Azure Certification Path 2024: Where to start with Azure Certifications

Azure Certification Path 2024: Where to start with Azure Certifications

Categories: Cloud Computing|Published On: November 25, 2023|18 min read|
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Syazana Khan

A communications specialist and technology wordsmith with over 2 years experience in the IT and professional development training arena.

The path towards getting Azure Certified

Discover Your Path to Azure Certification Success

Azure certifications present a strategic advantage for IT professionals navigating today’s cloud-driven, interconnected world. Whether you’re a job seeker or an experienced professional, Azure certifications can significantly elevate your career prospects in your current organization or open doors to new opportunities. They serve as a badge of recognition and a validation of your technical skills for various industry roles, both now and in the future. For organizations, these certifications are key in pinpointing essential talent and enhancing the technical capabilities of their workforce.

Understanding the importance of showcasing your expertise in specialized cloud roles through Microsoft Azure certifications is crucial for advancing in the IT field. Yet, many individuals remain uncertain about which Azure certifications align best with their immediate professional objectives.

To guide you in selecting the most fitting Azure certification, we offer a comprehensive guide on the multiple Azure certification paths available to cloud professionals. This guide includes detailed information on various Azure certifications, their pricing, scope, and more, ensuring you make an informed decision.

Choosing the right Azure certification can often be challenging, akin to navigating a minefield. This article is crafted to address your concerns, simplify the decision-making process, and make your path to Azure certification straightforward and stress-free.



Azure Certification Levels

Why are Microsoft Azure certifications so important?

Microsoft Azure is the most widely used cloud computing platform, leading the cloud industry forward globally. A large majority of organizations and enterprises – small and big, have made the leap towards embracing cloud technology. This paradigm shift has also revealed that organizations want to remain competitive as the demand for cloud based and centered solutions grows daily, directly affecting the need for technology professionals with cloud knowledge.

Microsoft has been at forefront of ensuring that the global workforce is prepared to take on this substantial task by validating and certifying top applicants who are the best suited for  a specific job position, according to Microsoft. Microsoft certifications can undoubtedly add value to a candidate’s professional journey as most businesses now prefer to have prospective employees with certifications on tow.

Azure Certification Path

There are four levels of Microsoft certifications Azure Certification path levels, covering beginner to expert level azure cloud certification.

  • Fundamentals Certification – If you are a beginner, your Azure journey will start with Fundamentals Certification. Candidates with non-technical backdrop can also step into cloud computing through these certifications.

  • Associate Certification – Candidates who have a fair idea of Azure can aim toward associate certifications.

  • Expert Certification – You can obtain an expert certification if you have experience, a solid comprehension of the subject, and associate-level familiarity with Azure.

  • Specialty Certification – It is the highest level Azure certification. Candidates can opt for this Azure certification, if they want to apply for roles like Azure IOT Developer Specialty and Azure for SAP Workloads.

Gain an edge with Azure Certification

Gain an edge with Azure certifications

Important! 2022 Updates  


The table below shows the Microsoft Azure Certifications that have been phased out and their corresponding Replacement Exam, announced on March 31st, 2022. 

#  Expired Exam  Replacement Exam 
1  AZ-303 – Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies  AZ-305 exam – Designing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions 
2  AZ-304 – Microsoft Azure Architect Design 
3  DA-100 – Analyzing Data with Microsoft Power BI  PL-300 Exam -Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Exam 

Microsoft Certified: Azure Support Engineer for Connectivity Specialty (AZ – 720) is the new certification exam that is launched by Microsoft Azure. 

Azure Fundamental Level Certifications 

Get hired, stay ahead, be productive, and receive the recognition you deserve with Microsoft Certified: Fundamentals. These highly marketable, industry-respected certifications offer foundational training and exams that provide a practical, high-level overview of Microsoft technology and validate your up-to-date knowledge of the topics.

Whether you’re a technical professional, student, or business professional, Azure fundamentals certification are designed to help you accelerate your progress, boost your career, and stay current with evolving cloud technology trends. It can be the first step on your journey for role-based or specialty certifications, but it isn’t a prerequisite for any of them.

Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals (AZ-900) 

Learn the basics of Microsoft Azure, the cloud trusted by 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Gain understanding of cloud computing concepts, the range of Azure services, and the differences between public, private, and hybrid clouds. Recommended for early career cloud professionals and aspiring students.

RequirementsExam AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals 

Prerequisites: None 

 Skills Covered 

  • Define cloud computing and its key advantages. 
  • Explain public, private, and hybrid cloud models. 
  • Explain IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS cloud services. 
  • Identify core Azure architectural components, such as regions, geographies, and resource groups. 
  • Identify usage cases for Azure core services and products, such as virtual machines and storage. 


Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals (DP-900)

Take the next step in your cloud career by learning the foundational concepts you need to confidently contribute to an organization’s data-driven decision making and processes. Topics include relational data, nonrelational data, big data, and analytics. Recommended for early career data management professionals and aspiring students.

Requirements: Exam DP-900: Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals 

Prerequisites: None 

Skills Covered 

  •  Describe core data concepts in Azure 
  •  Explain concepts of relational data in Azure 
  •  Explain concepts of non-relational data in Azure 
  •  Identify components of a modern data warehouse in Azure 


Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals (AI-900) 

Master the basics of AI on Azure and gain the foundation to advance your career in this exciting field. This certification demonstrates your knowledge of common AI and machine learning workloads and the Azure services needed to run them. Recommended for early career AI professionals and aspiring students.

Requirements: Exam AI-900: Microsoft Azure AI Fundamentals 

Prerequisites: None 

Skills Covered: 

  • Describe Artificial Intelligence workloads and considerations 
  • Describe fundamental principles of machine learning on Azure 
  • Describe features of computer vision workloads on Azure 
  • Describe features of Natural Language Processing (NLP) workloads on Azure 
  • Describe features of conversational AI workloads on Azure 

Microsoft Certified: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals (SC-900) 

Advance your knowledge on a range of cybersecurity topics and build a foundation for advanced certifications that prepare you for in-demand roles in security operations, identity and access management, and information protection. Recommended for early career IT security professionals and aspiring students.

Requirements: Exam SC-900: Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals

Prerequisites: None 

Skills Covered

  • Describe basic concepts of security, compliance, and identity.
  • Describe the concepts and capabilities of Microsoft identity and access management solutions.
  • Describe the capabilities of Microsoft security solutions.
  • Describe the compliance management capabilities in Microsoft.

Azure Associate-level certifications 


Code Associate-Level Certifications
AZ-104 Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate
AZ-204 Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate
DP-300 Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate
AZ-500 Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate
AZ-700 Microsoft Certified: Azure Network Engineer Associate
DP-203 Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate
AI-102 Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate
AZ-600 Microsoft Certified: Azure Stack Hub Operator Associate
AZ-800 + AZ801 Microsoft Certified: Windows Server Hybrid Administrator Associate
DP-100 Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate
DP-500  Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate
SC-200  Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate
SC-300 Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate

Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) 

 Learn to manage Microsoft Azure identities and governance; implement and manage storage; deploy and manage Azure compute resources; configure and manage virtual networking; and monitor and back up Azure resources in this 4-days Microsoft Certified:  Azure Administrator Associate course. 

Required Exam: Exam AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator

Required Course: AZ-104T00: Microsoft Azure Administrator 

Prerequisites: None 

Skills Covered 

  • Secure and manage identities with Azure Active Directory. 
  • Implement and manage users and groups. 
  • Implement and manage Azure subscriptions and accounts. 
  • Implement Azure Policy, including custom policies. 
  • Use RBAC to assign permissions. 


Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204) 

This Microsoft Azure Developer Associate certification course teaches developers how to create end-to-end solutions in Microsoft Azure. Students will learn how to implement Azure compute solutions, create Azure Functions, implement and manage web apps, develop solutions utilizing Azure storage, implement authentication and authorization, and secure their solutions by using KeyVault and Managed Identities. 

