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Microsoft provides free hands-on (gamified) tutorials and free time

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PROTIP: When you pass each exam, Tweet #azurecertified and/or #MicrosoftCertified.

NOTE: Groupings of Microsoft’s certifications by roles below, people still take exams based on product:

Role Certification exam
Administrator * AZ-900 Fundamentals
* AZ-104 Azure Administrator Associate
Functional Consultant * AZ-140 Virtual Desktop Specialty
Solution Architect Expert * AZ-303 Azure Solutions Architect Expert: Technologies
* AZ-304 Azure Solutions Architect Expert: Design
* AZ-600 Stack Hub Operator Associate
* AZ-120 Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty
AI Engineer * AI-900 AI Fundamentals
* AI-100 Azure AI Engineer Associate
* AI-102 Azure AI Engineer
* DP-100 Azure Data Scientist Associate
Data Engineer
Data Scientist
* DP-900 Azure Data Fundamentals
* DP-100 Azure Data Scientist Associate
* DP-203 Azure Data Engineer Associate (replaces DP-200 & DP-201)
* DP-300 Azure Database Administrator Associate
Power Platform * PL-900 Power Platform Fundamentals
* PL-200 Power Platform Functional Consultant
* PL-400 Power Platform Developer
* PL-100 Power Platform App-maker
* PL-600 Power Platform Solution Architect Expert
DevOps Engineer * AZ-400 DevOps Engineer Expert
Developer * AZ-204 Azure Developer Associate
* AZ-220 Azure IoT Developer Specialty
Security Engineer * SC-900 Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals
* SC-200 Security Operations Analyst Associate
* SC-300 Identity and Access Administrator Associate
* SC-400 Information Protection Administrator
* AZ-500 Azure Security Engineer Associate
* SC-100 Microsoft Cybersecurity Architect

Andrew Brown offers this diagram: az-certs-1868x1092.png

VIDEO of Build an Intelligent Bot with Microsoft Azure by Elliott Perry - Chapter 17 of EBOOK: Learn Azure in a Month of 21 Lunches (2020 Manning) by Iain Foulds (@fouldsy), with code at https://github.com/fouldsy/azure-mol-samples-2nd-ed

https://mcptnc.microsoft.com/certificate = Microsoft Learning Certificates earned dashboard


Rebranding to roles

The 70-xx series of Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) retired on January 31, 2021. The 98-xxx series of MTA (Windows Server) exams retired on June 30, 2022. Microsoft continues to retired:

Training vendors

Among https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/partners

Microsoft Learning

docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/azure lists events

  • Virtual Training Days for live sessions with experts and get exam vouchers
  • Ignite conference sessions about new stuff
  • Microsoft Tech Community

Microsoft Events


If your company has a deal with Microsoft:

  1. Microsoft’s Enterprise Skills Initiative. Sign in with your corporate email.
  2. https://esi.microsoft.com/deliverymultiday
  3. Search for a class by checking different roles and time zones.

    • If you’re in Mountain time, a class that starts at 9am Auckland time would be 3pm your time.

    Skillpipe online class

  4. PROTIP: Allocate time on your personal calendar to go through the online Skillpipe class before attending the live class. You’ll be less confused and stressed during the class, and enjoy it more.

    CAUTION: The Skillpipe.com provided with registration may not be created to align with the live course’s lab.


### Join live class

There are two codes that you need to enter.

  1. In the registration email, “click here to join the training” makes use of Microsoft Teams. So install or upgrade it before the class.

    PROTIP: It helps to have a secone screen: one to view instructions, another for notes.

  2. Once in Teams, click Show conversation icon.

    QUESTION: How to get rid of participant list at bottom of screen?

  3. Browser “Join conversation” can be dismissed once you’re in Teams app.
  4. To participate in quizzes menti.com/ is used with a code from trainer.

  5. To redeem training key provided by trainer (such as “E059CE1A”), get to lab: on Chrome open a Guest profile to access

    https://aka.ms/StudentLabs which redicts to

  6. Sign in using your personal email.

  7. When a window pops up at https://labclient.labondemand.com, click the class link.

    PROTIP: Instructor may not provide a file of their PowerPoint file.

    Labs during live class

    PROTIP: Allocate time on your personal calendar to finish or review labs. Notice the 4-day class usually goes Monday-Friday 9am-5pm at the local time zone.

  8. Click blue Launch button at https://esi.learnondemand.net/Lab/… or aka.ms/az500labs

    Redeem Promo Code

  9. Type your Azure Pass Promo Code

    PROTIP: If you already have a code from a previous class within the last month, use that and wait until it runs out to use it.

    PROTIP: CAUTION: This wipes out your existing data with a new storage account.

    It takes several minutes to build your environment so you see a Windows 10 Desktop.

