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Microsoft Seeks to Address Cloud Skills Gap

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Credit: ShutterstockCredit: ShutterstockMicrosoft's goal from its "Azure Initiative" is not so much to get lots of Azure-savvy IT pros trained up and ready to work on the platform, said Chris Roy, Microsoft's senior director of learning services. It's true goal is to address a general and increasing shortfall of cloud-savvy IT pros of any persuasion in today's marketplace.
MORE: Free Microsoft Azure Online Training Resources You Need
With that in mind, I was struck by the blog post by Kyle Uphoff's for Born to Learn. Entitled "The Time is Now to Help Your Customers Adopt Cloud Computing," it digs into the issues that profound, ongoing and accelerating change bring to most businesses and organizations. He quotes a 2016 survey from RightScale, to the effect that the current IT dilemma is not so much about a lack of human capital but rather, a lack of IT pros with the right skills and knowledge to do the jobs that need doing right now, and into the future. This helps to explain why Microsoft takes as its key challenge the fostering of skills development in a variety of key technology areas, chief among which are data science and cloud computing at the moment, but which will branch out into a variety of other IT specialist job roles over the next 12 to 18 months.
The secret to success in this case is Microsoft's training options, which are expanding and growing into new and different channels by leaps and bounds. The Microsoft Virtual Academy offers free, on demand training on a wide range of subjects (including Azure and lots of related applications and services) in bite-sized chunks. Microsoft still develops official curriculum for instructor-led training, too, both at its own facilities and through training partner offerings that use the same materials, labs and so forth. Microsoft has even ventured into the world of massively open online courses (aka MOOCs), with a range of Azure topics now available through edX and other online education platforms and partnerships.
In our interview, Roy made it clear that it's a lot more important to Microsoft to see its keystone technologies put to work than it is to collect training dollars. He also recognized that traditional models to develop, vet, and release training via in-house and training company affiliates is no longer a be-all and end-all for training people effectively. Microsoft is using teams of learning scientists to discover what works best for learning specific tools and technologies and is already putting those lessons learned to work. Look for a proliferation of new learning options and offerings from Microsoft, and more and better use of "blended learning" (study on your own, work in a well-configured and -maintained lab run by Microsoft or a partner) to help people upskill and keep up with new and emerging stuff.