Cloud computing in 2021 has become the ultimate choice for IT solutions due to the ongoing digital transformation accelerated by remote work culture due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Azure is a cloud computing service by Microsoft, one of the cloud leaders, following Amazon AWS.
Azure, along with Microsoft’s Software-as-a-Service offering is becoming the hot favorite cloud provider among various enterprises. In this article, our key focus will be on various aspects of Azure Architect and how to become an Azure Architect. We will also discuss how to prepare and get Azure architect certification.
What is Azure?
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Azure is a cloud computing service by Microsoft, formally released in early 2010. Like other leading cloud service providers, Azure also offers the ability to build, test, deploy, and manage applications through Microsoft-managed data centers. It supports many programming languages, tools, and frameworks including both Microsoft and non-Microsoft products.
Azure offers Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). However, SaaS with Azure generates the bulk of the revenue for Microsoft. Azure offers more than 600 services including computer services, identity, mobile services, storage services, data management, messaging, media services, Content delivery network, developer, Management, Artificial Intelligent, Blockchain workbench, functions, IoT, etc.
What is an azure architect?
An Azure Solutions Architect or Azure Architect is a Cloud Architect that builds and provides solutions to Azure cloud. Typically, an Azure architect is a technical person with vast knowledge and experience in building and managing software solutions along with in-depth knowledge of Azure cloud computing with all its services and offerings.
When we talk about Azure architecture, it refers to the components and subcomponents required for Azure computing. These components consist of front-end and back-end platforms, an Azure-based delivery system, and a network. United, these components make up Azure computing architecture.
An Azure Architect is responsible for transforming the technical requirements of a project into the Azure architecture and design that will safeguard the final product. An Azure architect is also responsible for bridging the gaps between business problems and solutions in Azure computing.
Other technical teams, like DevOps engineers and developers, work with Azure architects to make sure the application is built, managed, and working as directed by the Azure architect.
How to become one
To become an Azure architect, you must have a fair share of expertise and experience in building and managing software solutions and in-depth knowledge of Azure architecture. However, to accelerate your career and stand out among competitors, it’s essential to have Azure Architecture certificates.
The Azure Solutions Architect Expert certification is a top-level and one of the most coveted Microsoft Azure certifications in Azure cloud computing. This certification is tailor-made for Azure architects.
However, Azure experienced developers or admins can also go for this certificate if they want to advance their careers.
Benefits of becoming a Microsoft certified Azure solution Architect:
- Certified professionals on average earn 15 percent higher package and are usually 20 percent more productive than non-certified professionals.
- Since becoming a certified professional is becoming more common day by day, hence organizations are also preferring certified architects over non-certified architects.
- An Azure architect, with a highly coveted Microsoft certified batch, can earn the trust of stakeholders more easily than others.
To obtain the Azure Solutions Expert Certification, you need to clear two exams;
- Exam AZ-303: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies
- Exam AZ-304: Microsoft Azure Architect Design
Although not a mandate, it is always advised to clear AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals exam. This fundamental certification exam will give you some fundamental ideas about Azure. You will get to know how to prepare for these exams, have clarity about the question patterns, be familiar with examination setup and environment, and a certificate in hand will work as a confidence booster for you.
Along with advanced-level certifications AZ-303 and AZ-304, you should have at least 2-3 years of Azure experience in building, designing, and supporting solutions. Fair knowledge and experience in software development and technology are extremely beneficial.
Let’s individually check AZ-303 and AZ-304 exam details.
AZ-303 (Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies): Exam AZ-303 is an updated version of the previous exam AZ-300. AZ-300 was taken back by Microsoft in late 2020.
This exam measures your capability to achieve the technical tasks mostly on the implementation side, such as implementing an Azure infrastructure or a solution for applications or implementing security and management solutions, or implementing a data platform.
The previous version of the exam, AZ-300 was more into advanced networking, development patterns, and messaging technologies. In AZ-303, more focus is given on core networking, such as peering, security and routing.
Below are the implementation, managing, and monitoring skills measured for the AZ-304 exam:
- Azure infrastructure (50-55%)
- Management and security solutions (25-30%)
- Solutions for application (10-15%)
- Data platforms (10-15%)
AZ-304 (Microsoft Azure Architect Design): Like AZ-303, AZ-304 also is an updated version of the previous exam AZ-301. AZ-300 was also retired by Microsoft in late 2020 at the same time as AZ-300. This exam measures your capability more into the design sides, such as design monitoring, identity and security, data storage, business continuity, and infrastructure.
There is not much difference between AZ-301 and AZ-304. The only difference is AZ-301 was more inclined towards gathering requirements and design where AZ-304 is more into identity monitoring and infrastructure.
Below are the design skills measured for the AZ-304 exam:
- Monitoring (10-15%)
- Identity and security (25-30%)
- Data storage (15-20%)
- Business continuity (10-15%)
- Infrastructure (25-30%)
Microsoft as well as most of the leading training institutes offer training tailor-made to clear these examinations. However, Microsoft training modules are less detailed as compared to others. Clearing these exams is not very easy, hence it’s advised to opt for some training programs as well as have knowledge and experience requirements as prerequisites.
Sufficient knowledge in Azure and business Solutions, a well-defined and well-guided training path, and sufficient hard work can help you to become a Microsoft certified Azure solution Architect.