Checking In with Microsoft Software & Systems Academy

Last year on Aug. 26, I blogged here about a Microsoft partnership with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) to provide an intensive, full-time 18-week training course to get men and women transitioning from active duty military service back into civilian life. See Microsoft Expands U.S. Military Certification Outreach Program for a quick trip back to 2016.


joe scanlan mssa

MSSA graduate and Embry-Riddle Worldwide student Joseph Scanlan assists Mike Foldes, an IT support specialist with Navy Personnel Command in Memphis, Tenn., in troubleshooting a simultaneous application deployment across their IT environment during a recent site visit. Source: Embry Riddle


At the time, the program had been running in pilot mode for about 10 months, followed by a half-year period of full and actual operation. During this early period, military personnel could attend classes at one of four bases: California's Camp Pendleton (Server and Cloud Administrator), Kentucky's Fort Campbell (Server and Cloud Administrator), Georgia's Fort Benning (Cloud Applications Developer), and Fort Bragg in North Carolina (Cloud Applications Developer).


I'm pleased to report that, in the year since last summer, the program has expanded quite a bit and is now handling hundreds of students (across all participating military installations) each month. More than 400 students have now completed the program altogether.


Graduates are being (or have been) placed into full-time IT positions in research, industry, academia, and more. In addition to the bases already mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the MSSA program is now up and running at the following additional locations as well:


? Camp Pendleton/Oceanside (Calif.): Cybersecurity Administration
? San Diego (Calif): Cloud Applications Developer
? Colorado Springs (Colo.): Server and Cloud Administrator


Upcoming locations include the following:


? San Antonio (Texas): Cybersecurity Administration will commence on Sept. 8, 2017.
? Jacksonville/Fleming Island (Fla.): Cloud Applications Developer will commence on Oct. 16, 2017.
? Camp Lejeune (N.C.): Cybersecurity Administration will be available sometime soon in 2017 (presumably sometime after Oct. 16).
? Honolulu (Hawaii): A yet-to-be-announced program or programs will commence before the end of 2018.
? Quantico (Va.): Ditto (see Hawaii) for January 2018.


Female soldier with tablet

That's nearly a dozen bases in all scheduled for MSSA integration by January of 2018. See the ERAU MSSA page for more information about availability, how to qualify, programs and locations.


I note also that a Database and Business Intelligence Administrator offering is still in development, but is as yet unscheduled for delivery. Presumably, that means it will probably be hosted in Honolulu or Quantico, primarily because they're the only sites not yet tied to specific curricula.


You will also find on that page an FAQ, pointers on how interested active duty personnel can learn more, and how to pursue possible participation as well. Links for inquiries with local ERAU campuses are live for all locations except for Honolulu and Quantico, so there are plenty of options and locations from which to choose.


Potential participants in the MSSA program will also find Microsoft Learning's page on MSSA to be of great interest.


Candidates must also take and pass a Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exam relevant to the curriculum of interest, as well as math and English skills assessment exams, to qualify for the program. It's a great offering and well worth investigating for those on active duty who are planning to transition back to civilian life and work, and who are also interested in working in IT.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed also writes on certification topics for Tech Target, ComputerWorld and Win10.Guru. Check out his website at, where he also blogs daily on Windows 10 and 11 topics.