Ambition and Drive to Learn Azure – 2019 Edition

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If there is one thing I am good at, its finding the right resources to learn something, I have a knack of finding the right content and locating the right people to ask for help or to learn from.

 

Ok so people seem interested in how I went about it so let’s get to that now, here is how I tackled my Azure learning, hopefully you can get some solid advice from this post for you, no matter if your a dev, SQL dba, infrastructure type person, most of this post is valid.

  • Read through the exams and start off with one of the easier ones (none of them are easy when your starting out)
  • I chose the AZ-100 and I think that’s not a bad place to start (now the AZ-103), that or the AZ-900 exam of your new to Azure.
  • Read the website link for the exam carefully especially the skills measured (these can be updated from time to time)
  • Search google for people blogging about their study notes
  • Use links like mine for finding useful study resources
  • I used Udemy and Scott Duffy’s courses and Pluralsight (too may authors to thank here, see below)
  • I signed up to his Facebook Azure Exams User Group (Only thing I used Facebook for)
  • After a couple of weeks I booked the exam 2 weeks in advance (that forces you to study and focus)
  • I used Azure a lot as nothing beats hands on experience – this is very important!
  • Practice is the only way I really learn something and remember it

Focus

I cut down the amount of tv I watched, just stopped it altogether, I’ve barely watched a thing this past year on Netflix.

If I want to learn Azure it required being laser focused and dedicated to the subject. I would say on average I was spending 10+ hours a week at night after work just studying and using the tools within Azure, now this isn’t possible for everyone so maybe I can list some of the best resources I found and my tips for learning Azure, lets come back to that later on.


Motivation

So what was the motivation for doing this amount of learning and almost giving up watching tv – mad right?, I know your thinking that.

I want to learn, and the more I learn the more I want to feed the habit of learning.


How I got started

I start by first of all taking my time, I didn’t dive right in, I looked around, read some blog posts, but always ended up back at the docs.microsoft.com – which by the way is awesome.

I check out the beginner courses on Pluralsight, searched for Azure and off I went – the more I read the more I thought this is very cool  stuff, I just got immersed into it and my learning became quite addictive, its when you first deploy something to Azure your like wow that was super easy, what can I do next, and so I just kept at it.

After a month, maybe two I decided to think I may as well check out the certifications,  if I’m learning Azure I may as well see what’s involved in the certifications, so I checked out the Azure certifications, looked for advice on where to get started and it was looking like one of the exams was easier of the 3 available, so I got reading.

After some time I took a practice test and got 12% I think maybe slightly higher, I had very little idea what the questions were talking about, I still hadn’t even heard of some of the content in the questions – that drove me to keep going and learn even more rather than getting despondent, I did the Pluralsight IQ test thing they do and it was slowly going up over time – any progress is good progress right? – I mean I’m learning, I’m investing in myself and what harm can that ever do?

At this point I have the following badges.


Twitter

Twitter is without doubt my favourite place to learn believe it or not,  I follow all the MVP’s I come across, I follow as many people I can who tweet about Azure, the Azure team members at Microsoft, anyone who mentions Azure I check out their tweets and if there’s learning potential I follow them – I highly recommend doing this if your serious about learning Azure, and if your serious about learning anything technical locate the people you need to be following, engage with them ask questions etc and learn.

I have made some great friends on twitter special mention to Julie Lerman @julielerman ,Richard Hooper @Pixel_Robots, Sam Smith @samsmithnz , Aaron Ralls @cajunAA ,Thomas Thornton @tamstar1234–  the people I chat to the most on twitter.

From twitter alone I have been asked to write two books and do training for a cloud training company, was invited to meet Scott Guthrie @scottgu and way more


Blog

The reason I started blogging was to write down things I came across that I would forget, blogging meant I could come back to it later and find the answers, now I’ve moved on to help other people with what I have learned and share the knowledge, it also ensures I have read into the subject enough so that I at least know what I am talking about.

If you aren’t a blogger then you should look into getting started, it’s very easy to do and can open up new opportunities for you gong forward.

I took part in the C# blog Advent Calendar end of last year which was fun to do.


Tips for Learning Azure

I will list my tips I would suggest for learning azure the way I did below: –


Community

Helping with the Glasgow Azure User Group, running the Azure Global Bootcamp in Glasgow was great fun.

I add the hashtag #azurefamily to my posts, like a calling card for help, we chip in and help other people who have questions they need help with when it comes to Azure.

I also reached out to several of the Microsoft Azure folks asking questions, looking for advice etc, the responses have always been very helpful.


Goals

Setting goals I think is an important step, I wrote one goal up above my pc monitors which I haven’t achieved and its there to remind me to stay focused on that very goal.

My goals for 2019 I keep to myself, got 2 left to achieve.


Thank You

I wanted to thank a few people who have helped me with Azure over the past 18 months, its been challenging but very rewarding. It’s not possible to list them all but the one thing I always do is thank the person who has helped me, its nice to be nice and the best part in all of this has been able to help other people just starting out their journey to learn some Azure.

Special mention to the following for their amazing learning resources:-

Scott Duffy – @scottjduffy
Barry Luijbregts – @AzureBarry
Mike Pfeiffer – @mike_pfeiffer

Here’s to an exciting time ahead with an Azure filled rest of 2019.

p.s. Ping me on twitter If I can help you on your journey, I love to be able to help people and more than happy to help.

 

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