What is going on over at Microsoft? AZ – 100, 101, and 103 explained

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Last September, at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Microsoft showcased several new role-based certifications. As an early adopter, I naturally was excited to learn about the new certifications and began researching and preparing to take the AZ-100 and AZ-101 certification exams. I have already sat and passed the AZ-100 exam, and I have begun preparing to teach a course to help people earn the new Azure Administrator role. Well, if you haven’t read the new yet, surprise! Microsoft has just released information stating that both of the exams will be retiring as of May 1, 2019. This comes only a few short months after their debut! So, whether or not you have already passed, or started studying and planning to take the exams, take a breath. Let’s discuss what this change means for you. For a more infomation on getting certified in IT, check out the Ultimate Guide to IT Certifications


As I already mentioned, last year, Microsoft announced these new job-role-based certifications to better align with current on-the-job demands for IT professionals. Yesterday, Microsoft announced that they will now be retiring two of those certifications: AZ-100 (Microsoft Azure Infrastructure and Deployment) and AZ-101 (Microsoft Azure Integration and Security) on May 1, 2019. Why? According to their blog, they received a lot of feedback from the Microsoft community regarding the requirements for the exam. I can personally say that even though I passed on the first try, the exam was very difficult. So, while we don’t know for sure what drove the change, we do know that these exams will be definitely retired in May.

It’s important to note that as an individual, you needed to pass both the 100 and 101 exams to earn a Microsoft Azure Administrator certification. Now, after May 1, 2019, you will only need to take one exam, the AZ-103 (Microsoft Azure Administrator) exam to earn the certification. The 103 exam is a combination of 100 and 101 objectives.

What if I already took the exam?

The good news is that if have already taken and passed the AZ-100 exam, you will automatically receive the Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate certificate on May 1.

Also, if you have already taken AZ-101, you will receive an exam voucher (regardless if you passed or failed), that can be used for any Microsoft exam delivered through Pearson VUE. This is their way of saying, “thanks for being early adopters of our new certification program, and helping us to better understand the certification needs of Azure Administrators so that we could simplify the process going forward.”

What if I am already registered to take the exam?

If you registered to take the exam after May 1, keep an eye out in your email. Microsoft is saying that all of those exams will be canceled, but they do not say how they will communicate that to the community who has registered.

If you have registered to take either exam before May 1, you have options to take and pass those exams. Let’s break it down. If you are scheduled to take the AZ-100 before May 1, and you take it and pass it, you will automatically earn the Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate certificate on May 1. If you have registered to take the AZ-101, and you take and pass it, you will not automatically get the Azure Administrator certification like with the AZ-100, instead, you will get an AZ-101 exam badge.

And, as I already mentioned, if you take and pass the AZ-101 before May 1, you will receive an exam voucher that can be used for any Microsoft exam delivered through Pearson VUE.

What if I already started studying?

If you have been studying for the AZ-100, the good news is your studies have not been in vain. This news came in tandem with an announcement of several new Azure exams. The AZ-103 closely maps to the AZ-100 objectives with some tweaks. Changes include objective 4.6 being renamed, but mostly the additional objectives added were extracted from the AZ-101 exam. See the changes below:

  • 1.4 Managed role-based access control (RBAC), may include but is not limited to: Create a custom role, configure access to Azure resources by assigning roles, configure management access to Azure, troubleshoot RBAC, implement RBAC policies, assign RBAC roles.
  • 4.5 Implement Azure load balancer, may include but not limited to: Configure internal load balancer, configure load balancing rules, configure public load balancer, and troubleshoot load balancing.
  • 4.6 Monitor and troubleshoot virtual networking, may include but not limited to: Monitor on-premises connectivity, use network resource monitoring, use Network Watcher, troubleshoot external networking, and troubleshoot virtual network connectivity.
  • 4.7 Integrate on-premises network, may include but not limited to: Create and configure Azure VPN Gateway, create and configure site to site VPN, configure Express Route, verify on-premises connectivity, and troubleshoot on-premises connectivity with Azure.
  • 5.4 Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA), may include but not limited to: Configure user accounts for MFA, enable MFA by using bulk update, configure fraud alerts, configure bypass options, configure trusted IPs, and configure verification methods.

The AZ-103: Is it for you?

If anything I just mentioned sounds brand new to you, but you are interested in Microsoft certifications, this may be the time for you to check out the new AZ-103 exam objectives and see if it’s a roadmap you want to explore.

This exam earns you the title of Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator Associate. This means you have the skills to manage cloud services pertaining to span storage, security, networking and more. Specifically, candidates for this exam need to be proficient in PowerShell, the Command Line Interface, ARM templates, the Azure portal, virtualization, cloud infrastructure, operating systems, storage structures, and networking.

Myself and my fellow edutainer Adam Gordon can help you get started with mastering these skills. We have courses on PowerShell, virtualization, and many other skills mentioned above, so head to the ITProTV course library and start learning now to prepare for May.

Here is the breakdown of areas covered on the AZ-103 exam:

  • Manage Azure subscriptions and resources (15-20%)
  • Implement and manage storage (5-10%)
  • Deploy and manage virtual machines VMs (20-25%)
  • Configure and manage virtual networks (20-25%)
  • Manage identities (15-20%)

Note that exam will not be available for purchase until May 1.

Start studying now! ITProTV’s Microsoft Azure AZ-103 course is in production right now, catch the first episodes with a subscription to ITProTV. Start free.

A list of all the new exams can be found here.