During the past several years, TechRepublic, and just about every other tech-media publication worth a darn, has spent a good deal of time explaining what cloud computing is and how it will change just about everything you used to know about enterprise computing. Well, in 2016 this need to explain cloud computing and the benefits it brings has become a matter for ancient history.
Enterprises both great and small are taking advantage of virtual machines and cloud computing to run their business operations more cheaply and more efficiently. The benefits of cloud computing are well known and appreciated. However, this success has also created a problem—enterprises are in dire need of skilled employees in this field.
Enterprises using Microsoft's Azure are also running into this "skills gap" problem, and with the increased adoption of these technologies it is a problem that must be addressed quickly. According to Julia White, corporate vice president, Azure + Security Marketing:
"Over 90% of the Fortune 500 companies now use at least one of Microsoft's enterprise-grade services, and more than 60% are using three or more Microsoft cloud technologies."
No matter how you look at it, enterprises need trained people to run Azure. To help in this effort, Microsoft is now offering additional Azure training resources and is discounting the cost of obtaining an Azure certification.
Azure training and certification
Microsoft is offering three training paths for Azure. Each of the paths includes free access to Microsoft's library of flexible online courses, known as the Massively Open Online Course, or MOOC for short. The MOOC allows individuals and enterprises to offer Azure training without any obligations toward certification or additional costs.
On the other hand, for $99, enterprises can send one individual to training courses and have that person take a test to establish certification in Azure. It is a small investment that may be all a small business needs to establish its Azure services.
For $279, an enterprise can send three individuals to training and then follow through with the certification process. This is a good path for larger enterprises with teams working on Azure projects.
Both of the paid paths are offered at a significant discount to their normal retail price, so it may be a good time to send your Azure team to do some quality training and up their skill sets.
Studies conducted by the Harvard Business School and others show that there is an ever-increasing shortage of skilled workers around the world. The skills gap is especially acute in technologies like cloud computing and Microsoft Azure. The specialized skills necessary to effectively run and manage those technologies are not generally taught in trade schools and universities—the skills are most often learned through training and experience.
This is why it is so important for enterprises, regardless of size, industry, or geographical location, to make time and spend resources on training and retraining their workforce. Highly skilled employees in any field, but especially in technology, are just not available in sufficient numbers from outside the organization. A quality workforce has to be developed from within the company through training.
If your enterprise does not have a comprehensive training program for all its employees, particularly employees in technological positions, it is destined to fall behind the competition. In this case, when it comes to Azure, Microsoft is offering enterprises a break on the overall costs. You should take advantage of it because whether you do or you don't, you know your competition will.
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When did you last have a training session? Has it been more than a year? Share your thoughts with your peers in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.