First published on CloudBlogs on Apr 21, 2016
Yesterday on the Server & Cloud Blog there was a great announcement (see video below) that emphasized something I want to reiterate: Over the last 20 years, IT has led many of technologies big transitions, and, at each of those stages, the role of IT has changed as less-complex tasks get managed by software and IT then focuses more on strategic services that are higher value to the business.  Right now we are in the midst of the biggest transition yet – but, for this one, IT hasn’t been in its traditional position of leadership.  I believe that’s a huge problem – and I believe it’s fixable.  The opportunity presented by this transition is something I’ve been praising for years , but I can’t emphasize it enough: The cloud is not putting IT out of business – it is a launch pad for us, not a cemetery . This is why, once again, IT needs to lead – if for no other reason than to avoid this all-to-common state of affairs noted by Gartner:  “It is not unusual for an enterprise to have shadow IT investments — where IT spending occurs outside the consolidated IT budget — exceeding 30% of total IT spend, and growing.”  (1) But before you can really capitalize on the opportunity presented by the cloud, you first need to add it to your list of mastered skills.  The cloud isn’t just good for the way your organization operates, or the agility of your IT team – it’s also good for your career.  The tech analyst firm IDC predicts that while IT employment worldwide will grow about 4% every year from 2015 to 2020, cloud-related positions will grow at more than three times that rate . By 2020, more than 1 in 3 IT positions will be cloud related.”  (2) Just... wow. To help IT Pros all over the world make the most of this opportunity and get quickly familiar with cloud technology, Microsoft has developed two really impressive programs.  These two programs answer 2 of the most common questions we hear: “How do I to get started with the cloud?” and “How can I use the cloud to help advance my career?”

1) Get started in the cloud with the FREE Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials annual subscription.

  • Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials provides IT professionals with access to cloud services, training, support and certification. Details include:
    • Free Azure credits to try cloud scenarios like backup, disaster recovery, security & dev/test.
    • Free Pluralsight subscription for on-line training.
    • Free Priority support in the TechNet forums.
    • A free phone support incident for Azure or on-premises products.
    • A free certification exam voucher.  (3)
    • Extended trials of Enterprise Mobility Suite and Office 365.

2) Advance your IT career in cloud technologies with the FREE Microsoft IT Pro Career Center .

  • Microsoft IT Pro Career Center provides IT professionals with cloud career paths, curriculum to learn the cloud roles, and industry insights. Details include:
    • Map your IT cloud role.
    • Follow a learning curriculum for your chosen cloud role.
    • Evolve at your own pace & learn with your peers.
    • Discover which cloud roles are in demand and their salary ranges.
    • Get insights on your personality traits and how they matchup to cloud roles.
    • Hear from industry experts about the trends in cloud roles and skills you need.
The IT Pro community is the frontline of every big technological shift, and Microsoft is here to support your efforts to integrate this technology into your business.  Sure, you can argue this is self-serving, but, to a greater extent, a smart and hyper-sophisticated IT community is the best possible audience for every IT vendor.  You can get started today with Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials and the Microsoft IT Pro Career Center – right here .   ______________________________________________________ (1) Gartner “What to Do When Every Employee Is a Digital Employee”, April 17, 2015 (2) IDC Market Spotlight, sponsored by Microsoft, “ Cloud Driving Big Changes in IT Organizational Skills”, February 2016 (3) Limited supply. First come, first served.