AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions Certification Exam 4

The AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam tests and validates a candidates expertise as a DevOps Professional around the use of Microsoft Azure technologies for designing and implementing DevOps practices. This exam is a part of the required exams needed to earn the larger Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification.

AZ-400 Exam Target Audience

The AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam is geared towards DevOps Professionals who combine people, process, and tools to continuously deliver value to meet users needs and business objectives. These candidates streamline delivery by optimizing practices, improve communication and collaboration, and create automation. They design and implement strategies for app code and infrastructure that allows for continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous delivery, and continuous monitoring and feedback.

Exam candidates are expected to be proficient with Agile practices, and must be familiar with both Azure Administration and Azure Development, and should be experts in one of these areas. They must be able to design and implement DevOps practices for version control, compliance, infrastructure as code (IaC), configuration management, build, release, and testing by using Microsoft Azure technologies.

AZ-400 Exam Prep Session

Being a DevOps Engineer on the Microsoft platform is a trending role that encompasses managing development teams, managing source code, automating builds, tests, packaging, versioning, and deployments. Typically a DevOps engineer is concerned with two pipelines: a continuous integration (CI) and a continuous delivery (CD). These two pipelines encompass code planning building and test for CI, and release, deploy, operations and monitoring for CD. Becoming certified verifies and validates these skills, and indicates a certain level of expertise in this technology. To pass this exam there are many Azure capabilities and tools that must be mastered. Come find out which ones they are.

AZ-400 Exam Objective Domains

Here’s a very high level list of the skills and objectives measured on the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam. The percentages for each objective area represents the number of questions on the exam for that particular exam objective.

Design a DevOps Strategy (20-25%)

  • Recommend a migration and consolidation strategy for DevOps tools
    • Analyze existing artifact (e.g. deployment packages, NuGet) and container repositories
    • Analyze existing test management tools
    • Analyze existing work management tools
    • Recommend migration and integration strategies for artifact repositories, source control, test management, and work management
  • Design and implement an Agile work management approach
    • Identify and recommend project metrics, KPIs, and DevOps measurements (e.g. cycle time, lead time, Azure Kubernetes Service, WIP limit)
    • Implement tools and processes to support Agile work management
    • Mentor team members on Agile techniques and practices
    • Recommend an organization structure that supports scaling Agile practices
    • Recommend in-team and cross-team collaboration mechanisms
  • Design a quality strategy
    • Analyze existing quality environment
    • Identify and recommend quality metrics
    • Recommend a strategy for feature flag lifecycle
    • Recommend a strategy for measuring and managing technical debt
    • Recommend changes to team structure to optimize quality
    • Recommend performance testing strategy
  • Design a secure development process
    • Inspect and validate code base for compliance
    • Inspect and validate infrastructure for compliance
    • Recommend a secure development strategy
    • Recommend tools and practices to integrate code security validation (e.g. static code analysis)
    • Recommend tools and practices to integrate infrastructure security validation
  • Design a tool integration strategy
    • Design a license management strategy (e.g. Azure DevOps users, concurrent pipelines, test environments, open source software licensing, DevOps tools and services, package management licensing)
    • Design a strategy for end-to-end traceability from work items to working software
    • Design a strategy for integrating monitoring and feedback to development teams
    • Design an authentication and access strategy
    • Design a strategy for integrating on-premises and cloud resources

Implement DevOps Development Processes (20-25%)

  • Design a version control strategy 
    • Recommend branching models
    • Recommend version control systems
    • Recommend code flow strategy
  • Implement and integrate source control
    • Integrate external source control
    • Integrate source control into third-party continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) systems
  • Implement and manage build infrastructure
    • Implement private and hosted agents
    • Integrate third party build systems
    • Recommend strategy for concurrent pipelines
    • Manage VSTS pipeline configuration (e.g. agent queues, service endpoints, pools, webhooks)
  • Implement code flow
    • Implement pull request strategies
    • Implement branch and fork strategies
    • Configure branch policies
  • Implement a mobile DevOps strategy
    • Manage mobile target device sets and distribution groups
    • Manage target UI test device sets
    • Provision tester devices for deployment
    • Create public and private distribution groups
  • Managing application configuration and secrets
    • Implement a secure and compliant development process
    • Implement general (non-secret) configuration data
    • Manage secrets, tokens, and certificates
    • Implement applications configurations (e.g. Web App, Azure Kubernetes Service, containers)
    • Implement secrets management (e.g. Web App, Azure Kubernetes Service, containers, Azure Key Vault)
    • Implement tools for managing security and compliance in the pipeline

Implement Continuous Integration (10-15%)

  • Manage code quality and security policies 
    • Monitor code quality
    • Configure build to report on code coverage
    • Manage automated test quality
    • Manage test suites and categories
    • Monitor quality of tests
    • Integrate security analysis tools (e.g. SonarQube, WhiteSource Bolt, Open Web Application Security Project)
  • Implement a container build strategy
    • Create deployable images (e.g. Docker, Azure Container Registry)
    • Analyze and integrate Docker multi-stage builds
  • Implement a build strategy
    • Design build triggers, tools, integrations, and workflow
    • Implement a hybrid build process
    • Implement multi-agent builds
    • Recommend build tools and configuration
    • Set up an automated build workflow

Implement Continuous Delivery (10-15%)

