Oh boy, what a week! It's been a hasty preparation as this exam retires tomorrow. I had to put an extra effort to get this done and absolutely happy about my achievement. The funny thing - I was taking part in beta testing of this and other transition exams but never had time to take it for real... Until the note from MS landed in my mailbox, saying that AZ-102 is about to retire soon. So, roughly, I managed to jump into the departing train, and I'm not doing this again... ever ;)
Earning Azure Administrator Associate certification validates the skills and knowledge to manage cloud services that span storage, security, networking, and compute cloud capabilities. Candidates have a deep understanding of each service across the full IT lifecycle and take requests for infrastructure services, applications, and environments. It's the right way toward AZ-400 (Azure DevOps Engineer Expert).
Returning to the transition exams - they're more attractive by all means. First, you don't need to take the path from the very beginning, besides, those of us who possess older certifications like 70-533/535 etc. are experienced enough for the upgrade.
Here is a curious table that summarizes transition certifications:
For those, who are interested in developing Azure or Azure DevOps skills, bringing the expertise to the next level, Microsoft came up with new role-based certification approach. The idea of the new certifications is that they should map to job roles and that you should be able to see a route from Foundation to Associate then on to Expert. Microsoft took this opportunity to revamp the way that the questions are asked focusing more on familiarisation than memorization. For Azure exams, this means that to be proficient enough to pass the exam you’ll need to know how to do tasks via the Azure Portal, Azure CLI and PowerShell. Here is a nice infographic by Iain Fielding that explains certification paths in more details:
Kudos to Microsoft for the effort as the roles are clearer now, especially what concerns Azure Cloud and DevOps parts.