A Guide to Azure Certification Path to Explore Various Certifications Options

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Azure certification

Cloud computing is one of the most fast-paced emerging fields in the revolutionary IT world and Microsoft Azure stands out as one of the top public cloud providers. In recent years, Microsoft Azure has observed some of the fastest-growing adoptions by organizations worldwide. Considering the ever-increasing adoption of Azure, it is fair to say that Microsoft Azure loomed as a powerhouse, providing a robust platform for businesses to innovate, scale, and thrive. This also fueled the demand for aspiring professionals. Understanding the Azure certification path is vital if you’re a novice looking to enhance your skills or a seasoned expert seeking validation of Azure expertise.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll navigate through the various Azure certification levels and explore pathways to elevate your career to new heights. Join us as we unravel the intricacies of Azure certifications, empowering you to make informed decisions and embark on a journey toward mastering the cloud.

Microsoft Azure Certifications

Microsoft Azure provides 13 certifications that are categorized into three levels: Fundamentals, Associate, and Expert. These exams validate your expertise related to current job roles in cloud computing. The below table will help you comprehend which certification falls at which level. Furthermore, we will explain the complete Microsoft Azure certification path.

After gaining certification in these levels, you can also move toward specialty levels certification. These are available for roles like Azure for SAP Workloads and Azure IOT Developer Specialty. 

Read more: Top Highest Paying Azure Certifications

Benefits of Role-Based Microsoft Azure Certifications

Microsoft Azure certification provides several role-based credentials at different levels to uplift your cloud career and give you a breakthrough in this domain. The certifications build your expertise in a wide array of Azure services and validate of skills and knowledge that certain jobs demand. These certifications emerged as the pivotal gateway to embark on an exciting career in the trendiest domain of cloud computing.

The Microsoft certification also helps you speed up the ever-evolving technological landscape of cloud computing and keep pace with evolving roles, enabling aspirants to remain competitive as technology continues to rapidly change. These certifications also aid you in growing in your role by demonstrating the potential skills required to be effective in job roles important to organizations.

New Role-Based Microsoft Azure Certification Path for 2024

Undoubtedly, numerous Microsoft Azure certifications are available, but we have listed the top one candidates prefer. Generally, the Azure certification path starts with getting a fundamental level certification and then moving toward other levels such as associate and expert. If you’re confused about where to start the following Azure certification roadmap will help you make an informed decision.

Microsoft azure certification roadmap

Azure Fundamental Level Certifications

1. Microsoft Azure Fundamental: AZ-900

The Microsoft Azure Fundamental certification is one of the most acquired certifications. While it is considered a fundamental level certification to jump-start your career, it is also one of the most lucrative and highest-paying certifications. Whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned professional, Microsoft Azure will help you master the basis of Azure and dive deeper into several technical opportunities.

The certification demonstrates your fundamental knowledge of cloud concepts in general and Azure in particular. It also validates your knowledge of Azure architectural components and Azure services, such as computing, networking, and storage, as well as features and tools to secure, govern, and administer Azure.

Pathway: The AZ-900 reinforces your basic for other Azure role-based certifications such as Azure Administrator Associate, Azure Security Engineer Associate, and Azure Developer Associate.

Skills Measured

  • Describe cloud concepts (25–30%)
  • Describe Azure architecture and services (35–40%)
  • Describe Azure management and governance (30–35%)

Read more: AZ-900 Certification Worth in 2024

2. Microsoft AI Fundamentals: AI-900

The Microsoft AI fundamentals certification is undoubtedly the best way to start your AI or machine learning career. The certification proves that aspirin candidates have a foundational knowledge of common AI and machine learning workloads and can supply the foundation to build a career. The certification exam also assesses your fundamental knowledge of machine learning and AI concepts, along with related Azure services. 

Pathway: Although the Azure AI fundamentals certification is not a prerequisite for any associate-level certification, it reinforces your basic for other Azure role-based certifications, like Azure Data Scientist Associate, Azure AI Engineer Associate, or Azure Developer Associate.

Skills Measured 

  • Describe Artificial Intelligence workloads and considerations (15–20%)
  • Describe fundamental principles of machine learning on Azure (20–25%)
  • Describe features of computer vision workloads on Azure (15–20%)
  • Describe features of Natural Language Processing (NLP) workloads on Azure (15–20%)
  • Describe features of generative AI workloads on Azure (15–20%)

Read more: AI-900 Certification Exam Guide 

3. Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals: DP-900

The Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals certification provides the foundation you need to build your technical skills to jump-start working with data in the cloud. The certification validates your foundational knowledge of core data concepts and how they’re implemented using Azure data services.

Pathway: The certification will aid you in getting other Azure role-based certifications, like Azure Database Administrator Associate, Azure Data Engineer Associate, and Power BI Data Analyst Associate, but it’s not a prerequisite for any of them. 

