Yesterday evening, I took the latest DP-600 Microsoft exam (Implementing Analytics Solutions Using Microsoft Fabric).
Since the exam just came out to the beta version, I still don’t know if I passed or not (so, please take all my advice with a grain of salt, haha), but I thought it might be helpful for many people out there to understand, not just the exam itself, but also some potential caveats and areas to consider. Finally, I want to share some preparation tips as well. To be honest, I’m also writing this blog post for selfish reasons – I don’t want to answer all the questions about the exam across social media…This way, I will point everyone to a single info point:)
Before we get into the exam, one important remark: everything you read here is just my personal opinion, which means that maybe sometimes (more often than not, haha), I may be wrong…But, this also means that I’ll give credit where it’s due, and criticize Microsoft when I think they deserve:)
What is the DP-600?
If you are unsure what this exam is about, you can check the official exam page. I’ve also recently done a live Q&A session, where I answered more than 30 questions related to the new certification. If you’re not sure what this Microsoft Fabric “thingy” is about, then you should turn on your Internet folks, because there is no single chance you missed the announcement and all the buzz if you were online in the last few months:) On a serious note, I get you covered – go and read my article which explains Microsoft Fabric in plain English, without (too much) marketing and hype…
I won’t go into details about the topics covered in the exam – you can find all this information on the official page. My goal is to focus on the exam “logistics” and some specific areas that might be more challenging than others.
Online Exam with Pearson VUE
The first step is to schedule the exam. Since there are no testing centers close to me, I’m taking all my exams online, via third-party provider Pearson VUE. The registration process is straightforward. Make sure to follow the instructions for online exams – clean your desk and the area you use during the exam, and make sure that no one enters the room during the exam! This is really important, as I know some people who were revoked from the exam because of that…
The total time for the exam is 150 minutes (2.5 hours), which is more than enough to thoroughly go through all the questions and even provide a feedback if necessary:)
DP-600 exam details
Now, my first impression after taking the DP-600: it took me almost 100 minutes to complete it, whereas, for example, DP-500 took me ca. 60 minutes. There were 48 “regular” questions, plus 11 questions related to two case studies. Questions vary in types: there are choice questions with a single correct answer, questions where multiple answers are correct, all the way to “fill in the blanks” and “drag answers in the right order” question types.
Now, the most important thing that I’m sure interest most of the prospective exam takers. As you might conclude looking at the Skills measured for the certificate, there is a breadth of topics included.
From the languages perspective, you can expect a solid mix of DAX, T-SQL and Python. From the conceptual perspective, be ready to answer questions related to data ingestion, data transformation, data modeling, data exploration, but also questions about administering Fabric tenant – things like roles, permissions, tenant settings, etc. That’s not all: have you heard about CI/CD? This is also “on the menu”! Furthermore, you must know the best practices for semantic model optimization, DAX performance improvements, nuances about the Direct Lake mode, and so on. Further furthermore, you need to know how to leverage external tools, such as DAX Studio and Tabular Editor, in various scenarios…
Yeah, I know, it sounds overwhelming…Because, it IS!
From my experience (and, please, feel free to agree or disagree in the comments) you will hardly, if ever, find a single person proficient in DAX, SQL AND Python. Personally, I know almost nothing about Python, because my background is in traditional relational databases, and I can probably call myself an advanced T-SQL practitioner. Most SQL folks that I know, feel uncomfortable writing Python (except maybe Spark SQL, but that’s SQL) – and vice versa! I’m yet to meet someone who is strong in both Python and SQL. When you add DAX into mix, which is a “hell” on its own, you get a really challenging task in front of you.
Here, I would prefer that there is an option somehow (not sure if it’s technically possible though), to choose the “experience” – SQL vs Python. Then, you get the specific questions on how to do XYZ by using your language/tool of choice.
Honestly, if I’d ever interview someone for the position of the Fabric Analytics Engineer (which is the official title you get by obtaining this certificate), I’d have never expected that this person knows how to do data transformation and/or data exploration in BOTH Python and SQL. But, this is just my opinion and a whole different topic. To successfully pass the exam, you’ll be tested on both Python and SQL (and DAX too).