  10. Expand full screen. Click “Next”.

    Follow instructions on the right pane:

  11. Click the Edge browser to open it. CAUTION: You can’t paste in the pop-up, so click the “T” icon to paste into the working screen to go to


  12. Click the blue Start button. Type your Gmail password. Check “Keep me signed in”.
  13. Click “Confirm Microsoft Account >”.
  14. Click the T with the code on the right pane. Click “Claim Promo Code”.
  15. Click the top checkboxes and optionally the second, then “Sign Up”.
  16. Wait for “Setting up your account” to disappear before the Windows 10 Desktop pops up in a new browser window without tabs or URL field.

  17. PROTIP: Click the Window menu item at the top of the display to see a list of windows.

    The Azure Portal is in the “Module …” window.

  18. Switch to your email client to see subject “Your Azure subscription is ready”.

    PROTIP: Don’t click on the “Go to “ button because it will be opened on whatever browser is currently active, which is not necessarily the browser window you want.

  19. CLick “+” on the browser to open a new tab to check your $100 spend and remaining balance at

    https://www.microsoftazuresponsorships.com/balance using your personal email account.

    Notice that the Subscription is “Azure pass - Sponsorship”.

  20. In the lab, click the working form field you want to fill before clicking the “T” icon to paste into the working screen.

    CAUTION: You can’t paste from your regular Clipboard into the class VM.

    CAUTION: The Skillpipe “book” usually does NOT match the PowerPoint presented during the class. And the PowerPoint files shown are not provided to students.

  21. If your lab becomes frozen, Reconnect:


  22. To search within lab instructions, see GitHub (such as https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/AZ500-AzureSecurityTechnologies or https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/AZ-303-Microsoft-Azure-Architect-Technologies). Look at labs there if you can’t access the course’s lab environment.

  23. Challenge labs you get 3 chances. You can’t pause.

  24. Replace Internet Explorer, but don’t install “Edge” from webpage. Install Download Edge browser
  25. Click channel/version to select top choice.
  26. Click BUILD to select the top choice.
  27. Click PLATFORM to select Windows 64 bit.
  28. Click DOWNLOAD.
  29. Click Save.
  30. Click Run and wait for the pop-up while downloading.
  31. Click “Enable” to “The ‘IEToEdge BHO’ add-on from ‘Microsoft Corporate’ is ready for use.”
  32. Click CLOSE

  33. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/features/storage-explorer/

  34. Provide instruction feedback to https://aka.ms/MakeUsBetter

Cloud Academy

PROTIP: I think CloudAcademy.com provides the most thorough approach to exam prep. They have pre-defined set of hands-on labs, each about 1-2 hours long.

CloudAcademy also has quizzes.

If you want time on servers (one hour at a time), subscribe to CloudAcademy.com

See my step-by-step advice for using CloudAcademy’s Azure environment.


Free 3-Hour video course on FreeCodeCamp.org by Andrew Brown of ExamPro


https://www.coursera.org/specializations/microsoft-azure-fundamentals-az-900 $49/month after 7 days free.


Offers cloud time

A Cloud Guru & Linux Academy

ACloudGuru.com (formerly ACloud.guru) offers cloud time with premium subscriptions. In 2019 they purchased LinuxAcademy.com


https://www.edx.org/learn/azure by the High School of Digital Culture (ITMO University, Russia) is $149 for those who want quizzes and a completion certificate.

Their Introduction to Machine Learning covers:

  • Regression
  • Classifiers: k-NN and Naive Bayes
  • Classifiers: Logistic Regression
  • Clustering: K-Means, Agglomerative

Their Advanced covers

  • Principal Component Analysis (PCA)
  • Support Vector Machine (SVM)
  • Entropy. Decision Trees (DTs)
  • Ensemble Learning
  • Reinforcement Learning



Microsoft Exam

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/dashboard.aspx is where you start exams and get certificate pdfs (suitable for framing) and badge images.

Azure Subscription Service Limits

AZ-900 Azure Fundamentals


MS Videos

AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals is not a required prerequisite for any associate or expert certification.

It’s less expensive than other AZ exams ($65 vs. $165).

It’s worth considering if you are new to Microsoft exams. It builds confidence with Microsoft and Pearson/Vue exam taking process.

Passing AZ 900 demonstrates broad understanding of cloud concepts: availability, fault tolerance, public/private/hybrid cloud, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS

Andrew Brown, who also offers Exampro prep course for $29/month, shows that (by skipping the repeatition of topics), a good summary can be done in a 3 hour VIDEO (with ads but great diagrams). It’s done through FreeCodeCamp.orgHis advice: “Study 1-3 hours a day, every day”.

CloudAcademy.com includes time on servers (one hour at a time).

