"Buckle up, knuckle down, and get ready to expand your mind and change your life." That is the call to action being issued by Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA), which wants all able IT pros and learners alike to join them in a challenge. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to accelerate your learning in a specific area in just one short month. Sort of like getting an informal, super rapid-fire certification.
Beginning February 1, 2015, participants will be given the opportunity to join MVA in a 28-day training program. All that's required of those who join the movement is an hour a day for four weeks. In return for the sacrifice of those 28 hours next month, you will receive training that could very possibly be life changing.
This one month learning "binge" will help accelerate your skills in the area of your choice. You can choose from one of eight tech topics to focus on for the month. They are:
- Cloud Development — Learn to develop applications, web sites and services to host in the cloud. To accomplish this development, you will be trained on Microsoft Azure.
- Game Development — Using tools such as Construct2, GameMaker and Unity, you will learn the development of 2D and 3D games.
- Mobile Development — If you have ever wondered how to develop a mobile app, now is the time to learn by using C#, XAML and Xamarin (for taking your app cross-platform).
- Web Development — There is a lot to learn about building a responsive and reliable web application. You will learn how to do this with the most current tools and techniques.
- Hybrid Cloud — This challenge will teach you how to extend your data center to the cloud by combining on-premises and public cloud workloads to maximize efficiency, provide simpler management and increase flexibility.
- Implement Identity and Access Management — After finishing this challenge, you will know how to effectively implement identity and access management solutions across diverse devices. To accomplish this, you will learn the skills of enabling single sign-on to extending your domain with Azure AD.
- Office 365 — Learn how to get the most out of the services, security and performance of Office 365. After you take this challenge, you will have the skills to be proficient on a small, medium or large business scale.
- SharePoint — Improve information sharing and organization at your company by learning how to develop and administer SharePoint sites.
It's easy to see how much benefit you stand to gain from this challenge just by looking through this list. It's a pretty impressive opportunity for anyone who is looking into bettering one of these skills they already have, or developing a new skill they've always wanted. And you can't beat the price:
To sign up, all you need is a free Microsoft account to gain access to the challenge's hour long tutorials — anytime and anywhere. After you've created your profile you are encouraged to track your progress, as well as share that progress with others through social media.
The world is constantly changing and those of us in tech disciplines are asked to change with the trends. If you've fallen behind in your workplace with any of these categories, then maybe it's time to get ahead of the curve again. Why not take advantage of this service being provided by MVA and get all caught up in one short month? Know it. Prove it.