What should I study? Which Exam should I take?

In the TechNet UK office we have an open email address for people to ask us all manner of questions and even sometimes complain about us or praise us… but mostly we like it when people tell us what they want from us, that way we know our audience is getting what they want. In this case information about Azure exams.

The email address is ukitpro@microsoft.com, please use it. Tell us what you want from us!

This post is in answer to a very interesting question and one I come across all the time in my role as both a Technical Evangelist and also as a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)

The two questions I want to address today are:

What should I study?

Which exam should I take?

This is in response to one of our IT Pros out there who asked.

Hi, my name is xxxx and i want ‘CCNA’ OR ‘Microsoft Azure Specialist certifications’ which 1 is best for me please tel me and tell me online certification i want both of one, which is best online university?

There are a number of variables in this question which prevent me giving direct advice to the keen learner.

Everyone I talk to is in a different career stage and on a different career path.

So I will assume that the question is being posed from the perspective of a fairly new entrant to the industry and that the questioner is keen on Infrastructure, networking and cloud services.

So to the certifications.

CCNA or Cisco Certified Network Associate is not an easy ask and requires access to either a test lab of Ciso networking kit such as routers, switches etc or to simulation software (both is better). The certification is all about configuring switches and routers as well as networking fundamentals areound TCP IP v4 and v6 as well as the TCP multi layered model of networking, right down to what makes up a TCP Packet.

Cisco have a network academy and many universities offer this course, including the Open University.

The certification can be obtained in two ways. passing a single big exam or taking two smaller separate exams. Neither contains easier questions but people often run out of time in the larger exam. You do get the CCENT certification with the first exam.

The main difference between Microsoft tests and CISCO ones are that once a question has been answered in a CISCO exam you cannot go back.

This certification is widely valued and is very useful to get a job in a company supporting a physical network.

For study and training you would need to go to the CISCO website.

The second option asked about was an Azure Specialist Certification. there are three of these and if you pass all three then you gain the MCSD or Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer. (This is the shortest route to that certification which is the developer equivalent of the MCSE)


The three Azure specialist certifications are shown above. NOTE the MCSD, like the MCSE require re-certification every three years.

Which one of these you take very much depends upon your skil set and focus at work.

70-532 is the Developer exam

70-533 is the Infrastructure exam and

70-534 is the architects exam which actually contains bits of each.

From this page you can access the exam objective domains and details of training courses.

If you want less formal training, then you can try the Microsoft Virtual Academy or Channel 9, both of which have a mass of content on the topic. The links above wil take you to Azure specific topics on both platforms. I thoroughly recommend them to you.

Finally Microsoft run a learning community borntolearn.mslearn.net, here you can join study groups, hear about others stories and generally feel part of that IT Pro community and Dev ones for studying the Microsoft Certifications.

I moderate a couple of forums on here including the Office 365 study groups.

For any Microsoft Azure exam you will need access to a subscription. These are available in lots of ways.

You can sign up for a free trial, or use your MSDN subscription Azure credits, but make sure when signing up for a subscription that it is one that includes the credits.

Or you can come on one of our Windows or Hybrid Cloud InnovateIT events, register here and you will receive a 30 day free Azure pass.

The bottom line is that you must have a detailed knowledge of all the areas in the exam topic lists.

These are not easy exams and bear in mind that the content of the exam does not change as often as the Azure services do, so a certain knowledge of a few months past will help when sitting these.

As for which you take CISCO or Azure it depends what job you want or are doing,personally I would do the Azure ones and then the CISCO one, since the Azure networking knowledge is not directly linked to knowing your CISCo binary AND and Or ing. since Azure takes care of most of the networking for you.

You can sign up for an exam here.

You can download the latest technical certification roadmap here as well

Good luck

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