There’s no better way to prove your expertise with Microsoft technologies than earning a Microsoft certification. The certification exams are difficult as they really test your experience and expertise with Microsoft products. Also, some certifications even require multiple exams to earn. However, Microsoft isn’t very open with the numbers of how many people have earned each of the certifications. I’ve done some digging and have found some information on what the most popular Microsoft certifications are.

Microsoft Certification Job Roles

Microsoft has their certification paths broken out into individually defined job roles. Each job role for Microsoft certification is meant to map directly to common job roles in the IT industry. This keeps things easily relatable so you can find the Microsoft certification path(s) that best fit your own job role and responsibilities.

The Microsoft job roles for their certifications are as follows:

  1. Administrator
    An Administrator role will implement, monitor, and maintain Microsoft solutions.
  2. AI Engineer
    An AI Engineer role will use Cognitive Services, Machine Learning, and Knowledge Mining to architect and implement Microsoft AI solutions.
  3. App Maker
    The App Maker role will build apps with low-code techniques to simplify, automate, and transform business tasks and processes.
  4. Business User
    The Business User role will use Microsoft applications to move your business forward, using tools like Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, AI, and more.
  5. Data Analyst
    The Data Analyst role will make data easy to understand through designing and building data models to drive meaningful business value.
  6. Data Engineer
    The Data Engineer role will design and implement the management, monitoring, security, and privacy of data using the full stack of data sciences.
  7. Data Scientist
    The Data Scientist role will apply machine learning techniques to train, evaluate, and deploy models that solve business problems.
  8. Developer
    The Developer role will design, build, test, and maintain cloud solutions.
  9. DevOps Engineer
    The DevOps Engineer role will combine people, process, and technologies to continuously deliver valuable products and services that meet end users needs.
  10. Functional Consultant
    The Functional Consultant role will leverage Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform to anticipate and plan for customer needs.
  11. Security Engineer
    The Security Engineer role will implement security controls and threat protection, manage identity and access, and protect data, applications, and networks.
  12. Solution Architect
    The Solution Architect role will design cloud and hybrid solutions with expertise in compute, network, storage, and security.

“91% of certified IT professionals say certification has given them increased confidence to do their jobs.”

2021 Pearson Vue Value of Certification

Top 13 Most Popular Microsoft Certifications

If you’re earning a certification to help your careers, then you probably aren’t very concerned with the number of people that have achieved that certification. After all, if it offers you a benefit, then does it really matter how many other people have earned that credential? Well, it might matter to you under certain circumstances.

Here are a few circumstances where it may be good to know which are the most popular Microsoft certifications:

  • If you are looking to make your resume standout, then you may want to obtain the certification that others being considered for the job may already have.
  • if you are looking to differentiate yourself, then you may want to obtain a certification that’s not as popular to show you have a skillset that may not be so common in other candidates.

Whatever your personal reason is to find out what Microsoft certifications are most popular, the following list should be interesting to you. The following is the list of the most popular Microsoft Azure certifications amongst IT Pros and Developers.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

The AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification exam is geared towards candidates with non-technical backgrounds looking to demonstrate their foundational knowledge of cloud services, in addition to how those services are provided within the Microsoft Azure cloud. These candidates includes those involved in selling or purchasing cloud based solutions and services or have some involvement in cloud based services and solutions. It also includes those with a technical background looking to validate their foundational level knowledge of the cloud.

No technical IT experience is required for this exam, but some general IT knowledge would certainly be beneficial.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

The AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator certification exam is geared towards candidates with expertise implementing, managing, and monitoring an organization’s Microsoft Azure environment, including virtual networks, storage, compute, identity, security, and governance. Azure administrators are professionals that serve as part of a larger team to implement the cloud infrastructure needed for an organization. They will coordinate with other roles on the team to deliver Azure networking, security, database, application development, and DevOps solutions.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals

The DP-900 Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals certification exam is geared towards candidates with a solid foundation and understanding of core data concepts, such as relational data, non-relational data, big data, and analytics. They also must have familiarity with the general responsibilities, roles, and tasks in the realms of data and data analytics.

Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals

The AI-900 Microsoft Azure AI Fundamentals certification exam will validate your mastery of basics in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and can help jump-start your career and get ready to dive deeper into other technical opportunities Azure has to offer. This certification will prove you have the AI skills it takes to build a better world through Azure AI, and validates foundational knowledge of machine learning (ML) and AI concepts, along with related Microsoft Azure services.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert

The Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification is earned by passing the AZ-305 Designing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam, and already passing the AZ-104 Azure Administrator exam as a prerequisite. Candidates for this certification are expected to have subject matter expertise in designing cloud and hybrid solutions that run on Microsoft Azure, including compute, network, storage, monitoring, and security. Additional responsibilities of this role include advising stakeholders and translating business requirements into designs for secure, scalable, and reliable Azure solutions.

Microsoft Certified: Power Platform Fundamentals

The PL-900 Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals certification exam will validate your knowledge in building solutions with Microsoft Power Platform, including familiarity in automating business processes with Power Automate, and create simple Power Apps experiences. It is recommended that you have a familiarity with computer technology, data analytics, cloud computing, and the internet before starting this certification.

Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

The SC-900 Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals certification exam will validate that you have a firm grasp of a range of topics around cybersecurity. Including demonstrating your knowledge of Microsoft Security, compliance, and identity (SCI) solutions, and an understanding of how Microsoft SCI solution provide holistic, end-to-end cybersecurity capabilities.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

The AZ-204 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure certification exam will validate your skills as a cloud developer in Microsoft Azure. It will validate your proficiency in Azure SDKs, data storage options, data connections, APIs, app authentication and authorization, compute, and container deployment, debugging, performance tuning, and monitoring.

Microsoft Certified: Power BI Data Analyst Associate

The PL-300 Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst certification exam will validate your expertise in the fundamental understanding of data repositories and data processes, both on-premises and in the cloud, as well as being a subject matter expert that can enable an organization to maximize the value of their data assets by using Power BI.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate

The DP-203 Microsoft Data Engineering on Microsoft Azure certification exam will validate you have the subject matter expertise to integrate, transform, and consolidate data from various structured and unstructured data systems into structures that are suitable for building analytics solutions.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate

The AZ-500 Microsoft Azure Security Technologies certification exam is geared towards Security Engineers who implement security controls, maintain the security posture, manages identity and access, and protects data, applications, and networks. These candidates should be able to identify and remediate vulnerabilities by using a variety of security tools, implement threat protection, and respond to security incident escalations.

Azure Security Engineers will generally serve as part of a larger team that’s dedicated to managing cloud-based systems and security. They might also be involved in securing hybrid cloud environments as part of an end-to-end infrastructure.

Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert

The AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions certification exam is geared towards DevOps Professionals (or Site Reliability Engineers / SREs) 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.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate

The DP-100 Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure certification exam validates your expertise as a subject matter expert in applying data science and machine learning to implement and run machine learning workloads on Microsoft Azure. This role includes responsibilities for designing and creating a suitable working environment for data science workloads, exploring data, training machine learning models, implementing pipelines, running jobs to prepare for production; as well as managing, deploying, and monitoring scalable machine learning solutions.

The above list of the most popular Microsoft certifications was updated January 30, 2023, and gathered using information shown by Credly for the “most popular” certifications issued for the Microsoft organization. It’s worth noting that I selectively did not include the Microsoft Office certifications in this list to focus primarily on the cloud.

“74% of certified IT professionals say they have greater work autonomy and independence.”

2021 Pearson Vue Value of Certification
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