DP900 vs AZ90 : A Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Certification for your Career

Are you a beginner planning on getting certified by Microsoft to boost your profile and land better-suited job roles? Then, these certifications offered by Microsoft might just be the ones for you to kickstart your journey. 

This blog will help clear your doubts regarding the AZ-900 and DP-900 Microsoft certification exams and will answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is the AZ-900 certification and why do you need it?

The AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Certification Exam, also known as Microsoft Azure Cloud Services Exam is a certification which allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of cloud concepts, Azure services, Azure workloads, security, and privacy in Azure, as well as pricing and support for Azure.

If you are a beginner looking to test your foundational level of knowledge of cloud concepts and the services provided by Microsoft Azure, then the AZ-900 is the exam for you.

The AZ-900 certification covers a broad range of topics and is only foundational so anybody with no prior knowledge or experience with Azure can take the exam with some preparation.

The exam is intended for beginners in cloud concepts and services provided by Azure. It is intended for both technical and non-technical candidates. So, if you are looking to take the first step in your career in cloud concepts then this certification might be the best fit for you. 

What is the DP-900 certification and is it worth it?

The DP-900 Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals Certification is intended for those candidates who want to begin working with data on the cloud, get basic skills in cloud data services, and also build foundational knowledge of cloud data services in Microsoft Azure. 

Upon clearing the DP-900 exam, you will be awarded the Azure Data Fundamentals Certificate by Microsoft. Currently, there is a strong demand for workers who can use Microsoft Azure Services and work with data, which is why this certification is highly advantageous.

By updating your professional profile with a certificate like this, you increase your chances of getting recruited and elevate your job profile for roles like database administrator, data analyst, data engineer, and developer.

What are the exam prerequisites for DP-900 and AZ-900?

There are no mandatory prerequisites for taking the courses DP900 and AZ900. It will be better if you are familiar with basic cloud services and the Azure platform. Nonetheless, in order to pass these certification exams, you will need to have knowledge of the following topics:

For AZ-900:

  • Core benefits of cloud computing and various cloud models.

  • Available cloud services and their purpose.

  • General security and network security features.

  • General core Azure concepts.

  • Azure governance - like Subscriptions, Management Groups, Azure Policies, Azure Resource Groups, Role-Based Access Control, etc.

For DP-900:

  • Foundational knowledge of core data concepts and how they are implemented using Microsoft Azure data services.

  • Concepts of relational and non-relational data.

  • Different types of workloads such as transactional or analytical.

Which certification exam is the easiest for beginners?

DP-900 and  AZ-900 are fundamental-level certifications that are the foundations of various other Azure Certifications. 

  • The AZ-900 will give you a broad understanding of Azure and cloud computing in general. You will learn about deploying virtual machines in Azure if you follow the MS Learn course. You will be able to get through this course with little to no previous knowledge of most of its topics.

  • On the other hand, DP-900 is a harder course. Using the various Azure SQL services and discussing how they relate to on-premises installations of Maria DB, Mango, Postgres, SQL Server, etc.,

    It dives into the knowledge of data, including differences between relational and non-relational databases. You'll learn how to use primary and foreign keys, as well as what commands alter them.

While both certifications are from Microsoft basics, it depends on what field you are willing to gain experience in.

If your background is data on the cloud then DP-900 is your best fit. If you are from a cloud background, then opt for AZ900. However, in comparison, AZ-900 is a little bit easier than DP-900.

We suggest that you shouldn't pick your exams based on which is the easiest but based on what is most useful to you and in which direction you want to go.

Best resources to study for the Azure Fundamental Certification

Here are our top resources that will help you ace the AZ-900 Certification:

Udemy | AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

This course is perfect for those who need to prepare for the Azure Fundamental AZ-900 Exam in a limited amount of time.

In this 2-hour video course, you'll learn how to use the Azure platform for your day-to-day projects. The class will also introduce you to other Azure concepts such as Security and App Deployment.

If you are looking for a course that can teach you all the concepts with practical implementation, then this course is the perfect pick for you.

Coursera | Getting started with Azure

This Coursera course is the ideal choice for you if you are just getting started with Azure and want to understand everything in detail. There are also practical assignments throughout the 20-hour video course. You will learn about the following:

  • Introduction to Azure

  • Deployment of Virtual Machines on Azure

  • Security on Azure

  • Deployment of Azure Network

  • Firewall and Resource Configurations

Cloudacademy | AZ-900 Exam Preparation

This option is an in-between to the two resources mentioned above. This 6-hour video course will teach you everything you need to know about the elements of the Azure platform.

It is packed with special lectures from other industry experts and with the latest course content.

YouTube | Azure Data Fundamentals Certification (DP-900)

This tutorial is free and one of the best resources for you to learn DP-900. It is a YouTube course developed by Andrew Brown of ExamPro. 

The course focuses on a wide range of topics in data concepts, Azure Synapse & Data Lake, account storage, Power BI, relational databases, T SQL, database security, Azure Table Cosmos DB, Hadoop Systems, Azure and Databricks, ELT & SQL tools, and much more.

DP900 vs AZ900: Which certification has more job prospects?

The DP900 is an exam taken under the Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals while the AZ900 comes under the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals.

Both the certifications lay a good foundation for various job roles but in different fields - cloud and data on the cloud. Depending on your requirement, you can decide which certification will give better benefits to you.

