Two weeks ago, Microsoft announced Microsoft Applied Skills as part of the Microsoft Learn initiative (more info here). This is how Microsoft positions it, compared to the traditional certifications:
I gave it a try with the “Secure storage for Azure Files and Azure Blob Storage” skill. You can read my experiences here!
Overall, this skill assessment was a very positive experience:
- A real interactive lab exercise: where the traditional certifications often get the complaint that they are too theoretical, this lab experience using the Azure portal really reflects reality. Very cool!
- Based on customer requirements: you get fictitious requirements through simulated emails. This ensures you have to translate requirements into technical decisions, which is what we have to do an a day-to-day basis.
- On-demand: unlike most exams, you do not have to schedule it upfront, so you can just give it a try whenever you have some time available. You get two hours to complete the exercise, however 30 minutes was more than enough in my case.
- Open book: there are no restrictions on what resources you can use. You can easily validate your ideas with the Microsoft Learn documentation. This is a good thing, as this is how we roll in our professional life!
- Beyond Azure: great to see that this initiative goes beyond Azure, such as the Power Platform. I would love to see Microsoft Fabric over time.
- Learned: I learned a lot, to be honest. Many features that I knew from a theoretical perspective, but that I never had to configure before.
- I passed with a score of 92% 🙂
A few remarks that you could consider as less positive. These are minor things, that’s why I really don’t want to label them as “negative”.
- Screen height: you get access to a virtual machine in the browser. The portion of the browser height that is assigned to the VM is rather low, so we have to do a lot of scrolling
- Specific scope: the applied skills focus on a quite narrow scope. Would be great to see such exercises that span a bigger domain within Azure.
- Results: you see which topic you did not complete correctly, however you don’t get more details. I am convinced that I configured the network security right, however I got a failed on that subject. Would be great to know which setting was incorrect.
- Long wait time for the results:)
Very happy with this evolution within the Microsoft Learn space! I can recommend everyone to give it a try!