3rd August 2021
How I passed AZ-104

How I passed the AZ-104 Exam

Study to learn, not only to pass the exam

T13nn3s

A little different write-up this time, no write-up from Hack The Box, but from how I passed the AZ-104 Exam from Microsoft. I passed the exam today with 887/1000 points. In this write-up, I want to share with you my experiences and how I’ve studied for this exam. I hope this article can help you with your preparations for the AZ-104 exam.

AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator

The AZ-104 Exam is a replacement for the AZ-103, which is gone with retirement on August 21st, 2020. The AZ-104 Exam is part of the role-based certification path from Microsoft. After taking the AZ-104 exam you get the ‘Azure Administrator Associate’ certification. This exam has the focus on these 5 learning objectives:

  • Manage Azure identities and governance (15%-20%)
  • Implement and manage storage (15%-20%)
  • Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (20%-25%)
  • Configure and manage virtual networking (25%-30%)
  • Monitor and back up Azure resources (10%-15%)

The percentages are giving you an idea of how the topics are distributed in the exam. For example, 15% – 20% of the exam is going about ‘Implementation and managing storage’ on the Azure platform, and that 25%-30% of the questions are covering the Configuration and managing of virtual networks, and so on. With this knowledge, you have a good chance that a large portion of the exam will be about managing virtual networks in Azure.

The exam

In the exam, I get around 56 questions, 1 case study with 4 questions, and 10 Yes/No questions. So, in total, I got 70 questions. I got 150 minutes (2,5 hours) to finish the exam. After doing the exam I had 1 hour and 47 minutes left, so it has taken me 43 minutes to pass all the questions and review them. You get enough time to do the exam. From my experience with the exam, it is recommended that you have a good understanding of the networking section in Azure, many questions on the exam deal with this topic.

Some thoughts

While the AZ-104 is an entry-level exam, it can still be challenging for you. It depends on how much knowledge you already have of the Microsoft Azure platform. If you have already approx 1-year of experience in managing and implementing resources in Microsoft Azure, this exam should not be a problem for you. If you do not have any practical experience with Microsoft Azure, this exam can be much more challenging. And then I recommend you to pass the AZ-900 exam first. The AZ-900 is not a requirement for the AZ-104, it’s about the fundamentals of the Microsoft Azure platform. I haven’t done the AZ-900 first, but it’s up to you to decide if you have enough knowledge to skip the AZ-900 and go straight forward for the AZ-104. From my perspective, if you have some experience with Azure, then you can skip the AZ-900 exam.

I moved from the 3rd line engineer into the cybersecurity field, and I’m currently working as an IT Security Engineer. Is this certificate recommended for security engineers? In my opinion, it’s a yes! The knowledge of how to configure, implement and manage Azure resources can give you a huge advantage in securing the Azure environment for your customers.

Regarding the AZ-500 exam. There is an overlap between the learning objectives with the AZ-500 exam. That’s also for me a reason to take the AZ-104 exam. So, if you have done the AZ-104 it can help you to pass the AZ-500 exam. AZ-500 is my next exam to focus on, when I’ve passed the AZ-500, I will also share my experiences with that exam.

How I studied for the AZ-104

AZ-104 book needed?

No, I haven’t even bought the book.

Use a lab

For practical training, you need an Azure environment. You can register for a free Azure account. You get $200 credit for 30 days to spend, it should be enough to do the practical exercises. Or you can use an Azure MPN subscription if your company is a Microsoft partner. I’ve used our Visual Studio Enterprise – MPN subscription, from my company. With this subscription, you get $150 credits for 30 days to spend on Azure for personal use, like testing and training. The credit will refresh each month. For more information about the MPN subscription: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/member-offers/credit-for-visual-studio-subscribers/.

Free Courses on Youtube

I watched the full AZ-104 course by Susanth Sutheesh on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mukn1dxW5sw&list=PLhLKc18P9YOAW3dKZaQ2xVYg8uE1m5Lp8. The content is totally free, and in my opinion a free course with quality, it has helped me to summarize the thing in my head. Susanth has more Microsoft courses and shares everything on his website: https://aguidetocloud.com/.

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft has an amazing AZ-104 learning path on Microsoft Learn. This learning path is totally free and contains text, questions to test your knowledge, and practical exercises.

ObjectiveMicrosoft Learn
AZ-104: Prerequisites for Azure administratorsLearn the basic Azure concepts you’ll need to know as an Azure administrator.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/az-104-administrator-prerequisites/
AZ-104: Manage Azure identities and governanceLearn how to manage Azure Active Directory objects, role-based access control (RBAC), subscriptions, and governance in Azure.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/azure-administrator-manage-identities-governance/
AZ-104: Implement and manage storage in AzureLearn how to manage storage accounts, data in Azure Storage, and Azure File and Blob storage.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/az-104-manage-storage/
AZ-104: Deploy and manage Azure compute resourcesLearn how to deploy and configure virtual machines, containers, and Web Apps in Azure.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/az-104-manage-compute-resources/
AZ-104: Configure and manage virtual networks for Azure administratorsLearn how to deploy and configure virtual machines, containers, and Web Apps in Azure.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/az-104-manage-virtual-networks/
AZ-104: Monitor and back up Azure resourcesLearn how to monitor resources by using Azure Monitor and implement backup and recover in Azure.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/paths/az-104-monitor-backup-resources/

Practical Excercises from Github

It’s recommended to get practical and do some exercises to get your hands dirty. This is especially recommended when you do not have much experience with Microsoft Azure. Through these exercises, you get familiar with the user interface and with the functionality of Microsoft Azure. I have used this repository from GitHub: https://github.com/MicrosoftLearning/AZ-104-MicrosoftAzureAdministrator.

Doing a lot of practice exams

I have done a lot of practice exams to test my knowledge. I highly recommended doing practice exams. If you are searching online you can find some sources, such as ExamTopics (please read the discussions, on every answer is reliable), Udemy, or Whizlabs. I have mainly used ExamTopics and tested many answers in my lab.

Microsoft Docs

Do you have done the Youtube series, Microsoft Learn, and the exercises, and you are still missing key knowledge? I have used https://docs.microsoft.com to gain more knowledge on some topics, like update domains vs fault domains (I used to mix these up every time) and various types of storage accounts.

I hope you can take advantage of my write-up. Good luck with the AZ-104 exam! 🙂

T13nn3s

I'm a cybersecurity enthusiast! I'm working as an IT Security Engineer for a company in The Netherlands. I love writing scripts and doing research and pentesting. As a big fan of Hack The Box, I share my write-ups on this blog. I'm blogging because I like to summarize my thoughts and share them with you.

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