Timothy Johnson

Taking the AZ-900 Written By Timothy Johnson

Taking the AZ-900 - a “new to IT” perspective.

A painting by Goya showing scientist taking a Microsoft certification exam - DALL·E2 & Timothy Johnson


Having recently moved from Chemical R&D to take up a role within the IT function I have been exposed to some thinking regarding career development outside what I am used to.

I am most impressed with the almost universal need to keep learning new technologies within the IT space - something I am taking to heart. I am also very impressed with the want to solidify learning with certifications.

It is this reason why I signed up to conduct the AZ-900. A fundamental level Microsoft certification that focuses on the Azure platform. This exam is not meant to be hard however it did show me how these types of exams work and I wanted to share.


The advice for the AZ-900 is that it should take between 10 and 20 hours of study. I’m not 100% convinced that is true. If you have any experience using Azure, you will certainly be at the lower end of this number, if not under it. I estimate ~ 7-8 hours input for score an 805 (with 700 being the average pass rate)

I started by going over the Microsoft material, although I quickly found this material difficult to engage with. I quickly moved over to a video course on the subject by freeCodeCamp.org, whacked that up to 2x speed and watched it all over a single weekend. Taking notes and stopped when I was unsure about anything.

Following this I paid a small amount to access exam questions by TestPrepTraining. This was perfect and, following the above prep, I never scored lower that a 750. Once I was achieving above 900 I took that as a good sign and stop prep.

The Exam

I opted to take the exam in person. I arrived at the test centre early, as requested, and signed in. This required government photo ID, and they took my photo too. I was led to the workstation and started the exam.

The only thing that threw me was that the exam, at first glance, consisted of only 30 questions, way less than my practice exams with around 80 questions.

It became clear however that each of the 30 questions consisted of multiple questions lumped together. A little confusing, but I believe I still answered around 80 questions in total.

I abused the “mark for later” feature whenever I was not 100 % sure of my answer. Allowing me to easily circle back to those questions at the end - which I did.

The whole exam took about 15 mins - with about 10 mins to sign in. I was out of there very quickly with a piece of paper and a smile!


So is this exam worth doing? As someone who has not done any of these types of exams in the past it was invaluable to learn how the process works and what is required to pass. I was very happy with the whole thing and I think I got more value out of learning about how these exams work than about how Azure works.

So get it if you are new to the IT space and consider skipping it if you have done these types of exams in the past - perhaps focusing on the other areas of interest that may impact your career to a greater extent - see image in the great post by trollcode to see the paths available.