott Duffy's Udemy course and practice tests.
https://www.udemy.com/course/az900-azure/ https://www.udemy.com/course/az900-azure-tests/ I went through the Udemy course first. Seriously, it took me about 2 days to pre-study the AZ-900 and pass one practice exam. A plus is that it counts as 6 CPEs against pretty much any and all ISC2, ISACA, and DRII credentials.
TIP: In hindsight, I should have done more of the hands on labs even though this is supposed to be geared towards non-technical and technical new to Azure candidates. Because I probably could have done better on the exam if I had put in more lab time on the console. Not the CLI or Powershell...the Azure Console.
Because I don't like paying after-tax dollars on anything I don't have to, I wondered if there was a way to get free exam vouchers.
MS Fundamentals level exam vouchers are US$99.00!
That's the price of a nice breakfast cronut here in San Francisco!
Low and behold I learned about the MSVTD program from Medium! https://medium.com/techwasti/az-900-certification-how-to-get-free-voucher-and-how-to-pass-eef7c9b4f33e
So, YOU MUST create an account at https://learn.microsoft.com/ if you want to get the voucher “discount”. Then while signed in, I navigated to the bottom of the page to “Virtual Training Days”. You've got to attend one of these if you're going to get the voucher. The voucher “discount' will be credited to the email address you use. I suggest using a personal email address rather than a corporate email address “in case you change jobs” 😉
The program is popular, and I was in a hurry because I was already scoring in the high 80s on the Udemy course practice exam. So I signed up for the earliest offering which happened to be in German and at Midnight Pacific Time: 2.5 Hours-ish each of two consecutive nights. I used Google Translate to as I watched. The MSVTD training is a good complement to the Udemy course.
About a week later, I got my “discount” applied to my Microsoft Certification account.
TRAP: Be sure to clear your browser cache and/or open an incognito window and sign in to your Microsoft Certification account to overcome a bit of a glitch in getting my voucher discount. Depending on where you live the PearsonVue testing center (if you go for in-person proctoring) may be booked up and you will have slots open that are a week or more into the future.
I returned to my study materials two days before the exam to “refresh” my knowledge.
And, here I am with another newly minted credential, and with practical knowledge that will help me with The Real Exam...when I'm sitting at the table with technical and non-technical clients assessing their business situation and facilitating a collaborative conversation towards creating and delivering business value.
There you go. The whole Secret Sauce with all the ingredients! Enjoy!