Getting started with Microsoft Certifications
By Alison Mulligan
The Microsoft Certification program is designed to help you study, prepare, and validate your skills, and get recognized by the industry. That’s why it’s important to see what is required to successfully pass a Microsoft exam! To earn a Microsoft certification badge or complete any of the other certification types offered by Microsoft, you must know what you’re up against and how to prepare for each step along the way. Luckily, Microsoft provides comprehensive information on its website that can help you as you progress toward earning your certification. Whether it’s your first exam or your tenth one, we’ve got some helpful tips for you.
Microsoft Certification exams cover a variety of technologies and roles
Microsoft Certification exams (you can view all the Microsoft certifications here) cover a wide range of technologies and roles. To begin your journey towards becoming Microsoft certified, you’ll need to choose an exam that aligns with the role you want to pursue. The Certification paths are organised thus;
- Microsoft Azure
- Microsoft 365
- Dynamics 365
- Power Platform
- Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity
Pick the track that is right for your skills and experience or, if you are new to the technology, pick the area you think you would like to work in. Then go check out the learning path for that track.
All tracks have a fundamentals exam, then have higher level exams leading up to expert level. You don’t need to take all the exams in a track (unless you want to) its best to focus on the ones that are most relevant to your work.
If you have never taken certification exams before we recommend starting with the fundamentals exam in your track, even if your knowledge is at a higher level. This will help you to get familiar with the process of getting certified, which will give you confidence to move on to the more complex certifications.
Also there are no prerequisites or exam requirements to sit the fundamentals exams (this means there is no requirement for you to have passed any other exams in order to sit the exam)
Find a study group
If you ask around, or search on Twitter or LinkedIn you should easily find a study group for the exam you are looking to take – getting connected with people in the relevant community (who can also be found via Twitter or LinkedIn) will also help you locate study groups and other useful resources. If you can’t find a study group, then use the learning resources provided by Microsoft themselves as shown in the ‘prepare’ section below.
Decide how to fit in your learning
Most people can struggle with finding extra time in the week when it comes to learning. If you are lucky enough to work for a company that allows you study time during the work week, then fantastic. But if you are trying to fit study around work and personal commitments, it is usually best to try and be realistic about how much time you can give to study. Planning it in as an appointment that you must attend each week is the best way to keep on track.
Prepare with Microsoft MS learn, Doc's training, and practice tests
If you don’t know where to begin, Microsoft’s free MS Learn training is a good place to start. This website provides learning paths related to many Microsoft certifications and includes a library of videos that cover everything from the basics of IT security to advanced topics like cryptography.
If you prefer reading over video, you can use Microsoft Docs as your main resource for studying material. Docs includes documentation on every exam, as well as links to more detailed information about specific subjects like Windows Server 2016 or Azure Active Directory (AD). They’ve even written an entire book called “Microsoft Certification Guide” that covers everything from getting started with certification exams all the way up through passing them at an expert level!
The last thing we’ll mention here is practice tests! These are another great way of preparing yourself before sitting down for those big tests – and since they’re designed specifically for each exam by experts who know what will be covered on test day, they’re much better than flailing around aimlessly hoping your general knowledge will save the day when it comes time actually take things seriously.
Book an exam...
The exams are administered by Pearson Vue and are usually 90 minutes long and contain a variety of questions in multiple-choice, simulation, and fill-in-the blank formats. You can either sit the exam at home (using an online service) or you can go to a test centre near you. Exams cost from £69/$99 upwards.
Success starts by knowing what you're up against
The Microsoft Certification website can help you plan your certification journey, give you valuable information about earning your Microsoft Certified Professional badge, and show you how to prepare for exams and to ultimately pass the exam on your first try!
So, there you have it. At this point, you should be feeling more confident about taking the first steps towards earning Microsoft Certifications. You know how much time and money to expect to invest in your studies and can now begin researching the different certification exam tracks that interest you. It’s important to keep in mind that the more advanced exams are harder than entry-level ones because they cover more material and require deeper knowledge of each topic area. If this seems overwhelming right now, sometimes the best course of action is to dive in and deal with what you don’t know as it comes up. You might surprise yourself with what you already know, or you will at least learn a lot along the way.
To find out more about PROXIMO 3’s courses, please visit Microsoft Certified Training – Proximo 3