Microsoft Azure has been a dominant force in the world of cloud computing as one of the top market leaders. More than half of the Fortune 500 companies use Azure, thereby implying the profoundly promising career opportunities with Microsoft Azure.
With the rising number of businesses turning towards Microsoft Azure, the demand for skilled Azure professionals is increasing substantially. Therefore, many aspiring professionals look for opportunities to prepare for Azure architect certification.
Basically, certification can improve prospects of obtaining a better salary with average annual increments ranging from $12,000 to $13,000 USD. Furthermore, the average annual salary of cloud architects is around $153,000 USD, thereby indicating a profound reason to prepare for the Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification.
The following discussion offers you a detailed preparation guide for Azure Architect certification with important details about the exam alongside helpful tips to qualify for the exam.
Why Pursue Azure Architect Certification?
Before you learn how to prepare for Azure architect certification, it is essential to understand why you should pursue the certification. The job of a solution architect basically involves taking the specifications from end-users to develop solutions in accordance with the specified requirements.
Azure solutions architects have to manage the requirements of cloud infrastructure and deployment.
The average annual salary for an Azure solutions architect in the USA ranges from $130,000 to $190,000, depending on the experience level. So, you can capitalize on the promising financial prospects alongside a prominent job role in the Azure landscape by preparing for Azure architect certification.
Now that you know why you should pursue Azure architect certification let’s learn more about it.
Know About the Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert Certification
Any preparation guide for Azure architect certification would provide a detailed outline of the exams you need to qualify. The Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification track features two different exams such as AZ-303 and AZ-304.
AZ-303 is the code for the Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies exam. In contrast, AZ-304 is the code for the Microsoft Azure Architect Design exam.
Qualifying both (AZ-303 & AZ-304) these certifications can help you earn the Azure solution architect credential. So, what is the eligibility criteria for both exams?
Prerequisites for Azure Architect Certification
If you are trying to prepare for Azure architect certification, then you must know that Microsoft Azure has not outlined any specific prerequisites that candidates must follow. However, candidates are recommended to pay attention to particular aspects that can improve their chances of qualifying for the exam.
Here are some of the recommended knowledge and experience requirements for candidates trying to prepare for Microsoft Azure architect certification:
- Candidates should have intermediate-level expertise in Azure administration.
- Candidates must have a professional understanding and experience of Azure development processes and the DevOps landscape on Azure.
- Candidates should understand the responsibilities of the role of Azure architect.
- Candidates must have highly advanced knowledge and experience regarding IT operations and their impact on the overall solution.
Basic Details about the AZ-303, AZ-304 Exam
The next important requirement for candidates trying to prepare for Azure architect certification is the knowledge of exam details.
The basic exam details help candidates understand what they would face in the exams.
- Both the exams feature 40 to 60 questions, and candidates would have to improve their speed and accuracy for answering the questions.
- Candidates should also know about the format of questions expected in the exams. The questions would be in multiple-choice format alongside including scenario-based single response questions. In addition, you can come across questions in the drag-and-drop, mark review, or arrange in the correct sequence formats.
- Candidates can appear in both AZ-303 and AZ-304 exams in four different languages. The languages are English, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese. You can register for each exam at the cost of $165 USD.
- Candidates aspiring for AZ-303 and AZ-304 exam preparation should also focus on the passing score of the exam. The passing score of the exams can give you a fundamental impression of difficulty level in the exams. Candidates should achieve a minimum score of 700 for passing AZ-303 or AZ-304.
IMPORTANT: Every now and then, Microsoft will have sessions free of cost that anyone can attend. Make use of those. They also have challenges from time to time, so enroll in those. After completion, you will get a free coupon to appear for Azure Certifications.
Aspiring to become an Azure Architect expert? Check out the AZ-303 and AZ-304 exam preparation journey and reviews from the certified professionals.
Topics in Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert Certification
With a detailed impression of the basic details required to start preparing for AZ-303 and AZ-304 exams, let’s move forward.
Candidates would have to go through all the topics covered in the exams for Azure architect certification to create a good Azure architect exam study guide.
