Passed Exam AZ-400: Microsoft Certified Azure DevOps Engineer Expert

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Introduction

Microsoft is keeping evolving their learning programs to help you and your career keep pace with today’s demanding IT environments. The new role-based certifications will help your career to keep pace with today’s business requirements. They are evolving their learning program to better offer what you need to skill up, prove your expertise to employers and peers, and get the recognition—and opportunities—you’ve earned. For more information about the new role-based certification, please check the following document to have a complete overview of the new Microsoft certification program.

After passing the Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert exam, as well as the Azure Developer Associate exam, the Microsoft Azure Administrator certification, the Microsoft Azure Security Engineer, and the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals exams. I decided to sit for the Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions exam which one of the exciting solutions to help you deliver software and deploy cloud resources.

Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps is a bundle of services to help developers and IT Pros to ship high-quality producers faster. It includes CI/CD pipelines (Azure Pipelines), visual reporting tools (Azure Boards), and code repositories (Azure Repos) for code management and version control. Azure DevOps will also support and help from a project management perspective that incorporates agile methodologies like Scrum and Kanban.

  • Continuous Integration or CI, is the process of automating the build and testing of the code every time a team member commits those changes to version control.
  • Continuous Delivery or CD, is the process to build, test, configure, and deploy from a build to a production environment.

According to Donovan Brown, Cloud Advocate Manager at Microsoft, he summarizes DevOps in one sentence:

DevOps is the union of people, process, and products to enable continuous delivery of value to the end users…

To get the Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification, you are required to pass only ONE prerequisite exam, the AZ-103: Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate OR the AZ-204: Microsoft Certified Azure Developer Associate.

Here is the full path to earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification:

I am so happy and grateful now that I passed the AZ-400: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions to become a Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert, I figured that I would share my experience in this article to help you prepare and tackle the AZ-400 exam successfully.

For the AZ-400 exam, I got 55 questions in total divided as follows:

  • 35 Multiple-Choice Questions.
  • 2 X Case Studies (9 questions).
  • 1 X hands-on lab with 11 tasks.

The total time for this exam is 180 minutes. The questions do pretty much match the list of skills measured below.

Skills measured on this exam

Being a DevOps Engineer on the Microsoft platform is a trending role that encompasses managing development teams, managing source code, automating builds, tests, packaging, versioning, and deployments. Typically a DevOps engineer is concerned with two pipelines: a continuous integration (CI) and a continuous delivery (CD). These two pipelines encompass code planning building and test for CI, and release, deploy, operations, and monitoring for CD. Becoming certified verifies and validates these skills, and indicates a certain level of expertise in this technology. To pass this exam there are many Azure capabilities and tools that must be mastered. Read below to learn more about how to prepare and tackle this exam.

This exam measures your ability to accomplish the technical topics listed below based on the latest update from Microsoft:

Design a DevOps Strategy (20-25%)

  • Recommend a migration and consolidation strategy for DevOps tools
  • Design and implement an Agile work management approach
  • Design a quality strategy
  • Design a secure development process (DevSecOps)
  • Design a tool integration strategy

Implement DevOps Development Processes (20-25%)

  • Design a version control strategy
  • Implement and integrate source control
  • Implement and manage build infrastructure
  • Implement code flow
  • Implement a mobile DevOps strategy
  • Managing application configuration and secrets

Implement Continuous Integration (10-15%)

  • Manage code quality and security policies
  • Implement a container build strategy
  • Implement a build strategy

Implement Continuous Delivery (10-15%)

  • Design a release strategy
  • Set up a release management workflow
  • Implement an appropriate deployment pattern

Implement Dependency Management (5-10%)

  • Design a dependency management strategy
  • Manage security and compliance

Implement Application Infrastructure (15-20%)

  • Design an infrastructure and configuration management strategy
  • Implement infrastructure as code (IaC)
  • Manage Azure Kubernetes Service infrastructure
  • Implement infrastructure compliance and security

Implement Continuous Feedback (10-15%)

  • Recommend and design system feedback mechanisms
  • Implement process for routing system feedback to development teams
  • Optimize feedback mechanisms

Exam Target Audience

Candidates for this exam are DevOps professionals who combine people, processes, and technologies to continuously deliver valuable products and services that meet end-user needs and business objectives. DevOps professionals streamline delivery by optimizing practices, improving communications and collaboration, and creating automation. They design and implement strategies for application code and infrastructure that allow for continuous integration, testing, delivery, monitoring, and feedback.

