I have been IT professional for over 7 years now. During this time, I have seen and experienced many critical changes in the IT Infrastructure field. Personally, I started as a network engineer at a software company and then moved to a MSP as infrastructure engineer and looked after servers, firewalls, network, application deploy, etc. for medium and large finance institutions before I join Kloud Solutions and started to evolve by learning the Microsoft Azure. Obviously, Cloud technology is the most significant shift that the IT industry is experiencing today. As a Microsoft guy, it makes sense for me to start utilizing Azure as a platform to provide solutions to our customers.
Back in August, I had a chat with Gary Needham who is one of the Azure guys at work and figured it was time to develop my Azure skills via exam 70-533 Implementing Azure Infrastructure Solutions. As an ops guy with strong hand-on experience, I decided to learn best by doing lab one by one. With a full-time job, I kind of had limited time to study so I wanted to make sure that no matter what labs I was doing, they must be against the exam objectives. As such, I wrote down my goal- obtain Azure certification by the end of October. I had some experience with Azure environment previously by doing Azure Express Route, Azure Backup & Azure Site Recovery, so I was confident that I can achieve that within 3 months’ time.
After quickly getting my subscription ready, I went into the Azure ARM portal and started deploying Azure Resource Group, storage and Virtual networks, subnets and so on. I was getting really excited over the Azure technology. There were lots of fun and this enjoyment made this journey to become an outstanding learning experience.
Azure GitHub quick-start template is a fantastic place to learn Azure template. In the modern IT world, we standardized infrastructure deployment by using JSON template (Infrastructure as code), this can bring us enormous benefits. For me, this came somewhat naturally since I actually started IT as a coder in school. It costs me some trials and errors, I eventually figured out how to use Azure template to deploy Azure ARM resources. It took me a couple of weeks in the lab sessions to deploy Azure resources via template with either powershell or Azure CLI. I felt this is awesome.
Over the next few weeks, I continued to expand my lab environments bit by bit. I like to use Microsoft online documentations. It’s the latest and provide best practice and recommendations during the deployments and configurations. DSC is very a good example, Microsoft provides very good information about the DSC templates and how to build a DSC template, how to use it. Also, how to manage the version control of large DSC environment.
As I went through the exam objects more and more, I tried to link the labs which I did with the simple exam objects in my mind, through this I could remind myself which exam objects I needed to go back to review, this eventually paid off when I took the exam because it helped me to consolidate all the knowledge I quickly learnt.
The online course I was using is Udemy’s 70-533 videos, I am using this course to test myself more from different angles to see if I mastered all the knowledge which are required in the exam.
The practice exam I was using is Microsoft Official Practice exam 70-533. I believe my exam-prep is a bit more in depth than most. I didn’t try to memorize and exam questions and focus on the answers. I never rely on memorization. For some questions I got it wrong, then I went back to the lab and went back to the documents and tried to understand the whole work flow around that particular exam subject. I am a heavy Googler and I like to google the extended questions to know more.
To prepare the exam, I went through the entire collection of practice questions twice to test myself to see if I am ready for the exam. In the first practice exam, I had lots of uncertain questions and it gave me some objective feedbacks, like what is the Azure technology limitations compared with on-prem. Something may be storage limitations, replication limitations, Geo-location limitations, the number of storage accounts limitations per subscriptions, also storage speed limitations. All these knowledges will be tested against designing the Azure solutions. I followed the explanation links and researching any questions I answered incorrectly. At the end of second try, I got 9 questions still incorrect. I noted all the wrong questions and studied hard on those. After I felt comfortable on all the questions, I booked in my exam on Wednesday morning.
On the exam day, I got up at 6:30AM and had a decent breakfast and rode train to the test centre. It took me about an hour to finish all the questions. Eventually I passed the exam 70-533 Implementating Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions.
Trust the process:
Read Microsoft Azure Online Documentations and Practice & Implement them in the labs
Hopefully this blog can help people who is planning to take Azure exam.