The detailed impression of all domains and subtopics in the individual exams is essential for the success of candidates. So, let us take a look through the topics covered in the exams to build a better understanding of both.
Domains in AZ-303: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies Exam
The Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies exam or AZ-303 features four distinct domains. Here is an outline of the domains that you need for AZ-303 exam preparation.
Domain 1: Azure Infrastructure Implementation and Monitoring
The first module in the exam includes 50% to 55% weightage in the exam and consists of the following topics:
- Implementation of monitoring apparatus for cloud infrastructure
- Selection, configuration, deployment, and management of storage accounts
- Configuring and deploying virtual machines for Linux and Windows
- Deployment automation and resource configuration
- Implementation of virtual networking
- Azure Active Directory implementation
- Implementation, configuration, and management of hybrid identities
Domain 2: Azure Management and Security Solution Implementation
The next module in the AZ-303 exam is also important to prepare for Azure architect certification as it features 25% to 30% weightage in the exam. It includes the following topics:
- Azure workloads management
- Implementation of necessary components for load balancing and network security
- Configuration, implementation, and supervision of Azure governance solutions
- Application security management
Domain 3: Deploying Solutions Suited for Apps
This module is also an integral part of the AZ-303 exam, with 10% to 15% weightage in the exam. Candidates have to prepare for the following topics in this domain:
- Creation, configuration, and implementation of suitable application infrastructure
- Creation and publication of container-based applications
Domain 4: Data Platforms Implementation and Management
The final module of the AZ-303 exam also features 10% to 15% weightage in the exam. The domain covers the following topics:
- Deploying NoSQL database
- Deployment of Azure SQL databases
Domains Covered in AZ-304: Microsoft Azure Architect Design Exam
After reviewing the domains in AZ-303, candidates need to focus on domains in the Microsoft Azure Architect Design exam. You have to prepare for Azure architect certification by focusing on the following domains in AZ-304.
Domain 1: Designing Solutions for Monitoring
The first important domain for AZ-304 exam preparation has 10% to 15% weightage in the exam. Candidates have to prepare for the following topics in this domain:
- Recommending solutions for minimizing costs, cost management, and cost reporting
- Recommending suitable monitoring and logging solutions
Domain 2: Designing Solutions for Identity and Security
This domain in AZ-304 is important as it features around 25% to 30% weightage in the exam and covers the following:
- Recommending solutions for authentication
- Designing the authorization infrastructure
- Recommending solutions and strategies for governance
- Recommending solutions for comprehensive application security
Domain 3: Designing Solutions with Flexible Data Storage
Candidates need to focus on designing solutions for data storage as it would feature in almost 15% to 20% of questions in the exam. The topics in this domain include:
- Selection of appropriate database solution
- Designing the data flow and solution for data integration
- Choosing and selecting a suitable storage account
Domain 4: Designing Solutions for Business Continuity
If you prepare for Azure architect certification, you have to learn topics in this domain of the AZ-304 exam, such as:
- Designing solutions with flexible backup and recovery options
- Designing solutions with ideal requirements of high availability
Domain 5: Designing Solutions for Infrastructure
Your AZ-304 exam preparation depends a lot on this domain, with 25% to 30% weightage in the exam. Candidates have to focus on the following topics in this domain:
- Designing solutions for compute provisioning with a selection of ideal compute technologies
- Recommending relevant network architecture and solutions for networking requirements
- Recommending suitable solutions for combining different components of application architecture
- Recommending solutions for migrating databases, VMs, and applications
Best Practices to Prepare for Azure Solution Architect Expert Certification
The detailed overview of all domains and subtopics for the Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect certification definitely improves candidates’ confidence.
Most importantly, awareness of the weightage of each domain helps candidates determine the efforts they have to put in each domain to prepare for Azure architect certification.
However, any individual could quickly go through all the essential exam information on the official certification pages. So, what can you do differently to ensure better chances of success in the certification exams?
Here is an outline of the best practices recommended by experts and qualified professionals for achieving the Azure architect certification:
- Learn More about the Exams
The foremost step in the preparation guide for Azure architect certification refers to taking a detailed overview of exam information.