Skills Measured 

  • Describe core data concepts (25–30%)
  • Identify considerations for relational data on Azure (20–25%)
  • Describe considerations for working with non-relational data on Azure (15–20%)
  • Describe an analytics workload on Azure (25–30%)

Azure Associate Level Certifications

1. Azure Administrator Associate: AZ-104

The Azure Administrator Associate certification provides you with subject matter expertise in implementing, managing, and monitoring an organization’s Microsoft Azure environment, including virtual networks, storage, computing, identity, security, and governance. The Azure administrators are also responsible and dedicated to implementing an organization’s cloud infrastructure as well as coordinating with other roles to deliver Azure, networking, security, database, application development, and DevOps solutions. 

Skills Measured: 

  • Manage Azure identities and governance (20–25%)
  • Implement and manage storage (15–20%)
  • Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (20–25%)
  • Implement and manage virtual networking (15–20%)
  • Monitor and maintain Azure resources (10–15%)

Read more: AZ-104 Exam Difficulty

2. Azure Developer Associate: AZ-204

As a candidate for Azure Developer Associate, you’re responsible for participating in all phases of development, including requirements gathering, design, development, deployment, security, maintenance, performance tuning, and monitoring. The certification requires you to have two years of professional development experience and experience with Azure. You should be able to program in an Azure-supported language, and proficient using Azure CLI, Azure PowerShell, and other tools.

Skills Measured:

  • Develop Azure compute solutions (25–30%)
  • Develop for Azure storage (15–20%)
  • Implement Azure security (20–25%)
  • Monitor, troubleshoot, and optimize Azure solutions (15–20%)
  • Connect to and consume Azure services and third-party services (15–20%)

Read more: AZ-204 Exam Guide

3. Azure AI Engineer Associate AI-102

Earning the Azure AI Engineer Associate certification will help you manage, build, and deploy AI solutions that leverage Azure AI. The responsibilities of an Azure AI Engineer include participating in all phases of AI solutions development, including requirements definition and design, development, deployment, integration, maintenance, performance tuning, and monitoring. 

As an Azure AI engineer, you have experience developing solutions that use languages such as Python and C#. You should be able to use Representational State Transfer (REST) APIs and SDKs to build secure image processing, video processing, natural language processing, knowledge mining, and generative AI solutions on Azure. 

Skills Measured:

  • Plan and manage an Azure AI solution (15–20%)
  • Implement decision support solutions (10–15%)
  • Implement computer vision solutions (15–20%)
  • Implement natural language processing solutions (30–35%)
  • Implement knowledge mining and document intelligence solutions (10–15%)
  • Implement generative AI solutions (10–15%)

3. Azure Database Administrator Associate DP-300

Pursuing an Azure Database Administrator Associate certification will build subject matter expertise in building database solutions that are intended to support multiple workloads built with SQL Server on-premises and Azure SQL services.

As an Azure database administrator, you implement and manage the operational aspects of cloud-native and hybrid data platform solutions built on SQL Server and Azure SQL services. You use several techniques and tools to perform and automate day-to-day operations including applying knowledge of using Transact-SQL (T-SQL) and other tools for administrative management purposes. 

As a candidate for this certification, you should have knowledge of and experience with Azure SQL database, Azure SQL Managed Instance, and SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines. 

Skills Measured:

  • Plan and implement data platform resources (20–25%)
  • Implement a secure environment (15–20%)
  • Monitor, configure, and optimize database resources (20–25%)
  • Configure and manage automation of tasks (15–20%)
  • Plan and configure a high availability and disaster recovery (HA/DR) environment (20–25%)

Read more: DP-300Exam Guide

4. Azure Data Engineer Associate: DP-203

The Azure Data Engineer Associate certification demonstrates your subject matter expertise in integrating, transforming, and consolidating data from various structured, unstructured, and streaming data systems into a suitable scheme for building analytics solutions. 

As an Azure data engineer, you benefit stakeholders by making them understand the data through exploration, and building and establishing secure and compliant data processing pipelines by using different tools and techniques. You also help to identify and troubleshoot operational and data quality issues. You also design, implement, monitor, and optimize data platforms to meet the data pipelines.  

Though there aren’t any prerequisites, as a candidate for this certification, you must have a solid knowledge of data processing languages, including SQL, Python, and Scala.

Skills Measured:

  • Design and implement data storage (15–20%)
  • Develop data processing (40–45%)
  • Secure, monitor, and optimize data storage and data processing (30–35%)

Read more: Azure Data Engineer Certification DP-203 Roadmap

5. Azure Security Engineer Associate: AZ-500

The Azure Security Engineer Associate certification can help you implement, manage, and monitor security for resources in Azure, multi-cloud, and hybrid environments as a part of an end-to-end infrastructure. With this certification, you can recommend security components and configurations to protect the identity and access, of data, applications, and networks. You may also participate in responding to security incidents. As an Azure security engineer, you work with architects, administrators, and developers to plan and implement solutions that meet security and compliance requirements.

As a candidate for the AZ-500 exam, you should have practical experience in the administration of Microsoft Azure and hybrid environments and strong familiarity with computing, network, and storage in Azure and Microsoft Entra.

