Who Should Take the AZ-500?
| certifications | microsoft - Erik Mikac

Who Should Take the AZ-500?

There is nothing quite as reassuring to a prospective employer as a battery of certifications on a resume. After all, anyone can say they have expertise in a given subject, but a valid certificate —such as Microsoft's AZ-500 — proves that the candidate is far more than just talk. They have taken the time to learn the craft and demonstrate their expertise. Concerning the AZ-500 cert, that craft would be Azure cloud security.

By now, you probably know that Microsoft made changes to Azure certifications. You probably also know that the AZ-500 is a valuable certification. It is the flagship security credential for Microsoft Azure. Unfortunately, it may not be clear who exactly should be taking this exam — after all, there are a dozen Azure certifications.

So, let's walk through examples of candidates who would benefit most from AZ-500 certification. And because AZ-500 prioritizes security, we'll focus on those who have a background in cybersecurity.

AZ-500 Candidate #1: You're Interested in Security

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cybersecurity jobs will grow by 31% in the next ten years. With that being said, if you are not already interested in cybersecurity, it would be a great time to start taking an interest. So if you are passionate about cybersecurity, then AZ-500 is a worthy goal.

The AZ-500 exam assumes that the candidate already understands the Azure cloud environment, products, and services. If you are new to the cloud, you can still take this exam. However, it would be great to learn the cloud environment and take the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Exam AZ-900 exam before taking the AZ-500.

That being said, if you are already an Azure security professional, then the AZ-500 is certainly up your alley. The AZ-500 will expand your knowledge of the numerous security services provided by the platform. Before taking the exam, ensure you possess an intimate familiarity with concepts such as MS Active Directory, SSL configuration, Azure log analytics, and much more.

The AZ-500 is not an entry-level certification. A general understanding of threat control, managing identity and access, and implementing security controls is necessary. However, if you are brand new to cyber-security, the AZ-500 is an excellent long-term goal.

The AZ-500 isn't only for those interested in cybersecurity, though. It is also for those passionate about bringing their organizations up to speed on the most significant technological advancement since the internet: cloud computing. Let's talk a little bit about how those interested in cloud computing should also take the AZ-500.

AZ-500 Candidate #2: You're Interested in Cloud Computing

It's no secret that cloud computing is revolutionizing computation and data processing as we know it. However, one thing to consider is that as cloud computing continues to expand, so will threats against its security. Hackers and malcontents are continually trying to gain access to other people's data, and one of the most common ways to do so is misconfigured cloud environment settings.

Chances are, if you are reading this article, then you already have a keen interest in cloud computing and the security threats mentioned previously. Understanding the need for such, the AZ-500 is an excellent first step to earning an AZ-500 certification.

While AWS may have the largest market share regarding cloud computing, Azure is growing faster and rapidly catching up. So if a candidate is interested in cloud computing, the AZ-500 would be a top choice to prove their expertise to the world. With such rapid growth, it should come as no surprise that these professionals are in high demand. If you have an interest in cloud computing, there is no better time to take the AZ-500. The crux of the matter determines how much experience is required in cloud computing before tackling the exam. Let's touch on that a bit.

It may be the case that a candidate is interested in cloud computing but does not have any relevant experience in the Azure environment. If so, it is highly recommended that they spend some time getting to know the product and services that Azure has to offer before taking the exam. The AZ-500 is generally recommended for those already steeped in the Azure environment and want to take their skills to the next level. For instance, here are some topics that may be covered on the exam:

  • Create groups and add members to Azure AD groups.
  • Configure a firewall on Azure.
  • Spin up and securely configure an Azure VM.
  • Implement identity and access management protocols.

If any of these questions cause you to scratch your head, it may be a good idea to hold off on taking the AZ-500 exam for a while.

Passion for cybersecurity and cloud computing are not the only reasons to complete the exam, however. There is a far more pragmatic decision to achieve this goal: building fences around your expertise will open you to promotions and advancements in your career. Let's talk about how the AZ-500 can advance your professional career.

AZ-500 Candidate #3: You Want to Get a New Job or Raise

Whether you want to climb out of the help desk or you are trying to find the best IT fit, promotions are great. Receiving a well-earned promotion is one most outstanding achievements one can earn in their professional career. After all, it is an accomplishment based solely on merit and hard work. In other words, you made it happen. However, to earn a promotion, the work done by the candidate must be visible. With that in mind, there isn't anything more visible than a Microsoft certification in a highly sought after field of expertise.

According to recent data, one of the biggest challenges facing cloud computing adoption is finding qualified employees to manage cloud maintenance and migration. The AZ-500 will prove you know how to migrate to the cloud and keep it secure in the process. After all, what good is the cloud if it is not secure? That is why it is essential to have bona fide security experts manage the Azure environment.

It has been found that achieving a certification consistently leads to new opportunities and promotions. Armed with that information, a candidate with relevant knowledge in security and cloud computing should focus on earning the AZ-500 certification.

Final Thoughts

So who exactly is the AZ-500 for? It is for security experts of companies big and small, managers of cloud security teams, software developers, anyone with a passion for cloud computing or cybersecurity, and lastly, those who wish to climb the corporate ladder.

The AZ-500 is a Herculean achievement, and a candidate should think long and hard before preparing to take it. That being said, it is the perfect long-term goal for anyone new to the Azure environment and an ideal short-term plan for those wishing to fence in their existing expertise. Cybersecurity experts need apply.

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