Required Exam: Exam AZ-204: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure 

Required Course: AZ-204T00: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure

Prerequisites: None 

Skills Covered 

  • Develop Azure compute solutions 
  • Develop for Azure storage 
  • Implement Azure security 
  • Monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize Azure solutions 
  • Connect to and consume Azure services and third-party services 


Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate (DP-300) 

If you understand the transformation from on-premises databases to cloud data services—and the cloud database technologies available to you with Azure—now is the time to showcase the value you add to your organization as a database administrator with the Microsoft Certified: Azure Database Administrator Associate credential. 

Requirements: Exam DP-300: Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure

Required Course: DP-300T00: Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure

Prerequisites: Microsoft says people eyeing this cert should understand all the concepts covered in DP-900 Exam for the Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals certification. 

Skills Covered 

After completing this course, students will be able to: 

  • Plan, deploy and configure Azure SQL offerings 
  • Monitor database performance and tune a database and queries for optimum performance 
  • Plan and configure a High Availability Solution 


Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate (AZ-500)

 If your responsibilities as part of a larger team include maintaining the security posture, identifying and remediating vulnerabilities by using a variety of security tools, implementing threat protection, and responding to security incident escalations, this Microsoft Certified: Azure Security Engineer Associate could be the certification for you. 

Required Exam: Exam AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies 

Required Course: AZ-500T00: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies

Prerequisites: None officially, but strong scripting and automation chops plus familiarity with networking, virtualization, and cloud are needed for the exam. 

Skills Covered 

  •  Implement enterprise governance strategies including role-based access control, Azure policies, and resource locks. 
  •  Implement an Azure AD infrastructure including users, groups, and multi-factor authentication. 
  •  Implement Azure AD Identity Protection including risk policies, conditional access, and access reviews. 
  •  Implement Azure AD Privileged Identity Management including Azure AD roles and Azure resources. 
  •  Implement Azure AD Connect including authentication methods and on-premises directory 


Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate (DP-100)

A data scientist promotes a data-driven culture using rigorous scientific methodology and algorithms to discover and resolve business problems and to pursue opportunities to help achieve their organization’s goals. 

If this describes you, your skill set, and your passion for data, the Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate certification is made for you. 

With a reported average annual salary of $84,040 according to Skillsoft’s IT Skills Salary Report 2022, he Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate certification isn’t just a piece of paper – it’s a gateway to a world of exciting possibilities. ith this certification, you’ll be diving into the heart of Azure’s innovative data science technologies, positioning yourself at the forefront of an industry that’s shaping our future. Whether your passion lies in leading groundbreaking projects, exploring the depths of analytics, or driving insightful business decisions, this journey is for you.

Required ExamExam DP-100: Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure 

Required Course: DP-100T01: Designing and Implementing a Data Science Solution on Azure

Prerequisites: None, but test-takers typically have a history with computer science, math, and statistics. 

Skills Covered 

  • Manage Azure resources for machine learning 
  • Run experiments and train models 
  • Deploy and operationalize machine learning solutions 
  • Implement responsible machine learning 


Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate (DP-203) 

 Data engineer professionals know that cloud analytics is a critical first step to resilient business transformation, and they spend their days unlocking data and putting it to work for key insights and ground-breaking value. If you have these skills and want to prove them, check out this Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate certification course. 

RequirementsExam DP-203: Data Engineering on Microsoft Azure  

Required Course: DP-203T00: Data Engineering on Microsoft Azure

Prerequisites: None, but you’ll need to know basically every data-related Azure service come test time. 

Skills Covered 

  • Explore compute and storage options for data engineering workloads in Azure 
  • Design and Implement the serving layer 
  • Understand data engineering considerations 
  • Run interactive queries using serverless SQL pools 
  • Explore, transform, and load data into the Data Warehouse using Apache Spark 


Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate (AI-102) 

Take your AI skills to the next level with the Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate credential. 

Gain expertise and skills needed to embed artificial intelligence capabilities into apps, including Cognitive Services, natural language processing, and conversational AI with the Azure AI Engineer Associate certification. 

RequirementsExam AI-102: Designing and Implementing a Microsoft Azure AI Solution 

Required Course: AI-102T00: Designing and Implementing a Microsoft Azure AI Solution

Prerequisites: None, but if you’re coming from a non-technical background, you’ll need to learn Python and software development and get studied up on data science, math, and machine learning. 

