Getting Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104)

Next step accomplished, the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) exam has been successfully passed. The exam itself was a mixed experience, with some questions being very easy, and some being very tricky. I have spent around 40 days to prepare for it (almost full-time and no days off), and I got 860/1000 score.

There were a bunch of questions about older Azure services, which I have never used, so I had to guess the answers, e.g., general-purpose v1 / blob storage (those will be deprecated soon). Or very specific questions which I couldn't find afterward even though I tried to find an answer in the documentation (virtual machine scale sets update domain related). And some questions were very basic, just selecting an appropriate service to use out of a list of options that should've been only in AZ-900.

I did enjoy the questions that required me to think more based on an example picture and figure out what's wrong with it, or to choose an appropriate solution. Or reading an ARM template or a Policy definition. I liked questions that you can logically think through and find the answer, instead of just memorizing some fact from documentation.

I would say that it was beneficial to pass AZ-900 first, to get a general understanding of Azure services, and to see how the exam itself is done. But I don't see myself doing any other 900-level exams in the future, only if I have a free voucher.


I have used the following resources:

The next step for me is to get the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204) certificate.

Final thoughts

Why do I want to get certified? I don't think that it's a good way to prove your knowledge (it's too easy to find exam dumps and memorize the answers without understanding why), but it's a good way to structure your learning process. It forces you to learn things that you wouldn't learn otherwise (how would I find out that MARS exists on my own 😄?), and it gives you a deeper dive of the services that Azure provides.

I remember, when I was using AWS at my previous job, I was exposed and limited to only a few services, and I didn't know what else AWS could offer and didn't have time to learn more about the services that were being used or if there was a better alternative or some architectural pattern. Only recently I've learned about AWS Well-Architected Framework, and I see great value in learning how to use cloud services properly. Azure has a similar Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure and Azure Well-Architected Framework which I would like to go over one day.

In the end, I'd like to find a job that uses cloud technologies extensively, and hopefully using Azure. I'm not sure how valuable the certificate itself will be, but studying and following the exam structure is helping me to get the experience needed for the job.