Fundamental Microsoft Cloud Certification for Professionals working with Azure; M365; Power Platform; or Security, Compliance, and Identity are available and recommended for anyone selling, designing, implementing, delivering, or supporting Microsoft services in the M365, Azure, or Power Platform (I will call this Microsoft Cloud below) should consider studying for and obtaining the four ‘Fundamentals’ certifications from Microsoft.
Recommendation for business or transaction-oriented professionals
Although these fundamental Microsoft Cloud Certifications include some technical content, it is mostly at the beginner level, and these certifications are achievable for non-technical personnel. Importantly, they will help you identify, describe, or explain the services includes in the Microsoft Cloud (take a look at the “Skills measured” listing for each of these certifications and you will see those are the most common words used to describe the requirements). This emphasis on understanding more than technical detail means that sales, business, and even technically oriented professionals can all benefit from the knowledge gained in the process of obtaining these certifications.
Recommendation for technically oriented professionals
The process of obtaining these fundamental Microsoft Cloud Certifications should give you a broad understanding of the capabilities of the Microsoft Cloud and will help you to integrate with or recommend additional services as you encounter business requirements. The endeavor may fill in gaps in your knowledge that naturally develop as you focus your efforts on a particular part of these services in the normal course of delivering projects and meeting business requirements. Having a broad, reasonably up-to-date, and accurate (things change fast and we can forget more than we know) knowledge of the capabilities of the Microsoft cloud will benefit you and your customers or business. Also, these are a great way to start your preparation for more advanced certifications and make sure you are not starting out with any significant knowledge gaps.
Recommended Sequence for Fundamental Microsoft Cloud Certifications
My recommendation would be to work on these in this order:
- MS-900: Microsoft 365 Fundamentals
- SC-900: Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals
- AZ-900: Azure Fundamentals
- PL-900: Microsoft Power Platform Fundamentals
This recommendation is based on MS-900 and SC-900 including all of the fundamental building blocks for a Microsoft Tenant. Additionally, almost every person I am making this recommendation to is going to be somewhat familiar with Identity, Exchange email, SharePoint sites, OneDrive, or Teams, all of which are included in the scope of MS-900 and SC-900.
Second, the AZ-900 will build on the knowledge of MS-900 and also applies to a very broad set of services available under the Azure umbrella.
Finally, I found PL-900 to be the most challenging of these certifications, possibly because I have not worked as much with the Power Platform, but I also felt like it was the most technically demanding of the three exams. It also builds on an understanding of MS-900 knowledge.
Below are links to each of the certification pages and additional resources for each one. In my preparation for these certifications, I found the Microsoft learning paths to be a great start for exam prep and in some cases sufficient without additional resources. However, I also link to helpful courses offered by Pluralsight and Udemy in the links below.
The IT Leader's Guide to Multicloud Readiness
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When you are ready to schedule your exam (or plan ahead!) try out this advice for getting a free or reduced cost Microsoft Certification Exam.
MS-900 Microsoft 365 Fundamentals
Pluralsight and Udemy Courses
SC-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals
Pluralsight and Udemy Courses