Best Microsoft Azure certifications for a career in cloud computing

Frank Parker
Authored by Frank Parker
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 6:57am

The world of technology keeps evolving drastically every day. An IT professional must stay updated to catch the latest opportunity before their competitors. Azure certifications are a gateway to excellent job openings in significant and reputable corporations. According to an IDC report, cloud computing will grow to become a $500 billion industry by 2023. Therefore, becoming a Microsoft certified professional is going to offer an edge in the IT industry. 

Why Are Azure Certifications In Demand?

Microsoft created a cloud computing service released in the year 2010, known as Microsoft Azure. With the help of Microsoft data centres, it develops, tests, deployed and manages various types of applications and services. The best feature is that it supports features that are Microsoft specific and that of third-party software. Additionally, PaaS, Saas and IaaS with several programming languages can be effectively managed and backed by Azure. 

With so many services available with compatibility to third-party applications and software systems, Azure is popular among the IT industry. Therefore, undergoing Microsoft certification training should prioritise professionals seeking a career in cloud security and development. Furthermore, Microsoft online courses range from fundamental level to expert level. So, you can gain understanding and expertise by going through a structure regardless of your knowledge in cloud computing.

Which are the different types of Azure certifications?

As of 2021, Microsoft has four levels of Azure certifications-Fundamentals, Associate, Expert and Speciality.

  • Three fundamental certifications.
  • Eleven role-based Azure certifications divided into Associate and Expert Level. 
  • Three speciality certifications, focusing on IoT, SAP and Windows Virtual Desktop. 

Microsoft Azure: Fundamental-Level certifications 

Fundamental certifications are for individuals who have little to zero knowledge regarding cloud computing. In simple words, they are entry-level certifications that will equip a beginner with the necessary understanding and vocabulary about the cloud. You do not require fundamental credentials to go to the next level. But as the cloud can be overwhelming, it is an excellent point to start and gain the proper training. It is advised to get fundamental certification for absolute beginners to have a smooth transition into a cloud career. Following Certifications come under fundamental level:

  1. Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals AZ-900
  2. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals DP-900
  3. Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals AI-900

Microsoft Azure- Associate-Level certifications

These come under the role-based Microsoft certifications. If a professional already has some experience with Azure, then this may be the ideal level to start with. However, one needs a crystal clear understanding of the Azure basics and its hands-on experience for getting through this level smoothly. The certification to begin within this level is the Azure Administrator Certificate. You do not need the fundamental certifications for starting this level. But it is advised to get them anyway not to encounter any knowledge gaps during the course. Following are nine associate role-based Microsoft Certifications:

  1. Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate AZ-104
  2. Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate AZ-204
  3. Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate DP-300
  4. Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate AZ-500
  5. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate DP-100
  6. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate DP-200 & DP-201 (DP-203 proposed)
  7. Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate AI-100 (AI-102 proposed)
  8. Microsoft Certified: Azure Stack Hub Operator Associate AZ-600
  9. Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate DA-100

Microsoft Azure: Expert-Level certification

Suppose you have already dabbled into Azure well and are looking for levelling up into highly niche Azure areas. Then expert-level certifications are for you. As already said, these also come under the role-based Microsoft certifications, and you can go for one that aligns with your job requirement or higher responsibilities. The following are Expert Level Certifications:

  1. Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert AZ-303 & AZ-304
  2. Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert AZ-400

However, it would help if you had Azure Administrator Associate or Azure Developer Associate certification for the DevOps Engineer Expert certification. 

Microsoft Azure: Speciality certifications

Currently, there are only three certifications available as a speciality in Azure. An individual need not take any other Azure certifications for pursuing them. If you are looking for specializing in either IoT, SAP or Windows Virtual Desktop, these certifications are for you. The following are the speciality certifications available:

  1. Microsoft Certified: Azure IoT Developer Speciality AZ-220
  2. Microsoft Certified: Azure for SAP Workloads Speciality AZ-120
  3. Microsoft Certified: Windows Virtual Desktop Speciality AZ-140

Wrapping Up

There are various Microsoft certification courses in Azure. The best certification depends on an individual’s current knowledge level and the skill requirement for their job. But one thing is clear, taking Microsoft certifications can open doors for higher opportunities and better pay.


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