Ravikirans answers Whizlabs 55 questions

AZ-900 15 questions from WhizLabs

Quizlet flash cards

AZ-103 Azure Administrator Associate

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-104 on August 31, 2020 replaced exam AZ-103: Microsoft Azure Administrator which had superceded retired exams AZ-100 and AZ-101.

MS Videos


VIDEO: AZ-103 vs AZ-104

AZ-104 Azure Administrator Associate

Be designated a Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate by passing one test.

Implement, monitor, and maintain Azure solutions including compute, storage, network, and security resources

  • Manage Azure identities and governance;
  • implement and manage storage;
  • deploy and manage Azure compute resources;
  • configure and manage virtual networking;
  • monitor and back up Azure resources

    • https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/azure/

    • https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/AZ-104-MicrosoftAzureAdministrator

Microsoft’s tutorial provides more managerial aspects (such as governance) than others.

A search of Microsoft Learn for “Administrator” and “Azure” 82 yielded 317 modules over 14 pages (at time of writing). Most of them focus on a specific service/product:

Video Lectures:

  1. 11 hour video course on FreeCodeCamp.org on YouTube by Andrew Brows of ExamPro.

  2. Tim Warner and Mike Pfeiffer’s CloudSkills.io

  3. Michael J. Shannon takes a deep dive on a lightboard in 9+ hours of videos with transcript from OReilly

K21Academy AZ-104: what You Need To Know

Niraj Kumar, founder of Azureezy.com, https://t.me/AzureTalk, has Telegram chat with his series on YouTube Jul 21, 2020 with slidedecks here:

On ACloudGuru.com/LinuxAcademy.com:

https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/certificate/microsoft-azure-administrator-az-104 by Tim Warner and Michael Teske

Chris Wahl (twitch.tv/wahlnetwork)


Flash cards:

Sample tests:

  1. Take a Practice Test (from MeasureUp) that feels just like the actual test, if you are enrolled in Microsoft’s Enterprise Skills Initiative.

    After sign-up, you get an email to register an account https://www.skillpipe.com then paste the license key from the email to redeem it on your bookshelf, where you take the course.

Security Certifications

Ask the Experts: New Microsoft Security Compliance, Identity Training and Certification Portfolio from Ignite March 2021

MS-500 Microsoft 365 Security Admin


https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/MS-500-Microsoft-365-Security MS-500 Microsoft 365 Security Administrator courses


on Udemy: Microsoft 365 Security Administration (Exam MS-500)

https://spvlad.com/2OxcZIJ Planning and Designing Microsoft 365 Identity Strategy

VIDEO: Protecting Devices and Applications in Microsoft 365 By Robert McMillen



Power Platform certifications

As with other fundamentals certifications, it’s $99 for

$165 for more advanced certs:

  • https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/certifications/exams/pl-200 Power Platform Functional Consultant

  • https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/certifications/exams/pl-400 Power Platform Developer

  • https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/certifications/exams/pl-100 Power Platform App-maker

  • https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/certifications/exams/pl-600 Power Platform Solution Architect Expert

Ravikiran specializes in sample exams for the above.

AZ-400 DevOps Engineer Expert

A pre-requisite is AZ-104 OR AZ-204 to get this Expert certification.


https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-400 was updated March 23, 2021

Video classes:


Azure Security certifications



See my blog on security certifications at

SC-900 Security

SC-900 takes 60 minutes to answer 50 single-line mulitple-choice questions about features (not configuration). Includes M365 Defender and Compliance Center.


  • Manage identity and access (20-25%)
  • Implement platform protection (35-40%)
  • Secure data and applications (30-35%)
  • Manage security operations (15-20%)



Taking this one SC-200 exam makes you a Microsoft Security Operations Analyst.

This exam measures your ability to mitigate threats using Microsoft 365 Defender, Azure Defender, and Azure Sentinel.

Class SC-200T00 has these hands-on labs:





FREE: https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/SC-300-Identity-and-Access-Administrator has 31 labs at time of writing:


SC-400 Microsoft Information Protection Administrator

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/sc-400 “Implement information protection; implement data loss prevention; and implement information governance.”

https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/SC-400T00A-Microsoft-Information-Protection-Administrator has 13 labs at time of writing:


AZ-500 Security certification

VIDEO: To be a Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate, read modules and pass Microsoft Azure Security Technologies</a> domains:

hands-on labs:

    Group 1: Manage identity and access (30-35%)
  1. Lab 01: Role-Based Access Control
  2. Lab 02: Azure Policy
  3. Lab 03: Resource Manager Locks

  4. Lab 04: MFA, Conditional Access and AAD Identity Protection
  5. Lab 05: Azure AD Privileged Identity Management

    Group 2: Implement platform protection (15-20%)

  6. Lab 06: Implement Directory Synchronization
  7. Lab 07: Network Security Groups and Application Security Groups

    Group 3: Manage security operations (25-30%)

