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Microsoft Outlines Training and Certification for Big Data

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

There's a data-driven infrastructure behind Cortana that Microsoft opened to high-end customers for development and data analytics capability. That infrastructure is big and complicated, so Microsoft is backing it up with beaucoups of training.

Source: Microsoft Lock Screen imagesSource: Microsoft Lock Screen imagesMicrosoft recently detailed on its Cortana Intelligence and Machine Learning Blog that the company provides great information about what kinds of training are available for understanding the Cortana platform, which is backed by a huge amount of data. The announcement's title is a mouthful; "A Plethora of Microsoft Training Options on AI, Machine Learning & Data Science, including MOOCs." It comes from Kristin M. Tolle, Microsoft's director of program management for advanced analytics ecosystem development and training.

The announcement basically asserts that Cortana intelligence offers a unique and valuable way for Microsoft customers to use Big Data to solve real-world problems. Tolle describes the Cortana Intelligence Suite as an "end-to-end platform" composed of "many moving parts – Data Lake, HDInsigh (Hadoop), Event Hub, Machine Learning, and R – to name just a few…" She also allows that it may be challenging for people "to experience how all these services work together in concert." That's something of an understatement.

Tolle goes on to provide lots of great information about what kinds of training (and certification) are available to help interested parties find their way into this vast agglomeration of technology Tinker Toys. Here's a list of items that she calls out to along the way:

  1. MSDN Channel 9, a widely respected and followed channel for developer training, offers two new training series: Azure SQL Data Warehousing and Operationalizing Solutions with Azure Data Factory (the first comes from Chris Testa-O’Neill, the latter from Ryan Swanstrom who also runs the very popular Data Science 101 blog).
  2. Practical Data Analytics with Cortana Intelligence comes from the Cloud Platform University Online, taught by Microsoft employee Buck Woody (MOOC)
  3. The Analyzing Big Data with Microsoft R Server takes a deep dive into Microsoft R at, taught by Seth Mottaginejad.
  4. There's a beta certification getting underway called Analyzing Big Data with Microsoft R (Exam 70-773).
  5. As I said last July, Microsoft already offers a Data science track as part of the Microsoft Professional Program online.
  6. Microsoft also makes all the materials it uses for classroom instruction on Azure topics in Open Source form through GitHub. Its own team uses those and other materials to teach classes at a variety of venues and locations (see the blog post section "In-Person Training" for details and links).

Obviously, Microsoft is not just sold on this technology agglomeration for its own sake and internal use. They're quite intent on building a business around this stuff. Given the substantial investment they've made, and the buy-in they're generating in the marketplace, this is an area rife with opportunity for career creation and enhancement.

And for more interesting thoughts on the technology and science needed to support voice input for computing, I recommend you check out The Economist story entitled "Finding a Voice." It details the tremendous amount of work, and enormous amounts of data, that are required to enable computers to handle voice input because that means they must also understand what's being said, interpret specific meanings, and act upon instructions or requests. Also, the story on machine translation, "Beyond Babel," is particularly interesting and relevant (and Microsoft's Cortana and the company's Cortana Intelligence Suite) because it digs into the huge volumes of data that go into dealing with language in general, and translation between human languages in particular.