The Top Nine Microsoft Azure Cloud Certifications for IT Professionals in 2023

Myles Brown | Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Top Nine Microsoft Azure Cloud Certifications for IT Professionals in 2023

Following a recent poll of cloud decision-makers, businesses are starting to use Microsoft Azure as frequently as or even more often than AWS.

According to the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report, Azure passed AWS for breadth of adoption among enterprises migrating more workloads to the cloud.


For the first time in the report's 11-year history, Enterprise IT professionals stated they chose Azure (77%) over AWS (73%) as their public cloud provider over the previous year.

A compartmentalized approach to IT administration is out of date in the hybrid IT landscape. The use of the cloud, whether public, private, or a hybrid solution, is growing across all business verticals and upending how IT manages, orchestrates, and provisions resources. The issue for businesses that haven't started their cloud journey yet is no longer if but when.

Companies need highly qualified personnel to create and manage their cloud solutions in the growing industry. Microsoft provides a variety of Azure certifications for various products and career paths to certify skilled 

This article will look at the top nine Azure certifications that provide you with the necessary skills and experience in a competitive IT industry.

Fundamental Level Certificates

The three Azure Fundamental Certifications are DP-900 for dealing with data (DBA, Data Engineers, and Data Architects) on the cloud, AZ-900 for the cloud, and AI-900 for AI, ML, and Data Science.

Your choice of certification at the foundation level can dictate your future career path, so it's essential to consider which you are most passionate about, even at this early stage.

AZ-900 – Azure Fundamentals

A base-level certification for prospective Azure practitioners is Microsoft Azure Fundamentals. It directly competes with the Cloud Digital Leader certifications offered by Google Cloud and AWS. Candidates gain knowledge of both fundamental cloud principles and essential Azure services. It highlights the features related to Azure network security, identity, governance, privacy, and compliance, as well as the management tools for Azure.

IT professionals starting to work with Azure should take this course. This audience is interested in discovering more about Azure services and using the product firsthand. This course does not require scripting knowledge and instead creates resources primarily using the Azure portal and command line interface.

Although it is not a requirement for any of them, Azure Fundamentals can be used to prepare for additional Azure role-based certifications like Azure Administrator [AZ-104] and Azure DevOps Engineer [AZ-400].

Azure Cloud Architect, Azure Cloud Administrator, and Azure Consultant are among the job positions for AZ-900.

AI-900 – Azure AI Fundamentals

Anyone interested in learning about the sorts of solutions artificial intelligence (AI) makes possible, and the Microsoft Azure services you can utilize to develop them should take the Azure AI Fundamentals course. Although you don't need any prior Microsoft Azure knowledge to enrol in this course, it is expected that you are at least somewhat familiar with computer technology and the Internet.

If you are entirely new to Azure, it might be best to take the AZ-900 course before embarking on this one. Although it's not a requirement for any of the examinations, AI-900 may be used to prepare for other Azure role-based certifications like Azure Data Scientist Associate [DP-100].

AI/Machine Learning Engineers, AI Cloud Engineers, and AI Consultants are among the job titles for AI-900.

DP-900 – Azure Data Fundamentals

Candidates who wish to begin working with data in the cloud, learn the fundamentals of cloud data services, and develop their foundational understanding of cloud data services in Microsoft Azure should take the DP-900 exam.

Although it's not a requirement for any of these examinations, Azure Data Fundamentals can be used to be ready for additional Azure role-based certifications like Azure Data Engineer Associate [DP-200/DP-201], Azure Data Scientist Associate [DP-100], and Azure Database Administrator Associate [DP-300].

DBAs, Data Engineers, and Data Analysts are among the job titles for the DP-900.

Beginner Level Certificates

AZ-104 – Microsoft Azure Administrator Associate

According to the Global Knowledge 2021 IT Skills and Salary Survey, the highest-paying foundation-level Microsoft Azure certification is Azure Administrator Associate. Setting up the organization's cloud infrastructure using Azure technology falls within the responsibilities of an Azure Administrator. In addition to managing cloud governance and identity, this entails deploying, monitoring, and modifying virtual networks and cloud storage.

The average salary for an Azure Administrator is $107,683, according to ZipRecruiter.

