Home Mastering the AZ-400 Exam - A Comprehensive Guide to the Azure DevOps Certification

Mastering the AZ-400 Exam - A Comprehensive Guide to the Azure DevOps Certification

Preparing to become a Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert is a significant commitment, but one that can open up a world of professional opportunities. This blog post will provide you with a comprehensive guide to preparing for the AZ-400: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions exam.

Preparing for the Exam

Before you even start preparing for the exam, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the exam’s content and the required passing score. All this information is readily available on the AZ-400: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions Certification Exam Page. The exam is designed to evaluate your proficiency in the following areas:

  • Configure processes and communications (10-15%)
  • Design and implement source control (15-20%)
  • Design and implement build and release pipelines (40-45%)
  • Develop a security and compliance plan (10-15%)
  • Implement an instrumentation strategy (10-15%)

Microsoft Learning Paths

The Certification Exam Page offers links to all the articles that constitute Microsoft’s Learning Path for the AZ-400 certification. This Learning Path is segmented into 12 unique areas, each comprising five to nine modules.

To facilitate easy access and convenience, particularly during commutes or cardio session at the gym, I have consolidated all the Learning Paths into a single Word document. This document, available as a Word or PDF file with or without my highlighting, can be found on GitHub. Please note, however, that this document spans 754 pages. Consequently, going through all the Learning Paths will demand a significant investment of time.

Azure Documentation

Microsoft offers comprehensive Azure Documentation that provides an in-depth analysis of each Azure service. This resource not only delivers valuable guidance for service implementation and best practices, but it also includes educational tutorials and quick-start examples to assist you in getting started with the services of your interest.

Community-Provided Resources

In addition to the resources provided by Microsoft, the community also offers a wealth of valuable materials. If you prefer video content, John Savill’s Youtube Channel comes highly recommended. He offers a range of videos to aid in your preparation for various exams, as well as detailed discussions on numerous Azure-related topics.

While Google is a dependable source of information, Reddit can also prove to be extremely beneficial. For Azure DevOps and Azure certification topics, consider visiting the Azure DevOps Subreddit or the Azure Certification Subreddit. If you wish to delve into a specific topic, there’s likely a dedicated Subreddit for that as well.

Dive into Azure

No matter how extensively you study Azure, nothing can replace the value of practical, hands-on experience. Although the exam is not as hands-on as others, such as the AZ-204, practical experience is still necessary. This is particularly true since the exam may include a lab where you will need to implement tasks in the Azure portal during the exam.

If your work does not provide an opportunity to interact with the services covered in the exam, consider creating a free Azure account and implementing your own projects.

Free Practice Assessment

Once you feel adequately prepared for the exam, it’s advisable to undertake the complimentary practice assessment provided on the Certification Exam Page. Alternatively, you can directly access the free practice assessment directly.

The assessment consists of 50 questions and may serve as a rigorous reality check. Typically, my initial scores seldom surpass 70% (more often in the 50%-60% range), despite having several years of experience with Azure and likely more exposure than the average examinee. Don’t be disheartened by a less-than-ideal result. The assessment is a tool designed to highlight the areas where you need to invest more time and to provide you with a glimpse of the exam’s question format. Moreover, Microsoft provides an explanation for each question, elucidating why the correct answer is superior to the other options.

Feel free to retake the assessment as many times as necessary until you gain confidence.


MeasureUp is the officially endorsed test platform by Microsoft. The AZ-400 practice exam on this platform features 129 test questions, mirroring the actual certification exam’s format with case studies, single-choice, multiple-choice, and drag-and-drop questions.

Compared to other resources mentioned here, the practice tests on MeasureUp are on the pricier side, with costs ranging from 99€ for 30-day access to 119€ for a one-year subscription or downloadable version. However, they often have sales reducing the price by 30-50%.

The website’s user experience may leave something to be desired. For instance, locating the correct place to take the practice exam can be a challenge, the website’s speed is often slow, and you may occasionally find yourself logged out while taking a practice test. However, once you start the practice test, the experience is smooth (provided you don’t get logged out). You even have the option to customize the test exam to include random questions, questions you previously answered incorrectly, or questions you haven’t seen in a while.

The difficulty level and format of the practice questions are on par with what you will encounter in the real exam, making it an excellent preparation tool.

While MeasureUp may be expensive, it’s worth the investment. I strongly recommend utilizing it before taking the exam.

Study Strategies

Study techniques differ from person to person. Some individuals gravitate towards video content, others prefer reading, and some find hands-on experience to be the most effective.

My recommendation is to explore all these methods and determine what works best for you. In my case, having prior experience with all the services covered in the exam and then diligently studying the Learning Path was enough to pass the exam. The MeasureUp practice exam and the free practical assessment were particularly beneficial in identifying areas that required more focus.

