Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service used by many companies, developers, and engineers for testing, building, deploying, and managing applications. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services like databases and software. An example of an everyday cloud computing service is email.
People, companies, and governments use cloud computing services like Azure because it is less expensive than setting up personal data centers. It also provides other benefits like speed, reliability, and performance.
Reliable cloud computing, for an example, involves providing access to an everyday service like photo storage. Reliability means you can access your digital photos from any device, at any time, and from any location without interruptions or downtime.
There are many reasons why you should learn cloud computing with Azure vs AWS. Here are five of the top ones.
- Career Opportunities and Advancement
Having Microsoft Azure certifications can help you obtain jobs not only in pure cloud computing roles, but in development, security, AI, solutions, and DevOps. Certification can help you stand out from the competition and bring more value to your company.
- Structured Learning
Microsoft offers structured learning paths in training for Azure, from beginner to professional, and from student to solutions architect. You can get started for free with a student account available on the Microsoft Azure Student Developer Resources website.
- Polish and Improve in DevOps
One of the learning paths available on Microsoft’s site is Introduce Devops Dojo, which helps you learn how to create DevOps teams to support a business. There are also other modules as it relates to DevOps on the site.
Online security today has become crucial for businesses, so the demand to fill security roles is becoming more available. Learning paths on how to protect APIs to securing cloud applications can be found in Microsoft’s step by step guidance.
- Better .NET Integration
If you are a developer familiar with .NET, you will love the seamless process of integrating another Microsoft-related product in your app. Azure takes away a lot of the complexity in integrating with another cloud service.
How Long Does it Take to Learn Azure?
The time it takes to be certified in Azure depends on your technical level and which certification you are interested in obtaining.
However, if you are already a developer, freeCodeCamp says it should take you about eight hours to study for the AZ-900, 15 hours if you are a recent bootcamp grad, and 20 hours if you are in a non-technical role like sales or management.
The instructor in the video also recommends that you study for up to three hours a day for seven days straight, without taking any day breaks in between to be proficient in Azure.
You are not required to have a fundamentals certification to obtain higher level or specialized Azure certification, but it is highly recommended, especially if you are new to cloud computing. If you are not new to cloud computing, feel free to skip ahead to obtain the Azure certification of interest.
The Best Microsoft Azure Courses and Training
The best courses and training to learn Microsoft Azure is within Microsoft itself. The following are popular courses that can be found on their website for free.
This is the course to take for anyone new to cloud computing. It is the first of six in the learning path to prepare for the Azure Fundamentals certification.
This is the first of four learning paths to prepare for the Dat Fundamentals certification. In this course you will learn core data concepts as it relates to the cloud.
The first of five learning paths to the Azure AI Fundamentals certification. This course introduces AI, machine learning, computer vision, and other concepts as it relates to the cloud.
Browse the available certifications on Microsoft and scroll down on each for the courses section for more information on popular free and paid courses.
Microsoft Azure Cloud Engineering Books
‘Exam Ref Az-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals’, by Jim Cheshire
This book prepares you to take the Azure Fundamentals exam required for the certification. It describes cloud concepts, Azure services, security, compliance, and more. The author of this book is currently an engineer in Azure App Services, and has written over fifthteen technological books.
‘Azure for Architects – Second Edition: Implementing cloud design, DevOps, containers, IoT, and serverless solutions on your public cloud’, by Ritesh Modi
This book is by a former Microsoft Senior Technical Evangelist who has taught Microsoft products to technologists for many years. This book begins with an extensive introduction into the designing and architectural aspects available with Azure, and covers the entire serverless stack available.
‘Hands-On Cloud Administration in Azure: Implement, monitor, and manage important Azure services and components including IaaS and PaaS’, by Mustafa Toroman
This book begins with an introduction to basic cloud fundamentals and key cloud computing concepts and services. In this book you will also discover how to host, monitor, and troubleshot web apps in Azure.
There are different levels and specializations of certifications available as Azure covers many different cloud computing services to businesses and the public. From Devops to AI, you can choose the speciality according to your background and interest.
This certification focuses on cloud concepts, core services, security, and lifecycle. We recommend you start with this certification if you are new to working with Azure. This certification can help you prepare for other Azure certifications, even if you are already familiar with cloud-based computing.
