When the year started, I promised myself I would try to take on one new certification per month for my own growth. Also, I arbitrarily decided I would go for the Azure ones since I got my AWS Solutions Architect pocketed two years ago. From that point, the first certification to pass was AZ-900.
AZ-900 is the Azure Fundamentals exam, trickier to handle in spite of the name. It focuses on knowledge of, well, fundamentals. Stuff like how many availability zones do you need for a VM to reach an availability of 99.999%. What region is only available to the US Government and its contractors, etc. It can be overwhelming to learn, you will sink a lot of time in this.
Since I managed to tackle the AWS one within ten working days, I assumed it would go as fast. Except I neglected one major factor. I hadn’t studied at home for the AWS certification but from the office. Indeed, I took advantage of the time I had in-between projects to train for the certification then. This allowed me to train at least eight hours each day.
However, since I’m on a full-time project, my learning needs to take place outside of working hours. As you know, life can get in the way and after a whole day at work, it can be hard to keep focus. Yes, even if it’s just for another hour. Another hour working can sometimes make the difference for a good work/life balance and burnout. Since burning out is a waste of time, I pick skipping a day if I don’t feel like it to preserve my mind. Eventually, I spent about 2-3 weeks on the course then about ten hours that I spread through the following month.
Basically, I started the first module in early February and took my last practice exam in early April. Having reached a score of 90% in practice I finally felt ready so I booked an exam for the following day. These were weird conditions, as it turns out, I could take on the AZ-900 from home with a camera on so that someone can make sure I wouldn’t cheat. I showed with my laptop camera my office and sent photos under multiple angles. The desk had to be completely clear, nothing around that can be used for cheating.
After confirming the conformity of my home office, I could finally start. It didn’t take me too long. The exam duration is 90 minutes, and if I recall, the check-in process took me longer than the actual exam. Since I had to hit the bathroom but wasn’t allowed to until I completed the exam I basically speedran it. Instant feedback, I passed with 82%, got up and ran to the bathroom to free myself.
In France, we say that hunger comes as we eat, and that first exam gave me a hunger for more. That first round showed me that it can take a while but so long as I take regular, small bites, I will eventually reach my learning goals. The next exam on my plate is the AZ-204 to develop solutions for Microsoft Azure. I started on it this week after taking a three-week break since passing the AZ-900. Remember that you need breaks to avoid burning yourself out. That’s what I’ll be doing.
You can find the learning material to take on the AZ-900 right here, you can also find affordable practice exams in places like Udemy. Don’t buy them if they cost more than £20 as they run frequent promotions. A course selling for £300 can sell to £15 tomorrow or even less.
Thank you for reading, see you next time.