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How to Conquer the AZ-104 exam and become a Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate

  • Microsoft
  • Azure Administrator
  • AZ-104
  • Published by: MARIA FORSBERG on May 18, 2022
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The cloud market in sectors such as IT, telecom, BFSI, media and entertainment have benefitted immensely due to the work from the home drive. This was made possible because with cloud software, there is no need for physical hardware and so the updates, user changes, and installations can all be taken care of remotely.

Cloud computing is one of the fastest-growing technologies today. It is believed that 85% of enterprises store most of their sensitive data in the cloud. The sudden COVID-19 induced shutdown through 2020 has further increased the demand for cloud solutions and services.

Microsoft Azure is a platform that provides all the major services in the cloud computing market. It is an emerging market-leader in the computing space, tapping into over 21% of the workload. The public cloud computing platform offers many cloud-based solutions, such as - Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). These solutions are useful for services such as analytics, virtual computing, storage, networking and so much more.

If the increasing demand for a career in cloud computing is not a good enough reason to pursue an Azure certification, here’s more. Learning Microsoft’s Azure gives you the required skills to develop and maintain the most critical cloud services necessary to keep your business ahead of the curve. Whether it is a career in Development, Operations, System Administration or App Development - a Certified Azure administrator can do it all.

A Microsoft Azure Administrator is a subject matter expert (SME) who often works in a team that has been dedicated exclusively to implementing the Azure-based cloud infrastructure of an organization. He or she is responsible for implementing, managing, and monitoring identity, governance, storage, security, compute, and virtual networks in a cloud environment. As a Microsoft Azure Administrator, you are expected to provide, monitor, and adjust resources as and when needed.

In this article, we take a deep dive into what it takes to clear Microsoft’s Azure Administrator Associate Certification exam (AZ-104). Read on if you want to know how to sail through the Azure certification at your first shot and become a Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate. But before we address the main topic, it is important to understand what a role as an Azure administrator in a company entails.

 

Why do companies choose Azure?

Interestingly, the word ‘Azure’ is a French mistranslation of the Arabic word ‘(al)-lazaward’ meaning “lapis lazuli”. With limitless potential and unlimited possibilities, Azure can actually do a lot for a business. Almost 80% of the companies, listed under Fortune 500, rely on Microsoft Azure. You can imagine the extent of proliferation of jobs in Azure-admin roles and the chances of you bagging one of these lucrative jobs in a reputed organization.

Among all the major names that have made their presence felt in the cloud technology arena, Microsoft Azure has shone just like this dazzling deep blue stone, being true to its very name.

Similar to its major competitors such as AWS, the Microsoft Azure platform is innately flexible, comes with 24x7 tech support, has a global presence and clients can simply pay for what they use. It can back up a company’s data in almost any language, on any operating system, and from any given location. On top of that, one can define the frequency and length of their backup schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly). It can also be used to replace or supplement an organization’s individual servers to cater to their personal needs. All in all, Azure’s pricing and diverse capabilities make it one of the best public cloud offerings out there.

The advanced security feature of Azure is a huge asset for all solutions regarding the Internet of Things, which otherwise have security gaps and hackers can take advantage of that. Remote monitoring and predictive maintenance and analytics are the other added benefits of Azure.

Just like the rest of the cloud platforms, Azure is based upon a technology called virtualization. Almost all computer hardware can be emulated into the software. Emulation layers allow virtualized hardware to get executed in the form of software exactly how the actual hardware would do for its customers.

 

Benefits of being Microsoft Certified in Azure Administration

Every employer prefers that their potential candidates have an official Microsoft Azure certification because the training in Azure administration validates your capabilities in the eyes of your prospective employers and clients. But, apart from getting excellent career opportunities, when you become an Azure admin, you also get significant raises in your salary as a cloud computing professional. Furthermore, a Microsoft Azure associate administrator certification crystallizes your understanding of the application of Azure concepts to everyday business problems. This will reinforce your flexibility in working in different industry sectors if you choose a career in Azure administration.

In 2018, Microsoft shifted to role-based certifications customized for specific roles and responsibilities in an organization. These certifications are made for three skill levels -- Fundamental, Associate and Expert. For 2022, you should be looking at the Microsoft Azure Certification path 2021, the updates of which have been shared throughout this article.

The Microsoft Azure cert AZ- 900 is the basic recommended course for IT professionals aspiring to become certified Azure administrators. This is a good starting point before moving on to associate and expert-level certifications, especially if you are relatively new to Microsoft Azure. However, passing the basic Microsoft Azure Certification AZ-900 exam under this Microsoft Azure cert is not an official prerequisite to be eligible for the more advanced certified Azure administrator associate course.

