The Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104) certification guide (2024)

What is AZ-104 certification? 

The Microsoft Azure Administrator certification demonstrates your ability to implement, manage and monitor Microsoft Azure environments. It also proves that you know how an organization can use Azure to bolster its cloud computing: 

  • Learn how to manage Azure governance and identities 
  • Discover how to deploy the compute resources Azure uses 
  • Show employers that you can serve as an Azure administrator and have the skills to support an effective Azure implementation 
The Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104) certification guide (2024)

Key facts

  • AZ-104 salary: Average salary for AZ-104 certification holders as of 2023 is $90,897 
  • Date the AZ-104 certification replaced the AZ-103 Certification: August 31, 2020 
  • AZ-104 prerequisites6+ months of administering Azure is recommended

Begin your journey to getting certified with an Azure Administrator Training Boot Camp. 

Microsoft Azure Administrator certification overview

The Microsoft Azure Administrator certification is one of the most important credentials employers look for when evaluating Azure specialists. It validates your skills and expertise to help organizations maximize their Azure implementations. After getting your AZ-104 certification, you can pursue credentials like those for Azure Solutions Architects, Security Engineers and Cloud Developers. 

The AZ-104 exam demonstrates that you understand and are comfortable administering Azure to meet an organization's goals. The most recent version of the AZ-104 exam covers five domains: 

Manage Azure identities and governance (20-25%)
  • Manage Microsoft Entra groups and users 

  • Manage access to Azure resources 

  • Manage Azure subscriptions and governance 

Implement and manage storage (15-20%)
  • Configure access to storage in Azure 

  • Configure and manage storage accounts 

  • Configure Azure Blob Storage and Azure Files 

  • Deploy and manage Azure compute resources 
Deploy and manage Azure compute resources (20-25%)
  • Automate resource deployment with Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates or Bicep files 

  • Create and configure virtual machines 

  • Provision and manage containers in the Azure portal 

  • Create and configure Azure App Service 

Implement and manage virtual networking (15-20%)
  • Configure and manage virtual networks in Azure 

  • Configure secure access to virtual networks 

  • Configure name resolution and load balancing 

Monitor and maintain Azure resources (10–15%)
  • Monitor resources in Azure 

  • Implement backup and recovery 

Microsoft AZ-104 exam details

The AZ-104 exam covers how to deploy and manage Azure resources and how to ensure users have the access they need to get the most from their implementation

Launch date:  August 31, 2020 Last update: October 26, 2023
Number of questions:

Between 40 and 60 

Type of questions: Labs, case studies and multiple choice
Length of test: 120 minutes Passing score: 700/1000
Recommended experience: Six months or more using Azure Languages:

English, Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Chinese (Traditional), Italian, Indonesian (Indonesia) 

Validity duration:  One year Renewal process: 60 (20 per year for three years) You need to pass an online assessment before your certification expires

Additional Microsoft AZ-104 exam resources

You can use several free resources to get ready for the exam. A place to start is the exam outline provided by Microsoft, which can serve as an AZ-104 syllabus. While this provides a useful jumping-off point, you can use several tools to prepare for your Azure certification path. 

Microsoft AZ-104 study guides and books 

  • Microsoft Azure Administrator AZ-104 Study Guide & Exam Prep 
  • Microsoft Azure Administrator Exam Ref AZ-104 1st Edition 
  • AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator: Study Guide with Practice Questions and Labs - Volume 1: Deploy and Manage Azure Compute Resources: Third Edition - 2023 

Microsoft AZ-104 practice questions and exams  

  • Free practice assessment from Microsoft 
  • Azure: Microsoft Azure Administrator (AZ-104) Practice Tests
  • AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator: Study Guide with Practice Questions & Labs - Volume 1 of 3: Compute Services: Second Edition - 2022 

Most paid preparation courses also offer practice questions, including Infosec Azure boot camps. 

Other free Microsoft AZ-104 training resources  

There are a number of other free CISSP training materials being produced and shared by the community:

  • Online forums, like Reddit and the Microsoft Community Hub, give you a chance to connect with others working toward their Azure administrator certification or those who've already taken the exam. 
  • You can also check out videos on YouTube that give you exam tips. Some are formal training videos, while others teach you about the kinds of questions on the exam. 
  • Podcasts like Cyber Work may not directly prepare you for the exam, but they can provide additional career guidance and general exam tips. 

Microsoft AZ-104 jobs and careers

For many Azure professionals, the AZ-104 certification serves as a launching point for a more lucrative career in administering Azure. It also serves as a foundation for earning other Azure certifications, all of which can help take your career to the next level. 

Common Microsoft AZ-104 job titles 

Many doors open when you are Microsoft Azure Administrator AZ-104 certified. Here are common job titles. Your title will vary depending on your organization and responsibilities. 

  • Cloud administrator Azure administrator 
  • Infrastructure architect 
  • Operations manager 
  • Systems administrator 
  • Cloud support engineer 
  • Azure systems analyst

Azure live boot camps and self-paced training

Obtaining your Azure certification takes a lot of hard work and studying, and getting professional instruction can help all that hard work pay off. Paid training is also a great option for those looking to get certified quickly or those who want extra assistance mastering the concepts covered on the exam.

Azure certification comparisons and alternatives

The Microsoft Azure Administrator certification provides valuable knowledge and skills in the Microsoft Azure environment. However, it isn't the only certification to consider. Here are some comparisons and alternatives.

AZ-104 vs. AZ-800

AZ-104 is geared more toward those who want to work with cloud services. AZ-800 focuses more on people who want to work with deploying and managing apps. Learn more about AZ-800 training. 

AZ-104 vs AZ-801

While the AZ-104 certification demonstrates knowledge of general Azure administration, AZ-801 hones in on administering Windows Server as well. Learn more about AZ-801 training. 

AZ-104 vs. AZ-900

AZ-900 is different than AZ-104 in that it explores some higher-level concepts, such as Azure's core services, general cloud concepts, privacy and compliance issues. AZ-104 is more technical and focused on implementation. Learn more about AZ-900 training. 

AZ-104 vs. AZ 500

AZ-500 is a security certification, which gives it a more centralized focus, while AZ-104 covers more general Azure administration. Learn more about AZ-104 and AZ-500 training. 

Other vendor AZ-104 alternatives

There are certifications from other vendors, such as AWS from Amazon, as well as some vendor-neutral cloud certifications, like the CompTIA Cloud+ and ISC2 CCSP.