It has been more than 20 years since my last Microsoft certification exam. Windows NT4 was very common, Windows 2000 was cutting edge, and my first job was to migrate some SMEs in my region from the former to the latter.

My goal at the time was to get the famous MCSE , but I never had the chance to finish the certificaton track, stopping after a couple of exams.

Then I fell in love with networking.

Cloud networking

To enhance my skills in cloud networking in 2020 I prepared and passed the AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty exam.

I expected to work with AWS products, and then life happened and instead I got involved in projects on the Azure cloud. Cloud is cloud, ins’t it?

My role in the project focused on routing and SD-WAN, with another company managing the Azure resources of the customer.

I was in a good position to work in a mixed team and contribute to the networking side of architecture.

The biggest challenge was to find a compromise between the network requirements of the SD-WAN and the tools available in Azure.

In the end, the project was a success, and I found that I spent a lot of time reading Azure documentation . So I decided to continue on the official path to AZ-700 to get another nice badge for my LinkedIn profile .

How it ended: today I passed the exam and got the new badge: Microsoft Certified: Azure Network Engineer Associate .

Study material

The following is the list of the material I used to preapare the exam, with some notes for each one.

LEARNING PATH: Microsoft AZ-700 learning path A good starting point. Free.

⭐VIDEO+LABS+PRACTICE EXAMS: A cloud guru: AZ-700 Microsoft Azure Network Engineer Associate A video training with labs. Yes, real labs allow you to access the Azure dashboard to get hands-on experience with most (not all) of the exam topics. I learn best by doing, labs are really a great way to consolidate theory. The practice exams are very useful to validate the level of preparation.

BOOK: Exam Ref AZ-700 Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions I am old school, sometimes I don’t feel like watching videos or reading on the tablet. I find the good old paper books easier to go through. The book is not very in-depth, but it guides you through all the exam topics. I used it as light reading and as a support for final preparation.

⭐VIDEO: John Savill's AZ-700 Study Playlist This FREE content is probably one of the best you can find online. John explains all the topics about Azure, not just networking. I strongly suggest to watch all his videos to prepare for any Azure exam.

DOCUMENTATION: Azure documentation is probably one of the best vendor documentation I have ever had occasion to read. The website format, the organization of the sections, the diagrams, you can tell that Microsoft put a lot of effort into creating it.

Worth mentioning: I forgot to check this book that was in my reading list, feedback is positive: Azure Networking Fundamentals by Toni Pasanen

The Exam

My exam included around 50 questions, 10 of which were part of the same case study. I had plenty of time to answer the questions and review them all before submitting.

Language: when booking the exam, the registration form offers a choice of language. I preferred to take the exam in English instead of relying on the Italian translation.

Unlike other providers, the Azure exam allows you to go back and review all responses before submitting.

The wording of some questions was not clear to me. In a technical exam I’d like to see the RFC2119 key words applied to avoid doubts.

The overall experience was positive. Although it is possible to take the exam from home, I preferred to go to an exam center not far from my office to avoid connectivity problems and possible complaints from the proctor about taking my eyes off the screen or covering my mouth, as happens with the remote exam.

As is often the case, attention must be paid to new features. The exam is not always up-to-date with the latest releases. Always check the Study Guide to confirm. Example: NSG for Private Enpoint are not in the exam but are GA since August.

Wrap up

I am satisfied that I invested my time in preparing for this exam. Azure is a cloud platform that is growing a lot, at least in the context of the clients I follow, and I am sure this knowledge will come in handy in many future projects.