I’ve been taking on some Microsoft certifications recently, and my latest success is passing the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions exam; earning me the Microsoft Specialist: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions Certification. As with all Microsoft certification exams, this exam covers a huge amount of information and content. As a result of this, a variety of materials and sources need to be studied in order to get the level understanding and memorization necessary to pass the exam.
Now that I’ve passed the exam, I thought I’d share what I used so you too can become a certified Azure developer!
UPDATE: November 2016, the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions exam is getting a big update to include Azure Resource Manager (ARM) coverage as well as Azure Functions, DocumentDB, Logic Apps, and many more newer Azure features and services. This is a major refresh, so you’ll want to go check out the latest list of exam objectives to make sure you’re studying the right stuff.
Exam Target Audience
The 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions exam is targeted towards a Developer audience. If you’re an experienced .NET developer, then you’ll likely have an easier time preparing for this exam. As a result, the exam will assume you are proficient with development tools, techniques and have experience developing scalable and resilient solutions.
Here’s a high level break down of the exam objectives:
- Design and implement websites (15-20%)
- Create and manage virtual machines (20-25%)
- Design and implement cloud services (20-25%)
- Design and implement a storage strategy (20-25%)
- Manage application and network services (15-20%)
Note: The percentage next to each is the approximate break out of how much of the exam focuses on each objective area. As you can see it’s pretty evenly distributed across the 5 areas.
The full exam objectives are listed on the official page for the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions exam.
Free Video Courses / Training
There are many video training courses available for the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions exam. The courses top on my list are over at the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA), but there are many more. Here’s a list of video courses I used while studying for this exam with the approximate length of the training courses.
- Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions (~9 hrs) via MVA
- Microsoft Azure Fundamentals (~6.5 hrs) via MVA
- Microsoft Azure Fundamentals: WebSites (~9 hrs) via MVA
- Exam Prep Session for Exam 70-532: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions (~1.5 hrs) via Channel9 from Microsoft Ignite
- Azure Friday videos - there are MANY short videos hosted by Scott Hanselman. This is an excellent archive to go through!
- Channel9 Microsoft Azure videos - there are MANY videos on Channel9. This is an excellent archive to go through!
Another video training option that’s not Free, but there is a Free Trial available is Opsgility on-demand Azure training.
There are a number of books on Microsoft Azure. The one geared towards studying for the exam is the “Exam Ref 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions” from Microsoft Press. This book is an excellent study resource to accompany all the other materials, as it’s condensed to cover the exam objectives list.
Note: Do NOT rely to heavily on any single study resources, even books.
Here a list of some Free eBooks available for download:
- "Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure" Free eBook via Microsoft Press
- "Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure" Free eBook via Microsoft Press
The documentation for Azure is an excellent study resource too! It’s been built out pretty heavily and even accepts contributions from the community via GitHub. I really encourage you to browse around the documentation and read, read, read in addition to all of your other study efforts.
The typical practice test vendors do not currently offer any practice exams for the 70-532 Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions exam. Due to this fact, I actually developed some of my own practice test questions to help me prepare for the exam, and I put them up free for anyone to use!
Take the practice tests: Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions (70-532) Practice Test
While the list of questions I put together is not an exhaustive list, this offers yet another tool you can use to help prepare for the exam. Please don’t complain about the quality or the extensiveness of the questions. It takes a lot of time to write test questions! Also, I put these up on GitHub so feel free to browse the source code, fork it or whatever.
It’s fine to get “book smart”, but there certainly is no substitute for just getting in there, playing around and practicing. Something Microsoft offers to encourage this is a Free Trial with $200 to spend on all Azure Services. So go dig in and experiment with how this stuff all works, and get some real world experience that will help you pass the exam. This is not just useful if you’re new to Azure. It’s also very useful if you’ve already been developing on Azure but just haven’t done much with certain features yet. Additionally, if you have an MSDN Subscription, then you already have some free monthly credits to use Azure available to you too.
Exam Study Tips
Here’s a few tips of techniques I use when studying and preparing for certification exams:
- Make sure to go through each exam objective category and study until you're comfortable with that topic.
- Use at minimum 3 study resources on each topic. The variety and repetition will help you retain everything.
- Play with stuff. "Book smarts" are good, but practical hands-on experience is better.
- Make flash cards and/or practice test questions to help memorizing the stuff that can be memorized.
- Don't be afraid to fail an exam. You will learn what areas you need to focus on better and can always take it again.
- Give yourself a deadline. Once you're in a comfortable study pace, estimate when you'll be ready for the exam and schedule it.
- Get your family on board to support you spending a significant amount of time outside of work to study.
- Choose the online proctored exam option when scheduling the exam. This way you can take the exam in a less stressful environment that is the comfort of your own home.
Good Luck! I hope this resource list helps you pass the exam and earn your Azure certification!