Azure DevOps Certification: AZ-400 Study Guide

A Comprehensive Guide to Azure DevOps Expert Certification Exam

Azure DevOps Certification: AZ-400 Study Guide

The Azure DevOps exam is a beast on its own based on the depth and width of the content that is included. However, regardless of everything, I believe the exam outline covers many essential topics that you are expected to know in your day-to-day life.

In this article, you will find the resources and recommendations if you are preparing for the Azure DevOps exam soon. This post is super long, so use the Table of Content to find the appropriate section you are interested in and bookmark it for later use.


Check out the Study Guides for other exams that might be of interest to you.


Table of Content

  1. Certification Overview
  2. Exam Prerequisites
  3. Who is this AZ-400 Exam for?
  4. What to Expect in the Exam?
  5. Exam Preparation Recommendations
  6. Exam Day Tips
  7. Exam Preparation Resources
  8. Exam Outline: Microsoft Learn + Docs Reference Links
  9. Conclusion

Certification Overview

Azure DevOps Engineer (AZ-400) Expert Certificate is an expert level exam that validates the skills and expertise of subject matter experts working with process and technology while incorporating people skills to deliver business value to the customers.

Exam Prerequisites

If you are planning to attempt the Azure DevOps exam, be sure to complete one of the following exams beforehand, as it will give you enough exposure to Azure services and offerings:

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/secure.notion-static.com/cf4f4300-bfb7-4a87-a8c3-e7589c692f16/DevOpsGraph.png
Azure DevOps Exam Graph

Who is this AZ-400 Exam for?

Suppose you are working in Azure in general, regardless of any specific motive to go into DevOps. In that case, I'd still recommend at least taking this exam as it will give you an insight into the capabilities of how Azure offerings are tightly coupled with the DevOps platform. Of course, if your organization is using Azure for development or deployment purposes, the DevOps still will be beneficial regardless of what DevOps platform you use.

On a high-level note, take the exam:

  • If you are looking to learn and understand DevOps practices, Agile practices and establish yourself in the market for success.
  • If you are working on Administration, Software development, Lead Engineer, or Project Management Role and are looking to move into the DevOps domain.
  • If you are looking to build the development skills and learning version control, development, and deployments in general.

What to Expect in the Exam?

The DevOps Exam is 210 minutes, including about 30 minutes for the surveys and the assessments, which gives you roughly 180 minutes for the exam. You can expect around 40-60 questions in the exam.

The structure of the exam can vary and range between:

  • Case study with multiple questions including two choices and drag-and-drop items.
  • Single-choice questions which may not be skipped or reviewed. You only get to answer these questions ONCE.
  • Single-choice questions (True/False or Yes/No)
  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Arrange in the correct sequence questions.

Since it's an expert-level exam, the exam is relatively hard and challenging as it covers many different topics and best practices. Therefore, I would recommend you to have at least one year of hands-on experience with Azure Cloud and DevOps practices in general before you consider booking the exam. Don't just take the exam for the sake of the certificate.

Exam Preparation Recommendations

There's definitely a lot to cover in this exam, and giving you any list of services or things to learn would be unfair as the expectations for this exam are high. However, below are some things to consider and focus attention on while preparing for the exam.

  • Understand how Azure DevOps (ADO) platform works and operates. Get yourself familiar with the Pipelines, Release, Artifacts, and Variable Groups.
  • You should be familiar with some of the common YAML tasks for Pipeline, such as copying artifacts, downloading build artifacts, and publishing artifacts for release.
  • Speaking of release, don't miss out on release gates and approval policies. Having a good understanding of all the capabilities like security testing, monitoring, and approval will go a long way for the exam and real life.
  • You should be prepared with a solid understanding of GIT and the branching strategies covered in the section Manage source control.
  • The presence of the actual lab in the exam is unclear with the remote exam as of now. However, be sure to practice with ADO and Azure platform to avoid any surprises.
  • Befriend with Azure DevOps resources at the Azure DevOps Documentation site. The more you are familiar with the docs now, the more it'll help you later.
  • Review the DevOps Checklist as a starting point in assessing DevOps culture and processes.

Exam Day Tips

Below are some of my recommendations on the exam and some tips that might be helpful.

  • Cover basic knowledge using AZ-104 and AZ-900 exams to be familiar with the Azure offerings' services and Azure offerings.
  • Book the exam at least 60-90 days ahead of the time. Try to use the vouchers if you can from a learning partner, or keep an eye for open Cloud Skill Challenges that are often offered via Microsoft.
  • If it's your first time doing a Virtual Exam, be sure to read PearsonVUE's exam information to ensure your desk and workspace are clean before going into the exam.
  • The time for when to schedule the exam is debatable. If you are a morning person, consider doing it early when your mind is not distracted from the day stuff. On the other hand, I've had challenges with wait time and schedule in the evenings or afternoon PST time zones.
  • You have access to a whiteboard where you can brainstorm ideas about the exams. It has been the least used feature of the exam for me personally. I'll let you be the judge of it.
  • Adjust the brightness of your screen or turn on Dark Mode before the exam starts. Constantly looking at a white screen with high brightness may affect your focus. Consider changing to dark mode from around the bottom left when you begin.
  • Use the Exam Outline to note down your target dates for each module and section so that you keep yourself on track. For example, I usually pick a final date and work backward to calculate how much time I need to spend on each module and section.

