One week ago I passed the 70-533: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions exam and seems like now I’m an Azure MCP. However this doesn’t make me feel more Azure savvy than before and during the past days I reflected a lot about the 70-533 certification exam, the questions I had and so on. Generally, I feel that this exam really doesn’t prove at all your real Azure skills. And here’s why.
First of all, the exam seems very outdated! Let’s start with Azure Websites. Azure Websites don’t exist anymore. Nowadays we have the Azure App Service which covers what we have previously known as Azure Websites and Mobile apps, but with a lot of new features. Also, there are some questions regarding directory Synchronization where we often see the name “DirSync” (DirSync actually doesn’t exist anymore) and we have to choose the almighty Start-OnlineCoexistenceSync cmdlet as part of a correct answer to one of the questions.
Just as a short notice for those of you that may not be aware, the DirSync tool is not updated anymore since last autumn and was basically replaced by Azure AD Sync Services. Azure AD Sync Services is also globally available since last autumn and now it is incorporated in Azure AD Connect. And the Start-OnlineCoexistenceSync cmdlet doesn’t exist anymore.
On the other hand, the exam focuses really a lot on cloud services and almost not at all on the App services. And this is very strange since the AppService allows us to basically do exactly the same things, but faster and with lower risks. You may still need to deploy apps to a cloud service if you need to remotely connect to VMs, or execute elevated code and so on, but in 90% of the time using Apps Service is a better approach. You may want to read more about this model shift on this blog.
Secondly, the exam focuses on unnecessary details! For example you have to know by memory what is included in different pricing plans, how SLAs are calculated and so on. You may be an expert in this things, but this doesn’t make you an Azure subject matter expert at all. These are things you can find in a matter of minutes on the official Azure website and furthermore these things may change very often. So why invest here? And by contrast there is nothing in this exam about Azure Resource Manager, container based deployment (like using Docker) and so on, aspects that are really fundamental for an optimal Azure deployment nowadays.
In my opinion, cloud certification exams should concentrate on technical aspects and make sure that individuals that take the certification have some understanding about the most up to date architecture considerations. Cloud exams should be more practical and less focused on pricing and plans, since plans and prices may always change. And of course I would expect exams to be created in such a manner that they don’t get outdated every 6 months.