The Journey of attaining ‘DA-100: Analyzing data with Power BI’

Dec 21, 2020

Introduction

Microsoft’s DA-100 certificate proves a vast knowledge of Power BI. In this article, I will give you some tips and tricks on how to succeed. 

The DA-100 exam is a new power BI certification exam, out of the beta phase since July. It is a replacement for the older 70-778 “Analyzing and Visualizing Data with Microsoft Power BI”. Microsoft is reshaping their assortment of certifications. Therefore, the older certifications are scheduled to retire on January 31st, 2021.
The new certifications are now based on specific roles (Data Analyst, Data Engineer, Azure Developer and so on), while the older ones are more focused on a specific tool like Power BI or SQL Server. Passing the exam grants you a certificate that lasts for 2 years. 

Preparation exam

When the exam was in Beta, there were no study guides. Hence, preparing for the exam was much more of a challenge than it is now, mostly due to the lack of information what the certification was about. Now you can find the outline of the specific skills measures in the exam on website of the certificate, together with their chance of appearing:

  • Prepare the data (20-25%)
  • Model the data (25-30%)
  • Visualize the data (20-25%)
  • Analyze the data (10-15%)
  • Deploy and maintain deliverables (10-15%).

Microsoft also provides us with learning paths to gain the skills needed to become certified. These learning paths are divided in modules. They contain a lot of reading material and a lab session at the end (most of the time). Doing this is a great way to get to know the material better and to give you a better representation of the questions on the exam.
To be fair, I think not knowing how the questions are asked is one of the greatest difficulties of this exam. But I would not recommend doing the exam after only studying this material, it is not in-depth enough. Some questions are based on real-life scenarios, which is a good thing, but that makes it harder to pass without a fair amount of hands-on experience. The best thing to do to study for the exam is simply to practice a lot. It is obvious the exam will be easier for people that use Power BI every day.

Another way of studying for the test that I used is taking quizzes at https://www.learndatainsights.com/. There are a lot of different test questions for every subject. This is a fun way of going through the material and testing your knowledge. However, you notice some of the questions are dated. 

The exam

My exam consisted of 47 questions and 2 case studies, each with 4 questions. Everything is multiple choice and there is no correction for guessing. After the exam, you immediately get your results, which is nice.

Here are some examples of tasks you might have to perform on the exam:
-Do some filtering in DAX.
-Import data from the different Sharepoint sources.
-Modelling within Power BI, especially related to the DATE dimension.

Conclusion

Studying for the certificate is definitely a nice way to start with Power BI, but to pass the exam you will need some working experience with it. Good luck to all the readers!

About the author: Wim Roten is a Business Intelligence consultant with two years of experience. He has a broad knowledge of data architectures within Azure and likes practicing his Data Science knowledge in his spare time.

 

Wim Roten

Microsoft Analytics Consultant @ Lytix