How to study ...
As with many of my certification journeys, this one began with a post on LinkedIn from Julian Sharp, a Business Applications MVP. advertising one of his legendary study groups.
What to study ...
The AI-900 certification is a ‘fundamentals’ exam, intended to test a basic level of knowledge of how and why to use each of the Azure AI features, and unlike most of the other fundamentals exams, possibly due to the subject matter, it also covers some quite technical concepts. The skills measured in the exam are as follows;
- Describe AI workloads and considerations (15-20%)
- Describe fundamental principles of machine learning on Azure (30-35%)
- Describe features of computer vision workloads on Azure (15-20%)
- Describe features of Natural Language Processing (NLP) workloads on Azure (15-20%)
- Describe features of conversational AI workloads on Azure (15-20%)
To prepare for the exam, Julian broke the study material down into 9 sessions over the course of 5 weeks, sessions being held twice weekly. The only pre-requisite for taking part in the study group was that each participant would provision their own trial environment, so that it was ready for the first session, and as always participants were given full instructions on how to achieve this.
The sessions were structured so that all of the learning content required for the exam was covered;
- Session 1: Introduction to Azure AI
- Session 2: Cognitive Services
- Session 3: Computer Vision
- Session 4: Language
- Session 5: Bots
- Session 6: Introduction to Machine Learning
- Session 7: Machine Learning Tools and Data
- Session 8: Machine Learning Models
- Session 9: Responsible AI
I found the study group extremely useful, and would encourage anyone to sign up for them given the opportunity. But for anyone undertaking self study for the AI Fundamentals exam, there are some great learning resources available online, the main one being Microsoft Learn.
Microsoft Learn ...
Microsoft Learn is the key resource for learning material to anyone hoping to study for Microsoft certifications. To use Microsoft Learn, it is helpful to have first set up a ‘learning profile’ as the associated Microsoft Certification ID (MCID) will be needed once you decide to schedule your exam. Additionally, your learning profile will help you keep track of what you have studied, enable you to participate in challenges, and provide other motivational features.
Once you’ve set up your learning profile you can browse certifications to find information relating to the AI-900 exam, including the skills outline and the Learning Paths you will need to complete to cover all of the relevant features. For the AI-900 those are;
- Get started with artificial intelligence on Azure
- Create no-code predictive models with Azure Machine Learning
- Explore computer vision in Microsoft Azure
- Explore natural language processing
- Explore conversational AI
As with all learning materials on the Microsoft Learn website, I would recommend always following the links out to Microsoft documentation wherever provided. I would also recommend allowing more time than is estimated on each Learning Path and Module, as it always takes me exponentially longer to work through the resources than is estimated.
Other learning material ...
There are a number of video tutorials for on this exam on YouTube, however the best I’ve seen are by Daniel Baker (aka AzureDan), who is a Microsoft technical evangelist specialising in Azure. I met Dan a couple of years ago at a Tech Summit event and was immediately struck by his enthusiasm and down to earth, personable style. Dan makes quite complex subjects seem very straightforward, and has produced an excellent set of entertaining and engaging videos to support the AI-900 that can be found either on his YouTube Channel and on his website.
Taking the exam ...
Information on the exam itself is available on the AI-900 certification page on Microsoft Learn and the exam can also be booked from there. I would advise anyone new to Microsoft certification to check through the Exam Resources section and to additionally check the information relating to exams and exam question types included on Microsoft Docs.