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Microsoft DevOps Engineer - What is it & How to Become One – The Full Story

  • Microsoft Azure
  • DevOps AZ-400
  • Certification Guide
  • Published by: André Hammer on Oct 31, 2022
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A Microsoft Azure DevOps Engineer plays a critical role in a company’s development process. Since Azure is a highly specific environment, businesses don’t just want a basic DevOps expert – they want an Azure expert. For companies that work with Azure and incorporate DevOps into their workflows, having a certified Azure DevOps engineer is essential.

So, what does an Azure DevOps Engineer do? According to Microsoft, Azure DevOps Engineers “design and implement strategies for collaboration, code, infrastructure, source control, security, compliance, continuous integration, testing, delivery, monitoring, and feedback.”

If this role sounds interesting to you, keep reading to learn more about how you can obtain this certification from Microsoft.

DevOps is critical for development projects

Software development is an intense process with plenty of moving parts. There are so many things that can and do go wrong simply because of miscommunications and lack of IT foresight.

Before DevOps, IT was separate from development, which slowed down the delivery of software and made continuous delivery difficult. Now, this isn’t a problem. DevOps is a system that combines IT operations with software development in order to shorten the development cycle and provide the continuous delivery of high-quality software.

Considering the importance of DevOps, having a certified expert design and implement processes to streamline the development process from start to finish is an invaluable asset to any company. You can be that asset if you get certified.

If you’ve been thinking about getting this certification, you’ll be taking on an important role with big responsibilities and it will be worth the effort of getting certified. Not just because of the salary, but because it’s a rewarding career.

How do you become a Microsoft DevOps Engineer?

This certification was originally known as the Azure DevOps Engineer Expert Certification and now has a new name: Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert.

To become a Microsoft Certified DevOps Engineer Expert, you’ll need to pass the AZ-400 exam: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions, and one of the following two certifications:

  1. The Azure Administrator Associate Certification or
  2. The Azure Developer Associate Certification

Azure is a specific development environment and requires a certain level of hands-on experience before you’ll be able to successfully design and implement DevOps processes for an organization. Obtaining prerequisite certifications ensures you have enough experience and knowledge to take your expertise to the next level.

While obtaining the required certifications is a requirement, you’ll also need expertise as an Azure administrator or developer. Having this expertise ahead of time will help you pass your exam and obtain your Azure DevOps engineer certification. If you haven’t worked as an Azure administrator or developer, you’ll struggle to pass the exam required to get certified.

The prerequisites to earning this certification will be discussed in more detail below.

What is the best DevOps Engineer certification?

If you search the internet, you’ll find plenty of certifications for DevOps engineers. Some are certifications provided by third-party course websites, but only the Microsoft Azure DevOps Engineer certification will truly help you in your career if you want to work with Azure.

There are three reasons the Microsoft certification is the best:

  1. Azure is a Microsoft product. As such, Microsoft knows Azure inside and out and incorporates all the necessary information into this certification. The best certifications are always created and administered by the company that owns whatever product or system you’re being certified to implement.
  1. Azure has become a standard in development. You could learn to become a DevOps engineer and work with any other development environment and do an excellent job. The problem with that is a lack of standardization. All the smaller development environments aren’t as widely used as Azure. When you have an Azure-specific certification, you’re more likely to get hired because this is what most companies use.
  1. Your certification will last long-term. Unlike other development environments, Azure is here to stay. Imagine getting a job working for a company in a relatively unknown development environment. You’re an expert in this environment, but the company goes out of business and you’re left with expertise in a development environment that greatly limits your career options. You won’t have this problem with a Microsoft Azure DevOps Engineer certification.

In general, the AZ-400 exam will measure the following skills:

  • Develop an instrumentation strategy
  • Develop a Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) strategy
  • Develop a security and compliance plan
  • Manage source control
  • Facilitate communication and collaboration
  • Define and implement continuous integration
  • Define and implement a continuous delivery and release management strategy

These are just general outlines of what you’ll be tested on during the exam. The full exam is detailed and goes into far more depth with specific areas of knowledge.

What are the prerequisites for the AZ-400 certification exam?

To take the AZ-400 exam and become a certified Microsoft Azure DevOps Engineer Expert, you’ll need to be proficient with Agile practices and be familiar with Azure administration and development. In addition to being familiar with these, you’ll need to have expertise in at least one of these areas.

The official prerequisites require that you hold an Azure Administrator Associate certificate or an Azure Developer Associate certificate and pass the AZ-400 exam in order to get certified.

