The IT platform never stops changing and new technologies continue to emerge every day. What does this mean for you as for the technical specialist? It means that if you want to stay relevant to the IT industry, you need to keep learning throughout your life. IT education is a complicated thing, so if you are determined to bring your career to the new level, you can consider getting Microsoft certification.
Apart from being a huge software provider, Microsoft company also offers a credential program for IT specialists who want to start or continue their professional education. There are 4 levels of Microsoft credentials: MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate), MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate), MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert), MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer).
In this article, we will talk about the most popular Microsoft certifications of MCSA and MCSE level. Then, we will stop on some particular certification and take it as an example to give you a clear idea of the certification process. So, let’s start from certification paths.
MCSA certification path
MCSA is an associate-level credential path which includes certifications related to Cloud Platform, BI Reporting, Data Engineering, Machine Learning, Office 365, SQL Server, and many other technologies and products. This certification is perfect for novice IT specialists, and what’s more, it leads to a higher-level MCSE certification.
MCSE certification path
MCSE credential path is intended for specialists who possess the expert level of knowledge. This path includes certifications related to Business applications, Data Management and Analytics, Cloud Infrastructure, and more. This certification is a serious achievement in the IT industry. It is important to note, that MCSE certification cannot be obtained without prior MCSA certification.
Now, let’s see which Microsoft certifications are popular among IT specialists.
MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification
This associate-level certification qualifies you for the network specialist and systems administrator’s work. To get certified, you need to possess solid knowledge and skills related to the maintainingandmanagementof the Windows Server. The certification requires 3 exams:
Microsoft 70-410 exam
This test concentrates on the configuration and installation of Windows Server 2012in an enterprise environment. The topics include group policy, core network services, Active Directory, Hyper-V, and more.
Microsoft 70-411 exam
This test is all about the administration of Windows Server 2012. The objectives include the configuration of file services, print services, access, and network services. The exam also covers server maintenance and the configuration of Active Directory.
Microsoft 70-412 exam
This exam covers the configuration of advanced Windows Server 2012. The topics include information protection solutions, storage solutions, the configuration of High Availability, network services, file solutions, and more.
Microsoft 70-417 exam
This test is an upgrade to MCSA Windows Server 2012. It is intended for individuals who already have certification related to Windows Server 2008, 2003, 2000, or Windows XP. 70-417 is a comprehensive exam which includes the topics of 70-410, 70-411, and 70-412 exams.
MCSA: Windows Server 2012 certification is a stage that needs to be completed in order to get higher-level MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification (retires on December 31, 2018). To complete the MCSE path, you need to pass 1 exam from 10 offered.
MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification
This credential is a perfect choice for future database analysts and database developers. Certified individuals will be able to develop and maintain mission-critical environments. To get certified, you need to clear 3 exams:
Microsoft 70-461 exam
This exam focuses on querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014. The topics include database objects creation, data modification, troubleshooting and optimization of the server.
Microsoft 70-462 exam
This exam is dedicated to the administration of Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 databases. The test covers the instances and databases installation, configuration, and maintenance, data management, high availability implementation and more.
Microsoft 70-463 exam
This exam is all about the implementation of the Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014. The topics include data extraction and transformation, SSIS solutions, data quality solution building, and more.
MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification leads to MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certification. You will be offered a list of of13 options to choose one exam and pass it to get MCSE certified.
MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development certification
If you want to be a BI developer, MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development certification is a great choice for you. Certified professionals are able to transform, extract, and load data. They also possess data warehouse skills and can implement BI solutions. To attain this certification, you need to pass 2 exams: 70-767 and 70-768.
Microsoft 70-767 exam
This test covers the implementation of a Data Warehouse with the use of SQL. The topics include data cleansing, data warehouse implementation, and many more.
Microsoft 70-768 exam
This exam concentrates on the development of SQL data models. The topics cover the implementation and maintenance of the OLAP cubes, multidimensional data models, tabular data models, and more.
MCSA: SQL 2016 BI Development certification gives you the possibility to get MCSE: Data Management and Analytics credential. You will be offered a list of 13 choices. To become MCSE-certified, you need to pass one exam.
Now, let’s move to another popular certification MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure and consider it in more detail.
MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure: details
One of the most outstanding transformations in the IT field is the shift to the Cloud that the industry is experiencing today. The constant evolution of the Cloud brings the need to continue evolving by learning Microsoft Azure in order to ensure that your skills are always up to date. One of the ways to be in demand is to first attain MCSA certification related to Windows Server 2016, Cloud Platform, Linux on Azure or Windows Server 2012 and then move to MCSE level and pass 70-533 exam.
How important is it to pass the Microsoft 70-533 exam?
