The Importance of Identity in Microsoft Certifications

As I’ve taken Microsoft certification exams, or the exam renewals, I’ve noticed that Azure AD and identity topics are a theme throughout. Now, focusing on the security space, it may seem like somewhat of a given.

But it made me curious – how many Microsoft certification exams have an identity component to them?

While the Microsoft Certification browser indicates 15 current exams (with four expired) that have a Microsoft Entra product component, the list has some obvious exclusions, such as AZ-900 and MS-900. Granted, those are fundamental exams, but Azure AD and Entra still come up on them in some shape or form.

I decided to dig a bit deeper, and while I have not sat for the majority of exams outside of the security space, the Microsoft official exam guides often give you a good breakdown of the skills and concepts within the exams. I found that 29 exams currently have an identity component to them, that would have an estimated weight of at least 5%.

With this data, I came up with the following infographic:

The graphic above can be saved, and you can also download it as a PDF:

Analysis Details

As mentioned, I looked at the content of every single current Microsoft examination study guides. The exception are the Microsoft Office exams, the Dynamics exams, and the outliers, like the Technology Literacy for Educators exam.

The exam study guides contain a section Skills measured, and it breaks down the skills by a general category.

For example, this is the skills measure section for AZ-500, Microsoft Azure Security Technologies:

  • Manage identity and access (25-30%)
  • Secure networking (25-30%)
  • Secure compute, storage, and databases (20-25%)
  • Manage security operations (25-30%)

I would look at this and, in this instance, indicate that the AZ-500 has an identity component of 30%, as you can see within the infographic.

For exams that are more unassuming, such as the MS-700, Managing Microsoft Teams, I would dive deeper into the skills that compose the category.

If we high-level look at this exam, we would see the following categories:

  • Plan and manage a Microsoft Teams environment (40-45%)
  • Manage chat, teams, channels, and apps (25-30%)
  • Manage calling and meetings (15-20%)
  • Monitor, report, and troubleshoot a Microsoft Teams environment (10-15%)

Identity doesn’t seem to be present on this exam from the categories. But if we look at the subcategories of skills for Plan and Manage a Microsoft Teams environment:

  • Plan and configure network settings for Microsoft Teams
  • Identify licensing requirements for Microsoft Teams
  • Manage security and compliance settings for Microsoft Teams
  • Plan and implement governance and lifecycle management
  • Configure and manage external collaboration
  • Deploy and manage Microsoft Teams endpoints

There are two, as highlighted, that have multiple Azure AD/Entra components to them, such as external collaboration settings, and using access reviews.

In a case like this, since there are six subcategories, best effort is estimating each has the same weight, so each having a weight of 7.5% in this example. However, because Azure AD does not fully compose each of these categories, I gave a weight based on the relative percentage. In this example, each of those had a rough weight of 5% of the 7.5% potential total, which is how I gave MS-700 a 10% total weight.

Note that the math, especially on some of the exams with a lower portion of identity, will have a bit of fuzz to it. Microsoft indicates a 5% variation (range) that any skill category may make up an Indvidual exam. As such, you may see a few more, or less, identity-related questions on any given exam.

About This Posts Featured Image

The chosen photo is the work of Museums Victoria, used under the Unsplash license.

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Eric Woodruff

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Writing about all things identity and identity adjacent in the Microsoft ecosystem of Azure AD and Active Directory.

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