What are the benefits of doing a DevOps course?

You’ve probably wondered if you should take a DevOps training course before taking the exam to become certified. This would be a wise move. There are plenty of benefits to doing a DevOps prep course, especially if you’re looking for ways to increase your value to employers or just expand your own knowledge. Why? Because passing the exam is easier after taking a prep course.

It’s unlikely that you’ll pass the certification exam without taking a prep course first. This is because the content covered in the exam is massive, detailed, and technical. For instance, you’ll be tested on the following areas:

  • Assessing and configuring a log framework
  • Designing a log aggregation and storage strategy, like Azure storage
  • Managing access control to logs
  • Designing and implementing distributed tracing
  • Defining and measuring key metrics, like CPU, memory, disk, and network
  • Implementing alerts on key metrics
  • Integrating logging and monitoring solutions
  • Implementing alerts based on log messages and application health checks
  • Developing communication mechanisms to notify users of a degraded system
  • Calculating when a system will fail under various conditions
  • Managing security certificates
  • Automating dependencies scanning for security
  • Integrating GitHub with DevOps pipelines
  • Designing onboarding processes for new employees
  • Integrating monitoring tools with communication platforms like Slack and Teams
  • And so much more

When you complete our DevOps prep course, you’ll have a better chance of passing the exam and getting certified the first time around.

What is the value of a DevOps certification in IT?

Holding a DevOps certification demonstrates to your teammates and employer that you’re fully capable of creating and implementing the most important aspect of the software development process: systems. Without streamlining all systems involved in the development process, projects can get off-task quickly. With miscommunications or when important information slips through the cracks, developers end up having to redo a significant portion of their work.

Your role as a DevOps expert is to create the foundation that holds a company’s software development projects together. Taking on this higher level of responsibility, you can expect the following benefits:

  • You’ll expand your DevOps expertise. Since the Azure DevOps Expert certification is role-based, you can expect to expand your knowledge and expertise in the Azure environment. This is perfect for anyone who enjoys increasing their knowledge and expertise in their line of work. If you truly enjoy working with DevOps in a senior-level position, then getting certified will force you to take your expertise to the next level.

Once you land a DevOps Expert position, you’ll gain even more expertise as you proactively solve new problems as they arise. The better you get at streamlining systems using automation, the more valuable you become to your employers.

  • You’ll be more likely to get your desired DevOps Expert position. There’s no substitute for being Azure certified. If you want the position you need the certification. However, you need to be specifically certified for working with Azure because that’s what the majority of companies use for their cloud services.

Many companies won’t hire DevOps experts without specific Microsoft Azure certifications because they need to make sure their team members are specifically familiar with Azure environments.

  • You’ll earn more money. With a DevOps certification, you’ll automatically be more valuable to employers because most companies will only hire certified professionals for the job. Having an Azure DevOps certification proves that you’re an Azure expert, and experts automatically command a higher salary from the start.

It’s also possible that you might get a raise just by getting certified, without taking on a promotion or moving into a new role. Sometimes just adding expertise to your existing role is sufficient enough for employers to administer a raise.

  • You’ll be a more likely candidate for a promotion. If you’re considering applying for a promotion within the company you already work for, getting certified will help you land that new position if it requires a higher level of experience in Azure environments. Your certification will prove you have the required knowledge to do well in that new position.
  • You’ll command respect. Although respect needs to be earned on some level, experts get automatic respect because of their skills. However, being certified will only help you get your foot in the door in terms of generating respect. You’ll still need to work hard to produce measurable results for the company you’re working for.
  • Your skills and talent will be in demand. With more than 70% of companies already using Azure cloud services, your skills and talent will be in demand for quite some time. There’s a reason Azure is considered a leader in cloud environments, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. In fact, the number of businesses using Azure will only grow.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer Expert?

A DevOps expert engineer is responsible for working with teams, processes, and products to facilitate continuous delivery of value. You’ll be the expert tasked with combining people with processes and technologies, but you’ll also be the one creating those processes.

You’ll be working with people from all types of teams, including other Azure administrators, developers, and site reliability engineers.

