AZ-204 Study Guide: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure

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Published on | Updated on April 7, 2021

7 Min. Read

Introduction

Microsoft is keeping evolving its 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 transition exam AZ-202 to earn the Microsoft Certified Azure Developer Associate. The transition exam was only intended for those candidates who have taken and passed the previous Exam 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions.

To get the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification, you are required to pass only ONE exam, the AZ-204: Microsoft Certified Azure Developer Associate.

Here is the full path for the Skills required and Exam to earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate Certification:

AZ-204 Study Guide: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure 1

I decided to update my skills and take the new AZ-204 Azure Developer Associate. I am so happy and grateful now that I passed the AZ-204 exam – Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure. I figured that I would share my experience in this post to help you prepare and tackle this exam successfully.

In this exam, I got around 49 questions including 2 case studies, and the total time for this exam is 130 minutes (~2 hours), so you have enough time to finish it. The questions do pretty much match the list of skills measured below.

Exam Target Audience

Candidates for this exam are cloud developers who participate in all phases of development from requirements definition and design to development and deployment, and maintenance. They partner with cloud DBAs, cloud administrators, and clients to implement solutions.
Candidates should be proficient in Azure SDKs, data storage options, data connections, APIs, app authentication and authorization, compute and container deployment, debugging, performance tuning, and monitoring.

Candidates must have 1-2 years of professional development experience and experience with Microsoft Azure. And you must be able to program in an Azure Supported Language.

Skills measured on this exam

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

Develop Azure compute solutions (25-30%)

Implement IaaS solutions

  • Provision VMs
  • Configure VMs for remote access
  • Create ARM templates
  • Create container images for solutions by using Docker
  • Publish an image to the Azure Container Registry
  • Run containers by using Azure Container Instance
  • Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is out of scope

Create Azure App Service Web Apps

  • Create an Azure App Service Web App
  • Enable diagnostics logging
  • Deploy code to a web app
  • Configure web app settings including SSL, API, and connection strings
  • Implement autoscaling rules, including scheduled autoscaling, and scaling by operational or system metrics

Implement Azure functions

  • Implement input and output bindings for a function
  • Implement function triggers by using data operations, timers, and webhooks
  • Implement Azure Durable Functions

Develop for Azure storage (10-15%)

Develop solutions that use Cosmos DB storage

  • Select the appropriate API for your solution
  • Implement partitioning schemes
  • Interact with data using the appropriate SDK
  • Set the appropriate consistency level for operations
  • Create Cosmos DB containers
  • Implement scaling (partitions, containers)
  • Implement server-side programming including stored procedures, triggers, and change feed notifications

Develop solutions that use blob storage

  • Move items in Blob storage between storage accounts or containers
  • Set and retrieve properties and metadata
  • Interact with data using the appropriate SDK
  • Implement data archiving and retention
  • Implement hot, cool, and archive storage

Implement Azure security (15-20%)

Implement user authentication and authorization

  • Implement OAuth2 authentication
  • Create and implement shared access signatures
  • Register apps and use Azure Active Directory to authenticate users
  • Control access to resources by using role-based access controls (RBAC)

Implement secure cloud solutions

  • Secure app configuration data by using the App Configuration and KeyVault API
  • Manage keys, secrets, and certificates by using the KeyVault API
  • Implement Managed Identities for Azure resources

Monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize Azure solutions (10-15%)

Integrate caching and content delivery within solutions

  • Develop code to implement CDNs in solutions
  • Configure cache and expiration policies for FrontDoor, CDNs, or Redis caches Store and retrieve data in Azure Redis cache

Instrument solutions to support monitoring and logging

  • Configure instrumentation in an app or service by using Application Insights
  • Analyze log data and troubleshoot solutions by using Azure Monitor
  • Implement Application Insights Web Test and Alerts
  • Implement code that handles transient faults

Connect to and consume Azure services and third-party services (25-30%)

Develop an App Service Logic App

  • Create a Logic App
  • Create a custom connector for Logic Apps
  • Create a custom template for Logic Apps

Implement API management

  • Create an API Management instance
  • Configure authentication for APIs
  • Define policies for APIs

Develop event-based solutions

  • Implement solutions that use Azure Event Grid
  • Implement solutions that use Azure Notification Hubs
  • Implement solutions that use Azure Event Hub

Develop message-based solutions

  • Implement solutions that use Azure Service Bus
  • Implement solutions that use Azure Queue Storage queues

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 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 Developer topics, I highly recommend checking the following Microsoft Learn modules:

  1. Create serverless applications (10 modules)
  2. Connect your services together (4 modules)
  3. Store data in Azure (5 modules)
  4. Deploy a website with Azure virtual machines (4 modules)
  5. Manage resources in Azure (6 modules)
  6. Deploy a website to Azure with Azure App Service (6 modules)
  7. Secure your cloud data (7 modules)

Self-training

I highly recommend you to check the AZ-204 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure Exam Prep training from udemy and watch it entirely a couple of times. This course contains around 8.5 hours worth of content and is being updated to cover the newest AZ-204 exam objective. This the most complete course available on the Microsoft Azure developer exam AZ-204 with a timed practice test.

