Taking certification courses, like the Microsoft Azure Administrator AZ-103, is a way for those interested in cloud computing IT fields to improve their skills and advance their careers.
Microsoft is recognized as one of the foremost cloud computing platforms and for anyone wanting a career in the field of cloud computing, obtaining AZ-103 certification is a good first step.
Microsoft has retired AZ-100 and AZ-101 and replaced them with AZ-103 certification. The new exam includes the skills of both, with most of the revised exam coming from AZ-100.
Questions: The exam consists of about 40-60 questions, some of which are case studies with several questions and there are also stand-alone questions. Two labs contain about 14 tasks altogether.
Time: The exam takes 180 minutes
Scoring: You need to score a minimum of 700 out of 1000 to pass the exam. Your marks are displayed a few minutes after you submit the exam but for a detailed report, you have to wait a few days. A scorecard gives you details of your overall performance.
Fees: The exam fee differs with location, so you need to check this before you start your exam preparation. In the U.S., the cost is $165.
Validity: The exam is valid for two years.
How to prepare
The best way to prepare is to take a practice test. An AZ-103 practice test is available at IT Exams and you can view all the exam questions, answers and explanations for free.
Before taking the practice exam, read the MS official documentation and take notes. Focus on the areas you are not as sure about because unless you have a good understanding of Azure basics and a solid foundation in related technologies, you’re unlikely to pass.
Microsoft publishes some labs on Github and you should do these if you have time.
Forums and study groups can help you to prepare by connecting you with others going through the same journey as you. You can ask others questions about areas you don’t understand and help others with answers to their questions.
What the exam tests
You will need some prior experience with the Azure Portal and ARM templates as well as cloud infrastructure, operating systems, virtualization, networking, and storage structures. Proficiency in using PowerShell and the Command Line Interface will help.
The exam measures your ability to accomplish various technical tasks: the management of subscriptions and resources, the implementation and management of storage, the deployment and management of virtual machines, the configuration and management of virtual networks as well as the management of identities.
Scheduling your exam
To register your exam, you need to go to the Microsoft portal. Click on the “schedule exam” link and fill in your details. Your registration is complete once payment of your exam fee is confirmed.
Exam retake policy
If you don’t pass the AZ-103 exam on your first attempt, it is possible to retake it. Don’t try to retake it until you’re sure you’re fully prepared. You can retake it after 24 hours but if you fail again, you have to wait at least 14 days before you retake it again.
You also have to wait for 14 days between taking it a fourth or fifth time and you can’t take the exam more than five times a year.
Taking and passing the AZ-103 validates your technical skills and provides you with global recognition. The need for Azure administrators is increasing rapidly as more and more businesses use cloud computing. This certification can lead to an increase in job prospects and earning potential.