Azure Security Engineer Associate - AZ-500

Azure Security Badge

Firstly, let me apologise for being so quiet on the blog front. Things have been super busy in the Irish Techie world, with work, study, and family commitments. Look forward to a lot more content in 2021!

Secondly, I am pleased to report that I achieved my goal of passing the AZ-104 and AZ-500 before the end of 2020! On December 7th, I got to add another Acclaim badge to my collection. Check them out on my About page.

If you want more information on this exam and the skills measured, you can check out the Microsoft Learn site at this link. Please note: According to the Microsoft Learn site, this exam is due to be updated on January 27th, 2021. If you are preparing for this exam, please download the “Skills Measured” PDF to make sure you are aware of the changes and any topics you need to add to your study list.

What’s next? In the immediate future, I will be taking a short break from studying to spend more time with my family and to enjoy the holidays after a rough year. In January, I will start studying towards the Azure Solutions Architect Expert qualification. You can find out more about this track here.

What resources did I use?

As I said in my last article on the Azure Administrator/AZ-104 exam, I find that a mix of learning resources helps me really get to grips with a topic when studying for these exams. It’s very important, particularly when studying for an exam with as wide a scope as the AZ-500, that you use a combination of study resources. Don’t be afraid to go deep into the Microsoft Docs on a topic you aren’t familiar with.

In terms of resources, I used the following:

  • Microsoft Learn - Security Engineer Path: This is a free learning path from Microsoft which is specifically focused on helping you pass the AZ-500 exam. Access it via this link. You’ll find details in the “Ways to Prepare” section which is about half way down the page.

  • Microsoft Learn - Sentinel Modules: The Security Engineer path above is missing some information on Azure Sentinel, so I added the modules at this link. The link will bring you to a search page with 3x modules that will familiarise you with the Azure Sentinel product.

  • Skylines Academy: In my last post I mentioned that I’m signed up to the Skylines Academy “Cloud Training Membership”. I used their AZ-500 video course from Nick Colyer, as well as the practice questions. You can check them out here.

  • Free AZ-500 YouTube Course: Late in my studies, Susanth Sutheesh released a free AZ-500 course on YouTube. This course really helped me strengthen some of my weaker areas in the run up to exam day. You can access the playlist by clicking here. I recommend following Susanth on Twitter and YouTube as he will be releasing other courses you might be interested in.

  • Honourable Mention: Thomas Thornton wrote a blog post back in August 2019, just after he passed the AZ-500. In it he details links to Microsoft Docs, Quick Starts and Tutorials for each of the skills areas. This post has aged well and, despite there having been additions to the exam like Azure Sentinel, is still a valuable resource to help you ace this exam! Check out the post here.

Reminder: Please use a combination of study sources as you may find that no single course will cover absolutely everything. Use multiple sources to minimise the gaps in your knowledge.

Note: I am not affiliated with any of the above training vendors and have not been paid or encouraged to recommend them. These are just the resources I found most useful for this exam.

How did I prepare?

The AZ-500, in my opinion, is a difficult exam with quite a broad scope of topics to cover. Given the amount of information to cover, preparation is key. I worked my way through the above resources, taking notes and labbing as I went. As I’ve mentioned before, please don’t try to rush the learning here. You don’t need to skim read or play videos super fast. Take your time, take the information on board, lab it up and test your understanding.

I have to say, I really enjoyed studying for this exam. I enjoyed the breadth of topics designed to enable you to secure Azure regardless of your use case. I really enjoy the security side of Azure and look forward to implementing some of the learnings.

If you are getting ready to sit the AZ-500 or any other exam, I wish you good luck!

Thanks for reading!