  • Design a release strategy 
    • Recommend release tools
    • Identify and recommend release approvals and gates
    • Recommend strategy for measuring quality of release and release process
    • Recommend strategy for release notes and documentation
    • Select appropriate deployment pattern
  • Set up a release management workflow
    • Automate inspection of health signals for release approvals by using release gates
    • Configure automated integration and functional test execution
    • Create a release pipeline (e.g. Azure Kubernetes Service, Service Fabric, WebApp)
    • Create multi-phase release pipelines
    • Integrate secrets with release pipeline
    • Provision and configure environments
    • Manage and modularize tasks and templates (e.g. task and variable groups)
  • Implement an appropriate deployment pattern
    • Implement blue-green deployments
    • Implement canary deployments
    • Implement progressive exposure deployments
    • Scale a release pipeline to deploy to multiple endpoints (e.g. deployment groups, Azure Kubernetes Service, Service Fabric)

Implement Dependency Management (5-10%)

  • Design a dependency management strategy
    • Recommend artifact management tools and practices
    • Abstract common packages to enable sharing and reuse
    • Inspect codebase to identify code dependencies that can be converted to packages
    • Identify and recommend standardized package types and versions across the solution
    • Refactor existing build pipelines to implement version strategy that publishes packages
  • Manage security and compliance
    • Inspect open source software packages for security and license compliance to align with corporate standards (e.g. GPLv3)
    • Configure build pipeline to access package security and license rating (e.g. Black Duck, White Source)
    • Configure secure access to package feeds

Implement Application Infrastructure (15-20%)

  • Design an infrastructure and configuration management strategy 
    • Analyze existing and future hosting infrastructure
    • Analyze existing Infrastructure as Code technologies
    • Design a strategy for managing technical debt on templates
    • Design a strategy for using transient infrastructure for parts of a delivery lifecycle
    • Design a strategy to mitigate infrastructure state drift
  • Implement Infrastructure as Code
    • Create nested resource templates
    • Manage secrets in resource templates
    • Provision Azure resources
    • Recommend an Infrastructure as Code (IaC) strategy
    • Recommend appropriate technologies for configuration management
  • Manage Azure Kubernetes Service infrastructure 
    • Provision Azure Kubernetes Service (e.g. using ARM templates, CLI)
    • Create deployment file for publishing to Azure Kubernetes Service (e.g. kubectl, Helm)
    • Develop a scaling plan
  • Implement infrastructure compliance and security 
    • Implement compliance and security scanning
    • Prevent drift by using configuration management tools
    • Set up an automated pipeline to inspect security and compliance

Implement Continuous Feedback (10-15%)

  • Recommend and design system feedback mechanisms 
    • Design practices to measure end-user satisfaction (e.g. Send a Smile, app analytics)
    • Design processes to capture and analyze user feedback from external sources (e.g. Twitter, Reddit, Help Desk)
    • Design routing for client application crash report data (e.g. HockeyApp)
    • Recommend monitoring tools and technologies
    • Recommend system and feature usage tracking tools
  • Implement process for routing system feedback to development teams 
    • Configure crash report integration for client applications
    • Develop monitoring and status dashboards
    • Implement routing for client application crash report data (e.g. HockeyApp)
    • Implement tools to track system usage, feature usage, and flow
    • Integrate and configure ticketing systems with development team’s work management system (e.g. IT Service Management connector, ServiceNow Cloud Management, App Insights work items)
  • Optimize feedback mechanisms 
    • Analyze alerts to establish a baseline
    • Analyze telemetry to establish a baseline
    • Perform live site reviews and capture feedback for system outages
    • Perform ongoing tuning to reduce meaningless or non-actionable alerts

To view the most up-to-date list of these exam objectives, please reference the official AZ-400 exam page.

AZ-400 Exam Study Resources

The first resource that is really great at learning and referencing how to use Azure DevOps is the official documentation. However, if you are new to Azure DevOps that can be a bit difficult to use without a more guided approach. Many of the Microsoft certification exams do have official Exam Reference books published from Microsoft Press, however, the AZ-400 DevOps Engineer is not one of them.

Here are some FREE learning and study resources that you’ll find useful when preparing for this exam:

  • Azure DevOps Labs – This is a great collection of Azure DevOps lab guides that you can follow using your own subscription and account.
  • Microsoft Learn DevOps Modules – Microsoft Learn has a few modules around the topics of Azure DevOps that you can use to study.
  • Continuous Delivery in Azure DevOps Microsoft Cloud Workshop – This MCW is a great learning resource that can be used to learn more about Azure DevOps. It includes a Whiteboard design session that you can use to run through designing a DevOps solution, and it includes a Hands-on Lab that you can use to get in there and work with Azure DevOps for yourself.

Here is a paid course you can use to study for the AZ-400 exam:

AZ-400 Exam Self-Assessment Study Aid

To help those studying for and earning Microsoft Azure certifications, we (Chris Pietschmann and Dan Patrick) have been putting together some easy to use, self-assessments.

Download the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure IoT Developer Exam Self-Assessment Tool

AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions Certification Exam 5
Microsoft Exam AZ-400 Self Assessment Spreadsheet Screenshot

This exam self-assessment is built as Excel spreadsheets, and is made available as Free and Open Source via the Build5Nines/exam-assessments GitHub project. This tool will help you ensure you fully study each of the exam objectives on the AZ-220 Azure IoT Developer certification exam. It also offers you an estimated percentage level of overall confidence on each exam objective area and the overall exam too!

Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert

The AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam is among the required exams necessary to earn the larger Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification. Prior to taking this exam, candidates will need to take a couple exams previously and have earned either the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate or Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification. As the prerequisites show, candidates can be either Azure Administrator or Azure Developer experts, then take the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions exam to prove their skills as a Microsoft Azure DevOps Expert!

AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions Certification Exam 6

Microsoft MVP

Chris is the Founder of and a Microsoft MVP in Azure & IoT with 20 years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He is also a Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect, developer, Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.