AZ-400 exam notes

Some months missing between my last update!

I must say I have been quite busy with the new position and the massive change that has impacted my previous knowledge but overall, I am pretty happy with it!

Therefore, let’s move to the point! So I just want to share some notes of the AZ-400 exam which I recently passed and I hope that can be useful to someone.

Certification details

This exam (AZ-400) is the second one of the path to the specific “Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert” certification:

Last month I passed the Azure Administrator Associate exam (AZ-104) so I had the prerequisite already.

You can check the objectives measured in detail for the exam here but as a summary, this is what the official documentation states:

  • Develop an instrumentation strategy (5-10%)
  • Develop a Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) strategy (5-10%)
  • Develop a security and compliance plan (10-15%)
  • Manage source control (10-15%)
  • Facilitate communication and collaboration (10-15%)
  • Define and implement continuous integration (20-25%)
  • Define and implement a continuous delivery and release management strategy (10-15%)

 

Notes and resources for the exam

  • Be sure to try Azure DevOps lab where you’ll be able to use Azure DevOps for free and with many guided Hands-on labs (https://github.com/microsoft/azuredevopslabs) → MUST
  • Study the majority of the Azure Products that can be related to any process within a pipeline, therefore, applications, web apps, secrets, repositories, VMs, etc.
  • Of course, I suggest you read and try Azure DevOps and the many of the integrations that can have with Github (remember that it’s owned by MS) within a pipeline.
    • This includes things like Azure boards, App Configuration, Azure feeds, Key Vault, Artifacts Credential Provider, etc.
  • Monitoring tools within Azure…you know, the ones that you already know if you have taken the AZ-104, things like Application Map (within App Insights), Security Center, Data Explorer, App Configuration, Hosted agents, etc.
  • Knowledge about 3rd party products like Helm, Sonarqube, Terraform, Yeoman, and many other tools that analyze code or vulnerabilities will be helpful.
  • Git basics is a must, knowing things like (init, Pull, push, commit, add, clone. etc.) but more “advanced” things like (prune, gc, pull –rebase, stash).
  • Branching with Git (Main, Develop, Feature, etc) and deployment (Rolling, A/B, canary, blue/green, etc.) strategies will be key to understand as one of the main things used in pipelines.
  • Software testing as well: Smoke, flaky, unit, acceptance, etc.
  • Container basics with Docker (Dockerfiles, build/scan images process, etc.), AKS (Install, RBAC, configure), Azure Container instances, etc.

 

There can be more of course but I think you can get an idea of what can I think it can be useful and probably I missed many things I already know that I haven’t studied.

 

Exam and opinion

As for now, there aren’t simulations in the exam but be prepared to answer multi-choice, single, hot-area, and drag & drop questions plus case studies.

There are about 60 questions in the exam and 150 minutes for non-native speakers (if I am not wrong) so plenty of time to answer each question.

Some questions are quite specific and not very related to general knowledge or even outdated which I don’t like it but that’s how certifications work in many cases.

Most of them are related to Azure, DevOps, and the integration with 3rd party applications so be sure to check them and don’t hesitate to make a list of third-party applications and the usage of them within different languages.

I studied for a month or so but I do have a certain experience with Azure and I think a great knowledge of many of the processes, 3rd party tools (Jenkins, Sonarqube, Helm), and strategies used in pipelines within CI/CD.

Be sure to test and experiment with Azure DevOps as it is obvious that it will appear in the exam 🙂

Conclusion

I found it fair but not easy for someone who just got introduced to Azure Dev and has a general knowledge of the “DevOps world” (I hate to say it like this).

It requires a bit of experience with many of the Azure products, how are they correlated/integrated within a pipeline and many other tools.

I hope this can be useful to anyone willing to take this but in my case, I did it so can you!

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