In late January 2021, Microsoft announced a new AZ-140 Windows Virtual Desktop Specialty exam and certification. I’ve worked with Citrix in the last few years, and was excited by this and to see how this type of technology would run in Azure. In late March, the beta exam was released, and I booked it for April 28th.
It now the morning after the night before so to speak, or the day after I took the exam! Here are some thoughts on the exam, the available learning materials and the overall experience, and some tips I can share after taking the exam.
As is always the case when a beta exam is released (unless its an upgrade from an existing exam), there is always a lack of training materials out there. I noted on the actual exam page there were no learning paths listed (as there was when the SC exams were released to beta), however a bit of digging led me to this press release from Ignite 2021.
Apart from the official Microsoft resources, there is some excellent content out there:
- Dean Cefola at Azure Academy has a full 14-part Video course on YouTube
- Thomas Mitchell has a Udemy Video course
- Travis Roberts has both Video and Practice Test courses on Udemy
Exam Day — preparing your environment
As we’re in the midst of a pandemic, all exams are Online Proctored (at least they are where I live!). The guide here which explains in detail the requirements from both an environment and a system perspective. Having taken multiple proctored exams in the last year, the key points I would always advise are:
- Make sure to run the system test both the day before and the day of the exam using the laptop/PC you are going to use for the exam. This will ensure that your internet connection is stable, and your system meets the minimum requirements.
- Make sure the space where you are taking the exam is clean. You will need to submit photos and the proctor may ask you to show them the room before you start.
- Ensure you are not interrupted during the exam. No one can enter the room, and if they do your exam will be cancelled immediately.
The AZ-140 exam started like any other Microsoft Exam — agreeing to the NDA and a quick survey on your competencies based on the exam objectives.
My exam had 53 questions and a time limit of 120 minutes to complete. The 53 questions were a mixture of Case Studies (where you are provided with an overview of an environment, a set of requirements and a set of questions based on the requirements), Multiple Choice and Hotspot questions (where the same question is asked in 3–4 different questions, you are given a possible outcome and asked if this will satisfy the requirement. You cannot return to these questions once you have answered them).
The questions covered the full range of Windows Virtual Desktop requirements as per the Skills Measured Sheet. There were no “trick” questions or anything that didn’t align with the skills measured guide.
I didn’t receive any results as the exam is still in beta — I’ll update this post once I get the results.
It’s hard to gauge the level of difficulty of this exam. As I mentioned at the start of the exam, I’ve had experience in both Citrix, On-Premise Active Directory and Azure AD environments, so I feel that a good understanding off all 3 is a great baseline to have. However, I would say that you will need to study hard to grasp the concepts of Windows Virtual Desktop, the services that support it, and the additional features you can configure in the product.
The AZ-140 is a comprehensive exam and as with all exams, all objectives and skills should be studied for carefully. Experience with a product, particularly hands-on will help in this and the links above to hands-on labs should be used as part of your learning plan.