Skills Covered 

  • Describe considerations for AI-enabled application development 
  • Create, configure, deploy, and secure Azure Cognitive Services 
  • Develop applications that analyze text 
  • Develop speech-enabled applications 
  • Create applications with natural language understanding capabilities 

Microsoft Certified: Azure Network Engineer Associate (AZ-700)

If you plan, implement, and maintain Azure networking solutions, including hybrid networking, connectivity, routing, security, and private access to Azure services, be sure to check this Microsoft Certified: Azure Network Engineer Associate certification out. 

RequirementsExam AZ-700: Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions

Required Course: AZ-700T00: Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions

Prerequisites: Successful Azure Network Engineers start this role with experience in enterprise networking, on-premises or cloud infrastructure and network security.

Skills Covered

  • Design, implement and manage hybrid network connections
  • Design and implement core Azure networking infrastructure
  • Design and implement routing and load balancing in Azure
  • Secure and monitor networks
  • Design and implement private access to Azure Services

Microsoft Certified: Azure Stack Hub Operator Associate (AZ-600)

Azure Stack Hub operators provide cloud services to their end users or customers from within their own datacenter using Azure Stack Hub. Candidates for the Azure Stack Hub Operator Associate certification have subject matter expertise in providing infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) offering to end users or customers from within their own datacenter using Azure Stack Hub.

Requirements: Exam AZ-600: Configuring and Operating a Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack Hub

Prerequisites: Successful Azure Stack Hub students have prior experience with operating systems, virtualization, cloud infrastructure, storage structures, and networking.

Skills Covered

  • Prepare for Azure Stack Hub deployment
  • Manage infrastructure certificates for Azure Stack Hub
  • Manage Azure Stack Hub registration
  • Configure an Azure Stack Hub home directory
  • Provision a service principal for Azure Stack Hub

Microsoft Certified: Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate (DP-500)

Data Analysts help businesses to maximize the value of their data assets using Microsoft Power BI. The new Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate certification is a key step for professionals who take that data from its various sources across the enterprise and then model and analyze it to inform and support effective business decisions.

Requirements: Exam DP-500: Designing and Implementing Enterprise-Scale Analytics Solutions Using Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Power BI

Prerequisites: A foundational knowledge of core data concepts and how they’re implemented using Azure data services.

Skills Covered

  • Implement and manage a data analytics environment
  • Query and transform data
  • Implement and manage data models
  • Explore and visualize data

Microsoft Certified: Security Operations Analyst Associate (SC-200)

The Microsoft security operations analyst collaborates with organizational stakeholders to secure information technology systems for the organization. Their goal is to reduce organizational risk by rapidly remediating active attacks in the environment, advising on improvements to threat protection practices, and referring violations of organizational policies to appropriate stakeholders. Responsibilities include threat management, monitoring, and response by using a variety of security solutions across their environment.

Requirements: Exam SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst


  • Basic understanding of Microsoft 365
  • Fundamental understanding of Microsoft security, compliance, and identity products
  • Intermediate understanding of Windows 10
  • Familiarity with Azure services, specifically Azure SQL Database and Azure Storage
  • Familiarity with Azure virtual machines and virtual networking
  • Basic understanding of scripting concepts.

Skills Covered

  • Explain how Microsoft Defender for Endpoint can remediate risks in your environment
  • Create a Microsoft Defender for Endpoint environment
  • Configure Attack Surface Reduction rules on Windows 10 devices
  • Perform actions on a device using Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
  • Investigate domains and IP addresses in Microsoft Defender for Endpoint

Microsoft Certified: Identity and Access Administrator Associate (SC-300)

The Microsoft identity and access administrator designs, implements, and operates an organization’s identity and access management systems by using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). They configure and manage authentication and authorization of identities for users, devices, Azure resources, and applications.

Requirements: Exam SC-300: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator

Prerequisites: Security best practices and industry security requirements such as defense in depth, least privileged access, shared responsibility, and zero trust model.

Skills Covered

  • Implement an identity management solution
  • Implement an authentication and access management solutions
  • Implement access management for apps
  • Plan and implement an identity governance strategy