Skills Measured:

  • Manage identity and access (25–30%)
  • Secure networking (20–25%)
  • Secure computing, storage, and databases (20–25%)
  • Manage security operations (25–30%)

6. Azure Data Scientist Associate: DP-100

The Azure Data Scientist Associate certification demonstrates subject matter expertise in applying data science and machine learning to implement and run machine learning workloads on Azure. As an aspiring candidate for Azure Data Scientist Associate, you are responsible for designing and creating a suitable working environment for data science workloads, exploring data, training machine learning models, implementing pipelines, running jobs to prepare for production, and managing, deploying, and monitoring saleable machine learning solutions.

Skills Measured:

  • Design and prepare a machine learning solution (20–25%)
  • Explore data and train models (35–40%)
  • Prepare a model for deployment (20–25%)
  • Deploy and retrain a model (10–15%)

7. Power BI Data Analyst Associate: PL-300

The Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst certification allows you to have a strong understanding and insights by working with available data and applying domain expertise. As a candidate for this exam, you should give significant business value through easy-to-comprehend data visualizations, allow others to perform self-service analytics, and deploy and configure solutions for consumption. 

The certification also allows you to work closely with business stakeholders to identify business requirements. You should be proficient at using Power Query and writing expressions by using Data Analysis Expressions (DAX). You know how to assess data quality and you know data security, including row-level security and data sensitivity. 

Skills Measured:

  • Prepare the data (25–30%)
  • Model the data (25–30%)
  • Visualize and analyze the data (25–30%)
  • Deploy and maintain assets (15–20%)

Read more: Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Associate Certification Exam Guide and tips

Expert-Level Azure Certifications

1. Azure Solution Architect Expert: AZ-305

The Microsoft Azure Solution Architect expert enables you to have subject matter expertise in designing cloud and hybrid solutions that run on Azure, including, computing, networking, storage, monitoring, and security. You also have a firm grasp on responsibilities such as advising stakeholders and translating business requirements into designs for Azure solutions that align with the Azure well-architected framework. 

The certification demonstrates your advanced experience and knowledge of IT operations, including networking, virtualization, identity, security, business continuity, disaster recovery, data platforms, and governance. 


Azure solution architect expert

Skills Measured:

  • Manage Azure identities and governance (20–25%)
  • Implement and manage storage (15–20%)
  • Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (20–25%)
  • Implement and manage virtual networking (15–20%)
  • Monitor and maintain Azure resources (10–15%)

Read more: Az-305 Exam Guide and Passing Tips

2. Azure DevOps Engineer Expert: AZ-400

The Microsoft DevOps Engineer Expert builds your expertise as a developer or administrator who has experience working with people, processes, and products to enable the continuous delivery of value in the organization. As a DevOps engineer, you’re responsible for designing and implementing strategies for collaboration, code, infrastructure, source control, security, compliance, continuous integration, testing, delivery, monitoring, and feedback.

The certification demands you have experience with administering and developing in Azure, with strong skills in at least one of these areas.

azure devops engineer expert

Skills Measured:

  • Configure processes and communications (10-15%)
  • Design and implement source control (15-20%)
  • Design and implement build and release pipelines (40-45%)
  • Develop a security and compliance plan (10-15%)
  • Implement an instrumentation strategy (10-15%)

Read more: AZ-400 Certification Guide and Passing Tips

Cost of Getting an Azure Certification

The cost of getting an Azure certification isn’t only related to exam fees, other costs also add to it. An overall cost depends on the exam fee, prep resources, practice test, and exam retake fee (if any). It is recommended to opt for resources that fall within your budget. For instance, Dumpsgate exam dumps are the most cost-effective and efficient way to get any Azure certification. 

The exam cost of Azure certification varies with the certification level and geographical location. The fundamental level Azure certification costs $100 while the associate and expert level costs $165. To get more information about Azure certification cost, check out our blog on Azure certification cost.


Microsoft Azure turned out to be one of the giant cloud providers in the cloud industry from its inception. Considering the demand and rush for opting for Azure cloud, Microsoft Azure offered several role-based certifications for aspiring professionals to pace with the latest technological advancement. The blog has given you all insights on the Azure certification path so that it becomes easy for you to navigate the certification level and explore pathways that uplift your career goals. So, give it a read and make a way to initiate your Azure career!

Frequently Asked Questions

The Azure certifications come at four levels such as fundamental, associate, expert, and specialty. All the certifications and levels build your skills relevant to a particular job role and level.

Well, there are no such prerequisites for taking AZ-900 before AZ-104 but it is recommended. It would be better to take AZ-900 first as it builds a strong fundamental knowledge and understanding of cloud computing and Microsoft Azure experience which will help you gain the AZ-104 certification easily. 

While the best certification significantly depends on your career goals and the one that enhances your previous experience, AZ-900 is considered the best and one of the most basic Azure certifications. The certification validates your proficiency in Microsoft Azure and also reinforces you to get associate and expert-level certifications.

Both are highly acquired certifications from Microsoft. Both exams are intended to establish your expertise in different domains of Azure technology and framework and provide you with a pathway to earn professional-level certification. As both of the certifications are a good choice, there is no ranking and the choice between AZ-104 and AZ-204 will depend on your goals, career aspirations, and the job you’re interested in pursuing.



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