I’ve been studying for the MCSD: Azure Solutions Architect certification recently. First I passed the 70-532 and shared the resources I used for studying. This week I just passed the 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam, so it’s time for me to share what I used to study and successfully pass this exam.
Update January 2019: This exam and certification has been retired, and replaced with the new Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification.
Exam Target Audience
The 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions is targeted towards a IT Pro audience. If you already have experience implementing solutions on Azure then you’ll likely have an easier time studying, however, it’s not required. The exam assumes you are already familiar with networking, active directory, powershell and other general infrastructure topics.
Here’s a high level overview of the exam objectives, with the estimated percent of how many of the exam questions are on each topic:
- Implement websites (15-20%)
- Implement virtual machines (15-20%)
- Implement cloud services (15-20%)
- Implement storage (15-20%)
- Implement an Azure Active Directory (15-20%)
- Implement virtual networks (15-20%)
UPDATE Nov 2016: The 70-533 exam is being updated to include new exam objectives covering newer features and services in Microsoft Azure, like Azure Resource Manager (ARM) and others.
The full exam objectives are listed on the official page for the 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam.
Free Video Courses / Training
There are many, very good training courses on Azure available for Free! The top of my list are the videos at the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). However, there are many other excellent videos on all things Azure. Here’s a list of a few that I used while studying:
- Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (~6.5 hrs) via MVA
- Establish Microsoft Azure IaaS Technical Fundamentals (~5 hrs) via MVA
- Dive Deep into Networking Storage and Disaster Recovery Scenarios (~5 hrs) via MVA
- Optimize Workload Architecture and Administration Capabilities Within Azure (~5 hrs) via MVA
- Exam Prep Session for 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions (~1.5 hrs) via Channel9 from Microsoft Ignite 2015
- Azure Friday videos – there are MANY short videos hosted by Scott Hanselman. This is an excellent archive to go through!
- Channel9 Microsoft Azure videos – there are MANY videos on Channel9. This is an excellent archive to go through!
There are a few books on Microsoft Azure. The biggest one to help studying for this exam would be the “Exam Ref 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions” from Microsoft Press. This book is very condensed, too the point and covers the specific exam objectives very well. It’s also a very good reference for using the various PowerShell cmdlets.
Note: Do NOT rely too heavily on any single study resource, even the Exam Ref books.
If you’re new to Azure you’ll likely want to read / look at other books on Azure first, like the following Free eBooks:
- Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure” Free eBook via Microsoft Press
- “Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure” Free eBook via Microsoft Press
The Azure documentation is an excellent study resource. While the documentation does technically cover everything, the majority of the articles are still a little more Developer oriented. This would make it difficult to solely use the Azure documentation to study for this exam.
Basically, use the Azure documentation to help augment your studying, but don’t solely rely on it.
Get in the Azure Portal and install the PowerShell cmdlets and play! You’ll want to get in there and get some real, hands-on experience working with this stuff. You may not need to actually create and configure every feature, but definitely dig in and hit the high points.
To make this easier, Microsoft offers a Free Trial with $200 to spend on all Azure Services.
You’ll definitely want to play with the Azure Portals (current and preview) in addition to the Azure PowerShell cmdlets. You wont have to get to know the cross-platform, command-line Azure interface (Xplat CLI) as well as PowerShell, but you should play with that as well.
A good resource to use when studying is to get a good practice test to help validate you’ve studied the right materials. They can also help with memorizing some of the materials. They key is to memorize the material, and not the practice test questions themselves.
The MeasureUp practice test for this exam was released recently, so I was able to use it. FYI, I have no affiliation with MeasureUp. I just used their practice test to help study.
Another benefit of practice tests is you can get used to the general format of Microsoft certification exams, if you have never taken one before or it’s been awhile.
Exam Study Tips
Here’s a few tips of techniques I use when studying and preparing for certification exams:
- Make sure to go through each exam objective category and study until you’re comfortable with that topic.
- Use at minimum 3 study resources on each topic. The variety and repetition will help you retain everything.
- Play with stuff. “Book smarts” are good, but practical hands-on experience is better.
- Make flash cards and/or practice test questions to help memorizing the stuff that can be memorized.
- Don’t be afraid to fail an exam. You will learn what areas you need to focus on better and can always take it again.
- Give yourself a deadline. Once you’re in a comfortable study pace, estimate when you’ll be ready for the exam and schedule it.
- Get your family on board to support you spending a significant amount of time outside of work to study.
- Choose the online proctored exam option when scheduling the exam. This way you can take the exam in a less stressful environment that is the comfort of your own home.
Good Luck! I hope this resource list helps you pass the exam and earn your Azure certification!