Pluralsight also offers a great learning path for the Microsoft Azure Developer preparation, you can check it out here.

Books

As of December 16, 2020, Microsoft released the Exam Reference AZ-204 Book – Developing Solutions for Microsoft which you can place the order today here. This Exam Ref focuses on the critical thinking and decision-making acumen needed for success at the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate level.

Exam Ref AZ-204 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure

I highly recommend this book to prepare for this exam.

Videos

If you are interested to cram for this exam, then I highly recommend you to check the Certification Talk, by Skill Me UP here which provides a summary and discussion around the preparation needed for the AZ-204 – Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure Exam. Please note that this video is 3 hours long.

Lab-training

The practice is the key to success and passes this exam. I highly recommended going through the following labs developed by Microsoft:

Module 01: Creating Azure App Service Web Apps Lab: Building a web application on Azure platform as a service offerings
Module 01: Creating Azure App Service Web Apps (Answer Key) Lab: Building a web application on Azure platform as a service offering – Answer Key
Module 02: Implement Azure Functions Lab: Implement task processing logic by using Azure Functions
Module 02: Implement Azure Functions (Answer Key) Lab: Implement task processing logic by using Azure Functions – Answer Key
Module 03: Develop solutions that use blob storage Lab: Retrieving Azure Storage resources and metadata by using the Azure Storage SDK for .NET
Module 03: Develop solutions that use blob storage (Answer Key) Lab: Retrieving Azure Storage resources and metadata by using the Azure Storage SDK for .NET – Answer Key
Module 04: Develop solutions that use Cosmos DB storage Lab: Constructing a polyglot data solution
Module 04: Develop solutions that use Cosmos DB storage (Answer Key) Lab: Constructing a polyglot data solution – Answer Key
Module 05: Implement IaaS solutions Lab: Deploying compute workloads by using images and containers
Module 05: Implement IaaS solutions (Answer Key) Lab: Deploying compute workloads by using images and containers – Answer Key
Module 06: Implement user authentication and authorization Lab: Authenticating to and querying Microsoft Graph by using MSAL and .NET SDKs
Module 06: Implement user authentication and authorization (Answer Key) Lab: Authenticating to and querying Microsoft Graph by using MSAL and .NET SDKs – Answer Key
Module 07: Implement secure cloud solutions Lab: Access resource secrets more securely across services
Module 07: Implement secure cloud solutions (Answer Key) Lab: Access resource secrets more securely across services – Answer Key
Module 08: Implement API Management Lab: Creating a multi-tier solution by using services in Azure
Module 08: Implement API Management (Answer Key) Lab: Creating a multi-tier solution by using services in Azure – Answer Key
Module 09: Develop App Service Logic Apps Lab: Automate business processes with Logic Apps
Module 09: Develop App Service Logic Apps (Answer Key) Lab: Automate business processes with Logic Apps – Answer Key
Module 10: Develop event-based solutions Lab: Publishing and subscribing to Event Grid events
Module 10: Develop event-based solutions (Answer Key) Lab: Publishing and subscribing to Event Grid events – Answer Key
Module 11: Develop message-based solutions Lab: Asynchronously processing messages by using Azure Queue Storage
Module 11: Develop message-based solutions (Answer Key) Lab: Asynchronously processing messages by using Azure Queue Storage – Answer Key
Module 12: Monitor and optimize Azure solutions Lab: Monitoring services that are deployed to Azure
Module 12: Monitor and optimize Azure solutions (Answer Key) Lab: Monitoring services that are deployed to Azure – Answer Key
Module 13: Integrate caching and content delivery within solutions Lab: Enhancing a web application by using the Azure Content Delivery Network
Module 13: Integrate caching and content delivery within solutions (Answer Key) Lab: Enhancing a web application by using the Azure Content Delivery Network – Answer Key

Instructor-led virtual training

Last but certainly not least, if you prefer instructor-led training, Microsoft released AZ-204T00-A 5 days course. This course teaches developers how to create end-to-end solutions in Microsoft Azure. Students will learn how to implement Azure compute solutions, create Azure Functions, implement and manage web apps, develop solutions utilizing Azure storage, implement authentication and authorization, and secure their solutions by using KeyVault and Managed Identities. Students will also learn how to connect to and consume Azure services and third-party services and include event- and message-based models in their solutions. The course also covers monitoring, troubleshooting, and optimizing Azure solutions.

If you prefer to get prepare for this exam with Microsoft MCT instructor-led virtual training, you can get in contact with me here.

Certification

Bypassing the AZ-204 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure, you will earn the Microsoft Certified Azure Developer Associate certificate.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate

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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