Using MOOCs to help pass Azure Certification Tests

Using MOOCs to help pass Azure Certification Tests

Here at Omnitech, members of our Cloud & DevOps team have been working on obtaining various Microsoft certifications for cloud-related technologies hosted in Azure. Many of these certifications were created in the last 18 to 24 months, and as Azure is an ever-evolving set of technologies, the certification exam objectives and the exams required for certifications, are regularly updated to keep pace. Given this fluid nature, traditional resources used to prepare for exams, such as MS Press Books, exam kits, and even practice exams, are not always easy to come by (or relevant).  To help close that gap, the team at Omnitech turned to using MOOCs, developed by Microsoft, to help prepare and become familiar with the technologies on which we would be tested.

What are MOOCs?

MOOC is an acronym for massive open online course, which is a paradigm of distance education accessible via the internet from various sources. A quick visit to Wikipedia, can help you garner more information at your own risk. Microsoft has developed several MOOCs that can be completed as an audit, or the student can receive a verified certificate for the cost of $99.00. Numerous MOOCs exist converting a number of topics, such as data science, DevOps, Azure technologies, MS Office, Exchange Server, MS Project, SharePoint, web development, and straight-up programming. The offerings are vast, ever-changing, and certain to pique the interest of those with the penchant for life-long learning.

Where can I find MOOCs?

Previously, many MOOCs that Microsoft had developed were located at openedx.microsoft.com. However, all content has recently been moved to www.edx.org. The edX website has a very large course catalog, numbering over 1800, regarding nearly every topic under the sun. You can learn a little about JavaScript and then turn around and learn something about the global history of architecture. There is a search function on the course catalog, so you can simply search “Microsoft” and get the list of MOOCs developed by the company.

How do I know which ones to take?

This is where Microsoft helps to close the loop to make things seem less formidable. A trip to www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/azure-exams.aspx  will display a list of exams pertaining to certifications regarding Azure technologies, along with links to resources to help prepare. Among these resources are links to online training, which lead straight to — you guessed it – MOOCs.

          

Depending on the MOOC you are enrolled in and the depth at which you traverse the content, it can be expected that you will spend anywhere from 8 to 32 hours completing the course. The MOOCs are a nice blend of video content additional reading, quizzes, labs, and graded exams.

What else do I need to prepare?

In addition to the MOOCs, members of the team have also used courses from Microsoft Virtual Academy that the MOOCs refer to for additional material as well as practice exams from Measure-up, if they are available.

Does it work?

Does it work? Our Omnitech team would answer with a resounding YES! In the past six months, we have had four team members pass 12 exams to earn 4 MCSE certifications with no exam retakes. If you are trying to blaze a trail on a new certification path or know of somebody who is, we recommend you give Microsoft MOOCs a try. They will get you up to speed on theory, test your retention of new knowledge, and walk you through practical examples to help you solidify the new skills. All at a price that can’t be beat!

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