Microsoft Streamlines Path to Azure Administrator Cert
For those with historical perspective on Microsoft's dominions, Azure is the tail that wags the whole dog. In fact, the Windows development organization is just a small-ish part of the overall Azure colossus within the company.
As of Wednesday, Microsoft Learning magnate and maven Liberty Munson fired off a salvo on the Microsoft Learning Community blog, announcing that the company is "Simplifying the Certification Path for Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate." Baldly stated, the company is retiring its existing two exam sequence (AZ-100 and AZ-101) and replacing it with a single exam sequence (AZ-103: Microsoft Azure Administrator) to streamline the process of earning this associate level credential.
What About Those Who've Already Started Down the Old Path?
Those who taken and passed AZ-100, or who take and pass that exam before May 1, will earn the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate cert on or around May 1. All registrations for AZ-100 and/or AZ-101 after that date will be cancelled, and payments refunded.
Those who take and pass AZ-101 before May 1 will earn an AZ-101 exam badge. Anyone who takes AZ-101 will also receive an exam voucher (regardless of pass/fail status) for use on any MS exam available through Pearson VUE to thank early adopters.
In addition, instructor-led training (ILT) and online training (MOOCs) will be updated for AZ-101 and made available on May 1. Free learning content on Microsoft Learn should be completed around July 1. For those who've been preparing for AZ-100 and AZ-101, there's a PDF document that explains how the new AZ-103 exam aligns with those previous exams (download link/PDF format).
What Does It All Mean?
The old exams (AZ-100 and AZ-101) will retire on or around May 1, the same date upon which the new exam (AZ-103) becomes available. MS is acting with uncharacteristic dispatch to update this cert offering, which tells me that it's a top-priority item for their future cert planning and portfolio.
Indeed, the AZ-100 and AZ-101 exams made their debuts in mid 2018, and are already giving way to a replacement less than a year later. I expect that Azure will become a rich source for additional certifications and perhaps even a new certification program architecture, in the months and years ahead.