 

Eligibility criteria for the MS Azure Associate Administrator Certification

To get the certification and to finally become an officially certified Azure administrator, you must pass the AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator exam. To be eligible for this exam and the certification, you should have at least 6 months of hands-on experience within the Microsoft Azure environment as an administrator, along with a good understanding of some of the core Azure services. In addition, you are expected to be experienced in using PowerShell, Azure CLI, Azure portal, and Azure Resource Manager templates.

 

What is the AZ-104 exam all about?

The AZ-104 exam is the updated version of the Microsoft Azure Administrator AZ-103 exam for Microsoft Azure Associate Administrator certification. This exam is carefully designed to assess your abilities to manage, monitor and implement cloud-based techniques and concepts in Microsoft Azure environments. That is why the exam requires you to come with a robust understanding of all the major Azure cloud services. You should ideally be skilled in areas such as storage, computing, provisioning and governance. The AZ-104 exam gives you 40-50 questions to be answered in 150 minutes. The passing score for this exam is 700 points and there is no negative marking for a wrong answer. The types of questions asked in the exam include:

  • Multiple choice based questions
  • Drag and drop
  • Case studies
  • Multiple response type questions

The AZ-104 tests your skills under 5 categories which are based on 5 different objectives outlined by Microsoft. These objectives are nothing but expectations from a certified associate administrator and that is why they have different weightage in the exam, depending on their relative importance. The objectives covered in AZ 104 are:

Serial No.

Exam Objective

Weightage in exam

1.

Manage Azure identities and governance

15-20%

2.

Implement and manage storage

15-20%

3.

Deploy and manage Azure compute resources

20-25%

4.

Configure and manage virtual networking

25-30%

5.

Monitor and backup Azure resources

10-15%

 

How much does the Microsoft Azure cert cost?

The registration fee for AZ-104 is $165. Since AZ-104 is the only exam needed to earn the Azure Administrator Associate certification and there are no pre-conditions, $165 is the only solid cost involved in earning the Microsoft Azure cert for Associate Administrator. However, there are costs of training, courses and resource material which should be factored in as well. The certification is valid for 1 year only, after which you will have to renew it. If you apply for a renewal before its expiration, it’ll be free of any cost!

 

Is this certification really worth your time and effort?

If you’re a junior IT professional who wants to gain a solid foundation in basic administration skills, the AZ-104 exam to become Microsoft certified is absolutely well worth your time, effort and cost. Moreover, an increasing number of employers and managers now appreciate having teams of administrators with Microsoft certified professionals on board. Also, studying for and passing the AZ-104 gives you access to working environments in diverse IT fields. From an advanced network administration workload to virtualization technology, you will get a taste of everything.

 

Where should you start?

Start by deciding if the Microsoft Azure certification is right for you. This certification is a good fit if your responsibilities include everything that you’re expected to do under the role of an Associate administrator, as already mentioned above. It is also a good option for you if you’ve already achieved any of these certifications:

  • MCSE: Core Infrastructure
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2012
  • MCSA: Windows Server 2016

If you are brand new to the cloud or Azure, you might want to get a beginner- level Azure Fundamentals training and certification first. The Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate cert is an intermediate level course. If you’re just new to administering Azure, then choose the Prerequisites for Azure administrators.

To prepare yourself for this exam, you can easily go for any of the three options:

  1. The 6-module Microsoft Azure Administrator self-study course by Microsoft. It gives you the basic knowledge to pass this exam.
  2. An online Microsoft certifications course or related videos. A subscription to any online Microsoft Azure Administrator course is perfect for a self-paced study schedule.
  3. A personalized instructor-led training course from any training provider.

Finally, when it feels like you have prepared all your resource material well and are done with all the initial stages of preparation, you should divert your attention toward Simulators. These AZ-104 Simulators are specially designed to give you a real exam experience. You can fuse this to find your strengths and weaknesses and improve upon your strategy. These simulators for Azure certification are available online as well as on the desktop.

While preparing for this exam, you may feel like it is taking longer to master some subjects. But you may take a sigh of relief knowing that good knowledge and practical skills will be enough to pass this exam. As an Associate administrator, you need to be fully prepared for this type of exam so that in future you can understand and cater to any customer requirement with the help of all the knowledge gained in the process by digging a little deeper.

 

Get trained by professionals to clear your AZ-104 exam

Readynez provides dedicated training with a perfectly curated environment, where you can completely immerse yourself in learning how to create end-to-end solutions in Microsoft Azure. You will get trained by a Microsoft Certified Instructor for 4 days, using presentations, labs and lots of hands-on practice. With the help of a trainer, you will be taught everything you need to ace this exam in the first attempt itself - such as - how to manage your Azure subscriptions, secure identities, administer the infrastructure, configure virtual networking, and connect Azure and on-premises sites, and more.

For further queries regarding our courses or Microsoft certifications, feel free to reach out to us using our website chat. Readynez wishes you the best of luck and bon voyage on your journey to becoming a Certified Microsoft Azure Associate administrator!

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