[This post is a recap of what I used to prepare to pass the Azure 70-533 certification. For more information about the exam, visit BuildAzure.]
I have been developing on the Microsoft web stack for well over 15 years and while I consider myself an expert in several Microsoft technologies, I had never gotten around to having a third-party validate my self-proclaimed “expertise”.
I had already been working on Azure for a couple of years and felt this would be the perfect platform where a certification could come in handy.
With this being my first ever certification, I was a bit lost as to where to start. My options for an Azure certification were:
- Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions (70-532)
- Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions (70-533)
- Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions (70-534)
Fortunately, I came across Chris Pietschmann’s guide on the Azure certification exams. His guide showed me how the 70-532, 70-533, and 70-534 all fit together and it was at this point that I knew I wanted to take the 70-532 and 70-533.
Choosing to take the 70-533
I felt pretty comfortable with Azure’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings since I had previously developed solutions on Cloud Services, Websites and more recently Web Apps, but the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) side was a bit alien to me. This should have naturally lead me to take the 70-532 first, however, when I looked up the courses offered on Pluralsight to make use of my subscription, the only complete Azure learning path was for the 70-533 (Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions (70-533)). This learning path was made up of 7 courses that covered each topic on the infrastructure exam.
Studying for the 70-533
I began the training path in August of 2016 and would squeeze in a couple of modules whenever I had a chance. It was not until late November/early December that I decided to get serious about studying and managed to complete the videos before the end of the year:
Some time in November, Microsoft announced that the 70-533 exam would get a refresh and use ARM template deployment model instead of the “Classic” approach, which is what the training material had mostly been based on.
I’m not really sure how I came upon Opsgility, but after I soon discovered that their 70-533 training material was updated to use ARM deployment model I decided to make use of their free trial.
The registration for the Azure certification exam included a practice exam along with a test and a retake. The practice exam was administered by MeasureUp. Initially, I thought I had one chance to take the practice exam, but it turns out, I had a one-month access to retake the practice exam!
As evident from the results of my first practice exam, my Azure experience centered around App Services. While the results were a bit disappointing, the breakdown allowed me to pinpoint what sections I should focus on; clearly Active Directory and Virtual Machines.
Pluralsight vs. Opsgility
When I initially started preparing for the 70-533 I wanted to make use of the Pluralsight subscription I was already paying for, so I didn’t look any further. However, after Microsoft refreshed the exam to use ARM deployment model I knew I had to find updated training material.
Overall, Tim Warner and Razi bin Rais provided a good overview of each topic, however, I don’t think that I would have signed up for a Pluralsight subscription based on their 70-533 offering.
On the other hand, Opsgility training videos provided a good depth of information and were easy to follow, I think following their hands-on lab are what mainly helped me pass the exam.
In early January I took my first certification exam and I’m happy to announce that I passed! Passing this exam earned me the Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions certification.