How to Start Azure Training, and How Much It Costs
Azure, Microsoft’s answer to Amazon’s AWS and Google’s Cloud, is an integral part of many a company’s tech stack. That makes it important for many developers, engineers, and architects to know. But what does Azure training actually entail?
Ever since Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s CEO in 2014, he’s encouraged developers already using AWS to give Azure a shot, and the effort seems to have worked, with Microsoft eating more of Amazon’s market-share with each passing year.
How to Start Azure Training, and How Much It Costs
Across the country, many companies have given up on their on-site servers and infrastructure, and opted for some cloud-based combination of AWS, Azure, and Google for their storage and compute. This is a trend that’s only going one way; and if you’re a developer or sysadmin, it behooves you to gain at least some familiarity with Azure.
Here are some of the top jobs that demand Azure skills, as analyzed by Burning Glass, which collects millions of job postings from across the U.S.:
Interested in Azure training? Here are some key questions answered:
Is Azure in Demand?
“Absolutely,” said Gordon McKenna, CTO of Public Cloud at Ensono.
“It sure is,” said Sergiy Seletsky, Senior Solutions Architect at Intellias.
“The entire industry is shifting to the cloud,” added Manish Bhardia, Partner at ThinkAI.
Seltesky notes that 95 percent of enterprises from the Fortune Global 500 are utilizing the cloud in some way. “Companies working with logistics, supply chains, smart homes, and autonomous vehicles as well as large financial institutions strive to adapt a microservices architecture and migrate to the cloud to increase their operational efficiency, cut infrastructure cost, and gain a competitive edge on the market.”
COVID-19 has added another dimension to the conversation, especially if companies decide to make their employees into permanent remote workers, noted McKenna: “Introducing hybrid IT with services like Azure will drastically grow in demand in the years to come.”
In light of that, demand for technologists knowledgeable in Azure, AWS, and other cloud platforms will only increase in years to come.
Where do I start Learning Azure?
Our experts point out that the best place to start learning Azure is at the source: Microsoft.
“The best place to start is at the Microsoft Learning Hands-On Labs,” says Data Analytics Architect Brandon Ahmad. “There you can find several free courses with many containing practical labs where you can get real experience and practice. This is an excellent place to start and the courses are designed to give you a quick introduction to Azure.”
These self-paced labs allow you to explore topics such as Azure fundamentals and Power BI on your schedule. Depending on your interests, you can follow specific subject-matter paths such as Azure, GitHub, and more. On top of that, you can filter courses by tech role, whether sysadmin, A.I. engineer, data analyst, or whatever interests you at the moment.
Microsoft has over 600 Azure courses or modules listed. For those interested in certification, Bhardia added, the AZ-900 course is a great starting point, then branching out as your needs demand. Keep in mind that, while Microsoft offers 600 Azure courses, it has 50 Azure exams and certifications you can take.
How Much Does Azure Training Cost?
Pricing starts at around $99 per exam. Microsoft also has “learning providers” that act as semi-official bootcamps. While most of our experts note learning with someone is handy, it can become costly.
“Official Microsoft Courseware learning providers offer training anywhere from $10,000 for a given certification path to $1500, depending on the path,” Ahmad said, adding: “Some of the key things you need to make sure of is that you have real content by an instructor and that you have hands-on labs setup for you so that you save time.”
Truly hands-on, in-person labs have been suspended during COVID-19, which could have a lasting impact well after the pandemic ends. Ahmad said: “This is why it is very important to ask for a sample lab and even a preview video if possible.” This will not only give you a preview of an instructor’s working style before everything opens back up (and you potentially plop down thousands of dollars in fees), but it will give you a sense of how much you like online instruction (which is really the only way forward at the moment, if you’re anxious to get your training underway).
How Long Does Azure Training Last?
“This depends on the skills you want to learn,” Ahmad noted.
McKenna said: “Azure trainings range from one to eight hours, so it depends how in-depth you would like to go. It’s important to keep in mind that Microsoft is constantly enhancing Azure services, so training should continue on an ongoing basis. To truly be an Azure expert, you need to be aware of the most current updates and follow the industry’s emerging trends.”
McKenna’s commentary is timely. As Microsoft’s annual BUILD conference closed, many of its courses seemed to be refreshed or revamped. Training in Azure or any other discipline should be ongoing.
Luckily, most of Microsoft’s modules are appreciably short, which means they can be quick to learn for many technologists. Bhardia gave us six examples of courses, adding “each session length varies, but most of the sessions [I listed] are 5 days. If you were to take all six, that would be approximately one and a half months.”
Azure is worth the time investment to learn. As enterprise companies move away from on-site servers and a .NET environment, they will naturally migrate to Azure. Even if you’re not working at a large enterprise firm yet (or even one using Azure), it’s still a skill you should add to your repertoire as new jobs come available.