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Guide to Passing AZ-305 Exams and Becoming a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect

  • Microsoft
  • Azure Solutions Architect
  • AZ-305
  • Published by: ANDRÉ HAMMER on May 31, 2022
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Whether you’re new to Azure or a seasoned professional looking to take your cloud career to the next level, this article might be your perfect starting point.

With our hands-on experience in the cloud space, we take a deep dive with you into what it takes to pass the AZ-305 exam and becoming a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect. So, if your objective is to clear the exam in one shot and that too with good marks, here are the preparation tips and strategies you need to know.

Before you build a house for yourself, you have to go to an Architect who decides the structure of your house. This Architect decides where your bedroom goes, where the bathroom goes, where your family cooks, where they eat, and so on and so forth.

Similar to this Architect in the construction industry, a Cloud Solutions Architect works on designing the skeleton and architecture of a cloud project. He or she decides what technology to use; when to use it and also how to use it. To be more specific - they put together the plan and strategy to build a cloud solution from scratch.

A Solutions Architect is responsible for designing the overall projected solution and transforming that vision through execution. He or she decides how all the cloud components and services can co-exist with the least dependency on one another, and yet can talk to each other efficiently. Because it is easier to solve problems when you’re dealing with one thing at a time, a Solutions Architect breaks down domain problems into smaller software components, such as auth, workspace, location, info, vault, etc.

Before going into the nitty-gritty of the Certified Azure Solutions Architect role, it’s worth noting what a Solutions Architect is not. A Solutions Architect is not a developer, nor they are not IT support. They don’t do technical sales either. He is quite literally an architect who envisions a practical design and ensures that it is as per the client's requirements.

 

Importance of Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect Certificate

It’s not mandatory to clear an AZ-305 exam to make a career in the cloud but it most definitely helps. Companies, while hiring for cloud roles, look for experience over certification as their job description often mentions AZ-305 as a ‘good to have’. However, this doesn’t make AZ-305 less of an important certificate in your arsenal. Imagine if two candidates with similar experience compete for the same job, the one with the certification would any day be more attractive to the employer. It’s because the certification is tangible proof of your knowledge and experience related to the Azure Solutions Architect role.

 

AZ-305 - a great starting point for experienced cloud professionals

If you’re a seasoned professional with hands-on experience in technologies such as GCP, and now want to get your hands dirty in Azure, you wouldn’t know where to start in a brand new technology you know little about. Preparing for the AZ-305 exam gives you a much-needed timeline and structure to your learning process. Plus, the goal of earning the certification works as an incentive to keep you motivated, for the value this certification adds to your resume. Having an AZ-305 certification stands as proof to your employer that you are serious about being a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect. Plus, having a certification adds to your confidence while appearing for the interview.

 

How to become a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect

Now that we know about the role of an Azure Solutions Architect, and the importance of earning an AZ-305 certificate, let’s go over the key strategies to become a successful Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect.:

1. First things first - Understand Azure

The first step towards becoming a Microsoft Azure Architect is to build a solid foundation in the form of understanding the Azure platform. Read the official documentation of Microsoft Azure - it is a great place to learn about different architectural solutions and best practices that you can offer. Download it, implement it and try to gain a deeper understanding of the technology. Consider joining preparatory classes to learn from experts the fundamentals of the technology.

2. Practice is everything

Knowing the theory and implementing it are two different things. Imagine yourself building a solution and giving it to your customer or an in-house team of engineers for implementation. If they fail to implement it because you forgot to factor in a scenario applicable to the business, it doesn’t reflect well on you. You don’t want to be one of those Solutions Architects who knows how to build the architecture but doesn’t know how to implement it at the ground level. So, practicing the implementation is really important.

While earning this certification can be extremely helpful for you to secure a key position in a cloud project, hiring managers understand that it doesn’t guarantee them a dream candidate. For them, a dream candidate is someone who not only has great theoretical knowledge to design a solution but someone who can also implement the solution. That’s why if you are enrolled in our preparatory course for AZ-305, we make sure that you have access to the latest practice questions and that you have a solid understanding of the implementation of a cloud solution.

3. Learn how to substitute an on-premises solution with Azure

As a Solutions Architect, one of your key responsibilities would be to plan to replace a client’s existing cloud service with an Azure service. Not only do you have to learn how to replace a system but also, how they might both interoperate but also co-exist in a way that data can flow between the two environments efficiently. So, you have to have a good understanding of different connectivity options in Azure, such as point to the site, site to site, and express routes, and then pick one as the best way for the project’s requirements.

