Microsoft Exam AZ-104: Azure Administrator – My Experience

I’d wanted to take an Azure based exam for a while but eventually got the inspiration I needed when Microsoft released the November 2021 Microsoft Ignite Cloud Skills Challenge. The challenge was to get through most of the Azure Administrator (AZ-104) content on Microsoft Learn (a few modules weren’t required) within a month.

On 28/01/22 I passed the exam so wanted to share my experience for anyone else looking to take the exam soon.

Initial knowledge

Before starting to learn I had a reasonable knowledge of Azure, my role isn’t Azure focused though I do work for an MSP that focuses on a lot of Microsoft products so I’m often in the Azure portal. We mainly implement and support IaaS services so Virtual Machines, Networking, IAM were familiar but services like Kubernetes, ACI and Web Apps were new to me.

I’d say it’s useful to have a good core understanding of networking, as knowing when subnets overlap etc is useful for the exam. I did my CCNA a number of years ago with Commsupport and found Joe’s way of explaining subnetting nice and easy. He’s got a video series on YouTube here.

Resources

To pass the cloud skills challenge I had to complete the relevant Microsoft Learn topics listed in the challenge, so I started off reading through the content and doing the lab content. I found this helpful, in particular being able to play around in a lab environment was useful. It’s worth mentioning that when you’re going through the labs don’t just copy paste commands, learn them – you will need to know them for the exam.

I was lucky to get a tweet from Simon (@smoon_lee) shortly after about starting a study group. Simon, Scott (@scottwmcc), Tim (@thegreycat) and I spent our time studying checking in with each other on progress and generally sharing knowledge. I’d really recommend this approach for anyone taking this or any other exam as it helps to keep you on track.

Simon set up a call with Dan (@CloudDevDan on Twitter) as he’d recently passed the exam, just to get a feel for the layout of the exam. This was a massive help, so big thanks to Dan for taking time to speak to us.

I also have access to an MSDN Azure subscription which gives me £150 a month of Azure credit which is really useful for training, though not necessary. You can get a certain amount of access to free resources in Azure anyway. Just spend some time playing with and familiarising yourself with the Azure portal and Azure CLI and PowerShell commands you can run.

I then went through the A Cloud Guru course, particularly focusing on the areas I felt most weak in, and started to take the Whizzlabs practice exams. You have to pay for these exams but for the price they’re definitely worth it and give you a good feel for the areas you need to focus more of your effort on.

Finally, 2 days before the exam I started to watch John Savill’s Study Cram. This was a really useful resource and just made sure that I had covered all bases. Of the parts I felt I needed to review further information on, I read through the related Microsoft Docs to get the specific bits of information such as service SLAs, again you’ll need to know those.

Exam Format

The exam has a number of different questions to test your knowledge but they come in different formats. You get Case Study, multiple choice and then Yes/No scenario questions.

With the Case Study questions you get a lot of information around the requirements. I found it easier to glance over the information, read the question, then go looking for the relevant information in the case study again. I had 2 case studies in a row at the start and took way too long, this meant I had to rush through the end of the exam so be careful not to spend too much time.

Multiple choice are fairly self explanatory, they made up most of the exam.

The Yes/No scenario questions give you some information and then just ask if the given solution works. You can’t go back once you’ve chosen your answer for this, so be sure its the correct one.

I hope this gives you some assistance in studying for the exam – good luck!