Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Top 5 Microsoft Azure Certifications for 2018

Top 5 Microsoft Azure Certifications for 2018

2017 saw a rapid increase in cloud adoption, with UK enterprise cloud adoption reaching 88%, according to the Cloud Industry Forum. And it doesn’t look like it will end there – as of January 2018, 96% of businesses worldwide have fully or partially moved their infrastructure to the cloud (Right Scale, 2018).

Besides increase in agility, mobility and cost-efficiency, many businesses are migrating to the cloud as a platform for innovation. The cloud has accelerated the development of AI solutions through affordable parallel processing and better Big Data, allowing not only larger multinationals but smaller SMEs and start-ups to use this scalable infrastructure, optimised for Machine Learning.

With Microsoft Cloud Services’ rapid growth and a rising gap in cloud expertise, Microsoft launched streamlined pathways designed to build your Azure skills and offer courses to match your interest and experience.

Microsoft’s new MCSA and MCSE tracks mean that professionals now get more choice in choosing the knowledge areas required to achieve their certifications. But with so options to achieve your Azure certification, which one should you choose?

To help you decide which pathway is best for you, we’ve compiled a list of Microsoft Azure certifications.

MCSA: Cloud Platform

Microsoft’s MCSA: Cloud Platform certification demonstrates your expertise in applying and bringing the benefits of Microsoft Azure cloud to your business.

This certification is unique in that it’s currently the only MCSA which offers the elective setup, which mean that you can choose two exams of the following four:

70-532 - Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

Exam 70-532 aligns to the Course 20532, where you’ll learn how to deploy and manage Azure web apps, functions, logic, mobile apps and service fabric. This course is designed for a developer audience with experience in .NET coding and DevOps, as many exam questions require a basic understanding of DevOps to successfully answer.

70-533 - Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

Exam 70-333 aligns to Course 20533C and teaches you the skills you need to plan, implement and manage of virtual machines (VMs) and networks.

The exam assumes that you are already familiar with networking, active directory, PowerShell and several other infrastructure topics. Experience with implementing an infrastructure solution in Azure, although not mandatory, is highly recommended.

70-535 - Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

Exam 70-535 is intended for architects with experience in building infrastructure and applications on the Microsoft Azure platform. Course 40442A aligns to exam 70-535 teaches you to define the appropriate cloud native, migration and hybrid cloud solutions to meet business requirements throughout the solution lifecycle.

To take this exam, you should have a thorough understanding of most services offered on Azure and should be able to understand DevOps technologies.

Passing exams 70-532 and 70-533 provides foundation knowledge of Azure, which is further developed in this course.

70-537 - Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack

This new exam which aligns to Course 20537A, recently replaced exam 70-246 and 70-247 and validates your ability to deploy and configure a Hybrid Cloud environment using Azure Stack, Microsoft Azure’s Hybrid cloud platform.

Passing this exam proves you have the skills to manage a variety of Azure Services and have the knowledge to integrate them with Azure Stack.

Achieving the MSCA: Cloud Platform is a prerequisite to the MCSE: Cloud Platform and infrastructure certification.

MCSA: Linux on Azure

With over 30% of Azure virtual machines running on Linux Servers, Microsoft have made a conscious effort to combine the technologies, introducing the MCSA: Linux on Azure certification towards the end of 2015. This MCSA provides Linux specialists with a path to combine their Linux skills with the Azure platform.

Achieve this MCSA and you’ll learn how to design, architect, implement and maintain complex, cloud enabled Linux solutions using Microsoft Azure. You’ll also study Azure’s key features incorporating Linux, including Windows PowerShell, Azure Active Directory, virtual machines and virtual networks.

Created in partnership with The Linux Foundation, this unique certification requires you to pass two exams - The Linux Foundation’s Certified System Administrator (LFCS) and Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions (Exam 70-533).

Achieving the MCSA: Linux on Azure also acts as a prerequisite to pursue MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure.

MCSA: Machine Learning

Build your professional career in Machine Learning and Data Science with Microsoft’s MCSA: Machine Learning. Achieve this MCSA and you’ll learn how to use Microsoft Azure cloud services to build and deploy intelligent solutions for your business.

