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A guide for those looking to get skilled and certified.

From this month, Microsoft has overhauled some of its courses and certifications. As the only Gold Learning Partner in town, DDLS has the news you need to get the skills you need. Firstly, we would love to speak to you about your requirements. We’ve created this quick FAQ to answer the questions you didn’t know you had.

Q: Why has Microsoft made such significant changes to its courses and certifications?

A: Microsoft training and certification had followed a set formula for years. Fundamentally the same model that certified 1000s of people on NT 3.51 was still in use. A training manual gets produced, a product-centric certification gets released, and generally, that was business as usual for the next three years, or in that case, until NT 4 shipped. In an evergreen world of Azure and Office 365, that model doesn’t work anymore. Enter certification 3.0.

Q: Are these changes new? Microsoft only recently introduced a new Azure certification.

A: There is a combination of new certifications and changes to the Azure Certification currently in market. Microsoft is listening to the needs of hiring managers and IT Professionals a like. With a sense of innovation and urgency Microsoft has introduced a raft of new certifications and changes.

Q: I’m working on the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate certification, and my colleague just passed the exams. Do I need to worry?

A: No need to worry. As you know, at launch, there were two exams, AZ-100 and AZ-101, supported by up to ten days of training required to achieve this certification. Going forward there is a single exam, AZ-103, supported by a single four-day training course. AZ-103T00 – Microsoft Azure Administrator – This reduces the work required to achieve the associate level certification.

Q: What about those that have passed both the original AZ-100 and AZ-101 exams?

A: Don’t panic, you get to keep the certification. For those who have taken AZ-101, you will receive an exam voucher (regardless of previously passing or failing) that can be used for any Microsoft exam delivered through Pearson VUE as Microsoft’s thanks for being early adopters of their new certification program.

Q: What about those who have taken and passed AZ-100 and were looking at taking AZ-101?

A: Congratulations, you have achieved Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate status. Anyone passing AZ-100 will be awarded the certification with no requirement to pass the AZ-101 exam.

Q: What about anyone who had or intended to take AZ-100? Do they have to start over?

A: Your investment in learning is safe. The objectives of the new exam are really close to AZ-100 and AZ-101. We have a mapping document that can help – please get in touch.

Q: I’m booked on to the “older courses” – should I cancel?

A: These courses do not retire for a little while and still map to the new exam. The choice is therefore yours.

Q: You mentioned new certifications; can you share more?

A: The MCSE and MCSA that jump started a generation of IT Pros were very product-centric certifications. In the cloud world, the certifications are much more closely aligned with job roles. The three levels of certification are now: Fundamentals, Associate and Expert. You can achieve these levels of certification across the Microsoft service areas of:

  • Apps and Infrastructure

  • Modern Workplace

  • Data and AI

  • Business Apps

Q: I work with Azure. Given the changes to the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate credential, what else is new?

A: For the Azure Administrator and Architect, the certifications now on the table are:

Q: Anything actually new?

Yes, there are. In fact, there are several new job-role-based certifications, including DevOps and AI.

Q: Dynamics training has been missing for years; any changes there?

A: Microsoft stopped Dynamics training some time back. We are excited to share that not only has Dynamics 365 training started to be released, but so has a range of certifications, split, as with the other certifications into Fundamentals, Associate and Expert level. We have started to add these to our schedules. Right now, there isn’t an Expert level certification. Look out for:

Q: What are the options for me? I look after Messaging in Office 365.

A: Well, there is a certification just for you. There are also Office 365 certifications for five different audiences. These are again split in to Fundamentals, Associate and Expert levels.

Q: What if I’m not a deep dive IT Professional but do need to have a great, but general understanding of Azure, 365 or Dynamics? Maybe I’m the BDM or an account manager selling Azure.

A: We’ve got one word for you. Fundamentals. There, we said it.

DDLS recognises that taking you on this journey to cloud enlightenment can seem to be a long and winding road. We highly recommend giving us a quick call, we’ll listen to what you are trying to achieve and build you a training and certification plan that will get you to your happy cloud place, quicker.

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