4. Learn the financial side of the cloud implementation

Doing cost estimations is one of the most important roles of a Microsoft Solutions Architect. He or she is often the person in the cloud team, responsible for estimating the cost of moving the client’s existing environment to Microsoft Azure and also keeping the overall cost in check. This means that if you want to be a Solutions Architect, you have to be good with not only excel sheets but also the Microsoft Azure pricing calculator to calculate the cost of migration.

5. Get familiar with compliance and governance

As a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect, you have to know how to keep compliance frameworks in place so that your client or company doesn’t run into a compliance or governance issue. Thus, as part of your preparation to clear AZ-301, try to make sure that you’re on top of the Azure Policy, so that you know when to prevent people from creating certain resources in certain regions. Please note that Azure’s policies are hyper-local and thus can vary according to your client’s unique business and geography. So during your preparation, refer to the local chapters of the policy, as these policies can differ a lot from country to country.

 

Let’s talk about the AZ-305 exam

AZ-305 - the exam you need to clear to become a Certified Azure Solutions Architect is an expert-level exam.

AZ-305 was released back in October 2021 as a replacement for AZ-303 and AZ-304. It is typically for professionals such as engineers, and architects with at least some experience working in cloud solutions such as AWS, and GCP. Given the expert level of the certification, and the critical demands of the role, it’s important to have the foundation of an associate certification, similar to how it’s necessary for all expert-level certifications. So, to clear AZ-305, it helps you to have an understanding of the basic cloud architectures and principles. The idea is that your knowledge should be at least Azure administrator-level before you attempt AZ-305. You have to clear the AZ-104 administrator exam as one of the prerequisites for AZ-305.

 

How difficult is the AZ-305 exam?

AZ-305 is an expert-level certification, and thus the difficulty level of the exam is high. So, please don’t expect objective yes or no questions in your AZ-305 exam. You will be given unique scenarios and based on those scenarios, you will need to give the right answers. Also, expect questions in which all scenarios look potentially correct, and you’d have to choose the most correct one based on your assessment. Why? Because that’s what the Architect does. For example, if an organization wants to host a web application, there might be many ways, such as on a VM, on an app service, on a docker container in-app service, or as a container image. As per the requirement, you need to narrow down your options to arrive at the most correct option for the requirement.

The good news though is that there are no negative markings. So, try to trust your luck and don’t leave a question unattempted if you don’t know the answer.

 

Topic-wise weightage of AZ-305 exam

There can be anywhere between 40-70 questions in the exam, and the passing score is 700 out of 1000 marks. The duration can be anything around 2 hours and can cost you anything around $165 to enroll.

Microsoft designs the AZ-305 exam to test your knowledge in the following aspects:

 

Topics

Rough Weightage of questions

Design Identity, Governance, and Monitoring Solutions

25-30%

Design Data Storage Solutions

25-30%

Design Infrastructure Solutions

25-30%

Design Business Continuity Solutions

10-15%

 

As you can see above, the majority of the questions come from the first two topics, Design Identity, Governance, and Monitoring Solutions and Design Data Storage solutions.

AZ-305 is an infrastructure-heavy exam, and you have to take a deep dive into designing and monitoring which requires you to have a good understanding of JSON.

Microsoft keeps the exams updated to stay current as per its pacing technology. So, it’s critical that you’re learning from the latest study material and then testing your knowledge on the latest practice tests. That’s why speaking to your boss to get you enrolled in preparatory classes might be your best way to ensure you’re learning from the most updated material out there.

 

Funding your AZ-305 exam

Please note that employers are more than ready to invest in having their team members certified for their own good. So, you don’t need to put all the financial burden of the certification on yourself. Speak to your boss and you might be pleasantly surprised by the support they might offer you to get certified. Also, keeping your boss in the loop also ensures that they go easy with you on the days when you’re preparing for the exam.

 

How you can give AZ-305 Exams

You can book this exam online or you could go to one of Microsoft’s test centers, Pearson Vue. At the test centers, you’re typically asked for a photograph and ID before they give you a workstation where you can give the exam. If you want to give this exam from your phone, please make sure that your microphone and camera are fully-functional.

 

Closing lines

The most challenging thing about studying any technology including Microsoft Azure is that it changes too fast. If you’re doing it all by yourself, you may not realize that you're compromising your chances for success. It’s not just about learning material, it’s also about people you connect with as you learn. These people can later be your key to unlocking hidden growth opportunities in the cloud space.

If you’re looking to become a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect, then you must check out the preparatory classes by Readynez. It gives you access to exclusive study material and a learning path designed and delivered by Microsoft Certified experts to help you clear your exam with ease.

Furthermore, you might think you need more certifications to excel in your career. Of course, this couldn't be farther away from the truth. You don’t need more certifications but the right certifications to complement your career goal. If you need to talk to industry experts to identify the right certification, our team is here to help.

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