Microsoft AZ 303 versus AZ 304 Exam requirements

It’s been a few months now since Microsoft update the Azure Architect exams from AZ300/AZ301 to AZ303/AZ304.

I recently wrote an article for Packt Publishing on the differences between AZ300 and AZ303 here

In this article I wanted to explain the differences between AZ303 and AZ304 – so not the changes between the old and new exam requirements, but the differences for the two Architect Exams that are now live.

There is often some confusion around these two exams, and why and how they are different.  In many ways they are very similar – they are both about Azure (of course!), and they both cover a lot of the same technologies.

First, we can understand some of the differences between the titles – Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies (AZ303) and Microsoft Azure Architect Design – the design bit giving away one of the core differences!

Much can also be gleamed from the wording of the exam requirements documents.  If we look at the skills measured outline for AZ303 we see;

  • Implement and monitor an Azure infrastructure (50-55%)
  • Implement management and security solutions (25-30%)
  • Implement solutions for apps (10-15%)
  • Implement and manage data platforms (10-15%)

And the AZ 304 outline is 

  • Design monitoring (10-15%)
  • Design identity and security (25-30%)
  • Design data storage (15-20%)
  • Design business continuity (10-15%)
  • Design infrastructure (25-30%)

Again, we see the key difference here – Implement versus Design

I have of course taken (and passed!) both of these exams, and therefore I have first hand knowledge of the differences, and I can attest to the fact that the AZ 303 is filled with questions around HOW to implement technologies, and what can and can’t be done.

Conversely the AZ304 exam is all about which technology is the best CHOICE for a given scenario.

For example, on the AZ303 a question around SQL may be long the lines of

Which SQL option supports native VNET integration

Whereas a similar question on the AZ304 exam would be more requirements based, such as

A customer needs to connect over an Express Route connection from an on-premises server to a SQL PaaS database.  Which option would enable this functionality?

The differences can sometimes be subtle, but the key take away is that the AZ 304 exam asks questions based around customer requirements, compared to the AZ 303 which is around the technical options and how to implement them.

I have recently written two books – the first, Implementing Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies: AZ-303 Exam Prep and Beyond is available from Amazon here

The second, and newest, is focussed on the AZ304 requirements, Exam Ref AZ-304 Microsoft Azure Architect Design Certification and Beyond – is also now available on Amazon here

So if you’re interested in achieving the Azure Solutions Architect Expert accreditation – I’ve got you covered!

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