As a DevOps engineer, you’ll be designing and implementing strategies for:

  • Collaboration
  • Security
  • Source control
  • Code
  • Infrastructure
  • Compliance
  • Continuous integration
  • Testing and delivery
  • Monitoring and feedback

In an overall and more technical sense, a DevOps Engineer designs and implements secure, scalable, resilient, and cost-effective cloud solutions. When you get certified and take on this position, you’ll have the following responsibilities:

  • Write infrastructure as Code (IaC)
  • Provide systems support (i.e., monitoring and responding to alerts)
  • Write application deployment automation to scale delivery
  • Design and implement continuous delivery pipelines
  • Document automation processes
  • Identify and fix failures
  • Identify the resources needed to keep an organization’s cloud services cost-effective
  • Work with stakeholders to identify requirements

Day-to-day, you’ll be responsible for optimizing your organization’s development architecture through the following responsibilities:

  • Deploying Azure upgrades
  • Monitoring software environments
  • Conducting regular system checks to ensure security, performance, and availability
  • Document issues and their solutions and continually refine this documentation
  • Work with the DevOps team to improve tools, procedures, systems, and security processes
  • Manage IT infrastructure related to Azure and other cloud environments
  • Troubleshooting production bottlenecks and other issues and creating solutions to streamline the process
  • Implementing bug fixes
  • Continuously analyzing code to fine-tune the efficiency of projects
  • Building CI/CD pipelines with automation frameworks
  • Taking user feedback into account and implementing new software integrations

Microsoft Certified DevOps Engineer Career Roadmap & Path

Now you know that to become a Microsoft Certified DevOps Engineer, you need to have at least one of two Azure certifications and then pass the AZ-400 exam. However, you also need to take a prep course to pass the exam.

Before signing up for your exam, make sure you verify that you qualify to sit for the exam and then take a prep course. Although it can be broad, the exam is rigorous, and you really don’t want to risk taking the exam without being fully prepared first.

  1. Verify that you qualify to sit for the AZ-400 exam

The first thing you need to do is check to make sure you meet all of the qualifications for taking this exam. Do you have one of the required pre-certifications?

You’ll need first to obtain the Azure Administrator Associate certification or the Azure Developer Associate certification. Once you have at least one of these under your belt, then you can take the exam. However, you’ll do best if you take a prep course first.

Once you have at least one of these certifications, signing up for a training course is the next step.

  1. Take an Azure DevOps Expert Engineer prep course

To pass the AZ-400 exam, you’ll need to take a training course. The exam is both rigorous and involved, and it’s extremely difficult to pass without sufficient preparation. It’s not enough to look at the exam outline and figure you can get by with your existing knowledge.

Most likely, you’ll need to do some serious studying in your areas of weakness to pass the exam. However, you won’t know what your areas of weakness are until you take a training course that gives you practice questions to simulate the actual exam.

Our Azure DevOps prep course will help you pass the exam

Our training course will prepare you for the exam in specific ways. For example, you’ll get practice questions that are designed to mimic the actual questions on the exam. This type of preparation is invaluable because the AZ-400 exam is very specific. While the practice questions aren’t the same questions as the exam, they are similar and will give you an excellent idea regarding the depth of the exam questions and how you’ll be required to use your problem-solving skills and come up with DevOps solutions.

What does the AZ-400 exam cover?

The exam covers a broad array of subjects, but here’s an example of some of the skills you’ll be tested on during the exam:

You’ll need to know how to design and implement:

  • Logging
  • Telemetry
  • An alerting strategy
  • A failure prediction strategy
  • Authentication and authorization strategies
  • Logging and monitoring solutions
  • A DevOps strategy and development processes
  • A continuous delivery system
  • Dependency management
  • Governance enforcement mechanisms
  • Application infrastructure
  • A sensitive information management strategy
  • Security and compliance
  • A continuous feedback system
  • Continuous integration
  • Health check systems

Career Prospects After Microsoft DevOps Engineer Certification

Once you get your Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification, you’ll have plenty of lucrative career prospects to choose from. Like all other Microsoft certifications, the DevOps Engineer certification is role-based and will help you get into a position working with Azure in some very specific ways based on common company roles.

Before Microsoft began administering their technical certifications, companies had to take a chance on their DevOps experts. There was no standardization for measuring skills and knowledge in terms of working in specific cloud environments. If an employee was brought on board and didn’t realize they needed more experience to do the job, the cost was on the business to hire someone new and go through the onboarding process again.

The Azure DevOps certification was created to help businesses fill their DevOps roles with verifiable, qualified professionals. Businesses no longer need to guess who is truly qualified; instead, they can simply require the certification(s) they feel are necessary to fulfill company roles.

Microsoft specifically created its entire line of Azure certifications to support ten specific core cloud positions:

All of these career opportunities are available to you once you obtain the appropriate certification(s). However, the DevOps Engineer certification is one of the most popular. And it’s not uncommon for DevOps Engineers to hold multiple Azure certifications, like Cloud Administrator and Cloud Developer. Even though only one of these certificates is required to obtain the DevOps certification, many DevOps Experts start out with general cloud experience and certifications.

