How I prepared for the AZ-203

So I just passed the AZ-203 exam after a couple of weeks of studying in the evening and weekends. The exam covers a wide range of skills, I do work with some of them on a daily basis but far from all of them so to study for the exam was definitely needed.

At the time of writing there is still no exam preparation book or exam preparation tests available, so a lot of effort went in to finding the material I needed to study for passing the exam. I decided to write down how I did it and hope it might help others to prepare for the exam.

Sources of information

A lot of time went in to finding the information I needed to study for the exam but in the end there where three main sources of information for me:

Apart from that I did find some information on Youtube and other pages on the net as well. Which means that what you will need to start study are:

I did also have two more things that did help me to prepare. I did a four day azure developer course in January, this helped build up my motivation and self esteem enough to book a date for the exam and start to study for it. About ten months ago I had bought a preparation pack for 70-532 from Mindhub which also included a test exam, I did do the test exam to get a feel for how the exam is structured, but most of the question in the test exam did not apply to the AZ-203 (I hardly opened the book). However I think you can manage the exam without both exam preparation pack and course.

How I prepared

I went to the AZ-203 exam page and printed out the “Skills Measured” part. I started on the bullet point and worked my way down. For each of them I went to Microsoft learn to see if there was a suitable tutorial available, if there was I did it. I then searched for the text, usually found Microsoft documentation related to it and studied it. By the way, the tutorials on Microsoft learn are awesome, it has never been easier to do a tutorial, no tool installation is needed, everything happens in your browser using the cloud shell or the portal and you get immediate feedback, this is nothing short of revolutionary for teaching. In the course I took we actually used the tutorials on Microsoft learn as exercises as it requires no configuration of development environments or clunky vm’s.

Somewhere in the middle of my studies I realized that Pluralsight has a learning path for AZ-203. For each “skills measured” bullet point I watching courses related to it  and did the exercises that went with the course. I did not watch all courses in the learning path and did not watch full courses, only what seemed relevant to me. I did watch 11 out of 59 hours but remember – I had studied about 30% of the “skills measured” before finding the learning path and some of the skills I didn’t study at all as I work with them on a daily basis.

Pluralsight also has a service called “skill IQ“, here you can take small tests, each taking twenty minutes or less, to measure your proficiency in a technology. Related tests are group in to “Roles” and there just so happens to be a role named “Microsoft Azure Developer” and the tests for it have been designed in collaboration with Microsoft. I took the test and went through the questions afterward, noting what where my week points and googled/binged/duckduckgoed them to find more information. 

This is what I did, I’m not saying that it is a sure-fire way of passing the exam or that it is the most effective way of studying for the exam, but it worked for me.

How would I prepare now?

As I found out about some new tools to help me study during the time I studied, (mainly the Pluralsight courses and the skill IQ tests). If I would study for the course again I would probably do like this:

Mysuggestion for how I would study for the AZ-203

  1. Check out the “Skills measured” bullet points on the exam, even it paints the picture in pretty broad strokes you get an idea. Find the Microsoft documentation related to the skill and read it
  2. Get a Pluralsight account and, go to the AZ-203 learning path and by using the “Skills measured” bullet points prioritise courses related to it and watch them.  Don’t forget to do the exercises related to the course, this will help you to learn. Do the learning checks related to the course.
  3. Check out Microsoft learn, do exercises related to to the skills. This helps the new knowledge stick and in the end of the exercises there are questions that helps you check your knowledge. 
  4. When you start feeling ready, do the Pluralsight Skills IQ test to get an idea of your proficiency. Note the questions you failed on and study those areas some more.

If you would feel stressed/lazy you could maybe skimp a little bit on number two and not do all exercises related to the Pluralsight courses IF there are Microsoft learn exercises related to the same subject. Why? – Because the low overhead of the Microsoft learn exercises compared to many of the Pluralsight courses. On MS learn you never need to install a single tool. To follow along on the Pluralsight courses on the other hand you will need to set up a local development environment (or a vm). There where also some issues for me where tools or frameworks I installed on my machine where newer than those in the course and behaved differently.

I hope this gives you a good idea on how to study for the exam. This will demand some time and effort from your side but hopefully it will reward you with much knowledge and a new certification. Good luck!