  8. Lab 08: Azure Firewall
  9. Lab 09: Configuring and Securing ACR and AKS
  10. Lab 10: Key Vault (Implementing Secure Data by setting up Always Encrypted)

    Group 4: Secure data and applications (25-30%)

  11. Lab 11: Securing Azure SQL Database
  12. Lab 12: Service Endpoints and Securing Storage
  13. Lab 13: Azure Monitor
  14. Lab 14: Microsoft Defender for Cloud
  15. Lab 15: Microsoft Sentinel

Tim Warner tends to jump around a bit, so his material is great for review:

  • TechTrainerTim.com
  • Live Crash Course Jan 23 & 24, 2023 (previously April 26 & 27, 2021)
    • https://github.com/timothywarner/az500
  • 15 pages: AZ-500 Microsoft Azure Security Technologies Guided Cert Prep Sep. 2022

      Section 1: Manage Identity and Access:
    1. Manage Azure AD Identities
    2. Manage Azure AD Secure Access
    3. Manage Application Access
    4. Manage Access Control

      Section 2: Implement Platform Protection:

    5. Implement Azure Firewall [Network] Security (+)
    6. Implement Network Load Balancer Security (+)
    7. Implement Storage and Application Security (+)
    8. Implement Virtual Network Security

    9. Configure Advanced Security for Compute
    10. Configure Data Encryption (+)

      Section 3: Manage security operations:

    11. Configure Centralized Policy Management
    12. Configure and Manage Threat Protection
    13. Configure and Manage Security Monitoring Solutions

      Section 4: Secure data and applications:

    14. Configure Security for Storage
    15. Configure Security for Data
    16. Configure and Manage Azure Key Vault

Others on OReilly:

Sample tests:


SC-100 Microsoft Cybersecurity Architect

SC-100 takes 60 minutes to answer 50 single-line mulitple-choice questions about features (not configuration). Includes M365 Defender and Compliance Center, so first earn ONE of SC-200, SC-300, AZ-500, or MS-500.

The Microsoft cybersecurity architect has subject matter expertise in designing and evolving the cybersecurity strategy to protect an organization’s mission and business processes across all aspects of the enterprise architecture. The cybersecurity architect designs a Zero Trust strategy and architecture, including security strategies for data, applications, access management, identity, and infrastructure. The cybersecurity architect also evaluates Governance Risk Compliance (GRC) technical strategies and security operations strategies.

The cybersecurity architect continuously collaborates with leaders and practitioners in IT security, privacy, and other roles across an organization to plan and implement a cybersecurity strategy that meets the business needs of an organization.

A candidate for this exam should have advanced experience and knowledge in a wide range of security engineering areas including identity and access, platform protection, security operations, securing data and securing applications. They should also have experience with hybrid and cloud implementations.

PDF: Free tutorials:

  • Design a Zero Trust strategy and architecture (30–35%)
  • Evaluate Governance Risk Compliance (GRC) technical strategies and security operations strategies (10–15%)
  • Design security for infrastructure (10–15%)
  • Design a strategy for data and applications (15–20%)
  • Recommend security best practices and priorities (20–25%)

https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/SC-100-Microsoft-Cybersecurity-Architect has these hands-on labs: \0. Case study introduction (Tailwind Traders)

  1. Build overall security strategy (MCRA for MFA)
  2. Design security operations strategy
  3. Design identity security strategy

  4. Evaluate a regulatory compliance strategy
  5. Evaluate security posture and recommend technical strategies

  6. Understand architecture best practices
  7. Design a strategy for securing server and client endpoints
  8. Design a strategy for security PaaS, IaaS and SaaS services
  9. Specify security requirements for applications
  10. Design a strategy for securing data

  11. Best practices with MCRA and MCSB
  12. Secure methodology with CAF
  13. Ransomware strategy


Prevent IDOR (Insecure Direct Object Reference)

AZ-140 Azure Desktop Speciality

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-140 exam is new as of March 29, 2021.

What is Windows Desktop? (not Windows Virtual Desktop classic).

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a desktop and app virtualization service that runs on the Azure cloud. It works with Office 365 ProPlus. It competes with Citrix stateful VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).

  • https://www.clouddesktoponline.com/what-is-windows-virtual-desktop-wvd/
  • https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/virtual-desktop/
  • https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/modern-desktop/enterprise/windows-virtual-desktop

Skills the exam measures:

  • Plan a Windows Virtual Desktop architecture - ARM VM host pool
  • Implement a Windows Virtual Desktop infrastructure. test from the Azure Gallery.
  • Manage access and security
  • Manage user environments and RemoteApp Groups and programs
  • Monitor and maintain a Windows Virtual Desktop infrastructure Host pool

Sample examples:

  • https://www.whizlabs.com/learn/course/microsoft-azure-az-140/

MS-900 Office 365 Fundamentals

Carla Jenkins recommends this because Azure security exams cover 365 as well.




