Passed the AZ 900 from Home

As per the title, I just passed the Microsoft Azure’s AZ-900 exam or also known Microsoft Azure Fundamentals. It is an entry level exam much like the CCENT for the CCNA if you ask me. It was my Microsoft certification as well as taking a proctored exam from home. I will cover two things in this blog, the first one being my thoughts on the exam itself and taking a proctored exam from home.

AZ 900

I have been eyeing a MS cloud exam since last year, I believe the first mention of it in my blog was back in Feb 2019 which back then was called AZ 100. A few things in my personal life have happened primarily since I’ve moved into a Solutions Architect role initially doing Voice and Unified Communication that shifted a number of things that I was used to doing, particularly moving away from Networking and my goal of learning more cloud based technology. The career change made me reconsider all my hopes into getting my CCIE number as I am not seeing any value of it at the time.

Fast forward a year later, we got hit with Covid and that really changed the world. Vendors such as Fortigate and Microsoft have been really kind to offer online courses even certification vouchers and I saw that as a chance to take. I signed up for the two-day on-line training class which upon completion you receive a voucher to schedule an exam within 90-days after completion. Since all on-line courses were available on weekdays, I had to screen record everything in the background until I had time to go over the videos. Yes, you would have to attend the live (aka recorded) sessions in order for you to get your voucher.

The Exam

Since this was my first Microsoft related cert, I would not be able to give a fair comparison to any other MS exams, it is a bit different from the Cisco exams that I am used to where there were performance based items. Though it was expected that for the Fundamentals exam, you are not expected to learn any admin/operational skills and the cert is pretty much meant for someone who is either starting out in becoming an admin, sales, decision making role where hands on wouldn’t be a requirement. I would say, having hands on experience would greatly help specially cementing core concepts most specially if you are so familiar with any on-premise infrastructure.

From memory I got roughly around 30+ questions, mixed of multiple choice, drag & drop etc pretty much the same types on a Cisco certification I’ve gone through before. The way Microsoft word their questions is really on point and easy to understand. I guess they’ve changed a lot because I’ve heard from people who’ve done MS exams that previous exam questions were so vague with answers so close to each other. This is something that I never experienced.

Unlike the Cisco exams (unless it has changed), you can actually go back to the previous items. Overall the exam was really fair though unlike my previous Cisco exams, I barely passed on this one but hey…a pass is a pass.

Taking a proctored exam from home

This was another first for me, I understood why they advised to check in at least 15minutes before your actual exam as there are a few steps involved before you even get started with the actual exam.

Definitely do the system test even before the day of the exam itself. This ensures that your PC meets the minimum requirements when taking the exam. You should have a good working webcam, mic and you won’t be allowed to use multiple screens. Speaking of mics, you won’t be allowed to use a headset for security reasons so be sure you have a good working mic and camera on your PC.

On the day of my exam, I decided to move to my Dell XPS laptop instead of my multiple monitor PC. Upon registration, you’ll receive a sms message asking you to log into another portal to take photos of your room. Once that is processed you’ll proctor will communicate with you via chat. In my case, my proctor asked me to move my camera to see my surroundings and asked me to move a few things in the room like keep pen holders and any items that he finds questionable. Since I was taking the exam in the same room where my multi-screen monitored PC was located, he asked me to show him that all the power plugs on the monitors were removed.

Once he was satisfied with everything, he wished me luck and the chat window disappeared and it proceeded to the exam itself.

What’s next

The ultimate goal is to get the MS Azure Solutions Architect Certification which at the time of writing would require passing the AZ-303 and AZ-304. There are no pre-requisite on taking these exams, however, I’ve decided I need a preparatory exam such as the AZ-104.

With that said so I guess it is off to the next exam…

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