Upskilling Oneself and Others
Published Sep 13 2021 03:16 PM 2,882 Views
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Here are the results of the MVP Global Cloud Skills Challenge we ran this Spring. For each challenge, participating MVPs were required to complete 40 modules on the Microsoft Learn platform. In this blog, we’re looking at three MVPs who not only upskilled themselves but helped others learn new skills, too. 


Harnessing AI to drive insight and automate the boring stuff


Yolanda Cuesta is an expert in Excel who works in Spain. On her website, you can find tricks and tips to master the spreadsheet software ranging from helpful introductory explainer videos to complex applications involving formulas and large-scale data manipulation.


So, of course, for the MVP Cloud Skills challenge, Cuesta opted to take on the Azure Data & AI Challenge.


“In my day-to-day life as an accountant and economist I see a lot of possibilities with the creation of models to evaluate and forecast scenarios, text recognition, use of Power Apps to carry out different applications, I am deciding where to start,” she wrote in a blog post on her website.


She also created a YouTube video explaining how to use Power Platform to automate Power BI reports and process invoices with AI builder.


Decades of insight spurs spin-off challenge


Rishi Sapra, brought his experience working as a “consultant in the turbo-paced data analytics world” for the London offices of KPMG, Barclays, HSBC, and Deloitte, to Avanade UK, where he works as a Group Manager and Power BI Solutions architect.


“For me, I've spent almost all of my tech career focused on Power BI (and to a lesser degree Azure) but have always wanted to learn more about the broader Power Platform and D365 so I decided to take up the cloud skills challenge intending to take the PL-900 afterwards... I sat and passed this exam this morning!”


“This will undoubtedly help me to be a more rounded solution architect… A huge thanks to Microsoft for putting together some great material on MS learn!” Sapra wrote in a LinkedIn post on the subject.


Sapra was inspired to get more of his colleagues involved, so he decided to run his own LDI #cloudskillschallenge for UK users on Power Platform and Azure.

“Everyone who completes at least 5 modules will be in with a chance of winning a Surface Go or Surface Headphones, and we will run regular study group sessions together afterwards to learn from each other by running through LDI quiz questions together!” he wrote.


Sapra also wanted to thank colleagues Claire Smyth and Shiva Ford for getting him involved in the MVP challenge and motivating him to take part.


Simplifying processes and building bots


Haritha Thilakarathne is currently earning a PhD. in Deep Learning at La Trobe University in Melbourne with the collaboration of the Australian Institute of Sports, so it was only natural for him to take on the Azure Data & AI challenge. 


“Azure AI is equipped with tools and services for anyone interested in AI no matter in which expertise level the person is in. You can easily use Azure Cognitive Services to add AI capabilities for your application by just calling for a REST API,” Thilakarathne writes in a blog post titled, Let’s Learn Machine Learning Without Code!


“Azure cognitive search is one of the services I’ve least used in my developments and I always wanted to give it a try. The simple but well-managed learning modules gave me a perfect start to sketch my first cognitive search application,” he added.

Thilakarathne says that Azure AI allows anyone who wants to create an advanced machine learning/deep learning experiment to use their favorite open-source tools and frameworks with and adaptability and power of the cloud for their development. He offers a series of modules on the subject, here.


“Automated machine learning supports training supervised machine learning models for classification, regression and time series forecasting. You can create and publish a machine learning experiment as a REST API with just a few clicks!” he writes, enthusiastically.

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