In modern times, cloud computing technologies are being rapidly used for the development of applications and platforms. The use of cloud computing technologies has revolutionised the method that businesses are using to streamline their processes. The technology helps to gain access to different computing resources right over the internet.
Cloud computing technologies are gaining immense popularity and are expected to gain a market share of 591.79 USD in 2025 as compared to 145 USD in 2017. With this rising demand, there has been a spike in the requirement for certified cloud computing professionals.
Azure is an online cloud computing platform that allows users to gain access to cloud resources and services that are provided by Microsoft. These services can help to store the data and transform it based on an organisation’s requirements. An Azure certificate can distinguish you from your competitors by validating your knowledge and skills in the domain. However, choosing the best Azure certification can be a daunting task.
This article deals with the most appropriate Azure certification pathways that can enrich your career in a promising way. Read on to know how!
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Learn at Your Own Pace
When you are opting for a certification course, there might be a number of scenarios based on your current level of expertise. Based on these, you need to decide the Azure Certification path that you wish to follow.
- An absolute beginner: If you are an absolute beginner, you need to opt for a course that will take you through the fundamentals of cloud computing. An AZ-900 Azure Fundamental certification would be the best choice in this regard.
- For those who have a little knowledge: Once you have mastered the basics and are looking forward to levelling up, you can opt for the Azure Administrator Certification course. This course will help you take a step ahead and give your career a boost.
- Expert-level certification: Microsoft Azure offers role-based certifications that can help you leverage your skills in a specific direction.
- Speciality certification: These certify the highest level of expertise.
Different Azure Certification Pathways Based on an Individual’s Expertise
Based on the learners’ levels of expertise, Azure certifications are broadly classified into four levels: fundamental levels, associate levels, expert levels, and speciality certifications. Learners can make a choice of the best Azure certification based on their level of expertise and goals.
Listed below are some of the Azure certification paths that learners can follow in order to secure themselves a fulfilling career in IT.
Fundamental Level Azure Certifications
The Azure fundamental-level certifications are ideally suited for those who are taking baby steps into the world of cloud computing. Anyone, even those who belong to non-technical backgrounds, can also opt for these certification courses.
- Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900): Consider this Azure certificate as the first step of the ladder. Learners will develop a basic understanding of the concepts of cloud, cloud security, compliance, privacy, support, pricing, etc.
- Azure Data Fundamentals (DP-900): If you are a database administrator or database engineer who is beginning data-specific work in the cloud, this Azure Data Fundamentals certification will be of immense help to you. It will equip you with knowledge about data analytics on Azure, data visualisation using Microsoft Power BI, modern data warehousing, etc.
- Azure AI Fundamentals (AI-900): If you want to understand how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are used in Azure cloud computing technologies, the Azure AI Fundamentals certification might be the right choice for you. This certification course will teach you about AI workloads, machine learning principles, NPL workloads, etc. on Azure.
Although one does not need to understand software engineering or data science to be able to pursue this certification, some knowledge about AI and ML can serve as an added advantage.
Associate Level Azure Certifications
The associate-level Azure certifications are ideal for those who have a basic understanding of the Azure fundamentals and are looking forward to gaining in-depth knowledge. It is entirely up to a learner’s discretion which Azure certification he will opt for based on his interest.
The associate-level Azure certifications are listed below:
- Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104): This Azure certification will teach you how to configure Azure backups, manage the resource groups, deploy the virtual machines, manage Azure subscriptions, and so on.
Although this is termed an entry-level examination, one requires a minimum level of knowledge and expertise in Azure to be able to pass this examination. Passing this examination certifies your command over cloud storage, networking, security, computer, PowerShell, command-line interface, etc.
- Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204): This certification exam might be a hard nut to crack as candidates opting for this certification should be skilled in Azure SDKs, data connections, monitoring, app authentication, APIs, etc. They should also possess knowledge of tools like PowerShell and Azure command-line interface.
Learners opting for this certification are equipped with skills that can help them emerge as proficient developers who take part in the different phases of development ranging from designing to development of the applications, testing them, their deployment, and the maintenance thereafter.
