Recently, Microsoft announced some major changes to their certification program. These changes include retiring many of the existing certifications and exams, and releasing brand new exams and certifications as replacements that follow more of a “job-role” oriented path. These new job-role based certification paths are really great, but this leaves many with existing certifications in a bit of a confused state. Fortunately, Microsoft is offering “Transition” exams that you can take to easily upgrade to the new certification paths if you have previously been certified in Microsoft Azure.

On December 31, 2018, the three existing primary Microsoft Azure certification exams are being retired. These are the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions, 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Solutions, and 70-535 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions certification exams. This can be frustrating for some, but this exam retirement is actually a good thing as these exams were merely a part of larger certifications previously, however, the new certification paths offer replacements that earn you a full certification for each of these 3 expertise areas.

If you have not previously passed the older exams (70-532, 70-533, and 70-535) then I would recommend focusing on the new certification paths instead. However, if you have already passed any of these 3 exams previously, then you have a different option that is the “Transition” exams from Microsoft. The “Transition” exams offer an upgrade path of sorts to go from the expertise proven by passing the old exams and proving your current Microsoft Azure expertise by passing a single exam to earn the latest related certification.

The “Transition” certification exams Microsoft is offering for Microsoft Azure certification is as follows:

  • For IT Pros: The AZ-102 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Transition exam can be taken by individuals who have previously passed the old 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam. This will upgrade, or Transition, your certification to the newer Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification.
  • For Developers: The AZ-203 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure certification exam can be taken to earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification. Regardless if you’ve taken 70-532 or not, this single exam will earn the new certification.
  • For Architects: The AZ-302 Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Certification Transition exam can be taken by individuals who have previously passed the old 70-535 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam. This will upgrade, or Transition, your certification to the newer Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification.

For those of you who have previously passed the 70-534 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions exam, there is no upgrade / transition path. The 70-534 exam content was too outdated and is the reason why it was replaced with the 70-535 exam about a year ago. The difference between what was covered on the 70-534 and the current AZ-100/AZ-101 exams for the latest certification are too great, so you are better off just taking the latest exams to prove and demonstrate your expertise anyway.

For those of you who have passed one of the more Data and Big Data focused Microsoft Azure exams, there isn’t any upgrade / transition option available yet. The reason for this is that there has not been any new role-based Data or Big Data focused certification paths announced by Microsoft yet. We will all just have to wait a bit longer to hear more about what Microsoft has planned for Data Professionals.

Keep in mind that these Transition exams are only available for a limited time. Originally, Microsoft announced plans to retire the 2 Transition exams listed above on March 31, 2019. However, based on community feedback, Microsoft has announced that they changed plans and are now looking to retire the Transition exams on June 30, 2019. If you’re looking to upgrade / transition your Microsoft Azure certifications, then you’ll want to take the Transition exam for your path before they are retired. Once the retirement date passes, you will no longer be able to take the Transition exams, and will need to instead take the 2 required exams for the certification path you are pursuing.

I hope this clears up some confusion people have about the Transition exams for the new job-role based Microsoft Azure certifications from Microsoft. Happy studying, and good luck on your exam(s)!

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