Career opportunities for certified Azure DevOps Engineers

The biggest benefit of pursuing Microsoft certifications is to increase your career opportunities. Maybe you don’t want to be stuck in the same position and you’d like to take on a leadership role in the company you work for (or with another company). Or, perhaps you’d like to feel like you’re making a bigger contribution to the company you work for and stay in the same position.

If you’re wondering what the Azure DevOps certification will do for you in terms of career opportunities, keep reading to find out.

There are several important senior roles you’ll be qualified for once you become a certified Microsoft Azure DevOps Engineer Expert. Let’s take a look at each one to see what’s involved in these important company roles.

  1. DevOps Engineer

The DevOps Engineer role is one of the most sought-after roles and is perfect for senior developers who also enjoy working with systems and teams. If you step into this role, you’ll work with system operators, software developers, and other IT teams to manage the development and release of code.

The average annual salary for a DevOps Engineer in the United States is $132,086.

DevOps Engineer required skills:

  • Problem-solver
  • Strong communication and collaboration skills
  • Software engineering experience
  • Proficient in Git and GitHub workflows
  • A working knowledge of databases and SQL
  • Knowledge of Ruby or Python

As a DevOps Engineer, you’ll be expected to build systems to enhance the customer experience, deploy product updates, and implement integrations for customers. Each company will have their own programming language requirements, but in general, it’s good to be familiar with Ruby or Python. You’ll need to test and review code written by the development team to make sure it’s functioning properly.

DevOps Engineers need to have excellent communication skills because part of their role is to communicate stakeholder needs to developers. It helps to be passionate about solutions because you’ll need to use automation to fine-tune development and release processes to make them more efficient.

You can expect to work on cybersecurity as well by securing company systems against known threats. You’ll be responsible for creating and implementing fixes, updates, and patches whenever necessary. You’ll also develop software to facilitate integrations and create procedures to standardize troubleshooting and maintenance.

  1. Cloud Account Manager

A Cloud Account Manager is responsible for managing customer accounts as well as cloud storage, servers, and other cloud products. If you step into this role, it will be your duty to drive adoption, increase revenue and market penetration, and manage a diverse customer base.

The average annual salary for a Cloud Account Manager in the United States is $107,742.

As a Cloud Account Manager, your responsibilities will vary depending on the company, but you can expect to be responsible for the following:

  • Onboarding customers into the company’s cloud environment
  • Implement upgrades, migrations, and work to grow the customer base
  • Keep stakeholders updated on the status of projects
  • Resolve project risks as they arise
  • Keep good documentation of meetings, schedules, plans, and incidents to keep stakeholders informed
  • Continually develop processes and policies that focus on improving customer satisfaction
  • Analyze customer requirements to make sure their cloud environment meets their needs

This is just a small example of some of the tasks you might be asked to perform as a Cloud Account Manager.

  1. Azure Big Data Specialist

Big data is essential for every organization, and if you step into this role, you’ll be designing and implementing big data services that extract value from that data. This requires being highly analytical and you’ll need to love data to enjoy this position.

The average annual salary for an Azure Big Data Specialist in the United States is $82,199.

As an Azure Big Data Specialist, you’ll design and implement big data services in a way that makes it easy to derive value from data.

  1. Cloud Sales and Purchase Manager

A Cloud Sales and Purchase Manager leads sales teams to acquire, adopt, and expand a company’s portfolio of cloud systems. If you step into this role, you’ll be responsible for developing a business plan for your organization’s sales, revenue, and expense controls.

You’ll also work with upper management to negotiate profitable sales contracts.

The average annual salary for a Cloud Sales and Purchase Manager in the United States is $187,000.

Get Certified & Strengthen Your Future - Make Your Choice

If you’re ready to advance your career to secure your future, get your Microsoft DevOps Engineer Expert certification and you’ll be on your way to an exciting and rewarding career.

Before you sign up for the AZ-400 exam, take our training course to get the best chance at passing your exam the first time. Our training courses are designed to help you understand what you need to know to pass, and the practice tests will show you where you need to focus more of your attention.

We provide our DevOps Engineer training courses online and in person at various times throughout the year, so you’ll be able to make it work even with a busy schedule.

Our instructor-led DevOps training course will help you pass the Microsoft DevOps Engineer exam so you can start a new phase in your career. Sign up for our training course today and start working toward creating your ideal future.

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