Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure

Today I passed my AZ-204: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure exam and became an Azure Developer Associate. I’ve done some certifications in my days, but this was by far the hardest. The breadth of the knowledge required, Azure SDKs, data storage, data connections, APIs, authentication, authorisation, compute, containers, deployment performance and monitoring – combined with the extreme details in the questions, made this really hard. I didn’t think that I passed until I got my result.

These were the kind of questions that were asked

  • Case studies: Read up on a case study and answer questions on how to solve the client’s particular problems with Azure services. Questions like, what storage technology is appropriate, what service tier should you recommend, and such.
  • Many questions about the capabilities of different services. Like, what event passing service should you use if you need guaranteed FIFO (first-in, first-out)
  • How to setup a particular scenario. Like what order you should create services in order to solve the problem at hand. Some of these questions where down to CLI commands, so make sure that you’ve dipped your toes into Azure CLI.
  • Code questions where you need to fill in the blanks on how to connect and send messages on a service bus, or provision a set of services with an ARM template. You also get code questions where you should answer questions about the result of the code.

Because of the huge area of expertise and the extreme details of the questions, I don’t think you could study and pass the exam without hands-on development experience. If I were to give advice on what to study it would be

  • Go through the Online – Free preparation material. Make sure you remember the capabilities of each service, how they differentiate, and what features higher pricing tiers enables. Those questions are guaranteed.
  • Do some exercises on connecting Azure Functions, blob storage, service bus, queue storage, event grid and event hub. These were central in the exam.
  • Make sure you know how to manage authorisation to services like blob storage and the benefits of the different ways to do it. Know your Azure KeyVault as the security questions emphasise on this.

Be prepared that it is much harder than AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, go slow and use up all the time that you get. Good Luck!