Acquiring sufficient hands-on experience is also vital. My previous experience greatly facilitated my understanding of the topics when I studied the documentation. I would advise creating most of the services covered in the exam, experimenting with them, and familiarizing yourself with all the panes of the service in the Azure portal.

Lastly, I strongly recommend investing in the MeasureUp practice exams. Not only are they worth the cost, but they also provide insight into the format of the exam questions. Achieving high scores in these practice tests can significantly enhance your confidence.

Taking the Exam

You have two options for taking the exam: at an official test center or from the comfort of your home. I have experienced both, and while I used to take exams at a test center, I now prefer online tests. Both methods administer the exact same exams, so choose the one that best suits your comfort level.

The exam duration is 120 minutes, but you should allocate approximately 150 minutes to account for the ID verification process and a few survey questions from Microsoft. This provides enough time to review your answers multiple times. In my experience, I was able to complete the questions in around 40 minutes and needed another 30 minutes for the lab.

The exam contains between 40 and 60 questions, I had 45 questions and one lab with 8 tasks. To pass, you need to score at least 700 out of 1000. It is important to note that Microsoft employs a dynamic scoring system, meaning that a score of 700 out of 1000 does not equate to 70%.

Upon completion of the exam, your score should be displayed on the screen immediately, if you did not have a lab in your exam. I received an email around ten minutes after finishing the exam with my score of 821.

After passing the exam, you will receive the Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions badge. If you have already passed the AZ-204: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure exam, you will receive the DevOps Engineer Expert badge.

DevOps Engineer Expert Badge

DevOps Engineer Expert Badge

You can find my study guide in my previous post, “Mastering the AZ-204 Exam - A Comprehensive Guide to Azure Certification Preparation”.

Taking the Exam at a Test Center

A few years ago, I opted for a test center to take an exam, and the experience was less than ideal. The process involved commuting to the location, ensuring punctuality, and carrying an official ID. Additionally, all personal items, including your wallet, phone, and watch, had to be stored in a locker before being led into a room filled with computers to take the exam. The test center I attended had a mouse from the 90s, which posed a significant challenge. The room was crowded with other test takers, contributing to a somewhat noisy environment.

However, there is nothing inherently wrong with taking the exam at a test center; it is simply a matter of personal preference.

Taking the Exam Online

Choosing to take the exam from home presents a more convenient alternative. This option requires a stable internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone. Please note that headphones are not permitted.

For me, the comfort of taking the exam from home is unparalleled. It eliminates the need for travel and allows you to use your own computer, mouse, keyboard, and chair, which you are already accustomed to. The check-in process begins 30 minutes before the scheduled exam time. You will receive a link on your phone, which you will use to take a picture of your ID and yourself, followed by four pictures of your surroundings. You will then be placed in a waiting queue. After a few minutes, a proctor will contact you, either via voice message or chat, and may ask you some questions, such as requesting a view of your desk. Once they initiate the exam, the official test begins.

Upon completion of the exam, your score and performance in each exam area will be immediately displayed if you did not have a lab in your exam. If you had one, you will receive an email soon after you finished the exam.

Difficulty of the Exam

In my experience, the AZ-400 exam was easier than the AZ-204 one. Having worked with Azure DevOps for many years, the questions were not too challenging. Even though I haven’t used GitHub extensively, if you are familiar with YAML pipelines in Azure DevOps, you can easily transfer the knowledge to GitHub. The most difficult questions for me were about tools which I have never used before such as “What do you have to do in Maven to achieve XY” or “What npm commands do you have to use to do XY”. I was surprised that there was a lab with 8 questions. I had read that the lab is not being used anymore but I could not find any information from Microsoft about the exam.

The lab tasks were overall manageable but I had no idea what the solution of one or two of them was. I implemented what I thought might be the right answer but I don’t know if I got any points for that. Also, the 8 lab tasks took me almost as long as the 45 normal questions to finish. If you have a lab in your exam, keep in mind to leave enough time for it.

During the exam, it is crucial to read the questions carefully. A single word can sometimes alter the answer to a question. If you come across a question that leaves you stumped, take a moment to breathe and try to eliminate incorrect answers. Often, one or two answers are blatantly wrong, leaving you with only two potential answers. If you are still unsure, make an educated guess. There’s no penalty for incorrect answers, so never leave a question unanswered!


In conclusion, preparing for the AZ-400: Designing and Implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions exam requires a comprehensive understanding of the exam content, a strategic study plan, and practical experience with Azure services.

Utilizing resources such as Microsoft’s Learning Path, Azure Documentation, community-provided resources, and MeasureUp practice exams can significantly enhance your preparation.

Remember, the journey to certification is not just about passing the exam, but also about gaining a deep understanding of Azure DevOps solutions. With dedication, focus, and the right resources, you are well on your way to becoming a Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert. Good luck with your preparation!

Also check out my study guide for the AZ-204 exam in my previous post, “Mastering the AZ-204 Exam - A Comprehensive Guide to Azure Certification Preparation”.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.

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