Exam Preparation Resources

Cloud Academy AZ-400 Learning Path

The biggest differentiator that I've seen for CloudAcademy has been their hands-on lab environment access, where you get free sandbox access to practice along with course and exam questions preparation.

AZ-400 Exam Prep: Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions - Cloud Academy
This Learning Path is designed to help you and your team prepare for the AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions exam. Even if you don’t plan to take the exam, these courses and hands-on labs will help you get started on your way to becoming an Azure DevOps specialist.

Pluralsight AZ-400 Training

Pluralsight also has an AZ-400 training course prepared heavily by John Savill. The course should get you started by checking a lot of boxes on the exam outline.

Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions (AZ-400)
The world of DevOps is constantly growing and changing with new tools and platforms arriving just about every day. With all of these tools comes the responsibility to effectively manage DevOps processes and integrations. The courses in this path cover what you need to know to effectively plan for De…

WhizLabs Questions Papers

I'd highly recommend taking the WhizLab's Practise tests and go through them a few times. I believe the questions are well prepared and explained in the descriptions when you review after each try.

Microsoft Azure Exam AZ-400 Certification - Whizlabs
Pass Microsoft Azure Exam AZ-400 Certification in 1st Attempt. Trained 3M+ professionals since 18 years. Start with Free Trial!

Udemy Practice Exam

While preparing for the exam and looking for exam question, I came across this Udemy Course by Bhuvan that give you access to the practice exam questions.

AZ-400 Microsoft Azure DevOps Expert - Updated  2021

Azure DevOps Labs

Azure DevOps Labs is the most helpful resource if you are looking for detailed blogs and articles with hands-on knowledge of Azure DevOps Platform guidance.

Azure DevOps Hands-On Labs
Learn how you can implement modern DevOps practices with Azure, Azure DevOps Services and Team Foundation Server.

Visual Studio Dev Essentials

Signup for Visual Studio Dev Essentials. You get Free Azure Credit to use the cloud resources and access to some training platforms like LinkedIn Learning and Pluralsight with one month of access.

Visual Studio Dev Essentials - Visual Studio
Everything you need to build and deploy your app on any platform including tools, services, training, and more. Join our free developer program.

30 Days to Learn It

Microsoft provides an offer where you get a 50% discount on exam price if you complete one of the listed MS Learn modules in 30 days.

https://aka.ms/dev-essentials/30_days_to_learn_it

Instructor Lead-Training

If you are working for a company that offers certification training via any learning institute, I'd highly recommend going that path as it'll give you about a full week of training and a free voucher at the end of the training. You can find your local training institutes using the link below:

Course AZ-400T00-A: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps solutions - Learn
Course AZ-400T00-A: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps solutions

Free E-Books Resources

I'd highly recommend picking up at least one DevOps book either from the list below or anything you find helpful.

I've gathered some of the reference URLs to articles on the internet that will help you cover most of the exam objectives. The headings link to Microsoft Learn modules, and the individual items in each category point to relevant reading articles or MS learn courses.

Be sure to print and have the exam outline with you while you are preparing for the exam. If you don't have the Exam Outline handle, download it here.

Develop an Instrumentation Strategy (5-10%)

Design and implement logging

Design and implement telemetry

Integrate logging and monitoring solutions

Develop a Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) strategy (5-10%)

Develop an actionable alerting strategy

Design a failure prediction strategy

Design and implement a health check

Develop a security and compliance plan (10-15%)

Design an authentication and authorization strategy

Design a sensitive information management strategy

Develop security and compliance

Design governance enforcement mechanisms

Manage source control (10-15%)

Develop a modern source control strategy

Plan and implement branching strategies for the source code

Configure repositories

Integrate source control with tools

Facilitate communication and collaboration (10-15%)

Communicate deployment and release information with business stakeholders

Generate DevOps process documentation

Automate communication with team members

  • integrate monitoring tools with communication platforms (e.g., Teams, Slack, dashboards)
  • notify stakeholders about key metrics, alerts, severity using communication and project management platforms (e.g., Email, SMS, Slack, Teams, ServiceNow, etc.)
  • integrate build and release with communication platforms (e.g., build fails, release fails)
  • integrate GitHub pull request approvals via mobile apps

Define and implement continuous integration (20-25%)

Design build automation

Design a package management strategy

Design an application infrastructure management strategy

Implement a build strategy

Maintain build strategy

Design a process for standardizing builds across organization

Define and implement continuous delivery and release management strategy (10-15%)

Develop deployment scripts and templates

Implement an orchestration automation solution

Plan the deployment environment strategy

Conclusion

I hope this article helps you get through the learning part of the AZ-400 exam and cover all the necessary topics that you need to know before you go into the exam hall. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn for any questions.

Check out my certificate on Credly here;

Microsoft Certified: DevOps Engineer Expert was issued by Microsoft to Parveen Singh.
Earning the DevOps Engineer Expert certification demonstrates the ability to combine people, process, and technologies to continuously deliver valuable products and services that meet end user needs and business objectives. DevOps professionals streamline delivery by optimizing practices, improving …

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