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Advice if Microsoft certifications are your New Years resolution

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In this post I want to share some advice if Microsoft certifications are your New Year’s resolution.

Before I go any further I want to say Happy New Year to all those who read this post before 2023. If you want to hear me say Happy New Year in Dutch watch three-minutes into the ‘Synapse Update – December 2022 video by Microsoft.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I want to do this post now because I realize that a lot of you are probably considering gaining new Microsoft certifications in 2023.

By the end of this post you will gain some advice. Plus, this post contains plenty of links to help as well.

I did some amazing firsts this year, a couple of which are in the next section. Feel free to skip that section if you want to go straight to the advice.

My own Microsoft certification journey this year

Over the years I have helped others in the community with advice about certifications.

However, this year was special because for the first time ever I coached people to gain Microsoft certifications in an official capacity for an employer. Doing this gave me a lot of energy this year and I was glad to see the trainees gain so many Azure certifications.

It encouraged me to find the time to do some more personal growth. Which led to me gaining some new certifications. Including the new Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate certification.

Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate
Azure Enterprise Data Analyst Associate certification

Plus, it gave me so much energy that I decided to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer again. It also encouraged me to share my knowledge about certifications even more.

Which led to me presenting about them at this years PASS Data Community Summit. Which happened to be the very first time that I had presented in America.

Microsoft certification advice

My first piece of advice if Microsoft certifications are your New Years resolution is to decide what certification you want to gain first and stick with that choice. If you want to gain multiple certifications figure out which path logically makes the most sense to you.

For example, in my post about passing the DP-500 exam you can see that I took the below exam path.

Exam path I took for DP-500 exam as part of advice if Microsoft certifications are your New Years resolution
Exam path I took for DP-500 exam

I first took the DP-900 exam to cover the Azure Data Fundamentals. From there I took the PL-300 exam, which is the new Power BI exam. I then took the DP-500 exam. Which mostly covers Microsoft Purview, Azure Synapse Analytics and Power BI.

Once you have decided which certification to go for check which exams are the current ones on the certification page. You would be surprised how many places online still state exams which are now retired. Plus, as I stated in a previous post the exams required can change.

Note that since this post was first published Microsoft have announced that they are going to retire the DP-500 exam on the exam page. It will be replaced by the DP-600 exam which focuses on Microsoft Fabric.

Announcement about the retirement of the DP-500 exam
Announcement about the retirement of the DP-500 exam

You can read more about the retirement announcement in the Microsoft post about in-demand news for in-demand skills.

Microsoft certification exam pages

From there, look at the exam page for the certification. Last year I wrote a post on how to make the most out of certification pages for Azure exams. In reality, a couple of subtle changes have happened on exam pages since that post.

For example, as you can see on the DP-500 exam page you can see that a green Tip box has appeared. To view the skills measured for an exam you now have to click on the link inside this box to view the study guide.

You can click on the study guide link to view or download the PDF file. As you can see in the DP-500 study guide you can use the links in the ‘Quick navigation’ section to go straight to the skills measured.

I like the these new study guides. Because it means you can download it to view the skills measured. In addition, you can use it to view the links to the relevant learning paths in Microsoft Learn. Which I always recommend to follow if self-studying.

Microsoft certifications study technique

One way to study for the exams is to have in-person training. Which can be done either though an official Microsoft trainer or through customized training.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are lucky you get to make a judgement call yourself. However, sometimes your employer will have their own preference.

As I mentioned in a previous post about data certifications I have my own personal technique for self-studying for Microsoft exams. Which is as follows:

  1. I go through the official Microsoft Learn modules stated in the study guide.
  2. I then watch the related Pluralsight videos. I must stress that other online video platforms are available.
  3. Finally, I go through the official practice tests from MeasureUp.
    Which can be either purchased when you book the exam or available through the Enterprise Skills Initiative portal if you work for a large enterprise.

Now, this is just my way of studying for a Microsoft exam. Everybody is different so you must discover a way that works for you if you go down this route.

Again, there are advantages and disadvantages of doing either in-person training and self-studying.

Final words

I hope my advice if Microsoft certifications are your New Year’s resolution has given some of you plenty to think about. You can get more information about some areas by clicking on the links in this post.

Of course, I am sure plenty of you have other New Year’s resolutions. Such as adding your Mastodon details to your own web site.

Good luck with all your New Year’s resolutions. As always, feel free to reach out to me if you have any comments or queries about this post.

Published inCertificationsTraining


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