AZ-204 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure

Pass this one exam to become a “Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate”.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-204 formally defines the test and provides textual tutorial. The test is about development in .Net C#, Python, Bash Shell, PowerShell.

PROTIP: Skylines Academy videos on OReilly I think are the most thorough and best sequenced courses (and I’ve seen them all).

DB-900 Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals should be a pre-requisite.

Develop Azure compute solutions (25-30%)

Develop for Azure storage (15-20%)

Implement Azure security (20-25%)

Monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize Azure solutions (15-20%)

Connect to and consume Azure services and third-party services (15-20%)

Microsoft’s hands-on 4-day live class makes use of files from https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/AZ-204-DevelopingSolutionsforMicrosoftAzure described in steps at aka.ms/az204labs

  1. Create Azure App Service Web Apps
  2. Implement Azure functions
  3. Develop solutions that use blob storage
  4. Develop solutions that use Cosmos DB storage
  5. Implement IaaS solutions
  6. Implement secure cloud solutions
  7. Implement user authentication and authorization
  8. Implement API Management
  9. Develop event-based solutions
  10. Develop message-based solutions
  11. Instrument solutions to support monitoring and logging
  12. Integrate caching and content delivery within solutions

ACloudGuru.com’s FREE 8.6 hour video course by Daniel Stinchcomb includes quizzes and a practice exam.

CloudAcademy’s 23h video course provides labs:

Pluralsight’s video course Includes:

  • https://app.pluralsight.com/paths/certificate/developing-solutions-for-microsoft-azure-az-204

https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/AZ-204-DevelopingSolutionsforMicrosoftAzure has these hands-on labs:


  • https://www.whizlabs.com/learn/course/microsoft-azure-az-204/
  • https://www.udemy.com/course/exam-microsoft-azure-dev/ by Alan Rodrigues

Azure Solution Architect Expert

Passing the AZ-303 and the less hands-on AZ-304 Microsoft Azure Architect Design (blueprints) makes you a “Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert”.

The difference between AZ-303 and 304, conceptually: az-303-304-1037x429

“Azure Architects translate business requirements into secure and reliable recommendations for infrastructure, governance, high availability, cost optimization, and data integration. Skills include recommending solutions for logging, multi-factor authentication, SSO, hybrid identity, backup and recovery, containers, microservices, monitoring, automation, networking, and application infrastructure.”


Training vendors:

Atul Kumar’s K21Academy has a 12 weekend AZ-303/304 course with 27 hands-on labs, job prep & on-job support for one year on their @k2microsoftazure Telegram and WhatsApp. All after full-pressure marketing. az-k21-303-304-1536x627.png

AZ-303 Azure Architect Technologies

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-303 is the official description ($165 for 2-3 hours) and text tutorial.

NOTE: AZ-303 replaces AZ-300, and AZ-104 is not a pre-requisite but covers same topics more conceptually than this.

Microsoft’s 4-day live class covers these modules, with lab scenarios defined in https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/AZ-303-Microsoft-Azure-Architect-Technologies

  1. Implement Azure Active Directory
  2. Implement and Manage Hybrid Identities
  3. Implement Virtual Networking
  4. Implement VMs for Windows and Linux
  5. Implement Load Balancing and Network Security

    LAB: Implementing Highly Available Azure IaaS Compute Architecture

  6. Implement Storage Accounts

    LAB: Implementing and Configuring Azure Storage File and Blob Services

  7. Implement NoSQL Databases
  8. Automate Deployment and Configuration of Resources
  9. Implement and Manage Azure Governance Solutions LAB: Managing Azure Role-Based Access Control

  10. Manage Security for Applications
  11. Manage Workloads in Azure

    LAB: Protecting Hyper-V VMs by using Azure Site Recovery

  12. Implement Container-Based Applications

  13. Implement an Application Infrastructure

    LAB: Implementing an Azure App Service Web App with a Staging Slot and

    LAB: Configuring a Message-Based Integration Architecture

  14. Implement Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring

14h videos on OReilly: Skylines Academy Oct 2020 by Nick Colyer (who have a StudyGroup on Facebook)

6 hr LIVE on OReilly: Tim Warner teaches to his GitHub repo which includes a full diagram.

AZ-303 Part 5 - Preparing for the Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies Exam

AZ-303 Sample Exam Questions (Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies) [Answers Explained in Detail] by R A V I K I R A N S

Practice tests:

Clickbait videos with no unique content:

Anthony James at LinuxAcademy:

AZ-304 Azure Architect Design

Passing this and the more hands-on AZ-303 makes you a “Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert”.

Microsft’s AZ-304 exam page includes textual tutorials and hands-on labs. The exam is 120 minutes to answer 40-60 business case scenario (case-studies) questions.