The eligible job roles for AZ-900 include:

  • Azure Cloud Architect

    This job role makes you responsible to design and deploy best-practice solutions that adhere to the business needs and drive business outcomes.

    Additionally, one will be responsible for developing systems, tools, and processes that will enhance the support and operations of the company. You will also work in the Azure platform to deploy solutions for major enterprise projects. 

    There are several industries in which Cloud Architects are in demand: the healthcare industry, telecom industry, automotive industries, finance, real estate, etc. The salaries for this role currently range from $70,000 to $224,000 per year.

  • Azure Cloud Administrator

    As an Azure Cloud Administrator, you will be responsible for implementing, managing, and monitoring identity, governance, storage, computing, and virtual networks in a cloud environment.

    The average salary of an Azure Cloud Administrator is $104,993 a year.

  • Azure Consultant, and more.

    The Azure consultants employed by companies handle a wide range of activities associated with the Microsoft Azure platform.

    Microsoft Azure consultants are well-versed in Microsoft cloud offerings and are effective problem solvers and multi-taskers, ensuring that they provide the most effective solutions. 

    The annual salary for this position can be anywhere in the range of $105,150 and $123,660.

The eligible job roles for DP-900 include:

  • Database Associate

    Azure database associate implements and manages operational aspects of cloud-native and hybrid cloud data platforms built using Microsoft SQL Server and Azure Data Services.

    Using various tools and methods, the Azure database administrator performs day-to-day operations, including managing databases using T-SQL.

    The average annual salary of this position is estimated to be $64,906.

  • Data Engineer

    Data Engineering is an in-demand career where engineers design and build systems to collect, store, and analyze data at scale. The field is comparatively broad and has applications in nearly every sector.

    A data engineer's ultimate goal is to ensure that organizations have access to data so they can evaluate and optimize their operations.

    The average base pay of a data engineer in the US is $1,14,415 per year.

  • Data Analyst

    A data analyst is a person whose job is to gather and interpret data in order to solve a specific problem. The role includes plenty of time spent with data but entails communicating findings too.

    On a day-to-day basis, a data analyst identifies the data to be analyzed, collects it, cleans the data in preparation for analysis, performs the analysis and interprets the results of the analysis.

    The annual salary for this position can be as low as $47,000 to as high as $111,650.

Overall, the AZ-900 has more job prospects than the DP-900 as it covers a wider range of fields, giving you the flexibility to choose job roles from a wide variety of job opportunities. 

Things to keep in mind when choosing the right certification

  • As valuable as they are, the AZ-900 and DP-900 certifications won't guarantee you a job, but they build knowledge and familiarize you with the working environment. They only lay the foundation as a first step for you in their respective fields.

  • The candidates taking these exams are expected to be familiar with basic cloud services and the Azure platform. 

  • Upon finishing your chosen certification, you will be eligible for a number of higher-level certifications. We suggest you get certified in at least a few of them as it opens new doors of possibilities in your career path.

  • The exam can be taken at home or at a test centre. Please note, however, that all exams are proctored. The exam does not work with corporate network/firewall settings.

Final thoughts

As discussed above, if you essentially are looking to gain knowledge in Cloud services, then the AZ900 certification is the absolute best option for a beginner. However, if your goals gravitate towards Data in Cloud, then DP900 would be your best go-to.

Even though these certifications will not land you a job right away, they lay a good foundation for the path ahead with associate-level certifications. While preparing for these exams, you will gain decent knowledge on how to work with Azure services as well.

Having received a certificate from Microsoft Azure will be a good addition to your resume and help you with a range of job prospects.


What is the difference between AZ and DP?

Exams are given a letter designation based on their subject matter. For instance, DP stands for Data Platform and AZ for Azure. All exams, however, carry the same weight. Depending on your work title or area of interest, you can choose the right exam. 

How long does it take to learn DP900?

It depends on which stage you are on your cloud data and azure journey. If you are a complete beginner, we would recommend you dedicate at least 2 weeks to a few months to learn the course. 

Microsoft Official Curriculum, provides a structured learning path, including a set of courses, hands-on labs, and practice tests that can help you prepare for the DP-900 exam. You can find their study guide here: DP900 exam study guide by Microsoft

How long to study for the AZ900?

The minimum time required to learn from training materials and reading materials is one week.

After that, it will depend on various factors such as your previous experience and knowledge with IT, Azure, cloud services, etc. This AZ900 exam study guide by Microsoft will guide you through your preparation.

Does DP-900 expire?

There is currently no expiry date for the DP-900 certification. 

How long is AZ-900 valid?

There is currently no expiry date for the AZ-900 certification.

How to register for a Microsoft Certification Exam?

  1. 1

    Begin with the certification overview or browse all certifications page to find the exam you’d like to take, then click on the certification name.

  2. 2

    On the certification detail pages, scroll to “Schedule exam” and click on the exam provider button.

  3. 3

    There may be more than one exam provider available in the "Schedule Exam" section. To schedule a certification with Pearson VUE, select “Schedule with Pearson VUE ”.

  4. 4

    Students, academic institutions, or individuals taking the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam should select “Schedule with Certiport ”.

If I do not pass an exam, can I have a refund?

No. Microsoft does not offer refunds for exams you do not pass or exam appointments you miss.

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of ITCertificate.org

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