Is the DP-200 Worth It?
| certifications | microsoft - Graeme Messina

Is the DP-200 Worth It?

Data Engineers are highly sought after in cloud computing. They help to keep the data flowing while maintaining security and availability. It has become necessary to distinguish these data skills from normal SQL certifications as the technologies have moved into the cloud. The DP-200 takes things to a whole new level by requiring that candidates understand tasks like data storage services provisioning, ingesting streaming and batching data procedures.

We will look at some of the areas that this exam covers, and why you would consider taking it on and earning the certification. We will touch on other important details too, such as how many exam questions there are, how much the exam costs, and other information that will help you to evaluate this cert. At the end we will help you to figure out if indeed the DP-200 is worth it.

What is the DP-200?

Now that we understand the very basic outline of the DP-200 we can review some more detail of what is in the exam. The DP-200 is an exam that counts towards the Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Engineer Associate certification. This exam's full title is DP-200: Implementing an Azure Data Solution. It goes hand in hand with the DP-201: Designing an Azure Data Solution which we have looked at previously.

The Azure Data Engineer Associate certification is a great fit for you if you are either in a role, or looking for a role where you are responsible for:

  • Provisioning data storage services
  • Ingesting, streaming and batching data
  • Transforming data
  • Implementing Security and data retention policies
  • Identifying performance bottlenecks
  • Accessing external data sources

There is a lot that this exam touches on, so we will go over the breakdown of what it tests, and what you need to know in the next section.

What Does the DP-200 Exam Test?

The exam objectives of this certification cover quite a few different domains, all relating to design. The full document containing all of the exam objectives can be found here.

  • Implement data storage solutions: 40-45%
  • Manage and develop data processing: 25-30%
  • Monitor and optimize data solutions: 30-35%

Implement data storage solutions: This objective covers quite a few areas. You will need to know how to implement non-relational data stores such as Cosmos DB, Data Lake Storage Gen2 or Blob storage. You must also know about implementing data distribution and partitions, the consistency model in Cosmos DB, non-relational data store provisioning and data access security requirements. This section also touches on High Availability, Disaster Recovery and Global Distribution.

Also covered in this section is relational data stores. This includes data distribution for Azure Synapse Analytics and how to implement PolyBase. Lastly, you must understand data security management. This includes data masking implementation and data encryption at rest and in motion.

Manage and develop data processing: Here you will learn about how to develop batch processing solutions. The sections that are covered include topics such as using Data Factory and Azure Databricks to develop batch processing solutions, data ingestion with PolyBase and the integration runtime for Data Factory.

You must know about creating linked services and datasets, pipeline and activities, scheduled triggers and Azure Data bricks clusters, notebooks, jobs and autoscaling. Data ingestion into Azure Databricks is also tested here. You will also be tested on streaming solutions, with aspects like input and output configuration, built-in functions selection and event processing with Stream Analytics included in this section.

Monitor and optimize data solutions: The final set of objectives will test knowledge related to Data Factory pipeline monitoring as well as monitoring for Azure Databricks and Stream analysis. You must understand Azure Monitor alerts and how implementation of auditing is done using Azure Log Analytics.

Finally, the exam covers Azure data solutions optimization with topics like data partitioning bottleneck troubleshooting, Data Lake Storage Gen2 optimizations, including Stream Analytics and Azure Synapse Analytics optimizations. Lastly you must understand data lifecycle management principles.

How Much Does the DP-200 Cost?

The DP-200 exam currently costs $165 and is a multiple-choice, multiple-select format. The question number ranges from 40 questions up to 60, which will differ from session to session. The exam duration is 180 minutes in total. The passing score is 700 out of 1000 which is calculated on a sliding scale.

What Experience Do You Need for the DP-200?

In order to successfully learn for and then pass this exam you will need to have a basic understanding of the Microsoft Azure environment, as well as a foundation of basic data concepts. A background in data-centric roles including database administration and development or similar technologies would also be beneficial but is not a requirement.

Who Should Take the DP-200?

This certification focuses on the data as it relates to Azure platform. If you currently work in an Azure environment and you need to upskill and learn about how data can be leveraged and maintained as it relates to your organization then this exam will teach you a lot. You will learn about key concepts that will help you on your way to becoming an Azure Data Engineer. This is an Associate level exam so there is a lot more to learn after you attain the Azure Data Engineer Associate Certification.

DP-200 for Azure Data Engineers

Data Engineers need to know a lot about things like data pipeline architecture, data warehousing, ETL tools, SQL, NoSQL technologies,and much more. The DP-200 helps to ground you with the essential Azure focused skills as they relate to data management. Normally a Data Engineering position requires anything from 2 – 5 years experience.

A junior role is a bit more forgiving, and you can find roles that will teach you a lot about what goes into the data management of a company. Earning an Azure Data Engineer Associate certification can help you to land a role with a prospective employer in a Junior Data Engineering role.

Salaries for the role of Azure Data Engineers will vary based on experience. Salaries start at $72,000, average at $103,000 and top out at $158,000 as data from glassdoor.com shows.

DP-200 for Senior Data Engineers

This certification leans heavily towards Microsoft's Azure platform, so unless you have access to it then you might not find much utility in holding it. However, if you are already working as a Data Engineer in a Cloud environment and you want to round off your skills and possibly branch out into Azure then this is a great cert to go for.

Salaries for this role will vary based on experience, and the platform that the cloud data role is based on. However, for senior Data Engineers that work with Azure data solutions you can expect an average salary of $124,099 per year according to payscale.com

Is the DP-200 Worth It?

The DP-200 is definitely worth it if your goal is to get certified as an Azure Data Engineer Associate. The principles that are covered in the exam material relate specifically to how the data of an organization is managed and administered.

This makes it extremely worthwhile for anyone that wants to work with data and also show that they meet Microsoft's standards. This applies as much to newcomers to the field as it does to seasoned veterans that have worked their way up into the current role without necessarily getting certified.

Using the DP-200 to Learn Skills

The DP-200 will teach you all the basics and fundamentals as they relate to data on Azure. This makes it a good starting point for data management, but not necessarily the best Azure starting point if you are completely new to Azure. Certs like the AZ-900 are better suited for general Azure fundamentals which will help you to build a more foundational understanding of how the platform works.

Using the DP-200 to Validate Skills

As a Data Engineer you know a lot about data systems, pipelines, and all the components that makes data accessible within the business. Knowing how to do things and why to do things is good, but if you are trying to seperate yourself from a pool of other Data professionals then certification is essential. The DP-200 tests and validates your skills and helps you to prove that you have what it takes to maintain data on the Azure platform.

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