Passed AZ-104 Exam: Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate @MicrosoftLearn

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In this article, I would share my experience and impressions to help you prepare and tackle the AZ-104 – Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate exam successfully.

User’s feedback

I am so happy and grateful that readers are finding my guide for this exam preparation is easy and useful.

You are welcome to share your feedbacks in the comment section below. Thank You!

Introduction

Microsoft is keeping evolving their learning programs to help you and your career keep pace with today’s demanding IT environments. The new updated role-based certifications will help you to keep pace with today’s business requirements. Microsoft Learning is constantly evolving its 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.

In January 2020, Microsoft announced new updates to several Azure and Data certifications which were released in March 2020. The certifications that you earned are not changing, but the exams required to earn the certifications are changed.

CertificationOld ExamNew ExamExpected Release
Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate AZ-103AZ-104March, 2020
Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer AssociateAZ-203AZ-204February 20, 2020
Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions ArchitectAZ-300 & AZ-301AZ-303 & AZ-304June, 2020

Last year, I passed the AZ-102 transition exam to earn the Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate. I decided to update my skills and take the new AZ-104 since Microsoft introduced a lot of new topics. I did the beta exam on May 28, 2020, and by the end of the exam, I received a message that the result won’t be available until two weeks after the exam’s live publication date. Additionally, you should receive the printed score report by email within eight weeks after the exam’s live publication date.

To get the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification, you are required to pass only ONE exam, the AZ-104: Microsoft Certified Azure Developer Associate.

I am so happy and grateful now that I passed the AZ-104 exam – Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator. I figured that I would share my experience and impressions in this article to help you prepare and tackle this exam successfully.

In June 2020, Microsoft released the AZ-104 for the public, and today I received the result with Passing Score including the performance by exam section as follows:

This will give you a detailed report to know in which area you need to develop your skills further, mine its Virtual Networking, this will also reflect your strength which is obvious to me Azure Backup and Monitoring where my area of expertise ;)

In this exam, I got around 62 questions including 3 case studies, and the total time for this exam is 180 minutes (3 hours) so you have enough time to finish it. However, the exam is very long and not easy. Azure exams are getting tougher!!!

The questions do pretty much match the list of skills measured below.

Exam Profile Audience

The exam profile audience for this exam is to be a subject matter expert in implementing, managing, and monitoring an organization’s Microsoft Azure environment.

Responsibilities for an Azure Administrator include implementing, managing, and monitoring identity, governance, storage, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment, plus provision, size, monitor, and adjust resources, when needed.

An Azure Administrator often serves as part of a larger team dedicated to implementing your organization’s cloud infrastructure.

A candidate for this exam should have at least six months of hands-on experience administering Azure, along with a strong understanding of core Azure services, Azure workloads, security, and governance. In addition, this role should have experience using PowerShell, Azure CLI, Azure portal, and Azure Resource Manager templates.

Skills measured on this exam

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

Links to relevant reading from the official Microsoft documentation for each skill tested are listed below to help you prepare:

Manage Azure identities and governance (15-20%)

Manage Azure AD objects

Manage role-based access control (RBAC)

Manage subscriptions and governance

Implement and manage storage (10-15%)

Manage storage accounts

Manage data in Azure Storage

Configure Azure files and Azure blob storage

Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (25-30%)

Configure VMs for high availability and scalability

Automate deployment and configuration of VMs

Create and configure VMs

Create and configure containers

Create and configure Web Apps

Configure and manage virtual networking (30-35%)

Implement and manage virtual networking

Configure name resolution

Secure access to virtual networks

Configure load balancing

Monitor and troubleshoot virtual networking

Integrate an on-premises network with an Azure virtual network

Monitor and back up Azure resources (10-15%)

Monitor resources by using Azure Monitor

Implement backup and recovery

Lessons Learned

As announced by Microsoft Worldwide learning due to the pandemic situation, it appears they have suspended performance-based lab questions given their need to reserve Azure capacity for paying customers. So you better get your exams registered as soon as possible to take advantage of this situation. The biggest subject areas that I saw on AZ-104 are networking and storage. You can expect a lot of reading and a lot of tabular analysis, so you need to prepare and be an expert on those two subjects.

The configuration-related items test whether you’ve got hands-on experience in the Azure portal. It’s one of those things where if you’ve done the work, you’ll recognize the correct answer right away. However, I would expect its content to change a bit. I sure hope Worldwide Learning cuts down some of the verbosity. Some of the case studies are way too big in my humble opinion.

I was also disappointed that I saw no JSON on the AZ-104 beta exam. Lots of Azure portal screenshots, a fair amount of Azure PowerShell, and no Azure CLI, I saw only one Kusto Query Language (KQL) question.

Overall, I think Microsoft Worldwide Learning is doing a good job of gradually shaping these exams to reflect real-world Azure practice scenarios. The AZ-104 objective domain is more logically organized now.

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 daily basis. You can create your free Azure account today and start practicing the new features.

To prepare for this exam, I use the official Microsoft Azure documentation which is a great resource to learn.

I also use Microsoft Learn the new learning approach to explore more advanced Azure Administrator topics in a structured way, I highly recommend to check the following modules:

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

  • AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator Microsoft Official Practice Test. The MeasureUp AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator practice test from mindhub is designed to help you prepare for and pass the Microsoft AZ-104 exam. This exam is aimed at Microsoft Azure Administrators who want to test their knowledge implementing, managing, and monitoring identity, governance, storage, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment, plus provision, size, monitor, and adjust resources, when needed.

Last but certainly not least, if you prefer an instructor-led training course, Microsoft released the AZ-104T00-A course. This course teaches IT Professionals how to manage their Azure subscriptions, secure identities, administer the infrastructure, configure virtual networking, connect Azure and on-premises sites, manage network traffic, implement storage solutions, create and scale virtual machines, implement web apps and containers, back up and share data, and monitor your solution. You can find a learning partner here.

Certification

Bypassing the AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator, you will earn the Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate certificate. The certification is valid only for 2 years.

I hope you enjoyed my AZ-104 certification experience and exam preparation. Did I miss any link, or do you have any recommended AZ-104 Microsoft Azure Administrator Certification Exam Study resources? Please let me know in the comment section 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-

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About Charbel Nemnom 569 Articles
Charbel Nemnom is a Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified 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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