Microsoft Building

Published: December 7th, 2016

Microsoft is addressing the skills gap that may be preventing partners from diving into the cloud with free Azure training for its partners.

In a Dec. 5 blog post, Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group’s corporate vice president, said the need for IT professionals to be trained in cloud technologies, and have the right skills that are necessary for businesses to grow in the cloud, has been the most commonly cited barrier to digitization among CIOs.

The tech giant hopes that its new Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) model will begin to alleviate those concerns.

“These courses are designed to help partners respond to the surging demand, realize positive returns, and grow their market opportunity,” Schuster wrote. “It’s also a great way to strengthen customer dialogue about what cloud technology can do for their business.”

To start there are six MOOC courses currently available, with six more coming over the next few weeks. Those courses include specific topics such as Azure Storage or Azure Networks, and a much broader Azure Fundamentals course. There are also options for multi-cloud specialists with a course called Azure for AWS Experts.The 12 courses by the end of the year won’t be the end, as Microsoft hopes to continue to add courses in the coming months.

IT professionals will earn a digital certificate of completion for each MOOC they finish. Microsoft’s catalogue of MOOCs is available for free on its website.

Additionally, Microsoft continues to offer Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exams. In January, the tech company will be growing the MCP program by partnering with the Linux Foundation for an optional add-on discount toward Linux certification.

The full pricing for Microsoft MOOCs and MCP certifications are as follows: 

  • Free: acesss to the full MOOC catalog, including new Azure for AWS Experts course and new courses added regularly – digital certificates of completion for each course
  • $99 USD: One Azure-focused MCP exam voucher, with one retake and a practice test (30-day access) – MCP badge for each exam passed
  • $279 USD: Three Azure-focused MCP exam vouchers, with retakes and a practice test (30-day access) – MCP badge for each exam passed