Microsoft MVP for the 5th time in a row

I am delighted to announce that I have been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) 2019-2020 for the 5th consecutive year:

Dear ,

It is with great pride we announce that Roman Levchenko has been awarded as a Microsoft® Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 7/1/2019 – 7/1/2020. The Microsoft MVP Award is an annual award that recognizes exceptional technology community leaders worldwide who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with users and Microsoft. All of us at Microsoft recognize and appreciate Roman’s extraordinary contributions and want to take this opportunity to share our appreciation with you.

I would like to thank my family for ongoing support and everyone of you who have supported me in any form during the last year. So, needless to say, I couldn’t have done the following without all of you:

# Fundamentals of Azure | Translation & Technical Review

# Learn Azure in a Month of Lunches | Technical Review

# publications at the official Microsoft Blog

# social activities (sharing, forums and etc.)

# speaking at local events

# multiple blog posts and continuous learning

I’d like to paste a new photo here…but my Award Kit is on it’s way :). And, as it’s a 5th award, I’m expecting a special accompanying “5 years” ring.  Stay tuned!

Passed exam AZ-103 Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate

AZ-103 is one of the newest exam that became available for taking about one month ago. It’s also one of the few exams that have been updated with real labs sections (or performance testing). What does it mean? The exam starts with usual questions, then goes labs where you have to complete tasks by using Azure Portal and Azure Cloud Shell inside of the exam’s subscription. I had about 15 lab tasks, 2 different lab sections with 6 and 9 tasks perspectively, and case studies after each of the labs. In short, it is a real brainstorm – when you think the exam ends, the next questions or labs appear out.

Honestly, it was the hardest exam I have ever had and took me almost 3 hours to get it finished (my personal record, by the way). Again, even though I passed on the first try, it was difficult! Why? I’d say time management is the big challenge, so be well prepared and expect some gotchas.  Anyway, I’m extremely happy to see real labs in the exams as they can filter “dumpers” out and make certification more valuable to all of us.

How to prepare?

  1. Azure Subscription (trial at least)
  2. You must have a real experience in the commercial projects (mid-sized and higher). For example, I have been working with Azure for 3 years so far and now work with different projects related to Azure and DevOps.
  3. Use free online resources for preparation. Please check my post in order to get the list of all available high-quality and free training courses . I used Pluralsight (more than 40 hours), Udemy (AZ-300 paid course), Azure DevOps Labs, hands-on labs, official docs and study guides (MCT). So, I’ve being preparing for 2 months.
  4. Read about performance testing (sections with lab tasks). Some notes: time has been already extended to 180 mins for exams with performance testing, az-103 includes performance testing, choose Bash at the first launch of Azure Cloud Shell, and then switch to PowerShell, otherwise, storage for Cloud Shell won’t be created (just my experience) + add new resources on the resource group level rather than adding them from the main page using search bar or “Create Resource” on the left sidebar (faced with issue that I couldn’t get subscription/RGs list during resource creation, so I navigated to pre-created RG and completed all lab tasks from there)
  5. If you pass the exam successfully, the certification will be valid only for 2 years, so keep learning and practice every day! I wish you good luck on the exam and may the force be with you 🙂