DevOps Engineer Expert - AZ-400

Karl_ITNerd · March 26, 2021

Microsoft DevOps Badge

If you follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn you will know that I recently passed the AZ-400 exam and earned the Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert certification. I am delighted to be able to add this badge to my collection. A lot of early mornings and late nights were put in to pass this one. Coming from an IT Ops background there was a steep learning curve for some of the more developer focused subject areas.

As always, if you are interested in this exam and want to find out more, I recommend that you start with the Microsoft Learn site at this link. There were changes to this exam on 23rd March 2021. If you are preparing for this exam, please download the “Skills Measured” PDF to make sure you are aware of the changes and any topics you need to add to your study list.

To earn the DevOps Engineer Expert qualification you will need to have also passed either the Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) or the Azure Developer Associate (AZ-204). You can find further information here.

What resources did I use?

I usually recommend that, for any exam or qualification, you use a variety of resources to prepare. I find that it helps me obtain a good understanding on the subject areas. Remember, no single resource is likely to cover everything you need to know and it’s good to get a couple of different perspectives on what you are learning. Don’t be afraid to go deep into the Microsoft Docs on a topic you aren’t familiar with.

In terms of resources, I used the following:

  • Microsoft Learn - AZ-400 Path: As always Microsoft Learn is a great (and FREE) resurce when it comes to getting up to speed on Microsoft Technologies. I usually start here when I’m studying for any Microsoft exam. Access it via this link. You’ll find details in the “Ways to Prepare” section which is about half way down the page. Work your way through each of the sections and you will end up with a great foundation.

  • CloudSkills.io - Microsoft Azure DevOps Engineer Certification AZ-400 Course: Another fantastic bootcamp from @mike_pfeiffer and team at CloudSkills.io. This course goes in depth with the skills and knowledge you will need to pass the AZ-400. I found the Docker and Kubernetes Deep Dive content particularly useful. I highly recommend you pick this up to help you on your journey. The team at cloudskills.io are building a fantastic learning community with regular calls, live and recorded bootcamps, as well as career advice for aspiring cloud engineers and architects. You’ll find details on the course here.

  • Azure DevOps Labs: Another great resource from Microsoft. The Azure DevOps Labs site allows you to get hands on with your learning by deploying the solutions you’re learning about. Coupled with the DevOps Demo Generator I was able to get to grips with the concepts and technologies. Check out the links. Highly recommended.

Honourable Mention

  • Free AZ-400 YouTube Course: While I didn’t use this course myself, Susanth Sutheesh continues to create free exam resources on YouTube. He has now released a free AZ-400 course. You can access the playlist by clicking here. I recommend following Susanth on Twitter and YouTube as he will be releasing other courses you might be interested in.

REMINDER: Please use a combination of study sources as you may find that no single course will cover absolutely everything. Use multiple sources to minimise the gaps in your knowledge.

Note: I am not affiliated with any of the above training vendors and have not been paid or encouraged to recommend them. These are just the resources I found most useful for this exam.

How did I prepare?

Coming from an IT Ops background I wanted to make sure that I got up to speed as quickly as possible. The above resources along with some deep dives into Microsoft Docs really helped with the learning curve. The AZ-400, in my opinion, is a tough exam with quite a broad range to cover. I’ve said it before, preparation is the key to passing these Azure exams. Don’t rush your learning. Skim reading or playing videos at 2x speed might save you time in the short term but will definitely hurt you in the long term.

Take your time, take the information on board, lab it up and test your understanding.

I know I say this alot but, I really did enjoy studying for this exam. The concepts introduced here are transformative for how I tackle my day to day job and also for how I design and deploy Azure solutions for the clients I work with.

What’s next?

At the time of writing I have taken a few weeks off studying. Next up is the Azure Solutions Architect Expert qualification. Starting out with the “30 Days to Learn It” Cloud Skills Challenge. Find out more here. You can find out more about this track here.

If you are getting ready to sit the AZ-400 or any other exam, I wish you good luck!

Thanks for reading!