- Azure Database Administrator Course (DP-300): An Azure database administrator is entrusted with the task of managing the operational aspects of cloud relational and on-premises databases that are built using the Microsoft Azure Data Services and SQL server.
Anyone with this certification will be able to execute day-to-day operations automatically and put their T-SQL knowledge to use for admin management. These professionals can easily manage, monitor, secure, and optimise database solutions. Anyone who has passed DP-900 will have an edge while pursuing this exam.
- Azure Security Engineer Associate (AZ-500): As the name suggests, individuals who opt for this certification course will be able to design the security tools and implement them so as to keep the data in the cloud safeguarded against any kind of threat.
- Azure Data Scientist Associate (DP-100): Anyone opting for this certification should be knowledgeable about data science and the implementation of ML on Azure.
Through this certification, learners learn how to use ML to train the models, test, deploy them in Azure, and assess their performance. They will also be able to identify the imbalances in cloud data and assess the constraints in a cloud environment.
- Azure Data Engineer Associate (DP-203): Data needs to be secured and safeguarded from unauthorised access. The Azure Data Engineer Associate certification prepares the learners in a way so that they can use the Azure services to manage, monitor, and secure data.
Learners opting for this course should possess knowledge about data processing languages, including Python, SQL, Scala, etc., and also be proficient in using Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Event Hubs, and Azure Databricks so that they can formulate data processing solutions easily.
- Azure AI Engineer Associate (AI-102): Artificial Intelligence is revolutionising the IT sector by incorporating the use of tools that can automate most of the processes and let machines execute the tasks. This certification will help you gain an edge over others and stay ahead of the competition.
- Azure Stack-Hub Operator Associate (AZ-600): A person certified with Azure Stack-Hub Operator Associate certification is entrusted with the responsibility of the planning, deploying, updating, and maintaining Azure Stack Hub infrastructures. They configure the resources, manage the infrastructure capacity and ensure the optimum execution of the services running in Azure Stack Hub.
- Azure Network Engineer Associate (AZ-700): Azure network engineers are responsible for optimising performance, scaling, and securing Azure network solutions. The Azure network environments are closely monitored to identify issues and mitigate risks.
Candidates are suggested to take the AZ-104 exam before opting for AZ-700.
- Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate (AZ-800+AZ-801): This certification covers two examinations. Candidates taking this certification examination gain expertise in matters related to the implementation and management of hybrid and on-premises solutions such as computing, networking, managing, and storing. They also perform tasks such as disaster recovery, troubleshooting, migration, etc.
Candidates should have passed AZ-104 before taking this test.
Expert Level Azure Certifications
There are only two expert-level certification exams offered by Azure- Azure Solutions Architect Expert (AZ-305) and DevOps Engineer Expert (AZ-400). However, you will have to pass AZ-104 and both AZ-104 and AZ-204 to be able to pursue both the certificate examinations respectively.
Azure has a handful of speciality certifications, however, one does not require any prior certification to be able to sit for these examinations. The exams are listed below:
- Azure IoT Developer Speciality (AZ-220): With the help of this certification, you will be able to deal with data that are related to IoT. You can also work with data engineers.
- Azure for SAP Workloads (AZ-120): With the help of this certification, learners will be able to build the Azure for SAP workloads, and ensure optimal resiliency, scale, size, performance, and monitoring through service recommendations and resource adjustments.
- Azure Virtual Desktop Speciality (AZ-140): As the name suggests, learners opting for this course are skilled in designing, deploying, managing, and maintaining remote applications and virtual desktops on Azure.
- Azure Cosmos DB Developer Speciality (DP-420): This certification exam enlightens the learners about the different aspects of Cosmos DB, which is a database service of Microsoft Azure.
- Azure Support Engineer for Connectivity Speciality (AZ-720): This certification exam teaches a candidate to deal with issues like connectivity issues, problems centred around PaaS, troubleshooting, etc.
Now that you know the different Azure certification pathways that can open up new opportunities for you based on your level of expertise, choosing the most relevant Azure certification course that can give your career a boost is not going to be a challenge anymore.
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