This certification focuses on core data concepts, working with relational and nonrelational data on Azure, and analytics workload. This certification is for those who are beginning to become familiar with using data in the cloud, and is for those who are already familiar with data relational and nonrelational data outside of the cloud.
This certification focuses on AI workloads, machine learning and NLP on Azure, and computer vision. This certification does not require you to have a technical background, having prior experience is beneficial. It is a good fundamental certificate to obtain to prepare you for advanced Azure certificates that relate to data science or AI engineering.
This certification focuses on data storage solutions, processing, security, and the design of the three. It currently consists of two separate exams: Implementing a Azure Data Solution, which measures skills related to data storage, processing, and optimization solutions and Designing an Azure Data Solution, which measures skills related to the design of data storage and processing solutions as well as security on Azure.
This certification focuses on the implementation of data platform resources and environment security, and query performance optimization. Those interested in obtaining this certification are usually already DBAs or in DBA-related roles.
This certification focuses on setting up a machine learning workspace, running experiments, and deploying models. It is recommended that you have knowledge and familiarity in data science, Python, and machine learning prior to taking the exam needed for this certification.
This certification consists of two exams. The first, in Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies, is where the test taker is measured on their ability to implement and monitor the infrastructure, as well as implement security solutions, and manage data platforms.
The second exam is the Microsoft Azure Architect and Design where the test taker will be measured on their ability to design data storage, and business continuity. This certificate is for those who have advanced knowledge and experience in IT, and with expertise in Azure administration, development, and DevOps.
This certification currently requires a prerequisite of the Azure Administration Associate or Azure Developer Associate certifications. If you are previously certified, you are eligible to take the Designing and Implementing DevOps Solutions exam for this certificate. The exam measures a test taker’s ability to define and implement continuous integration, continuous delivery, and release management strategy.
Even though this certification does not require any other certificate prerequisites it is highly recommended that interested parties either an Azure Administration Associate or an Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification, as well as SAP HANA and Linux.
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Jobs in Need of Azure Professionals
According to the Linkedin job board, there are over 52,000 Azure-related jobs, about 14,000 of which are entry-level roles. Some entry level job titles included:
Web Applications Developer
Junior System Administrator
Cloud Native Application Arch Specialist
Java Cloud Developer
Azure Cloud Programmer
There are also over 300 intern-level Azure related roles from software to data engineer.
Online Microsoft Azure Resources
Taking advantage of Microsoft’s student developer resources is a great way to begin learning what you need to be certified in Azure.
All you need is a student email and a phone number for account verification to get started for free and earn $100 in Azure credits good for up to one year. Other perks include access to hands on learning modules which do not count against the $100 Azure credit, and in-browser access to Microsoft tools.
There are two ways to learn on the Microsoft Learn platform for the Azure certifications, the first is online, which is free, the second is instructor led which is paid.
Andrew Brown has a great video on Azure fundamentals on freeCodeCamp with great comments from viewers stating how they used this video to pass the exam for the fundamental certification. The freeCodeCamp nonprofit has helped many people break into tech with their free curriculum and support from within their community.
Cloud Academy also has a Microsoft Azure Training Library so students can take advantage of similar learning paths offered on the Microsoft website.
The Azure Tech Community created a repo where you can find a collection of labs demonstrating how to build Open Source apps with Azure and other Microsoft products. For Azure in particular there is a lab on how to use Azure functions to build a RESTful API which is a prerequisite for its related Angular app.
Another related app includes one for Python Flask which also includes multiple resources for reference.
People, companies, and governments use cloud computing services like Azure because it is less expensive than setting up personal data centers. Having Azure skills as a developer or software or data engineer can help accelerate your career to make you more competitive in the job market. There are also opportunities to learn Azure for free if you are a student.
The Microsoft Learn platform provides a wealth of learning paths both free and paid for you to gain the skills you need to incorporate cloud computing in the knowledge, skills, and abilities of your resume.
It is recommended to begin with the Azure Fundamentals certificate before attempting to obtain any upper level certification, especially if you are new to cloud computing. The Azure fundamentals video by freeCodeCamp is an excellent place to start learning these fundamentals to prepare for the exam.
Cloud computing is an on demand skill that can help launch or advance your career. Learn today.
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