  • Design monitoring (10-15%)
  • Design identity and security (25-30%)
  • Design data storage (15-20%)
  • Design business continuity (10-15%)
  • Design infrastructure (25-30%)

Links to Microsoft docs for each item in the syllubus are detailed by azurebarry.com, who created a video class on Pluralsight

  • Cost Optimization (cheapest approach)
  • Migration Planning
  • Governance
  • Data Integration
  • Application Architecture

Labs created by Microsoft for its live classes at https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/AZ-304-Microsoft-Azure-Architect-Design :

  1. Module 1 Design a Compute Solution
  2. Module 2 Design a Network Solution
  3. Module 3 Design for Migration

    3. Migrating Hyper-V VMs to Azure by using Azure Migrate

  4. Module 4 Design Authentication and Authorization

    4. Managing Azure AD Authentication and Authorization using PowerShell through a Bastion blade, using Azure AD Premium P2 licensing to integrate an AD DS forest with an Azure AD tenant with Azure AD Connect, all to set conditional access.

  5. Module 5 Design Governance

  6. Module 6 Design a Solution for Databases

    6. Implementing Azure SQL Database-Based Applications: Create Azure SQL Database. Connect to it. Query it using a .NET Core console app behind a firewall.

  7. Module 7 Select an Appropriate Storage Account

  8. Module 8 Design Data Integration

  9. Module 9 Design a Solution for Logging and Monitoring

  10. Module 10 Design a Solution for Backup and Recovery

  11. Module 11 Design for High Availability

  12. Module 12 Design for Cost Optimization

  13. Module 13 Design an Application Architecture

    13. Implement Azure Logic Apps Integration with Azure Event Grid which uses PowerShell to create Resource Groups and Encrypt Passwords.

  14. Module 14 Design Security for Applications

Others courses on AZ-304:

Exam prep:

  • https://www.whizlabs.com/learn/course/microsoft-azure-az-304/

DP-900 Azure Data Fundamentals

Microsoft’s DP-900 exam page include free tutorials.

  • OReilly live crash course by Emilio Melo

  • https://learning.oreilly.com/videos/azure-overview-introduction/10009OVERVIEW/10009OVERVIEW-AZINTRO_16 “Cloud and Azure Overview” section in Azure Overview: Introduction for Beginners (video)

  • https://learning.oreilly.com/videos/professional-azure-sql/9781789535495/ Professional Azure SQL Database Administration (video, 4h 58m)

  • https://learning.oreilly.com/videos/getting-started-with/9781484260203/ Getting Started with Microsoft Cosmos DB Using C#: Cloud Database Support for .NET Applications (video, 1h 2m)

  • https://learning.oreilly.com/videos/learning-microsoft-power/9781789347104/ Learning Microsoft Power BI (video, 3h 55m)

  • https://learning.oreilly.com/videos/create-an-azure/9781491989623/ Create an Azure SQL Data Warehouse in Minutes (video, 1h 22m)

  • https://learning.oreilly.com/videos/information-management-using/9781491989647/ Information Management Using Azure Data Factory (video, 1h 16m)

Sample exams:

  • https://www.whizlabs.com/learn/course/microsoft-azure-dp-900/

BTW Left out of the ESI list is Azure Databricks, a cloud-scale platform for data analytics and machine learning. Microsoft’s live class DP-090 “Implementing a Machine Learning Solution with Microsoft Azure Databricks” shows how to use Azure Databricks to explore, prepare, and model data; and integrate Databricks machine learning processes with Azure Machine Learning.

DP-100 Azure Data Scientist Associate

Microsoft’s DP-100 exam page include free tutorials.

PROTIP: FREE LEARNING PATH: Build AI solutions with Azure Machine Learning is 9 hr 51 min. It has hands-on exercises which references https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/mslearn-dp100

DP-200 Implementing-an-Azure-Data-Solution



Live online training course with Reza Salehi on O’Reilly:

DP-203 Azure Data Engineer Associate

To be a Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate”, pass the single DP-203 (beta released February 23, 2021):

  • Design and implement data storage (40-45%)
  • Design and develop data processing (25-30%)
  • Design and implement data security (10-15%)
  • Monitor and optimize data storage and data processing (10-15%)

PROTIP: I attended Microsoft’s 4-day live DP-203T00 class by Tammy R Smith and Gnango Agah, but I highly recommend everyone to walk through their (free) lab instructions in English at STAR: github.com/MicrosoftLearning/DP-203-Data-Engineering-on-Microsoft-Azure (and other languages) by Joel Hulen. The class Modules and labs aka.ms/dp203labs.

