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If there were one piece of advice I could give partners today, it would be to get the skills you need to help your customers manage their own digital transformation. That’s why I’m excited to tell you about new Azure training opportunities, with more ways to build your skills in a style that works for you.

I can’t overstate the role that cloud skills will play in digital transformation. In the 2017 IDC white paper, sponsored by Microsoft, Cloud Skills and Organizational Influence: How Cloud Skills Are Accelerating the Careers of IT Professionals, a study of more than 500 IT pros revealed that individuals with even one cloud certification are 35 percent more influential during cloud deployments. The same white paper projects that over the next 24 months, staffing for cloud services will become a strategic driver for IT.

New Azure learning resources for a growing market

We knew we were on to something a year ago when we launched our first set of Azure massively open online courses (MOOCs). Partners responded globally with more than 162,000 enrolled as of July in these free, self-paced courses on Open edX. That Azure training momentum continues today with several new courses and new ways to learn.

New paths to Azure skills

We’ve expanded our Azure skills learning paths with courses organized by job function and topic, along with four different modes of learning that we recommend for partners.

  1. Get started with Azure essentialsMicrosoft Azure Essentials provides three simple steps to quickly get started and learn an Azure topic in under an hour. Watch a short video, interact with a hands-on demo and then try Azure with a free account. From there, learners have access to a complete set of free Azure learning resources to develop the skills needed for career advancement and cloud expertise.
  2. Foundational training by job functionFree online courses developed in partnership with Pluralsight provide a strong introduction and preparation for Azure job functions such as architecting, developing, managing, and operating Azure services.
  3. Advanced training—Build out your Azure skills with MOOCs to deepen your expertise.
  4. Certification—Validate your Azure expertise by earning a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) certification. Take advantage of limited-time offers, available until March 30, 2018 for Microsoft Azure exams (practice test, exam voucher, and exam retake included).

Speaking of learning paths, we also have a new set of paths geared toward preparation for certification exams tied to MPN competencies.

Partners save with Azure exams

Partners have access to three discount exam packages that can be used for all MCP exams (including Azure, Windows, and SQL). Click through the offers below for more details.

1. MCP exam only
2. MCP exam and retake
3. MCP exam, retake, and practice tests

Where are the MOOCs?

You may have noticed we retired the MOOCs landing page and partnered with Pluralsight to launch a new collection of free online Azure training courses. For partners, however, a collection of MOOCs are still available at no charge. To ensure access to your MOOCs, we’ve made them available here along with a list of learning paths that include MOOC courses. I recommend you bookmark the direct links to your MOOCs once you’ve enrolled. Even if a MOOC is retired, the direct link will take you to the course and your dashboard.

New free Azure skills training

The new collection of free, self-paced Azure training courses on Pluralsight are organized by job function to help build practical job skills you can start using right away. We provide free Pluralsight registration and access to the full set of Pluralsight platform features to help you stay on track. Courses are designed around the following Azure job functions and topics :

  • Azure Administrator
  • Azure Stack Operator
  • Azure Solutions Architect
  • .Net Developer on Azure
  • Node.js Developer on Azure
  • Azure for AWS Professionals

We also provide resources to help prepare for certifications, such as Microsoft Official Courses On-Demand created by Microsoft Certified Trainers.

Staying current with Azure skills helps set your practice and your employees’ careers on the path to success. Our training comes in several formats to match the way people learn, at any stage in their careers.

If you have any questions about these learning paths, email partnerup@microsoft.com, and please share your experience with our training in the Microsoft Partner Community.

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