Preparing for the Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104)? Here’s How Long You’ll Need to Study

by Ross Heintzkill | Published on September 12, 2022

Azure is Microsoft's cloud service – which should give you a sense of how big it is. Competing against behemoths like AWS, Azure is everywhere. Trained Azure cloud administrators, even at an entry level, are becoming more and more valuable to companies all over the world. One of the best ways to prove you're capable is by earning the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate.

We asked IT pros to share how long they needed to study before taking the Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) exam. More than 480 people responded via Twitter survey, LinkedIn poll, and an emailed questionnaire. This is how long they said it took to prepare for AZ-104. 

How long did most people need to study for the Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104)?

The vast majority of survey respondents needed less than 3 months to prepare for the Microsoft Azure Administrator certification exam. Nearly 70% of all survey respondents said it took them less than 3 months to prepare for the AZ-104. Only about 15% of all IT professionals said it took them more than 5 months to pass the Azure Administrator exam.

how long to study for microsoft azure administrator survey data

The gap between the 70% who needed less than 3 months and the 30% who needed more time to prepare for the AZ-104 is almost certainly due to experience and training. Brand new administrators with little familiarity in the cloud tend to take over 5 months to learn everything they need to pass the Azure Administrator exam, while people who take a course that covers every AZ-104 learning objective can usually prepare for it in 6 weeks to 3 months.

RELATED: 5 Tips to Turn Your Networking Expertise Into a Cloud Career

People who don't develop study habits will take longer to prepare for the AZ-104 than the people who manage to develop good habits around learning new Azure skills. Forming a study habit doesn't have to be particularly hard, says CBT Nuggets senior coach Molly Billow. 

"Studies show that when you reward a behavior, you can actually create a craving," Billow explains. "So pick a time to train – that's your cue. The behavior is your training. The reward? Netflix, gaming, a nice walk outside."

How should you prepare ahead of taking AZ-104? 

The best way to prepare ahead of the Azure Administrator exam is with an online course that covers the five different sections of the AZ-104: identities and governance, cloud storage, Azure compute resources, virtual networking, and Azure cloud resource management. The Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) online training from CBT Nuggets is designed to speed up how long it takes you to prepare for the certification exam while ensuring you know how to work as an excellent cloud administrator.

CBT Nuggets coach Blake Pierson says some of the tools you need to prepare for Microsoft certification exams are available from Microsoft directly. "If you’re looking to get lab experience – good news! You can create an account at Azure, and the first 30 days are free. That will give you the perfect environment to practice your Azure administration skills."

Tips to make sure you’re test-ready before Azure Administrator Associate exam day:

The reason a high-quality online course can help prepare you for your exam is that they don't just focus on filling you up with data and facts. CBT Nuggets courses are all about practical knowledge, and come with quizzes that can help you deepen your experience.

Test yourself using AZ-104 practice exams

The trick to preparing for the AZ-104 as fast as possible is to take the exam the moment you're ready and not waste time by over-preparing – or waste even more time by attempting it too early and failing. CBT Nuggets courses come with practice exams so that you know exactly when you're ready, and don't study an hour longer than you need to.

Learn from the experts

If the person teaching you isn't an expert or doesn't care about your success, it'll take even longer than 3 months to prepare for the AZ-104. Knox Hutchinson is a perfect example of what a great coach and instructor can do for your preparation time. Watch the first video in the Azure Administrator series and find out for yourself!

The AZ-104 isn't an especially challenging certification – many people earn it quite early in their career with a few months of study and preparation. With a CBT Nuggets membership, it’s possible to prepare for the Azure Administrator Associate (AZ-104) in under 6 weeks.

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