I passed my AZ-305

So today, I sat down to take finally get my Azure Solutions Architect - Expert certification. If I am honest, this has been too long in the making!

Back in my permy consulting days, I used to be obsessed with getting certifications, especially ones that were the latest and greatest from my favourite vendors. My (defo not cool like I thought it was) claim to fame was being the first in EMEA to get the MCSE: Private Cloud cert.

However, I fell out of love, mostly because MS kept changing the goal posts, just as I would pass an exam, and new one would be released... the names would change and my nice shiny new badge would be obsolete.

To cut a long story short, I threw my toys out of the pram when the 70-534 couldn't be upgraded by taking a single exam to become an Architect expert.

Any ways, enough moaning! The AZ-305 was released by Microsoft to replace the AZ-303 and AZ-304, and can in conjunction with the AZ-100 administrator exam... which I really liked! To me (and obviously MS now), hands on experience is critical to designing and consuming cloud services.

The experience

I took the home proctored exam, which meant I could do it in the comfort of my house, just after a brew. No travel to the Manchester test centre... that is, shall we say... interesing! To get sorted, I had to clear everything from view (so no monitors!), and take various pictures of my environment. These were uploaded using the PearsonView app on my phone, and after a quick systems test... I was ready to go.

The way MS exams have moved on recently feels like hands on experience is now critical to being able to pass. A mixture of scenario and multiple choice formats challenge you on choosing the 'right' solution, based on the business requirements.

How I revised.

I'm not big into revising. If I'm honest, I hate it. I really don't learn well with the typical note taking or reading (main reason, my handwriting is terrible). So to make sure I did this, I focused on video content. There are great YouTube videos by John Savill, and an amazing array of courses on Pluralsight that range from quick overviews to in depth deep dives.

Finally I got hands on. Nothing beats logging into the portal and actually spinning this stuff up. Set yourself a high level scenario, and run through it. Set it up in the portal, test the settings, delete it and finally deploy using code. 1 day of hands on will cement any knowledge you read online or watched in a video.

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Paul Sanders

Hi, I'm Paul Sanders, and I'm from Manchester, UK. After many years working in the IT consultancy industry, I decided to setup on my own. Now an independent strategy consultant.
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