Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform that provides software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and function as a service (FaaS) resources.
Microsoft released Azure in February of 2010 and it has gained a lot of traction lately. By using Azure, developers can focus more on their applications and less on the infrastructure needed to host those applications.
Azure manages the physical infrastructure while providing a GUI interface, CLI tools, and CI / CD integration to develop applications.
Cloud computing, in general, has become a growing standard in mainstream enterprise software development. However, the documentation or knowledge of these systems is often lacking. There are quite a few well-developed resources that Microsoft has released to help train software engineers in not only how to use Azure resources but also how to maximize the benefits of using a cloud provider. This article highlights 5 of the most useful Microsoft resources for learning about Azure resources and architecture.
Microsoft Learn is a free Azure tutorial site developed by Microsoft. It gives developers the knowledge and skills required to advance their career. Microsoft Learn, if you sign in, will track your progress so that you have a record of what you have studied. There are modules that contain tutorials, videos, quizzes, and interactive sandboxes. These modules combine to form a "Learning Path" based on a central theme. A set of these Learning Paths line up with the information needed for role-based Azure certifications (For more information skip down to the "Microsoft Azure Certifications" section of this article). As mentioned before, Microsoft Learn is free, and it has the most up to date content from Microsoft.
Microsoft has a set of certifications setup for specific software development roles. Whether you are a developer, administrator, solutions architect, or functional consultant, there is a certification for your job role. Being backed by Microsoft gives these a lot of weight when it comes to proving one's knowledge in this fast-paced field.
Azure Certification Guides
Microsoft has released comprehensive infographic guides for their role-based certifications. These guides outline all the resources available to study for their role-based certifications. To find this helpful infographic navigate to the certification page you are looking at from here. Then click the "Download" link under the "Guide to training" heading. There are sections on the guide for In-Depth courses, Microsoft Learn Modules, and Pluralsight videos. You do not have to complete all the outlined resources before taking the exam. A lot of information is repeated across different platforms. These simple visual guides are useful to keep yourself on track towards the exams!
Cloud technologies are changing quickly and so are the best architecture practices. The Azure Architecture Center is a great resource to review the latest common cloud architectures. These architectures include a good pros/cons list for what specific resources and technologies might be best suited for. This site also includes information on different performance anti-patterns to avoid. It also includes how to detect and fix common Azure performance issues. The Azure Architecture Center is a great site to reference when planning a new project, or planning to refactor a legacy system to use cloud tech.
For quick, 10-minute getting started tutorials on specific Azure resources check out these tutorials here. From launching VMs to creating serverless apps, these quick tutorials are a great way to get hands-on experience. Sometimes the best way to understand a programming topic is to jump into a Hello World type program.
Microsoft writes and updates these 5 resources quite often. They represent the most up to date and complete documentation available.