This exam is designed for candidates who are proficient with Agile practices. They must be familiar with both Azure administration and Azure development and experts in at least one of these areas. Azure DevOps professionals must be able to design and implement DevOps practices for version control, compliance, infrastructure as code, configuration management, build, release, and testing by using Azure technologies.

DevOps Engineers combine people, processes, and technologies to continuously deliver valuable products and services that meet end-user needs and business objectives. DevOps Engineers streamline delivery by optimizing practices, improving communications and collaboration, and creating automation. They design and implement strategies for application code and infrastructure that allow for continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous delivery, and continuous monitoring and feedback. DevOps Engineers must be proficient with Agile practices. They must be familiar with both Azure administration and Azure development and experts in at least one of these areas. Azure DevOps professionals must be able to design and implement DevOps practices for version control, compliance, infrastructure as code, configuration management, build, release, and testing by using Azure technologies.

Lessons Learned and Exam Preparation

Practice, practice and read… I cannot stress enough that hands-on experience and understanding all the concepts will help you to pass this exam. The key success to pass this exam is to work with Microsoft Azure on a daily basis and especially with Azure DevOps and ARM Templates. You can create your free Azure account today and then start practicing the latest and greatest Azure DevOps services (you can sign up for free now).

Based on my experience by taking this exam, you should be familiar with the following topics:

  • Role-based access and least privilege principles.
  • Testing procedures.
  • Branch policies and security.
  • Build and release pipelines.
  • Security procedures.
  • Package management.
  • Self-hosted agents.
  • Azure DevOps integrations with GitHub, Jenkins, Subversion, BitBucket, GitLab, etc.
    • You don’t need to configure these integrations, but you need to identify when you would use them.
  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC), ARM Templates, Terraform, Chef, Puppet, Ansible.
    • You can expect to see lots and lots of JSON, a fair amount of AzureRm (!) PowerShell and the most Azure CLI commands.
  • PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) with Azure Automation.
  • Azure Web App (App Services), Application Insights, Azure Functions, Azure DevTest Labs.
  • And a little bit of Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Docker, Azure Container Registry (ACR), Network Security Group (NSG), and Azure Monitor.

Note: If you are taking this exam during the pandemic (COVID-19) period, Microsoft worldwide learning is suspending all the performance-based lab items and save on usage uptick.

To prepare for this exam, there are a lot of materials you can go through. In this article, I will list all the free and paid resources so you can choose based on your preferred option.

Free

Starting with the free option, I highly recommend you to go through the following free Microsoft Azure DevOps courses developed by Microsoft so you get prepared for this exam:

I also use Microsoft Learn the new learning approach to explore more advanced Azure DevOps topics, I highly recommend to check the following three learning paths:

If you work for a Microsoft partner, you could also take the Azure DevOps Free Assessment which is part of the university partner program. The assessment consists of 32 questions to validate your knowledge before taking the real exam. The course code is 18473 (Azure DevOps Assessment).

If you are not a Microsoft partner, you can take the free DevOps Self-Assessment here.

You can also watch the Exam Prep session that was presented at Ignite 2019 to help you learn more about the AZ-400: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions exam that is part of the new Microsoft Azure Expert level certification. You will learn about how to approach studying for this new job role, and being successful in your exam endeavors.

Last but not least, I also recommend you to do all the hands-on labs for free here => (Azure DevOps Labs).

Paid

If you wish to go through training videos instead of reading, I highly encourage you to purchase the following courses to help you pass this exam successfully:

Practice Test

If you wish to validate your skills before taking the real exam, I highly encourage you to purchase the following practice tests:

Instructor-Led Training

Finally, If you prefer an instructor-led training course, you can find a learning Microsoft partner below:

If you are planning to take this exam… I wish you all the best and Happy Studying!!!

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

About Charbel Nemnom 559 Articles
Charbel Nemnom is a Cloud Architect, ICT Security Expert, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), totally fan of the latest's IT platform solutions, accomplished hands-on technical professional with over 17 years of broad IT Infrastructure experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems. Excellent communicator is adept at identifying business needs and bridging the gap between functional groups and technology to foster targeted and innovative IT project development. Well respected by peers through demonstrating passion for technology and performance improvement. Extensive practical knowledge of complex systems builds, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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