Trying the new Microsoft Applied Skills

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% 🙂

Less positive

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!



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