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Last month at the Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, we announced the new Microsoft Professional Degree program (MPD). This program is the first of its kind to offer employer-endorsed, university-caliber curriculum for professionals at any stage of their career. It’s designed to help address the skills gap in critical fields by providing real-world knowledge and hands-on experience.

So far, your feedback has been amazing. The first offering in data science has seen tremendous interest from prospective students that has surpassed even the most optimistic expectations. And the students in our curriculum preview tell us the content is well-organized and well-produced to meet their needs.

Current and prospective students aren’t the only ones excited about MPD. Our partners are also incredibly interested in building business offers around our online content. Soon, partners will be able to offer learning solutions, built on the Open EdX platform powered by Microsoft Azure.

“We are very excited about this new opportunity to scale up our Online learning offerings & deliver cutting edge skills in emerging areas of the Digital Transformation wave sweeping across organizations worldwide.

With this Data Sciences program, and others to follow, we will be able to provide what our customers have increasingly been asking for: real world skills – both conceptual and technical – that prepare people to succeed in 21st century careers.”

-Rahul Keshav Patwardhan, CEO, NIIT Limited

We’ll have so much more information to share at Ignite, September 26-30 in Atlanta, Georgia. If you’re interested in the data science learning path, you should consider joining the Data Science Summit, held in Atlanta during the first two days of Ignite. You’ll be able to connect with data engineers and data scientists, grow your technical skills, and get inspired by what data-driven solutions can do.

But you don’t have to wait for Ignite – you can start today.

Get started with Microsoft Professional Degree

First, I encourage you to think about how learning can play a role in your business. The skills gap in our industry affects every member of it, and your local connections and position in your community is an incredible asset. Encouraging new students into the technical field will help all of us grow the opportunity. With learning options like Microsoft Professional Degree, we can help more young men and women grow their technical skills throughout their schooling and careers.

Second, understand how we’re expanding our Cloud competencies to offer a learning option. This update allows for every one of our partners with a cloud competency to offer Learning as a Service, using world-class Microsoft online courses and leveraging Open EdX on Azure as the platform.

Third, look at your new and current employees and see whether the Data Science learning path will offer new skills that will help meet new customer challenges or offer innovative customer solutions. Data science is currently one of the most in-demand fields, and customers are looking for experts to help them deal with the vast quantities of data developed on a daily basis. With a skilled team, you can help meet that need.

The time is now to take advantage of these new and exciting opportunities.

Have you checked out the Microsoft Professional Degree Program yet? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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Join us at the Data Science Summit Learn more about the MPD program Sign up for a MPD in Data Science