My Microsoft Journey (Part II)

As we continue My Microsoft Journey from Part I (, I have received four certifications in three months. I felt confident about the certifications that I had achieved and how they could help me as a professional. But how could I continue to grow my knowledge, and, more importantly, use this knowledge to assist others in their own growth.

This was the point where I noticed the “Become a MCT” button on my Microsoft certification dashboard. I have always enjoyed the aspect of talking to others about my knowledge and experiences. I had looked into becoming a adjunct professor years ago, but that did not materialize. So, I thought that becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer would be a great way to draw others to Microsoft and also provide the ability to drive additional value to my organization and the Azure/Cloud community. I completed the requirements for becoming an MCT on April 16.

Now that I was a MCT, and I was starting a new position with a new company later in the month, I felt that I could bring extended value to my new organization and the cloud community. My new position was on the Product Management/Marketing team for a Managed Cloud Service Provider and would be owning the product lifecycle for our cloud and hosting services, so the certifications that I have attained and the MCT designation would go a long way in building credibility AND providing value to the growing public cloud practice.

Within my first 45 days at my new company, I provided AZ-900, AZ-103 ,and AZ-300 courses internally. During this time, my focus to add additional certifications to my resume began. AZ-500 was my next focused exam. I was assisting Skylines Academy with this course, so taking the newly released exam made sense. I successfully passed this course on June 26. In parallel, I had been studying the course material for DP-100, and I passed this exam on June 27.

I did not take any exams in July or August. I provided AZ-103 training for our Services Delivery team and assisted over ten co-workers get certified. My plan was to focus on the AI Engineer and Data Engineer certifications to accomplish next. Materials for these exams were not as readily available, especially for the AI exam. I was able to find materials that were helpful for AI on PluralSight and edX. I also worked through the labs from the Microsoft course material. I’ve provided the names of these courses at the end of this post. I took and passed the AI exam on September 6. I was extremely pleased to have passed this exam. Unlike the Administrator, Architect, and Security materials, I had no previous experience with this area of study, so it was a great learning experience for what I feel is the next great tools and services in cloud architectures. Stay tuned for my Azure Advent Calendar post on December 13.

Next up was the Data Engineering exams. There is a DP-200 course that was just released on Linux Academy that I found helpful along with the official course material. PluralSight also has some modules around this topic. On September 27, I passed the DP-200. The same day, I attempted the DP-201, but missed it by 59 points. I took that one again a couple of weeks later, and missed by 44 points. I have since found a DP-201 learning path on PluralSight that I plan to go through and fill some knowledge gaps in this area.

As I continue down my Microsoft certification journey, I will be taking the three recent beta exams that were announced, AZ-120 for SAP on Azure, MS-700 for Teams, and MS-600 for M365 development. After the first of the year, I’m planning on attempting to obtain my AZ-400 and M365 Enterprise Administrator Expert as my company expands more focus beyond Azure.

If you’ve taken the time to read this post and part one, you may be asking why am I sharing this information. I’m sharing this with you because I want everyone to believe that they can accomplish what they may feel is too difficult to achieve. I have passed ten exams and achieved seven Microsoft certifications within the past 11 months.

Now for the helpful resources that you can use to prepare.

Skylines Academy : currently has AZ-900, AZ-103, AZ-300, AZ-301, AZ-500, MS-900, and MS-100 courses available. Purchase an annual membership at a very reasonable price for access to all.

Scott Duffy of Software Architect was extremely helpful for AZ-103, AZ-300/301, and AZ-203.

PluralSight : learning paths for Azure Administrator, Architect, Data Engineer, and AI are available. PluralSight courses “Developing AI Models in Microsoft Azure”, and “Creating and Integrating AI with Azure Services” by Sahil Malik were great for AI-100 preparation.

Linux Academy has extremely helpful courses for Microsoft, AWS, and Google. Subscription for the year is not cheap but if you are planning to certify across hyper-scalers, it is worth it.

I want to also thank Build5nines, Azure Greg, Pixel Robots, Thomas Maurer, and all of the other great bloggers that are out there helping the community learn and get certified. See you on Twitter and LinkedIn. My next post with most likely be for the Azure Advent Calendar on December 13. Enjoy.