  • Module 1 - Explore compute and storage options for data engineering workloads. This lab teaches ways to structure the data lake, and to optimize the files for exploration, streaming, and batch workloads. The student will learn how to organize the data lake into levels of data refinement as they transform files through batch and stream processing. The students will also experience working with Apache Spark in Azure Synapse Analytics. They will learn how to create indexes on their datasets, such as CSV, JSON, and Parquet files, and use them for potential query and workload acceleration using Spark libraries including Hyperspace and MSSParkUtils.

  • Module 2 - Design and Implement the serving layer. This lab teaches how to design and implement data stores in a modern data warehouse to optimize analytical workloads. The student will learn how to design a multidimensional schema to store fact and dimension data. Then the student will learn how to populate slowly changing dimensions through incremental data loading from Azure Data Factory.

  • Module 3 - Data engineering considerations for source files. In this lab, you will be directed by your instructor to work alone, or in groups for 20 minutes to read through the following information presented below. You will then answer the questions and present back to the classroom your findings based on the requirements.

  • Module 4 - Run interactive queries using serverless SQL pools. In this lab, students will learn how to work with files stored in the data lake and external file sources, through T-SQL statements executed by a serverless SQL pool in Azure Synapse Analytics. Students will query Parquet files stored in a data lake, as well as CSV files stored in an external data store. Next, they will create Azure Active Directory security groups and enforce access to files in the data lake through Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) and Access Control Lists (ACLs).

  • Module 5 - Explore, transform, and load data into the Data Warehouse using Apache Spark. This lab teaches you how to explore data stored in a data lake, transform the data, and load data into a relational data store. You will explore Parquet and JSON files and use techniques to query and transform JSON files with hierarchical structures. Then you will use Apache Spark to load data into the data warehouse and join Parquet data in the data lake with data in the dedicated SQL pool.

  • Module 6 - Data exploration and transformation in Azure Databricks. This lab teaches you how to use various Apache Spark DataFrame methods to explore and transform data in Azure Databricks. You will learn how to perform standard DataFrame methods to explore and transform data. You will also learn how to perform more advanced tasks, such as removing duplicate data, manipulate date/time values, rename columns, and aggregate data. They will provision the chosen ingestion technology and integrate this with Stream Analytics to create a solution that works with streaming data.

  • Module 7 - Ingest and load data into the Data Warehouse. This lab teaches students how to ingest data into the data warehouse through T-SQL scripts and Synapse Analytics integration pipelines. The student will learn how to load data into Synapse dedicated SQL pools with PolyBase and COPY using T-SQL. The student will also learn how to use workload management along with a Copy activity in a Azure Synapse pipeline for petabyte-scale data ingestion.

  • Module 8 - Transform data with Azure Data Factory or Azure Synapse Pipelines. This lab teaches students how to build data integration pipelines to ingest from multiple data sources, transform data using mapping data flows and notebooks, and perform data movement into one or more data sinks.

  • Module 9 - Integrate data from notebooks with Azure Data Factory or Azure Synapse Pipelines. In the lab, the students will create a notebook to query user activity and purchases that they have made in the past 12 months. They will then add the notebook to a pipeline using the new Notebook activity and execute this notebook after the Mapping Data Flow as part of their orchestration process. While configuring this the students will implement parameters to add dynamic content in the control flow and validate how the parameters can be used.

  • Module 10 - Optimize query performance with dedicated SQL pools in Azure Synapse. In this lab, students will learn strategies to optimize data storage and processing when using dedicated SQL pools in Azure Synapse Analytics. The student will know how to use developer features, such as windowing and HyperLogLog functions, use data loading best practices, and optimize and improve query performance.

  • Module 11 - Analyze and optimize Data Warehouse storage. This lab teaches you how to analyze and optimize the data storage of the Azure Synapse dedicated SQL pools. You will know techniques to understand table space usage and column store storage details. Next, you will know how to compare storage requirements between identical tables that use different data types. Finally, you will observe the impact materialized views have when executed in place of complex queries and learn how to avoid extensive logging by optimizing delete operations.

  • Module 12 - Support Hybrid Transactional Analytical Processing (HTAP) with Azure Synapse Link. This lab teaches you how Azure Synapse Link enables seamless connectivity of an Azure Cosmos DB account to a Synapse workspace. You will understand how to enable and configure Synapse link, then how to query the Azure Cosmos DB analytical store using Apache Spark and SQL Serverless.

  • Module 13 - End-to-end security with Azure Synapse Analytics. In this lab, students will learn how to secure a Synapse Analytics workspace and its supporting infrastructure. The student will observe the SQL Active Directory Admin, manage IP firewall rules, manage secrets with Azure Key Vault and access those secrets through a Key Vault linked service and pipeline activities. The student will understand how to implement column-level security, row-level security, and dynamic data masking when using dedicated SQL pools.

