What is Microsoft’s DA-100 Exam?
Microsoft’s DA-100: Analyzing Data with Microsoft Power BI exam allows you to be recognized as a Data Analyst Associate by Microsoft. And the badge you will earn will allow you to prove your knowledge on Data Analysis, Data Modelling and Data Visualization with Power BI, DAX and M Languages.
However, while I was getting prepared for the exam and decided to look for other people’s experiences, I was disappointed to see very few articles. Thus, I’ve decided to share my own experience including my background, my preparation and thoughts about the exam.
First things first, is it worth taking the exam? My answer is ‘Definitely!’. If you are interested in data (data analysis, data science, business intelligence development etc.) and you are relatively new or have little to some experience in the field, I can assure you it is worth taking the exam. The reason for that, while studying for the exam you will not only learn about Power BI but also will learn about what data is, in which forms you will get it and how you need to deal with it in order to analyze it as efficiently as possible. If you are interested even in the data engineering path, it is still worth taking and I believe it will help you to deliver data to business people in the most suitable way possible.
The biggest question in my mind while studying the exam was whether DA-100 is passable by a person who has no BI or data background. Well, it is definitely passable however, you may need to practice Power BI a lot. Because the exam does not require only technical knowledge but also some practical knowledge with Power BI.
How I studied though, first I focused on learning about the exam by following Microsoft’s learning path which is free. Microsoft makes great learning paths for people to pass their exams. You will learn about the topic as well as practising them on virtual machines created for you in Microsoft’s environment. So, without distracting myself the first step I took was to finish Microsoft’s official learning path for the exam.
After that, I started to practice Power BI. In this phase, I highly recommend you to attend Microsoft’s “Dashboard In A Day” events that are organized by Microsoft Learning Partners. Those events last 8 hours so you need to reserve a whole day for them, however they are heavily focused on Power BI practices and the source they use also comes from Microsoft itself.
Now that you know the technical stuff that is available on Microsoft’s own site and feel confident about working with Power BI, the final phase is the practising questions phase. In this phase, what I would recommend is to get a question set from measureup.com for DA-100 and practice them until you feel comfortable with most of the questions there. Because solving questions will help you to connect technical knowledge with hands-on experience and you will learn about things that you don’t know they even exist(specially about DAX).
You finished Microsoft’s learning path, practiced Power BI with Dashboard In A Day events along with a few personal projects and solved the questions that are available on measureup. Then congratulations! You are ready for the exam!
I physically attend the exam but you can also attend online, both works. You will get around 50 questions including case studies(where a case or problem will be presented and you will answer a couple of questions related to it).
You WILL have enough time, no need to rush or stress yourself out. Remember, the only thing you need is 700 points out of 1000. You will be able to see the exam result right after you submit your exam, you will not wait for days or even hours.
After you pass the exam, go and spoil yourself because you deserved it since now you are a Microsoft Certified Data Analyst Associate! 🙂