To achieve this MCSA, you must pass two exams - Exam 70-773: Analysing Big Data with Microsoft R and Exam 70-774: Perform Cloud Data Science with Azure Machine Learning.

The MCSA: Machine Learning is designed for data scientists or analysts looking to enhance their knowledge on Big Data with Microsoft R.

Microsoft MCSA: Office 365

As more organisations move their workloads onto cloud-hosted applications, this MCSA provides the knowledge and skills needed to effectively transition to and administer cloud-hosted business apps with Microsoft Azure.

Achieving an MCSA: Office 365 Certification qualifies you as a software as a service (SaaS) or cloud administrator, skilled in managing Office 365 business productivity.

This certification requires you pass two exams:
  • Exam 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements 
  • Exam 70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services 

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure

The MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification is aimed at those looking to become cloud administrators, architects, or system administrators. It is the highest level cloud certification for Azure and proves that you have the skills you need to run a highly efficient and modern data centre across business units.

You’ll become an expert with key server and cloud technologies such as virtualisation, storage and networking.

The path to MCSE is now faster than ever - and that’s without even considering Firebrand’s accelerated courses.

To achieve the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification, you’ll first need to take one of the following 4 MCSA pathways:
  • MCSA: Cloud Platform
  • MCSA: Linux on Azure 
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2016 
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012 

Once you’ve completed your MCSA, you’ll only need one additional elective to boost your certification to an MCSE!

MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure offers 10 elective exam options to achieve the certification, allowing full flexibility to tailor your certification based on your expertise and interests. Some of these electives are exam requirements for the MCSA: Cloud Platform and MCSA: Linux on Azure certifications mentioned above. Note that you can’t take the same elective exam you took to achieve your MCSA certification.

The 10 electives are:

1. Exam 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

2. Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

3. Exam 70-535 Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

4. Exam 70-537 Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack

5. Exam 70-744 Securing Windows Server 2016

Course 20744A, which aligns to exam 70-744, emphasises Microsoft's focus on security in both on-premise and cloud environments, teaching professionals how to secure Windows Server 2016 and harden server environments.

This exam proves you have the skills to apply a threat detection solution, implement Advanced Threat Analysis and understand Operations Management Suite security solutions.

6. Exam 70-473 Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions

Exam 70-473 is ideal for professionals looking to learn skills in Azure SQL and VMs. The course aligned to the exam, 40441A, focuses on the future of databases in the cloud and provides you with the knowledge to design and implement cloud data platform solutions using SQL server on premise.

This exam is considered comparatively easier than exams 70-532, 70-533 and 70-535, however basic knowledge of Azure is highly recommended.

7. Exam 70-475 Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions

Targeted towards data management professionals, architects, developers and scientists, with experience in designing big data solutions on Microsoft Azure, courses 552241 and 552242 prove your skills in designing and implementing analytical solutions with Big Data on Microsoft Azure.

8. Exam 70-745 Implementing a Software-Defined Datacenter

Geared toward IT professionals with experience in building, securing and managing Software-Defined Networking environments, exam 70-745/course 20745, validates your skills and ability to manage a software defined data centre using System Center 2016 Virtual Machine Manager.

9. Exam 70-413 Designing and Implementing a Server Infrastructure

Exam 70-413/Course 20413C is designed to develop administrators’ hands-on skills and expertise in maintaining a Windows Server 2012 infrastructure in an enterprise-scaled, highly virtualised environment and is an elective to achieve the MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure.

Achieving this exam validates your ability to plan design and deploy a physical logical Windows Server 2012 R2 enterprise infrastructure.

10. Exam 70-414 Implementing an Advanced Server Infrastructure

Exam 70-414 covers advanced topics that IT professionals encounter in enterprise environments and develops your understanding of planning, implementing and managing Microsoft-based infrastructure. You’ll gain the skills you need to implement an advanced server infrastructure based on Windows Server 2012.

Before taking course 20414C and exam-70-414, you should have a thorough understanding of basic server infrastructure, as you’ll be tested on more advanced server infrastructure skills.

Although electives, exams 70-413 and 70-414 teach you about Windows Sever 2012 - an older and out-dated technology. If you're interested in gaining knowledge about Windows Server, Microsoft's MCSA: Windows Server 2016 may be a more relevant certification.