Candidates have to understand the exams thoroughly to overcome their fears and apprehensions about difficulties in the exams.
In addition, accurate information about the exam domains and topics can help you create a reliable Azure architect exam study guide. So, you don’t have to go through every learning resource related to Azure solution architecture.
The study guide can help you access the relevant resources needed to develop expertise to answer questions in the exam.
- Learn from Microsoft Learning
Now, you would need essential resources for starting your preparations for Azure architect certification. You could easily find a wide assortment of information and learning resources to prepare for Azure architect certification. And, what could be better than the official Microsoft Learning platform?
You can rely on the recommended learning path for the AZ-303 and AZ-304 exams on Microsoft Learning. The simple modules in the learning path have a flexible organization of topics that can help you brush up on your basics. The Microsoft Learning path offers reliable support to build your knowledge regarding the fundamentals of topics in the exam.
- Use Official Documentation
Candidates should also try to focus on Microsoft documentation for strengthening their preparations for the Azure architect certification. The documentation related to every topic in the exam could help you build your knowledge further around the fundamentals. The documentation would help you improve your conceptual knowledge with inputs from professional subject matter experts.
- Training Courses for Certification
The most important step in preparing candidates for Microsoft Azure certification is the online training courses. Many professional certification training providers offer comprehensive training courses for AZ-303 and AZ-304 exams.
However, it is important to choose the right training course to prepare for Azure architect certification. Some choices include Alan Rodriguez and Scott Duffy on Udemy. You can get these courses for close to $12. However, the official Microsoft Learning is one of the best Free resources available.
You can also follow John Savill on Youtube for his free lectures.
If you want to make your own decision on buying a course, remember to go for the training course that features all topics of the certification exams alongside a flexible arrangement of modules.
Furthermore, it should also feature interactive videos and exercises to boost the engagement of learners. At the same time, candidates should also verify the facility of expert support with the training courses.
In addition, you should also look out for possibilities of flexible learning so that you can accommodate the training course.
- Practice Tests are Always Mandatory
The next critical pointer recommended for all candidates in a preparation guide for Azure architect certification is practice tests. Practice tests for AZ-303 and AZ-304 could help candidates develop familiarity with the exam format. These practice questions also help you develop your acumen and precision in answering the questions faster.
Subsequently, you should also turn your attention towards the use of practice tests to verify your strengths and weaknesses.
After each practice test, you should evaluate the results to identify the areas where you are performing well and the areas you don’t. You could easily find different options for practice tests online. However, you need to choose practice tests with a credible reputation in the market.
Exam Tips for AZ-303, AZ-304 Certifications
- Prepare for at least 3 to 4 weeks with special attention to hands-on labs. You will not pass the certification without hands-on experience.
- Do the Microsoft challenges on AZ-303 and AZ-304, and make sure you get at least one pass at Microsoft Learning Path.
- Go through all the FAQs from the official MS Documentation. You will get questions from all corners of the content, so please read as much as possible.
- Focus on Azure Active Directory, Azure Kubernetes Service, Docker, Azure SQL database, VMs, Azure Migrate, Azure App Service, Azure Storage, Azure Batch, and VNet’s. Remember Practice Labs!
- Time your real exam to do a final revision before the submission. Do not spend a lot of time on one question.
- If you have time left and are not sure of the answer for certain questions, draw some diagrams to help you recall certain concepts.
- In case you are totally unsure, use the process of elimination to eliminate the wrong choices before making a guess.
On the final note, the preparation for AZ-303 and AZ-304 exams is not difficult if you have the right resources. When you decide the pursue Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect certification, you have to develop a formal understanding of your roles and responsibilities. Next, you have to build a comprehensive understanding of all domains and topics in the course.
However, you should also pay attention to select a proper training course with detailed coverage for all exam topics. In addition, you could rely on the best practices recommended by qualified candidates to prepare for Azure architect certification.
Most important of all, candidates should also take care of their health and keep away from stress. Enroll in the AZ-303 and AZ-304 practice tests and start preparing now to ensure that you succeed. Clearing these certs will validate your Expert-Level Skills on Azure.