Microsoft has introduced
a Professional Degree (MPD) program that will offer employer-endorsed, university caliber curriculum for professionals at any stage of their career. The program is an initiative taken by Microsoft, that claims to offer professionals with real-world knowledge and hands-on experience to grow their skills in critical fields. It is built on Azure, a secured cloud platform that provides Learning as a Service to the customers. The preliminary offering of the course will be focused on Data Science Degree Program available on edX.org
that is a non-profit learning destination.
According to Microsoft, the program is first of its kind that has the ability to offer Learning-as-a-Service as there is still a gap in the field of data science. Thus, it has designed its experimental curriculum to deliver the critical skills and experiences that are required for success in the data science field. A study by McKinsey & Company estimates that by 2018 the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.
Steven Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Developer Experience and Evangelism Group, Microsoft said:
The proliferation of cloud technologies and the delivery of software as a service has opened up tremendous revenue opportunities for our partners. The Microsoft Professional Degree will be offered via edX, as well as through learning-as-a-service offerings delivered through partners, to meet customers’ evolving training needs and to help close the skills gap we are seeing across a number of industries.
This program aims to act as a facilitator for individuals in the early stages of their career and for the mid-career professionals, it will act as an enhancement to sharpen and learn new skills to continue and compete in the job market-space. Moreover, the students joining this program will get an experience with real-world data by using Microsoft tools and open source community that ranges from Excel, Power BI and Cortana Analytics to R and Python.
Alison Cunard, General Manager, Microsoft Learning Experiences said:
At Microsoft, we believe the approach and tools used for learning need to continually evolve to meet the demands of our device-centric and data-driven world. This is a world where both technical and functional skills are becoming increasingly critical across all careers and vocations.
She added, “The breadth and versatility of the edX platform allow us to expand our reach and deliver the Microsoft Professional Degree program, combining online learning with hands-on labs and workshops, allowing students to gain relevant and marketable skills.”