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Microsoft Expands Azure Training with Free Courses, Testing Discounts

Hoping to help narrow a skills gap around its public cloud services for partners and customers, Microsoft on Tuesday rolled out six new and free massively open online courses (MOOCs) for Azure, along with discounts for related certification testing.

"These courses are designed to help partners respond to the surging demand, realize positive returns and grow their market opportunity. Partners can also take this training to their customers, which helps them grow the technical literacy in their customer environment as well," said Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, in a conference call with media and analysts.

The initial slate of course titles are Azure Fundamentals, Microsoft Azure for AWS Experts, Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, Microsoft Azure Virtual Networks, Microsoft Azure Identity and Microsoft Azure Storage. Schuster said another six courses will follow in the next few weeks, with more education investments following throughout 2017.

She positioned the Azure MOOC training as being in line with other recent technical training moves from Microsoft, such as the Microsoft Virtual Academy, the Cloud + Enterprise University boot camps and the Microsoft Professional Program.

The new Azure courses typically take anywhere from four to 16 hours to complete, Schuster said. "These courses are so much more than online video learning. They really focus on the way learners learn today. They incorporate videos, hands-on labs, graded assessments, office hours and much more," she said.

Completion of any of the courses comes with a digital certificate of completion that can be shared on a LinkedIn profile.

The testing offers are $99 for a single Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam, practice test and retake for any of the courses, or $279 for three MCP exams, practice tests and retakes. Those packages would ordinarily cost $429 and $1,287, respectively, according to a Microsoft chart on a related blog post.

Posted by Scott Bekker on December 06, 2016 at 2:50 PM