Microsoft exams and qualifications with some tips from an Azure specialist

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Peter McLeavery has worked at Giacom for the last 2 years as an Account Manager and is now transitioning to a new role as an Azure specialist. Pete has trained, qualified, and is now focusing on further training in his chosen specialisation. We had a quick chat with him to find out more about the Microsoft qualifications he’s taken and some of his tips for success.

Peter McLeavery has worked at Giacom for the last two years as an Account Manager and is now transitioning to a new role as an Azure specialist.

To help us tailor solutions for partners using Azure, Teams, and other parts of the Microsoft stack, we knew that we needed a dedicated expert to help us build these solutions; and so Pete has trained, qualified, and is now focusing on further training in his chosen specialisation.

We had a quick chat with him to find out more about the Microsoft qualifications he’s taken – along with some of his tips for success.

Tailored Learning

When the role of Azure Specialist was first created at Giacom, I felt it would be a great fit for me. But, I also knew that I would have to get a more structured knowledge of the Azure product and I thought the Microsoft qualifications available would be the best way to achieve this.

The Microsoft teaching platform – Microsoft Learn – offers different levels of qualifications and specialisations and gives a clear path of progression that can be tailored to each individual learner. This approach has helped me considerably at Giacom – in giving me the expert knowledge needed to meet demands of my new role.

Any new learner can choose where they start from based on what they want to pursue. Within Azure there are two main paths – either become a Cloud Solution Specialist or work in DevOps.

These are prerequisite exams to the final test, which if completed certifies you as an expert. I began with the fundamentals of Azure and the AZ104 Administrator exam – a great starting point for someone at associate level, which gave me a broad, big picture overview of the Azure concepts.

The next step for me is AZ500, the Security Administrator qualification, which will set me up for the expert level exams, where I could focus on either AI or App development.

Tips For Success

Personal goals will help you keep focused and motivated while you are working towards your qualification. Remembering why you are dedicating yourself to something is a powerful way of keeping on track. For those unsure about their next steps, here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Begin by booking the exam, By committing to a date, you can plan accordingly. Also, tell people you are doing it. Being accountable helps to keep you on track and colleagues, friends, and family will be able to provide support if they know it’s an important goal for you.
  • Practice and prepare using the resources that Microsoft provides. All of the Microsoft content is excellent and has such a depth of information. Also take a look at third party platforms like Udemy – or even YouTube videos – for additional input.
  • Create a free Azure account as a way of practicing. Being able to learn in a real setting is really useful. Do this until you feel confident approaching challenges. Once you’ve started solving technical problems in live environments and you’ve been studying well, you’ll be ready to take on the exams.

Once you have accomplished the fundamentals – when your first exams are over – and you’ve got your qualification, use that success to push on further. You’ll be empowered to learn more and be better able to help customers with your service experience and knowledge. Now that I have some Microsoft qualifications under my belt I am really confident in my abilities.

For employers, it’s worth knowing that Microsoft qualifications are a great way of giving staff more power over their career direction and a fantastic motivator to spur on their success – helping push them and their teams further.

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