Tech Skills

How to Prepare for the New Microsoft Azure Certification AZ-100

Nick Colyer

Udemy for Business Instructor

January 31, 2019

With digital transformation underway, the cloud is becoming widespread at all organizations and redefining IT as we know it. In the past, IT used to be siloed into separate roles (e.g. network admin, storage admin, Linux admin, and VMWare admin), but today, these lines are being blurred into an overarching cloud administration approach. With this shift, every IT pro must transition their skills to be relevant in the context of the cloud. If you’re a Linux admin or a network admin, your job is not going away, but it’s more important than ever that you become well-versed in cloud skills like Azure. My advice to IT leaders: your entire IT team should be certified in the cloud, regardless of their specific role. For a Udemy for Business subscription for your entire IT team, click here.

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Why Azure is on the rise

The trend toward a preference for multi-cloud providers is opening the door for Microsoft Azure to make inroads into the cloud space. While Amazon is still the market leader, Azure grew by 90% and Google Cloud by 73% versus AWS’ 46% growth in 2017. Companies like Home Depot are “cloud-agnostic” and use both Azure and Google Cloud. “The philosophy goes to show that as long as there is more than one major cloud provider in the mix, enterprises will continue trying, comparing, and adopting more than one at a time,” writes Chris Parlette on ITProPortal.

Microsoft Azure’s recent demand is driven by large enterprises who increasingly choose Azure as their cloud provider. This preference is driven by Microsoft’s robust security and encryption technology (which previously was the main worry about the cloud) as well as its integration with the Microsoft stack and easier IT infrastructure management. Microsoft has also become more open and less Windows-centric, making it more attractive for any organization to adopt Azure, regardless of its operating system. In fact, today, Linux counts for more workloads than Windows.

What’s new about the Microsoft Azure Certification AZ-100

In the past, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) exam bundled all the different certifications together. This generalist approach meant people weren’t doing the certification for the right reasons. In September 2018, Microsoft revamped its certification exam to be more focused on specific roles and the day-to-day tasks of Azure admins. For example, the first exam AZ 100 focuses on infrastructure and deployment. It’s foundational and helps IT admins get Azure up and running. The second exam AZ 101 zeros in on integration and security and the tasks needed to migrate data centers to Azure.

We worked closely with Microsoft while the certification exam was still in beta and were aware of the new changes coming down the pipe. With this new certification exam, we knew there would be training gaps. We strategically restructured our curriculum and with focused concentration created our new training videos quickly–enabling us to release our new Microsoft Azure AZ-100 certification course and Microsoft Azure AZ-101 certification course on Udemy in October 2018, only a month after Microsoft launched the new certification exams.

Microsoft Azure Admin Certification skills you should master

If you’re an Azure admin or a systems admin looking to expand into Azure, here are the areas you’ll need to master which I cover in my Microsoft Azure AZ-100 certification course and Microsoft Azure AZ-101 certification course:

  • Core fundamentals: This includes managing Azure subscriptions, monitoring resources, analyzing consumption and cost, and monitoring performance issues.
    Storage: This skill covers implementing storage as well as managing backup and disaster recovery. For example, you’ll learn how to store large volumes of data in Azure or store large libraries of images on websites.

  • Virtual machines: You’ll need to master the fundamentals of deploying and managing machines. For example, you’ll need to know how to deploy new Windows and Linux for applications.
    Network fundamentals: This involves creating connectivity between networks, securing networks and ensuring applications can communicate with each other. For example, when users connect with an application over the internet or inside a private network, you’ll need to use firewalls for security and manage or scale traffic to optimize performance.

  • Identify and access management with Azure Active Directory: For Azure user groups, you’ll need to manage authentication in Azure. You’ll need to master how to manage Azure Active Directory tenants, configure identify protection, and create user groups for devices. This might include managing multi-factorial authentication across several devices.

  • Data center assessment and migration to cloud: This involves migrating workloads from on-premise to the Azure cloud. For example, you’ll need to look at all your workloads on-premise and determine which is best suited for the cloud and how to migrate these applications or data sets to the cloud.

  • Automation: You’ll need to learn how to automate deployments in Azure using Powershell. Powershell helps system admins rapidly automate tasks that manage operating systems. Essentially, everything can be deployed with a line of code. Automating repeatable tasks reduces error and increases speed to deployment. Using an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template, you can deploy entire tasks like load balancing or storage with just a line of code.

  • Security: Master how to secure and harden your Azure environment as well as troubleshoot and check performance issues. Reduce risk penetration from your network and external attacks by ensuring only the people who should have access to services and data can use
    it.

Preparing IT admins for real-world problems

Finally, my course isn’t just about passing the exams but also focuses on preparing IT admins to be ready for real-world problems. By providing IT admins with real-world scenarios, I help build the troubleshooting skills for day-to-day challenges that arise on the job. I’ve structured my course with short lectures to educate IT admins on the fundamental terms and principles of the Azure platform as well as included demos of real-world scenarios for hands-on experience. I also continually update my learning modules based on feedback from students and based on the latest trends in Azure. Start learning here and good luck!

Nick Colyer has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry and currently works with large enterprises in Chicago as a Cloud Solutions Architect. 10,000 students have already trusted Nick with their IT training on Udemy. Nick speaks at conferences including AHEAD Azure Innovation Days, VMWorld (2013/2016), the Looking Ahead Tech Summit (2014–2017), as well as tailored briefings for large enterprise companies across the United States. You can regularly find Nick at community events and on Twitter.
Udemy for Business is a learning platform that helps companies stay competitive in the digital transformation of the workplace by offering fresh, relevant, and personalized on-demand learning content, curated from the Udemy marketplace. Our mission is to help employees do whatever comes next—whether that’s the next project to do, skill to learn, or role to master. We’d love to partner with you on your employee development needs. Get in touch with us at business@udemy.com

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