Jason Haley

Ramblings from an Independent Consultant

Late November 2016 Update on Azure Cloud Certification Studying

The day after I posted my last update (November 2016 Update on Azure Cloud Certification Studying) I found out the 70-534 exam (the one I am studying for) was going to have some major changes on November 22 - Azure Architecture Exam (70-534) Gets ARM Refresh.

So I had two choices: Cram for the exam and take it before Nov 22 or Step back and widen the material I’ve got to learn to pass it.

Since then, I’ve decided to postpone taking the exam this year.  I am not really doing this to just get the certificate (ie. pass the exam) I want to know that I know the material … and right now I don’t know some of the new things they are adding to the exam.

Also, I’ve been meaning to get back to blogging and have decided to start writing about some of the topics I am learning while studying for the 70-354 exam – so this week I am planning my first blog post (or set of blog posts) … still in the planning stage.

Boston Code Camp 26

Yesterday was Boston Code Camp 26.  I presented Cloud Services vs. Web Apps for the first time.  The slides can be found here: https://jhaleyfiles2016.blob.core.windows.net/public/CloudServicesVsWebApps.pptx

If anyone who attended my talk has any feedback, I’d love to hear from you. 

It was nice to see old friends and meet some new ones yesterday.  I only made it to one talk: The Power of Networking by Betsy Weber (@betsyweber).  There were many other talks that I would have gone to, however I found it more enjoyable to catch up with the group of friends I only tend to see at Code Camps and Dev Camps.

I will be presenting a more detailed and demo oriented talk comparing Cloud Services and Web Apps at the North Boston Azure Cloud User Group Nov 29th, in case anyone missed my talk yesterday or wants more detail.

November 2016 Update on Azure Cloud Certification Studying

I have completed and passed the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions and 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions.  I am currently studying for the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam … even though the MCSD Azure Solutions Architect certification has been sunset.  I figure I already bought the study guide and I seem to be familiar with most of the higher level material for the exam thanks to all the research I did prior to my Azure 101 talk in June.

Since July, I’ve noticed that I am more likely to write PowerShell scripts to do repetitive tasks in Azure (instead of going to the portal and doing the same thing over and over in the UI).  Last week, I even wrote some scripts for a VSTS build that solved the need to start/stop a web app before deploy and add/remove an NSG rule to a VNET for the build sever before and after deployment.  It is really nice to know that most of the stuff in the Azure portal is scriptable and that it doesn’t take long to create the scripts (once you get familiar with it).  I have to honestly say - before studying for these exams, Azure PowerShell scripts were always on my “things to learn next list” but taking the time to learn how to script things I could do in the portal UI just never made it to the top of the list.

Here are the steps I’ve taken to pass the 70-532 and 70-533 exams:

  • Use Azure on a daily basis
  • Read the study guides from cover to cover
  • Watch any videos I can on related material
  • Read through the Azure documentation to get more detail than is in the study guide
  • Purchase the practice exam – you get 30 days the practice questions as much as you want
  • Purchase the proctored exam after I’m done with the study guide
  • Take the practice exam no more than 2 weeks from your exam like it is the real exam
    • Get over the fact that you didn’t pass it
  • Take the practice exam and view the answers as many times as possible before the exam – and really search the web for the topic questions you don’t know and learn more about them
    • Do not waste your time memorizing the practice questions and answers – they are not on the exam.  Instead use the practice exam to get used to the exam format and topics and broaden your knowledge more
    • Learn to rule out the answers that are not correct – as fast as you can
    • With case studies – read the questions first, then you can read the case study and pay attention to the pieces you need to know
  • Take the exam

In the middle of both exams, I was certain there was no way I would pass … but I did pass them both on the first try – so keep your spirits up as you take the exam because it may not be as bad as it seems.