Want to Learn Azure? But Where Do I Start?

Here’s some brand new content from the SoftwareArchitect.ca YouTube channel that you might find interesting.

I get this question from time to time. Where do I start if I want to learn Azure?

Azure is such a big topic. There are literally 100+ services within Azure covering all aspects of technology. So if you know nothing about Azure, where would you start to learn it?

Learning is great. I encourage everyone to learn something new, forever. Never stop learning new things – not just with technology, but for a well rounded life. So if you’re new to Azure, and new to technology, I say “go for it!”

I would pick a path and start down it. See if you like it. See how that goes, and don’t be afraid to change your mind. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is learning.

Quickstart Series: Windows Web App in Azure

In this video, I show you how to create a Windows Web App in Microsoft Azure. Windows Web App. We go through the Azure Portal, and see how form fields get filled in. If you can’t afford to create resources in Azure, but want to see how it’s done in 2018, this is the video for you.

Or you can see the video directly on YouTube.


So from time to time I get messages from students and potential students that say, “Hey, there Scott. I really want to learn Microsoft Azure, but I don’t know where to start. What can you advise?” And I totally get this. There are people out there who either have a technical background or don’t have a technical background, and they’ve decided that they want a slight change in their career or a big change in their career, and they want to get into Microsoft Azure, and it’s just overwhelming in terms of where do you start. Just question marks all over the place, right?

First of all, I absolutely encourage anyone who wants to learn to do so. Just because something is difficult, you shouldn’t stop yourself from going down that path. Just because something is complex or confusing, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bite off a piece of it, try to comprehend that, and then you can bite off another piece. Brian Tracy said in one of his books that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Now, Microsoft Azure is huge. It is. And if you looked at the list of services, there are just a lot of places you can start. Everything from Internet of Things, and data analytics, and databases, and developments, and the infrastructure, et cetera. So I grabbed this slide from Microsoft, and you can just see, just sort of glimpse of all of the different components. That means you can’t just go and learn everything. You can’t just say today, “I don’t know anything about Microsoft Azure, but I’m going to start reading up on all this stuff.” I mean, don’t do that.

So what I would suggest you do is you pick a path. Okay, I’m going to put in front of you six or seven potential paths, and you pick the one that appeals to you, and you start going down that path. Now, you might change your mind later, but there’s nothing wrong with that either. So out of the following, my advice, if you want to follow my advice, is to listen to these statements, find the one that appeals to you, and pick that path in terms of your learning.

So tell me if this is you. I want to develop cloud-native applications. I can see myself being a programmer. I want to understand all of Azure so that I can design software systems to work within the cloud. I want to be a cloud architect. Or, I want to keep the information systems have a business running smoothly, and that means I want to be in ops or I want to be in devops.

Or do you want to manage Azure databases? Can you see yourself working with computers that are handling the data, not concerned with the applications themselves, can you see yourself being a DBA, database administrator? Or do you want to go onto the AI and machine learning side? Can you see yourself analyzing millions of rows of data to come up with some predictive model that can help people to make decisions, recommendation engines, and things like that? Can you see yourself being a data scientist? Or do you want to work in that speed of light, where you’ve got millions of transactions coming through, Internet of Things, data coming through faster than you can blink? That’s called big data. Or perhaps the defense against the dark arts. Do you want to protect systems against hackers and sophisticated attacks? Right? Do you want to be in security?

Or do you find yourself saying, “You know what? I don’t even know any of that. I don’t know which of these I’m interested in.” That’s sort of the default answer.

So where should you start? Microsoft has a number of certification tests for each of those paths. So out of the sixth paths that I’ve outlined, and then the I don’t know path, there are exams that you can start to study for. And if you don’t know, then maybe you should just learn more about Azure, watch some free videos on YouTube, or I have a course on azure and cloud basics that’ll give you a concept of what all of these things are.

Use studying for the exam as the opportunity to learn. So if you know nothing about development but you want to become a developer and you want to become a cloud developer, perhaps if you start studying for the exam, then you can become a developer out of that process. The studying for the exam is the opportunity to learn.

Don’t rush. So don’t say, “I don’t know anything about development, but by the end of this month I’m going to take and pass this test.” That’s, first of all, an unrealistic goal, and second of all, you want to learn. Your purpose here is not to pass the test. It’s to learn and to be skilled at something, so that can take some time. You have to put in the hours, put in the practice, developed the skills.

One thing I like to do is give myself a project to complete. So if you want to be the developer, why don’t you come up with something that you can develop and then go and learn how it is to develop it? If you want to be a security specialist, why not go and learn those tools? Give yourself a project of learning those tools, and then a time to complete that. Or big data or machine learning, you want to develop a recommendation engine for something, go find some data, go manufacturer some data, you do the work to create the machine learning model, et cetera.

Learning is about trying and failing and trying again. Right? You did not read a book and watch some videos and then you became a master bicyclist. That just does not happened. So when you choose what you want to learn, you can read the materials and watch the videos, but you actually have to do it, and it’s not always going to be perfect. You might fail the test. You might not be able to complete the project. You might need help. But if you take that opportunity to learn, you become better, and then the next time you do it, you’ll do better, and then finally you’ll succeed at what you’re trying to do.

Well, I hope that helped you. My name is Scott Duffy. I want to thank you so much for watching this video. And no matter what you want to learn, I absolutely encourage you to learn. This is a lifelong thing. Every day, every week, every month, learn something new. And so if you want to spend the next few months learning Microsoft Azure, absolutely recommend that you do it, and just start. Pick a path, do it, and don’t be afraid to change your mind later if that’s becomes a different decision for you.