Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) Gets Two New Tracks
The other shoe for the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP) has now dropped. Earlier this week (Oct. 3), MPP Program Director Keith Boyd posted this item to the Born to Learn blog: Expanding the Microsoft Professional Program to Drive Impact.
Boyd's post introduces and describes the two new tracks depicted in the graphic for my post here, along with some useful information about the MPP program overall, and its goals and objectives. The two new tracks are:
Source: MPP program home page
Cloud Administration: Courses prepare IT professionals to deal with automation of cloud deployments and cloud workloads, and digs into topics related to managing cloud security and ensuring legal, regulatory and best practices compliance along the way.
DevOps: Courses explain how to achieve better, stronger, and faster integration between development and operations organizational units. Learners are taught concepts and tools needed to support continuous integration and deployment of the work that developers do on the operations side of the world.
The DevOps track also covers key topics related to application monitoring (so developers can see and learn from actual usage and interaction) and feedback loops (so input from users becomes actionable for developers, testers, and so forth).
The two new additions combine with these three existing tracks:
Data Science: Courses deal with providing tools, techniques and approaches to extracting insights and solutions to business problems from data that organizations capture and analyze. This represents what happens to and with the huge volumes of data that organizations capture from their ongoing business activities, customer interactions, supply chain management, and so forth.
Big Data: Courses deal with training the people who design systems to capture, process and analyze data to pursue and create competitive advantage. This represents the design and implementation of big data systems and environments, in other words.
These courses convey the current collection of best practices, processes and methods for creating and maintaining websites.
Across all these topic areas, Microsoft's goal is to "provide job-ready skills in technical domains of the greatest demand," as Boyd's blog post puts it. The FAQ page covers this in a bit more detail:
"Recognizing a shortage of qualified individuals to fill the growing need for specific job roles, Microsoft Professional Program is a new way to learn the skills and get the hands-on experience these roles require. After passing all courses in the track and completing a final project, individuals earn a digitally sharable, r�sum�-worthy credential that confirms mastery of these functional and technical skills."
Thus, the impetus for MPP is acquisition of high-demand skills that includes ample access to hands-on experience to motivate and informs learning, along with a credential "that confirms mastery of � functional and technical skills." Where MPP is general and subject-matter focused, Microsoft certifications retain an exclusive focus on Microsoft tools and technologies.
As the FAQ puts it in comparing the two sets of offerings: "Microsoft Certifications tend to be more about validating technical skills for people using specific Microsoft technology. The MPP is more about helping to close the skills gap by teaching conceptual skills alongside technical ones on a variety of technologies."
That's why MS is careful to position MPP and Microsoft Certs as complementary and not competitive.
This is a terrific and valuable set of offerings, and worth checking into. Be sure to visit the MPP home page and investigate their offerings. The only costs involved in earning an MPP are the certificate costs for the edX courses one must take to meet MPP requirements.
For most tracks, that means a pretty hefty credential for under $1,000. Most MPP certifications involve 8 to 12 courses, including a project-oriented capstone at the conclusion, with course costs averaging U.S. $50-60 apiece (prices do vary with currency and geography).