Azure Basics - AZ-103 Exam Prep
So it makes sense to me to start with the basics, and what could be more basic than AZ-103 right? WRONG!
This exam isn't so much as difficult as it is large, and by that I mean the variety of the subject matter. I know I felt like I didn't even know where to start when it came to my initial revision when i first sat the original AZ-70-533, at that time I was still prominently working with either On Premises or Hosting Centers and Azure seemed like some kind of magical mystical beast.
I do feel like these exams don't actually prove your skill, because lets face it, in our industry true skill is your ability to google the problems you face, filter through the tons of out dated results or incorrect documentation.
(Come on Microsoft, you change the portal so often, is it really that difficult to keep your documentation vaguely update to date)
Where do you start? I hear you ask
Well that has to be personal preference:-
Personally I have to be tinkering and working with the thing I want to learn, otherwise I'm not going to remember/soak the information in. I also happen to be a gamer, so as sad as it sounds gaining some kinda "Points and experience" for going through various screens and being Quizzed/knowledge checked definitely works for me.
Luckily for those of you like me Microsoft have done just that with Learning Paths.
They've given you a nice play through introduction, fit with lovely "mini" labs to get real hands on experience (These also build you free sandbox subscriptions as you go). Then at the end you have a knowledge check on the module you've just gone through.
If the free sandbox and quizzes aren't enough for you, well don't worry because you earn "Experience" that's right "EXP"! For each module/path you complete and as you gain your EXP you gain Levels! It's turning Learning into a very boring RPG but I found this kind of revision really works for me.
AZ-103 Learning Paths :-
For those of you who do find watching Tutorials and working through as the video plays there's plenty to choose from. Personally I've only really found one that had the full content needed, other sites are catching up fast.
(At the time of writing this AZ-103 isn't very old at all)
It'll probably come as no surprise to a lot of you, I'm suggesting Pluralsight but that's because it comes with the full package. Yes you do need to pay subscription, but most companies will cover that, and if your boss doesn't, tell him/her i think they're a jerk.
PluralSight offers a balance between breaking sections down for beginners and as well as filling in the blanks for people who know the basics, but not have control or access to the full Azure administrators. (for example if your a contributor and have been building webapps or VMs on Azure, but you don't work for a CSP or don't have access to the subscriptions and billings)
Personally I found running through the little knowledge checks at the start, gave me a good indication of where I had gaps in my knowledge, allowing me to focus more heavily on areas I struggled.
I will say this, and it is just my personal opinion, as likeable as Tim Warner is (if you're reading this dude, you do seem like a good bloke). He has recorded A LOT of videos for the AZ-103. After around 5-10 hours of listening to him and the phrase "Automagically", I did struggle to actually retain the information.
I'd definitely recommend mixing up the order you run through the videos, so you split the sections out by author just as much as content. It's always good to hear a different voice once in a while.
A Cloud Guru
Another good site for video content is cloud Guru, although they are still in the process of recording and sharing the AZ-103 content. (Given they are predominately geared up for AWS at the moment *pound in the swear jar for mentioning the competition)
What I found with Cloud Guru was that the content was broken down into a lot more manageable chunks, with almost easier to follow guides. They also seemed to focus more on the CloudShell/PowerShell, so if that's the way your brain works it might be a good one for you. Just be aware content is still pending in places, so you may need to find some other videos elsewhere to fill in the blanks.