Passed AZ-303 Exam: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies #MicrosoftLearn

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In this article, I would share my experience and impressions to help you prepare and tackle the new AZ-303 – Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies exam successfully.

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-302 transition exam to earn the Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Expert. I decided to update my skills and take the new AZ-303 since Microsoft introduced a lot of new topics. I did the beta exam on July 30, 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 Solutions Architect Expert certification, you are required to pass the AZ-303 Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies certification, and the AZ-304 Microsoft Azure Architect Design certification as shown in the below figure:

I am so happy and grateful now that I passed the AZ-303 exam – Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies. I figured that I would share my experience and impressions in this article to help you prepare and tackle this exam successfully.

During Ignite in September 2020, Microsoft released the AZ-303 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.

In this exam, I got around 55 questions including 1 case study, and the total time for this exam is 180 minutes (3 hours) so you have enough time to finish it. However, Azure exams are getting tougher, so you need to prepare very well.

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

Exam Profile Audience

This exam is for IT Professionals with expertise in designing and implementing solutions running on Microsoft Azure. You should have a broad knowledge of IT operations, including networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data platform, budgeting, and governance. Azure Solution Architects use the Azure Portal and as they become more adept they use the Command Line Interface.

The candidates for this exam must have intermediate-level skills in Azure administration and have experience with Azure development processes and DevOps processes.

Prerequisites

Successful Azure Solution Architects start this role with experience in operating systems, virtualization, cloud infrastructure, storage structures, governance, and networking. You should have:

  • Understanding of on-premises virtualization technologies, including VMs, virtual networking, and virtual hard disks.
  • Understanding of network configuration, including TCP/IP, Domain Name System (DNS), virtual private networks (VPNs), firewalls, and encryption technologies.
  • Understanding of Active Directory concepts, including domains, forests, domain controllers, replication, and Kerberos protocol.
  • Understanding of resilience and disaster recovery, including backup and restore operations.

You should have a minimum of 12 months of hands-on experience with Azure, and a strong understanding of core Azure services, Azure workloads, security, monitoring, and governance. You should also have experience in using PowerShell, the Command Line Interface (CLI), Azure Portal, and ARM 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.

Implement and monitor an Azure infrastructure (50-55%)

  • Implement cloud infrastructure monitoring
  • Implement storage accounts
  • Implement VMs for Windows and Linux
  • Automate deployment and configuration of resources
  • Implement virtual networking
  • Implement Azure Active Directory
  • Implement and manage hybrid identities

Implement management and security solutions (25-30%)

  • Manage workloads in Azure
  • Implement load balancing and network security
  • Implement and manage Azure governance solutions
  • Manage security for applications

Implement solutions for apps (10-15%)

  • Implement an application infrastructure
  • Implement container-based applications

Implement and manage data platforms (10-15%)

  • Implement NoSQL databases
  • Implement Azure SQL databases

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 subjects areas that I saw on AZ-303 are management, security, and monitoring. So you need to prepare and be an expert on those subjects.

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-303 objective domain is more logically organized now compare to the previous AZ-300 and AZ-301 exams.

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.

Microsoft Learn – Study Resources

To prepare for this exam, I use the new Microsoft Learn which is a great resource and provides self-paced skills training on a variety of Azure Architect topics. I highly recommend to check the following modules:

Microsoft Documentation – Study Resources

Links to relevant reading from the official Microsoft documentation for each skill tested in the AZ-303 exam are listed below to help you prepare:

Identity

Governance and Compliance

Azure Administration

Virtual Networking

Inter-site Connectivity

Network Traffic Management

Azure Storage

Azure Virtual Machines

Serverless Computing

Data Protection

Monitoring

Practice & Lab

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 AZ-303 labs by following the step by step instructions below:

Instructor-led virtual training

If you prefer an instructor-led training course, Microsoft released the AZ-303T00-A course (5 days). This course teaches Solutions Architects how to translate business requirements into secure, scalable, and reliable solutions. Lessons include virtualization, automation, networking, storage, identity, security, data platform, and application infrastructure. This course outlines how decisions in each theses area affect an overall solution.

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

Skills gained

By preparing and passing the AZ-303 exam, you will gain the following skills:

  • Secure identities with Azure Active Directory and users and groups.
  • Implement identity solutions spanning on-premises and cloud-based capabilities.
  • Apply monitoring solutions for collecting, combining, and analyzing data from different sources.
  • Manage subscriptions, accounts, Azure policies, and Role-Based Access Control.
  • Administer Azure using the Resource Manager, Azure portal, Cloud Shell, and CLI.
  • Configure inter-site connectivity solutions like VNet Peering and virtual network gateways.
  • Administer Azure App Service, Azure Container Instances, and Kubernetes.

Certification

Bypassing the AZ-303 – Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies, and the AZ-304 – Microsoft Azure Architect Design, you will earn the Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Expert certificate. The certification is valid only for 2 years.

I hope you enjoyed my AZ-303 certification experience and exam preparation. Did I miss any link, or do you have any recommended AZ-303 Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies 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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