70-533 exam is one of the 10 tests offered to earn MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification, which authenticates your skills to manage a highly efficient and modern data center and proves that you possess the knowledge about cloud technologies, systems management, identity management, storage, virtualization, and networking.
Is this certification worth pursuing? The answer is yes because the Cloud Platform competency is ideal if you are looking to utilize the increasing demand for Infrastructure and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions built on the base of Microsoft Azure.
MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure certification qualify you for job roles such as cloud architect, cloud administrator, information and security analyst, and computer support specialist. You can see how rewarding this credential can be. But what does it take to earn it?
There are two steps:
1. Earn MCSA certification in Windows Server 2016, Cloud Platform, and Linux on Azure or Windows Server 2012
2. Pass one of the ten offered tests
Now when you know all the important steps, you are ready to pursue your MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure credential. Here is what you need to know about the 70-533 exam, one of the key tests to help you realize your dream.
What does 70-533 exam entail?
Microsoft 70-533 exam is ideal for IT professionals experienced in implementing the infrastructure solutions in Microsoft Azure. To qualify for the exam, you should have the experience in implementing and monitoring cloud and hybrid solutions besides being familiar with supporting application lifecycle.
The test covers several topics including Designing and Implementing of Azure App Service Applications (10-15%), Creating and Managing Azure Resource Manager Virtual Machines (20-25%), Designing and Implementing of Storage Strategy (10-15%), Implementing Virtual Networks (15-20%), Designing and Deploying of ARM Templates (10-15%), Managing Azure Security and Recovery Services (25-30%), Managing Azure Operations (5-10%) and Managing Azure Identities (5-10%). However, you can meet some other topics during your exam since it is never limited to the mentioned domains.
Microsoft also recommends that you take Course 20533C: Implementing Azure Infrastructure Solutions before looking to schedule the test.
Microsoft 70-533 exam basics
Microsoft 70-533 is a 125-minute duration test which consists of 40-60 questions. However, 180-minute seat time is recommended to let you have ample time for engaging in other important activities pertaining to the exam process such as reading the instructions.
As a top certification provider, Microsoft does not reveal the test format to its candidates prior to the exam. Nonetheless, some of the question formats you can expect include multiple-choice, multiple answer and sample directions.
Microsoft recommends the candidates to get some hands-on experience with the product in addition to using the specified training resources in order to prepare adequately for this test. The exam costs $165, but additional charges may apply in some countries or regions.
Just like with most of the exams provided by Microsoft, you can take 70-533 at a test center near your location or through the online-proctored delivery. Now with the second option, you can take the test in the comfort of your office or home while being monitored via a webcam and microphone. You will need to check if your computer is compatible with the proctoring software before scheduling an exam.
So, what happens if you fail this exam? Well, passing this test should be your top priority because a retake comes with dire consequences in addition to extra expenses.
Firstly, you will have to wait for 14 days from the day you fail the exam to schedule a retake. Even though you can take the test up to 3 times in a single year from the date of your first attempt, you will have to pay the exam price each time you take it. Exam retake is a costly affair, to say the least.
How to prepare for 70-533 exam?
It would be unusual to take a test if you don’t know what to read. It is very important to check the objectives of this exam on the Microsoft website. You can then have a checklist of the topics to be covered to keep track of your learning.
Azure documentation can also be a vital tool for your 70-533 exam preparation. The best strategy to apply while using this tool is reading, implementing, and writing. You read the documentation, implement the solutions described, and write about your process and results.
Another valuable preparation method is online training. There are plenty of courses available for your preparation such as the following: Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, Microsoft Azure Virtual Networks, Microsoft Azure Identity, Microsoft Azure Storage, Microsoft Azure Apps and Services, Databases in Azure, and Automating Azure Workloads. These courses can help you focus on the main objectives of the exam, and you can definitely buy more than one course.
The Exam Ref is the formal study guide for Microsoft Certification exams. The “Exam Ref 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure”, (second edition) is ideal for your 70-533 preparation. This book not only covers the specific domains of the exam but also contains strategic case scenarios and experiments for top-grade preparation. This guide will surely increase your chances of success in the exam and equip you with the job-related skills.
The final stage of preparation before your test is taking practice questions. It’s vital to take practice tests for any Microsoft exam once you have learned all the concepts to check if you are ready for your exam. Practice tests are the best solution for test-takers as they help to get used to the exam pattern and identify the weak spots in preparation. You need to ensure that you take as many practice tests as possible to be completely ready for the exam. Do not underestimate practice tests – they will give you the exact feeling of the real exam.
To wrap it up, it is evident that pursuing Microsoft certification can be a fruitful decision. But again, just like with most of the credentials, it is never going to be easy. However, the aforementioned tips will truly help you pass any Microsoft exam and take a huge step towards realizing your IT career goals.