Heads up folks! Why you should take the DP-600 exam?
Should you then give up before it even started? For God’s sake – NO!
There are three things that I’d like you to keep in mind.
First, it is not expected that you show some “ninja-level” of skills in neither Python nor SQL – basic to intermediate skills are completely fine, as they are expecting you to solve some really common challenges, nothing that happens “once in a decade”.
Second, who says that you must pass the exam with 100% of correct answers:)? All you need is 70%+ of correct answers, so there is enough room to “survive” some pitfalls in the areas that don’t play to your strength.
Third, if you watched the famous quiz show “Who wants to be a millionaire?”, you are probably aware that participants can rely on the help called: “Ask a friend”. Similarly, you can “reach out” to Microsoft Learn during the exam directly from the Pearson VUE app and search for the correct answer. I assume that majority of people are still not aware of this “feature”, as Microsoft announced it, I think, just a few months ago. Personally, I didn’t want to use it during the exam, because I really wanted to check my knowledge and skills, without any “external” resources – which absolutely doesn’t mean that someone who uses this option is less knowledgable or skilled – as I said, this was just my decision for this beta exam.
So, to wrap up on why you SHOULD take the DP-600 exam:
- You don’t need to be a “master” of everything
- You don’t need to have 100% correct answeres to pass the exam
- You can rely on Microsoft Learn resources during the exam
Resources to get you ready for mastering the DP-600 exam
I know that most of you stayed until this part to get a better overview of the resources available to help you prepare for the exam. So, let’s dive straight into it!
First of all, I firmly believe that Microsoft learned from the past and that they did MUCH better job in providing learning resources, than how they handled the DP-500, for example. For the DP-500, a lot of learning modules were not developed by the time the exam went live (that’s one of the reasons I started my own series of blog posts, and ultimately, created a full course for mastering the DP-500 exam).
Now, learning modules look way more robust, including the labs you can use to sharpen your Fabric skills. Personally, I still believe that just going through these learning modules will NOT get you 100% ready for the exam, especially if you never touched certain topics. For example, learning about the Warehouse in Microsoft Fabric is cool, but the learning module will not teach you how to write T-SQL and when to use a specific T-SQL function. For that, you either have to be already proficient with T-SQL, or to go above and beyond and find other learning materials that are not specifically included in the Fabric Warehouse module.
Therefore, these learning modules are a great starting point, but you’d definitely need to extend this with either practical experience, or diving into additional learning resources.
Again, this is just my personal opinion, and doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m right…
DP-600 Certification page on Data Mozart
Similar to what I did for the DP-500, I also created a dedicated page for the DP-600 exam, where I’ll try to cover as much of the topics as possible. A lot of people provided me with the feedback that learning from this dedicated page helped them master the DP-500, so no one would be happier than me if the same thing happens with the DP-600:)
For those of you who prefer learning from videos, and also getting the access to mock exam questions and practice files, I’m currently working on creating an on-demand course: “Mastering DP-600 Fabric Analytics Engineer”. There is still a lot of work to do, but I expect it to be ready in the next few weeks. If you want to stay up to date and get the early access to the course, you can enroll in the Data Mozart learning platform (it’s completely FREE, no credit card needed): https://learn.data-mozart.com/
DP-600 Fabric Analytics Engineer is a beast of an exam! No need to fool you, take a look at the list of measured skills and you will understand why. Not only it requires you to wear different hats (those of data engineer, enterprise data analyst, and Fabric Admin, among others), but also to possess various “unicorn-like” skills under your toolbelt.
At the same time, don’t defeat yourself in thinking that passing the DP-600 is “mission impossible”. It’s definitely not, especially considering these three things I mentioned above in the article.
So, stop procrastinating, warm up your seats and computers, spend time learning and practicing, and I’m sure you all gonna crack this exam!
Thanks for reading and good luck🤞!
P.S. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, once you take the exam
Last Updated on January 15, 2024 by Nikola