Is the AZ-204 Worth It?


Is the AZ-204 Worth It?

The future of Microsoft cloud development is firmly connected to Azure. Today, cloud technicians, engineers, strategists and architects looking to keep pace with the evolution of cloud technology will want to take the time necessary to complete the AZ-204 Certification.

There are a number of reasons why students and cloud professionals at all levels should complete the AZ-204 Certification.

In this article, we’ll discuss what you should know for the AZ-204, who should take it, and how difficult the exam is. 

What is the AZ-204 Certification?

The AZ-204 is a Microsoft certification that validates the skills an Azure developer learns in their first year or two on the job. By the time you complete the AZ-204 Certification, you'll learn:

  • How to develop and integrate Azure solutions;
  • How to develop for Azure storage;
  • How to implement Azure security best practices;
  • How to monitor, troubleshoot and optimize Azure solutions in real time.

Even though the AZ-204 Certification is an Associate-level exam, it covers the major components required to build, deploy and maintain Azure applications. Those successful in completing the Exam AZ-204 will earn the Azure Developer Associate Certification. 

One of the easiest ways to study for the AZ-204 is through an immersive cloud bootcamp — one that a full range of exam objectives through real-world projects, hands-on labs and mentor-led modules.

The exam validates that you as a developer know which tools to use when building a cloud application.

Before you begin preparation for the AZ-204 Exam, you'll want to make sure that you have sufficient hands-on experience with the following Microsoft strategies:

  • Create an Azure Service Web App;
  • Enable diagnostics logging;
  • Deploy code for web app integrations;
  • Configure web app settings including SSL, API and connection strings;
  • Implement auto-scaling rules, including scheduled autoscaling and scaling through operational or system metrics.

These topics could potentially comprise 10% to 15% of the total exam. Each subject combines product knowledge with Azure-specific skills and strategies. Additionally, the AZ-204 assumes a basic proficiency in one or more programming languages. 

It’s important to note that while the AZ-204 Exam is developmental, exam prep materials do not teach programming. Instead, Microsoft recommends that you develop a working programming knowledge before taking the exam. 

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AZ-203 to AZ-204

In 2018, Microsoft initially idenfied both the AZ-200 and AZ-201 as the two exams required to earn the Azure Developer Associate Certification — the apparent replacement for the retiring Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) Certification.

In late 2019, Microsoft combined AZ-200 and AZ-201 exams into the AZ-203 exam. By February 2020, Microsoft launched the AZ-204 as the replacement for the AZ-203. Microsoft has settled on AZ-204 as the role-based Azure exam moving forward. 

How difficult is the AZ-204 Exam?

As with all exams, the AZ-204 Exam difficulty is entirely linked to how much you study and how much experience you have with the technologies. That’s why it’s important to look at the experience prerequisites and exam objectives before scheduling a technical exam like the AZ-204. 

The AZ-204 Exam isn’t particularly hard if you meet the optional criteria set by Microsoft for the exam:

  • One to two years of professional development experience;
  • One to two years of experience with Azure.

It may seem like Microsoft recommends one to two years of total experience, but under some circumstances, it may be two to four years. That’s because Microsoft recommends at least a year of development experience and at least another of working with Azure as a professional developer. 

Take note of your own experience while looking through AZ-204 Exam objectives. If you've completed most of the objectives listed, you likely won't find the AZ-204 to be too difficult. The AZ-204, like all technical exams, is intended to validate the experience.

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AZ-204 for new developers

Microsoft recommends at least one year of professional experience before attempting the AZ-204 Exam. New developers who find themselves in an Azure shop are in a particularly good position to use the AZ-204 exam objectives to both learn their new job and also study for the exam.

The AZ-204 exam objectives are essentially a roadmap for your first year on the job. New developers are typically exposed to every facet of application development immediately. They often start with the basics, befor progressing toward more advanced projects. Similarly, not every application or dev environment will employ every skill you learn during the couse of your AZ-204 preparation.

AZ-204 for cloud administrators

Cloud administrators are increasingly required to learn code, which may be daunting, but it’s a valuable skill. Azure supports a number of languages including C, Python and JavaScript. Cloud admins only need to learn one language before attempting the AZ-204 Exam.

The AZ-204 contains virtually everything an entry-level developer should have learned in their first couple of years on the job. By punching through the list of objectives like a to-do list, cloud administrators can easily expand their Azure skills while also upskilling their potential. These tasks can include:

  • Implementing solutions that use Azure Event Grid;
  • Implementing solutions that use Azure Notification Hubs;
  • Implementing solutions that use Azure Event Hub.

Some Azure services don’t even require coding. With services like Logic App, cloud administrators don’t even need code to create automated processes between services.

The AZ-204 is absolutely worth it for cloud administrators looking to move into development or simply get better at using automation and development to automate their job.

Is the AZ-204 Exam worth it?

If you're a developer looking to deepen your cloud computing knowledge, the AZ-2404 Exam can help you get there. As an entry-level development certification, this exam is best for developers looking to take concrete steps toward a more rewarding tech career.

Microsoft wants to validate the skills you need to be successful in your role as an Azure developer. If you’re new to development or just want to adapt automation strategies that make your life easier, then the AZ-204 Exam is entirely worth the investment.

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