Microsoft continually updates the content of the different Microsoft Azure certification exams, but it’s been almost 2 years since they really updated the Microsoft Certification paths to be more Azure focused / integrated. Great news is that Microsoft is making further changes to keep improving the various Microsoft Azure Certifications and associated exams that are offered. During the Microsoft Inspire 2018 conference, the Microsoft Learning team announced the introduction of this brand new Azure certification track tailored for Azure Administrators.

Reasons for the Change

Over the last few years, Microsoft has gotten consistent feedback from Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) and others that the Microsoft Azure certification exams are too broad. The previously existing Azure certification exams cover a broad range of skills that are difficult for many individuals to obtain, or even become experts in all areas. Additionally, as Microsoft Azure features, services, and capabilities continue to expand, the existing Azure certification exams (like 70-535, 70-533, 70-532) have had a need to get even broader in coverage over time.

Microsoft has also conducted research into the value of certifications. They have found the following different reasons that people give for getting certified:

  • Get certified to build and/or update skills on a specific technology
  • Get certified to distinguish themselves from other professionals, and improve job opportunities
  • Get certified to have more influence and impact in their current and future job role

In an effort to fix the confusion, frustration, and complaints they’ve received in regards to the existing Microsoft Azure certifications, they are expanding the certification offerings to include Azure Administrator certifications that are better tailored towards the skills that more Administrators managing Azure Infrastructure are able to master.

These Microsoft Azure Certification changes are just starting with this Azure Administrator focus that was recently announced. The Microsoft Learning team have also alluded that they will be releasing more exams and tracks around this new found focus in the time to come. Perhaps we’ll find out more information about any additional exams and tracks as we get closer in time to the Microsoft Ignite 2018 conference when they plan to release these Azure Administrator exams out of Beta.

New Exam List

Currently, this new certification track from Microsoft for Azure Administrators contains 3 new Azure certification exams. Please, click the following links to read more information regarding each of the specific exams.

If you’re interested in taking these new Azure Administrator certification exams during the “Beta” phase, then you’ll find more information in the official announcement blog post from Microsoft Learning.

Azure Administrator Certification

The new Azure Administrator certification is meant for Azure Administrators who manage cloud services that span storage, security, networking, and compute capabilities within the Microsoft Azure cloud. This new certification consists of 2 certification exams, and will be earned by passing the AZ-100 and AZ-101 exams.

It has not been announced yet whether this will be a new MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solution Associate), or a completely new certification path that hasn’t been announced yet. It’s also not clear how this might, or might not, fit into the MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) certification tracks.

If you’re interested in taking these new Azure Administrator certification exams during the “Beta” phase, then you’ll find more information in the official announcement blog post from Microsoft Learning.

Transition from 70-533 Infrastructure Exam

The wording used by Microsoft in the announcement of the new Azure Administrator (AZ-100, AZ-101, and AZ-102) exams hints that the pre-existing 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam will be replaced by the AZ-100 Microsoft Azure Infrastructure and Deployment and AZ-101 Microsoft Azure Integration and Security exams.

The AZ-102 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Transition exam is being made available as a sort of “upgrade” exam to take if you’ve already passed the 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions certification exam. This new AZ-102 exam tests and validates the skills and objective areas that are covered on the AZ-100 and AZ-101 exams, but are not covered on the older 70-533 exam. This will provide an upgrade path to earn the new Azure Administrator certification.

Happy studying!

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Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP, HashiCorp Ambassador, and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to large enterprises. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.
HashiCorp Ambassador Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect