Are you Dino or Carl?

If you are new to IT you might not yet have become aware that the tech stack is ever changing. I’ve been around long enough to have seen my share of DOS, Windows and also SQL server editions, but what is not immediately apparent is that this forces the people in the industry to, at some point, make a choice; become a dinosaur or adapt.

If your choice is dinosaur, you will probably be fighting to keep the workloads coming as time passes by. At best it’s a bit of a gamble, to put all your eggs into one basket so to speak. Tech changes and so will demand for the one tech you have mastered to perfection. Albeit the upside of the gamble is that little to no-one knows the tech in question which means you can ask a higher price for your services.

On the other hand Carl Lewis’s accomplishments is actually a great image of how the modern IT worker has to spread the interest on more than one tech. Carl Lewis was a childhood hero of mine and among other astonishing merits he was undefeated for a period of seven years (7) in long jump (still has the world record indoor) – but many remember him for his incredible performances in 100m and 200m dash. This just helps build the image that I am trying to convey here – modern IT people will almost certainly be specialised in more that one tech – or this particular tech evolves into something new.

So, which one is it? Dino or Carl?

But what’s my point with this?

On September 11th in 2020 I passed the AZ-400 test to become a Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert and as this is an Expert level certification, Microsoft requires this certification to be renewed within a specified amount of time. Microsoft operates with four levels of certification.

Fundamentals (⭐) which cannot be renewed and do not expire,

Associate (⭐⭐), Expert (⭐⭐⭐) and Speciality (no stars) which expires after one (1) year*
*) except if taken before June 30th 2021 – then validity lasts two (2) years

In a month from now, at the time of writing, I would no longer be allowed to flash that I am a certified Azure DevOps Engineer, unless… unless I renew the certification. Certification renewals is something fairly new to the Microsoft certification program and I must say I welcome the opportunity given by Microsoft to update your accolades for free. Yes, for free.

90 days (and 30 days) or so in advance, Microsoft sends a notification, that your certification will expire unless you renew it. The process of renewing is really simple and it all comes down to you and how updated your skills are on the subject. One of the smart things about renewals is that Microsoft gets to test your knowledge on features and tech added to its services since you first took the test. And this could potentially be a lot of new ground to cover. Even though Microsoft aquired Github back in the summer of 2018, there has been put in a lot of work to inhale Github into the Microsoft stack – much of this work has surfaced since I took the test initially, so the renewal test has a lot more questions on Github – which makes so much sense.

The email you receive would look similar to this one, except of course time and type of certification would be different:

All you have to do is click the link, log in with your Microsoft Learn account and off you go.

It could be that the number of questions vary, but I have had a two (2) renewals lately and both consisted of about 25 questions. There have been no cases like in the real tests, hence just 25 individual questions on tech stuff related to the overall topic of the certification. Also, all of my question have been multiple choice/single answer – meaning no multiple possible answers/ranking of tasks to perform or code to complete. But I am sure they are working on getting that in there.

Once you’ve completed all questions you will be directed to either a pass or fail page (unfortunately I didn’t screen grab that when I failed the AZ-400 renewal the first time, so I am not able to display how that look). Microsoft Learn even provides you with a collection of learning materials (from Microsoft Learn) that fits your weak areas so you can concentrate on getting that up to speed- this is very helpful!

If you pass, the resulting page looks something like this

There is also an explanation on the various areas of the test and how you performed in those categories:

This one is from my DA-100 renewal which is now outdated and superseded by PL-300

Final thoughts

Having a history of every other year having to take on new certifications, even in the same tech space, I really welcome the idea of certification renewals. For instance I have SQL Server 2005, 2008 and 2016 certifications but, at least in my mind, it makes a lot more sense to be able to communicate that I am certified in SQL Server and the certification is up to date, for instance with the Azure SQL Server Administrator certification – no editions attached – it’s just active or not. This goes for any technology/role that manages to stick around and evolve.

Best of luck to all you out there who are either renewing or taking on new exams.


2.000 members milestone

It’s only been a couple of months since I took over the reins from co-partner Erik Svensen (t|l) for the Danish Power BI User Group. But even just a few months in, I see and appreciate all the hard work and effort Erik has put into this user group. It’s because of Erik’s relentless efforts over the past four-five years that I can now announce that the user group has 2.000 members!

Bravo Erik – Well done!


Recertified as Azure Administrator Associate!

For the second time this year, I have successfully passed a re-certification test. This time around was the Azure Administrator Associate – AZ-104 certification, which I passed initially about two (2) years go (August 14th – 2020). I am happy and thrilled to be able to add this badge to my collection for the next year.

New Certifications/Re-Certifications this Year

Past, but still active, certifications


Pre Con: Azure Data Integration Bootcamp

🚨 Data Insight Summit – In person Conference in Chicago: 12-14th September 2022 🚨

Find the workshops here: Pre-Conference Full-day Workshops – Data Insight Summit

I will be hosting a pre con in collaboration with RADACAD in Chicago.

In this session we will be diving into most of the major moving parts of an automated enterprise BI solution, as per Microsoft reference architecture (Enterprise business intelligence – Azure Reference Architectures | Microsoft Docs). Azure Active Directory, Blob storage, Azure Monitor, Azure Synapse, Azure Data Factory, Azure Analysis Services and Power BI serving as key pillars in building a solid custom framework for automated data ingestion and analysis. Learn how to setup each of these services, how they interact and how to benefit from built in automation in Azure.
Leading by example, we will be tracing data from various sources on its journey through the Azure services, configuring them configure as we go along.


Supervising the PL-300 Labs at the Microsoft Business Application Cloud Week for Partners

BizApps Cloud Week

The conference is taking place April 4-8 and only requires a 2-hour commitment each day (apart from the labs). It is a virtual skilling event designed to teach attendees the practical applications of Dynamics 365 and Power Platform and prepare them for certification.
The agenda focuses on role-based certification tracks that are very relevant to my responsibilities as a what ever position they pursuit. This conference will have instructor-led courses, labs, exam prep sessions, and both live and offline Q&A.
Attending this conference would enable you to build your skills and implement them into customer projects in a meaningful way that would benefit my team and your company.
Please check out the conference registration page: Business Applications Cloud Week for Partners. The conference is free to attend with the only commitment being my time, as long as your are a Microsoft Partner.

My role in this event is supervising the labs. Specifically the labs around the PL-300 course. If you are unfamiliar with the PL-300 exam, it might be that DA-100 rings a bell!? The PL-300 certification replaces the DA-100 exam and introduces a set of changes. You can compare the skills tested here for PL-300 and here for DA-100. In a quick glance, the differences are as follows:

Prepare the data (15-20%)Prepare the data (20-25%)
Model the data (30-35%)Model the data (25-30%)
Visualize and analyze the data (25-30%)Visualize the data (20-25%)
Deploy and maintain assets (20-25%)Analyze the data (10-15%)
Deploy and maintain deliverables (10-15%)

Obviously Microsoft has updated the content, but also moved the certification from one branch (DA) to another (PL). The DA branch only contained the DA-100 certification, as all other data related certifications either reside in the DP branch. Now it’s moved in with the other Power Platform certifications in the PL branch.

Back to the labs!

In this week of Business Applications, I am supervising the labs that run as homework for the classes in Power BI. These labs are similar, but not the same, as the ones that are available on some of the Microsoft Learn Learning Paths. If you are not familiar with these new and powerful capabilities of the online learning experience with Microsoft Learn, you should definitely check them out.

The labs are highly specialized towards a specific learning goal and of great use, when you want to fiddle about with a well refined use case.