Learn Azure Part 0 – Create an Azure Account

If you are interested in learning Azure, cool! I am here to help.™

Let’s begin by thinking about this journey accurately:

  • Azure is not easy.
  • Azure is not simple.
  • Learning Azure will take time.
  • You will experience frustration.

Sounds awesome, right?! The preceding list is the bad news.
There is good news, though:

  • If learning Azure was easy and simple, anyone could do it. You can learn Azure.
  • Everything worthwhile in life takes time. The next year is going to pass whether you use it for something worthwhile or not. Turn off Netflix and Prime and learn something! K?
  • Andy’s definition of the word “obstacle”: Something to overcome. We all experience obstacles. Make the obstacles give up before you do.

Ready? Let’s rock this!

Create an Azure Account

Start your journey by browsing to azure.com and creating an account.

Manage and monitor this account frequently. Things change daily in Azure. Some of those things will cost you money if you are not vigilant.
Be vigilant!
Remember to shut down services and virtual machines (VMs) when you are not using them. This is the #1 mistake of cloud services users. If you leave a VM running for a month, it gets expensive.

Free vs. Free-For-Now Azure Services

I am writing this in August 2019. You are reading this after I wrote it. I promise something has changed since I wrote this post. I guarantee it.

Never forget: Azure. Changes. Daily.

If you sign up for Azure today, you get 12 months of popular services free for 12 months, a $200USD credit to “spend” on non-free services for the first 30 days after you create your account, and access to services that are always free (at the time of this writing):

$200USD Credit

Use the $200 credit to learn about services that are not available for free always or during the next 12 months. Once your account is created you can open the Azure Portal, click “All services” on the left, and view available services by category:

Andy’s Advice:

  • Pick something “shiny” – something that appeals to you, or…
  • Pick something that piques your interest.
  • If you look at it and think, “I wonder what that’s all about,” and it’s not free forever or for the next 12 months, start here.
  • You have 30 days. GO!

12 Months of Popular Services Free

This is a list of services that is free for the first 12 months after you create your Azure account.

Andy’s Advice:

  • Start today.
  • Use the free access to these services to learn everything you can about them.
  • Don’t dawdle.
    • Pick one.
    • Search for a tutorial.
    • Start walking through the tutorial today.

The screenshot above is linked to a section of a page labeled: “Which products are free for 12 months?” (You are going to become tired of reading this): At the time of this writing. This page and the offer it represents will change.

Always Free Services

At the time of this writing, some services are listed as “always free”:

Many of these services are the foundation of the modern enterprise and are used to solve real-world problems.

Andy’s Advice:

  • Prioritize your initial learning.
  • Start with services that are not “always free” and not “free for the first 12 months.”
    • Use your $200 credit first to learn about non-free-for-12-months and not-free-forever technology.
    • Next, focus on free-for-12-months technology.
    • Finally, focus on always-free technology.

Do you have to follow my advice to learn Azure? Nope. You can roll your own learning path.

Microsoft Learn

A fantastic – and free – place to begin your learning journey is Microsoft Learn.

Check out the additional learning paths and get your learn on!


Learning Azure starts with creating an Azure account. Make that step 0. Follow it with step 1, learning more about an Azure service or platform. Remember: If it was easy or simple, anyone could do it. It’s not easy or simple, but you can do it! I have the utmost confidence in you!


Andy Leonard


Christian, husband, dad, grandpa, Data Philosopher, Data Engineer, Azure Data Factory, SSIS, and Biml guy. I was cloud before cloud was cool. :{>


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