Microsoft Azure is a Cloud Computing service for testing, building, deploying, and managing services, as well as applications, by the data centers managed by Microsoft. It is the fastest-growing cloud provider in the current market scenario. The cloud services Azure provides are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Various different programming languages, frameworks, and tools are supported by Azure. These tools can be either third-party software or Microsoft-specific software and systems.
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Understanding the needs of IT professionals in different Azure roles, Microsoft has overhauled its certifications and has created a large number of role-based Azure certifications. These roles mainly comprise Developer, Administrator, DevOps Engineer, Architect, and many others.
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Who is a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect?
Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architects have in-depth knowledge of how to design solutions that can run on Azure. So, expertise in network, security, and storage is a must.
The job role that you can expect as a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect is that of a Solutions Architect. If you want to become an Azure Certified Solutions Architect, passing AZ-300 (Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies) and AZ-301 (Microsoft Azure Architect Design) exams is necessary as this is an expert-level certification.
If you are someone who advises stakeholders and translates business requirements into secure, reliable, and scalable solutions, then you are the best fit for these certifications. It is because these will help you in becoming industry-ready. You must also possess a piece of advanced knowledge and experience across various IT operations such as virtualization, networking, security, etc. The role of a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect needs you to know how to manage decision-making in each area affected.
An Azure Solutions Architect Study Guide: Exams AZ-300 and AZ-301
To grab an Azure Solutions Architect certification, you need to pass two exams, namely, AZ-300 and AZ-301. The AZ-300 exam basically focuses on Azure technologies, whereas the AZ-301 exam mainly focuses on the design aspects.
Let’s look at these two in detail.
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In order to get through the AZ-300 (Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies) exam, you must have the following technical skills:
- Deploying and configuring infrastructure
- Implementing workloads and security
- Creating and deploying apps
- Implementing authentication and securing data
- Developing for the cloud and for Azure storage
Let’s talk about each of the sections in detail now.
- Deploying and configuring infrastructure: This section covers a huge variety of topics such as storage, networking, virtual machines, and Azure Active Directory. In-depth knowledge of each is required. In the networking domain, having a piece of good knowledge of connecting virtual networks using VNet peering and network gateways would be beneficial as well. In the area related to Azure Active Directory, you need to know about the synchronization of Azure AD.
- Implementing workloads and security: In this section, you must know how you can connect your on-premises network to an Azure virtual network as well as how to migrate your on-premises servers to Azure using Azure Site Recovery. You should also be well-versed with the security aspect of the product you are building or suggesting.
- Creating and deploying apps: This section covers creating and deploying of apps using Azure Container Service or Azure App Service.
- Implementing authentication and securing data: The two main topics covered in this section are implementing authentication and encrypting data. You must implement authentication using various methods such as managed identity or managed service identity (MSI). The encryption of data is a very important concept that uses the Azure Key Vault (a place where you can store cryptographic keys).
- Developing for the cloud and for Azure storage: This section focuses on the development of a cloud. The major feature of a cloud is that it is capable of autoscaling. So, instead of having to provision enough compute power for handling peaks or scaling down the same for handling the dull periods, you can tell Azure to add or remove Cloud Computing resources according to the demand.
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For clearing the AZ-301 (Microsoft Azure Architect Design) exam, you must be having the following technical skills:
- Determining the workload requirements
- Designing for identity and security
- Designing a data platform solution
- Designing a business continuity strategy
- Designing for deployment, migration, and integration
- Designing an infrastructure strategy
There is no doubt that AZ-301 is much more difficult as compared to AZ-300 as for the former you need to have in-depth knowledge about the IT architecture to come up with the best Azure solution designs. Let’s now talk about each section of the exam in-depth:
- Determining the workload requirements: The first section of the exam expects you to have basic knowledge about designing IT environments (capacity planning, maintenance, and governance). The Azure-specific topics present in this section will help you optimize Azure costs and design a monitoring strategy.
- Designing for identity and security: This section is based specifically on designing for security and identity. Your major focus would be on how to use Azure Active Directory.
- Designing a data platform solution: The next section is dedicated to designing data solutions. Here, several data services are introduced, such as data warehouses, relational and non-relational databases, and data lakes, along with many other services.
- Designing a business continuity strategy: This section deals with the designing of a business continuity strategy. Its most crucial concepts include disaster recovery and high availability. The two most important services for disaster recovery are Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery. On the other hand, high availability can be designed using different levels of redundancy.
- Designing for deployment, migration, and integration: This section is the smallest of all. The major concern here is to learn to design for:
- Deployment (designing a way to deploy Azure resources)
- Integration (integrating your applications using Azure API Management)
- Migration (migrating services from an on-premises environment to the Azure environment).
- Designing an infrastructure strategy: This final section of this exam is based on designing an infrastructure strategy. You must know the design strategies for storage, networking, and compute and choose the right solution, along with designing secure access to the solution.
Azure Solutions Architect Salary
Now that you know the topics you need to learn to gain this certification, you must be wondering what salary you get as an Azure Solutions Architect, right? So, the entry-level positions’ salaries start at US$90,250 per year, and an experienced Azure Solutions Architect with 10–19 years of experience can earn an average of US$115,500 annually. In their late-career (20 years and higher), employees can earn an average total of US$210,000/year.
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Still wondering how you can become a certified Azure Solutions Architect? I would suggest you take up Intellipaat’s online course on Azure Solutions Architect certification. This certification course is available either in a self-paced mode wherein you can learn according to your pace or in an instructor-led training mode that would make you learn the topics in-depth with live training from a certified instructor. And obviously, having hands-on experience in major areas of Azure and taking mock exams will help you immensely in gaining a Microsoft Certified Azure Solutions Architect certification.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and enroll in the Azure Solutions Architect Certification Course now!