AZ-204 – Azure Developer Associate

The AZ-204 certification is for IR Professionals that want to become better Azure cloud developers. For the Azure Developer Associate certification, you must possess subject-matter knowledge in creating and managing cloud applications and services on Microsoft Azure. To undertake this certification, it is best if you have:

  • Between one and two years of professional cloud development experience, including Microsoft Azure.
  • Knowledge of a programming language supported by Azure (Python, Java)
  • An understanding of Azure PowerShell, SDKs, CLI, data storage options APIs, performance tuning and monitoring.

Cloud developers who take part in all stages of development, from requirements creation and design to programming, deployment, and maintenance, should pursue this certification. They collaborate with cloud DBAs, administrators, and clients to execute solutions.

The AZ-204 test objectives serve as a general guide for your first year of employment as a new developer. Usually, new developers are exposed to every aspect of application development right away. They frequently begin with the fundamentals before moving on to more complex undertakings. 

DP-300 – Azure Database Administrator Associate 

This course is intended for data professionals who manage databases and data and are interested in learning how to manage the data platform technologies that Microsoft Azure offers. Additionally, data architects and application developers who need to know what technologies are available for the data platform with Azure and how to use those technologies through apps would benefit from this course.

The operational components of cloud-native and hybrid data platform solutions based on SQL Server and SQL database services are implemented and managed by the Azure database administrator. Professionals in this position perform and automate daily tasks utilizing many techniques and technologies, including leveraging their understanding of T-SQL for administrative management goals.

These specialists manage, monitor, and optimize database solutions' performance, availability, security, and performance. They assess and put into practice migration plans to move databases to Azure. Additionally, they collaborate with other experts to handle the operational facets of data platform solutions, including Azure data engineers, Azure solution architects, and Azure developers.

Candidates for this exam should be familiar with and have experience with Azure SQL Managed Instance, Azure SQL Edge, and Azure SQL Database.

Intermediate Level Certificates

AZ-305 – Azure Solutions Architect Expert 

Building dependable and scalable Azure solutions requires the work of Azure Solution Architects, who translate business needs into designs. They deal with various stakeholders, including developers, administrators, and executives, to deliver cloud solutions and have a broad knowledge of Azure cloud.

Their choices may affect the overall calibre of the offered solutions, which may significantly impact corporate profits. Advanced knowledge of Azure cloud networking, virtualization, recovery, storage, governance, development, and DevOps processes is possessed by solution architects.

A Microsoft Cloud Solution Architect role has an average salary of $165,445, according to Glassdoor.

This challenging role-based qualification, explicitly created for solution architects, must be updated annually.

Advanced Level Certificates

There are several exams you may take if you desire more specialized cloud credentials. The AZ-120 and AZ-220 certifications are among them. Getting an advanced certification is a significant step in developing your IT career.

AZ-120 – Azure for SAP Workloads Specialty 

The vast majority of Fortune 500 organizations use SAP systems. Many of these firms have SAP workloads that are now on-premises and may benefit from being transferred to the cloud, but doing so can be challenging.

This qualification is required for administrators, architects, and engineers moving SAP products to the cloud.

Given how many companies rely on SAP, obtaining this certification ought to position you as an MVP to many employers who would gain from migration to SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform on Azure.

There are several SAP programs for which you must be knowledgeable and certified. These consist of S/4HANA and SAP HANA. Additionally, you must become proficient with SAP BW/4HANA and SAP NetWeaver. Many OS Servers must be configured for SAP applications.

Salaries for SAP Cloud Managers in the US vary with some over $150k, according to Glassdoor. The certification will only boost your earning potential.

AZ-220 – Azure IoT Developer Specialty

This certification is intended for IoT developers who want to learn Azure and for Azure-fluent developers who want to learn IoT.

Working with data engineers and others to guarantee business integration, you will put solutions to manage, monitor, and translate IoT-related data into use.

You need to be familiar with different kinds of devices and Azure Services. It's vital to remember that the Azure IoT program is written in a language supported by the SDK.

You will utilize this language for developing different AI for data processing and analysis. You must also be knowledgeable about alternative platforms, such as service choices or PaaS. You can install IoT in Edge using this to build your own IoT infrastructure.

Up to 80% of IT decision-makers claim they lack the "skills in the hands-on delivery of IoT solutions" necessary to guarantee that solutions function as intended. If that is the case, even at this early stage of the IoT, it is probably reasonable to assume that as the number of linked devices increases, so will the demand for Azure IoT Developers.

According to Talent, the average IoT developer salary is $120,225 annually, with experienced workers making up to $160,000 annually. 

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