  • Module 14 - Real-time stream processing with Stream Analytics. This lab teaches you how to process streaming data with Azure Stream Analytics. You will ingest vehicle telemetry data into Event Hubs, then process that data in real time, using various windowing functions in Azure Stream Analytics. You will output the data to Azure Synapse Analytics. Finally, you will learn how to scale the Stream Analytics job to increase throughput.

  • Module 15 - Create a stream processing solution with Event Hubs and Azure Databricks. This lab teaches you how to ingest and process streaming data at scale with Event Hubs and Spark Structured Streaming in Azure Databricks. You will learn the key features and uses of Structured Streaming. You will implement sliding windows to aggregate over chunks of data and apply watermarking to remove stale data. Finally, you will connect to Event Hubs to read and write streams.

  • Module 16 - Build reports using Power BI integration with Azure Synapse Analytics. In this lab, the student will learn how to integrate Power BI with their Azure Synapse workspace to build reports in Power BI. The student will create a new data source and Power BI report in Azure Synapse Studio. Then the student will learn how to improve query performance with materialized views and result-set caching. Finally, the student will explore the data lake with serverless SQL pools and create visualizations against that data in Power BI.

  • Module 17 - Perform integrated Machine Learning processes in Azure Synapse Analytics. In the lab, the students will explore the integrated, end-to-end Azure Machine Learning and Azure Cognitive Services experience in Azure Synapse Analytics. You will learn how to connect an Azure Synapse Analytics workspace to an Azure Machine Learning workspace using a Linked Service and then trigger an Automated ML experiment that uses data from a Spark table. You will also learn how to use trained models from Azure Machine Learning or Azure Cognitive Services to enrich data in a SQL pool table and then serve prediction results using Power BI.

Free text-based tutorials from Microsoft:

  • Azure for the Data Engineer
  • Store data in Azure
  • Data integration at scale with Azure Data Factory or Azure Synapse Pipeline
  • Realize Integrated Analytical Solutions with Azure Synapse Analytics
  • Work with Data Warehouses using Azure Synapse Analytics
  • Perform data engineering with Azure Synapse Apache Spark Pools
  • Work with Hybrid Transactional and Analytical Processing Solutions using Azure Synapse Analytics
  • Data engineering with Azure Databricks
  • Large-Scale Data Processing with Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2
  • Implement a Data Streaming Solution with Azure Streaming Analytics

DP-200 retired on June 30, 2021, looked at the Microsoft Azure data platform through the lens of the implementer:

  • Work with relational data in Azure
  • Work with NoSQL data in Azure Cosmos DB
  • Large-Scale Data Processing with Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2
  • https://github.com/timothywarner/dp200

DP-201 retired on June 30, 2021, examined Azure data through the lens of the architect:

  • Design Azure data storage solutions (40-45%)
  • Design data processing solutions (25-30%)
  • Design for data security and compliance (25-30%)
  • https://github.com/timothywarner/dp201 DP-203 Learning Path had covered:
  • Data integration at scale with Azure Data Factory or Azure Synapse Pipeline
  • Realize Integrated Analytical Solutions with Azure Synapse Analytics

Ravi Kirans:

  • https://ravikirans.com/dp-203-azure-exam-study-guide/

James Serra, Microsoft NYC

The Azure Synapse platform (EDW and Data Lakes).

  • Announced November 2019
  • VIDEO: Azure Synapse Analytics - Introduction & Overview
  • https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/synapse-analytics/
  • SaaS service integrates Power BI visualization, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 as a data warehouse and a consistent data model. Machine Learning models can be created and saved in ONNX format, which are stored within the Azure Synapse data store and used with the native PREDICT instruction.
  • Synapse Analytics Studio
  • https://www.sqlshack.com/understanding-azure-synapse-analytics-formerly-sql-dw/

Ravi Salahi

  • https://learning.oreilly.com/attend/exam-dp-203-microsoft-azure-data-engineer-associate-crash-course/0636920054124/0636920057411/
  • https://github.com/zaalion/oreilly-dp-203

John McIntyre

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMYOi5E14eU 2020
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvP0JwchjfI 2019 “SQL Data Warehouse”

Tim Warner:

Sample Exams:

  • https://www.whizlabs.com/learn/course/microsoft-azure-dp-203/

AZ-204 Azure Developer Associate

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/certifications/exams/az-204 learning paths says $165 for 180 max. minutes to answer 40 - 60 multiple-choice questions.




OReilly VIDEO Crash Course April 16, 2021 by Reza Salehi (@zaalion) https://github.com/zaalion/oreilly-az-204:

YOUTUBE: AZ-204 Azure Developer - Exam Cram │ Expert Talk by Brian L Gorman

  • https://www.whizlabs.com/learn/course/microsoft-azure-az-204/


Microsoft Certified Trainers get 75% off exam fees. But there is a $800 annual fee to be MCT, and an inital $1000 join fee.



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