I thought it might be handy to share some of my experience of taking the brand new Microsoft Cybersecurity Architect beta exam SC-100. Obviously, due to the exam currently being in beta I can’t share too much due to NDA’s. However, hopefully there will be some useful tips in here for others looking to sit and pass this exam.
About the SC-100 Exam
The SC-100 exam forms the last part of the pre-requisites to gain your “Cybersecurity Architect Expert” certification from Microsoft.
In Microsofts own words, this certification is described as: “The Microsoft cybersecurity architect has subject matter expertise in designing and evolving the cybersecurity strategy to protect an organization’s mission and business processes across all aspects of the enterprise architecture.”
Sounds like a great exam for people looking to validate their experience in Architecting Security technologies in Azure!
How to gain the Cybersecurity Architect Expert Certification
This one is very straightforward – to gain the above certification, sit one of the below exams followed by completing SC-100. You’ll have then unlocked your new Expert level certification!
- Exam SC-200: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst
- Exam SC-300: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator
- Exam AZ-500: Microsoft Azure Security Technologies
- Exam MS-500: Microsoft 365 Security Administration
My top tips for the SC-100 exam
My tips on maximising your chances of passing due to experience are:
- Make sure you know all the Microsoft 365 Defender services thoroughly and what they are used for
- Passing SC-200 and/or AZ-500 in advance of this exam will likely give you more relevant knowledge than the other two possible pre-requisite exams
How do you study for a beta exam?
You’ll notice on the pages for beta exams that there are no online or instructor led training paths available. These tend to be released after the exam is made live.
In this case, how do you know what to study for these beta exams? The most reliable way to do this is by checking the “exam skills outline” to see what will be assessed. The short version for the SC-100 exam can be seen below, the full version can be found on the exam page.
Following this you can then look at Microsoft Docs/Microsoft Learn modules/Blogs/Guides/Videos and more for relevant areas to ensure you have supplemented your existing knowledge in all the key areas.
In the case of this exam, one of the assets I found incredibly useful was a Microsoft Learn collection curated by the helpful folks at https://ourcloudnetwork.com/ which can be found at the below link.
What’s different about beta exams?
Aside from the above lack of learning paths, one of the biggest differences between generally available exams and beta exams is that you don’t get your score or find out if you passed or failed immediately. In fact, it can take up to 16 weeks for the results to be released.
This is due to how beta exams are analysed to ensure they’re at the correct level.
This blog post goes into lots of detail on the process and is a great read on the amount of work that goes into releasing a new exam!
The short version is:
- About 250 candidates take the beta exam (sometimes at a significant discount to encourage uptake)
- The results are then reviewed in-depth to decide on which elements of the exam are dropped/kept/added
- The beta exams are then “rescored” based on only the material that is kept in the live version of the exam and a final score is decided on
I hope you found the peek behind the curtain at just how much work and analysis goes into releasing a new Microsoft exam just as fascinating as I did!
Hopefully this encourages some of you to have the confidence to try and validate your skills when beta exams are released in your area of expertise and help shape the exam ready for general availability.
It’s exciting to see the first “Expert” level certification in the Cybersecurity space offered by Microsoft and it’s a great opportunity for people who’s roles are in this area to show off their knowledge.
Fingers crossed that in a few weeks time I can update this post and share the news that I passed my attempt at the SC-100 exam!
I’m pleased to announce that I got my results back after the exam came out of beta. I was lucky enough to pass the exam on this occasion!