In the last decade, the cloud has become one of the most important technologies for businesses of all types and from all sectors. Naturally, this has led to an increase in the demand for people with the skills required to architect, set up, work with and maximize cloud environments and cloud-based applications. An increase in demand for skills is naturally accompanied by a need for more and better training, and certification. As the technology changes, so too does the learning landscape. Pluralsight, a rapidly expanding online learning platform, is transforming the way technologists (and other professionals) enhance their skillsets and develop their careers. For IT professionals looking to up their cloud game, there’s a great way to leverage the partnership between Pluralsight and Microsoft and start on the path to becoming an Azure expert … for free!
Michał Pawlikowski, Business Intelligence Consultant at ITMAGINATION, explains how…
Exactly 248 courses with a combined duration of almost 500 hours. That’s how much Azure training material there was at the time of writing this post (end of January 2020). What’s the cost of accessing this vault of career-enhancing education? Zero. That’s right. Absolutely nothing. This is the result of a partnership between Microsoft and Pluralsight.
If you’re an IT professional and want to accelerate your transformation into Azure expert or simply need to refresh your knowledge, this is too good to miss. The Azure-specific materials available on Pluralsight complement the materials available on learning hubs like Microsoft Learn (where training and documentation is presented predominately in text form) and Microsoft Hands-on Labs (where users are provisioned virtual environments and are able to work with Azure, albeit in a limited way). And, of course, Microsoft provides plenty of other ways to enhance and keep your Azure skills up to date.
The benefits of Pluralsight for existing and aspiring IT professionals
As a one-stop shop for meeting training needs Pluralsight offers several compelling benefits for IT professionals – existing and aspiring. There are options to choose specific learning paths, obtain certification and even check your level of competence or expertise within a specific domain (Pluralsight calls this Skills IQ). Indeed, with the last point and the ability to submit to some form of evaluation, the platform creates interesting possibilities to establish recognized standards for expertise, which could be useful for recruitment, project-team building, career development conversations, and much more.
How can you gain access to free Microsoft Azure courses on Pluralsight?
All you have to do is visit the Microsoft Azure page on Pluralsight and sign up or log in using an existing account. If you have an account but not a paid-up subscription, your account will be granted free access. Every user can automatically get access to the library of Azure courses for five years.
Tools to structure and enhance your learning journey – Channels, Paths and Role IQs
After you’ve logged in, you’ll have the opportunity to explore and embark upon your learning journey. There are some great tools (or in Pluralsight’s words, ‘products’) that can help you to get started and keep track of your progress. Channels are a great way to organize and share Pluralsight content, which enables you to define your direction and also define development directions and curricula for your peers and team members.
Paths combine specific tools and courses into a curated experience that empowers learners to develop new skills or take significant development or career steps from start to finish. Along the way, learners can test their knowledge and skills to ensure they’re benefiting as they should be.
The Role IQ feature enables users to test their current knowledge or skills in a particular domain. In this way, people using the platform can get a proper understanding of their level of technical proficiency and can learn about the steps they need to take to elevate their status. Role IQs are organized according to roles and professional titles that learners either currently occupy, aspire to occupy, or simply to broaden their knowledge. Examples of this include Azure AI Engineer, Data Engineer and Data Scientist.
How to become an Azure expert with Pluralsight
Using the free subscription for Azure learning, a dedicated page has been set up to provide easy access to Azure-specific Role IQs, such as Microsoft Azure Administrator, Microsoft Azure Developer, Microsoft Azure Solution Architect, and many, many more.
Within each Azure-specific Role IQ, there are a number of different learning paths related to the role. Within each path, there are a variety of different materials related to the specific role. For example, within the Azure Developers Role IQ, there are paths that cover everything from designing apps, developing them, deploying and troubleshooting. And within each path, there are a variety of different tools and courses to provide a rounded and comprehensive experience.
These Role IQs and Paths allow for optimal organization and structure of learning journeys. Given that they have been developed with Microsoft’s involvement, it’s safe to say that they represent a high industry standard for existing and aspiring technologists. What’s more, for those specifically interested in certification, there are dedicated channels that aggregate all of the materials related to specific exams.
How to find the list of courses available from the free subscription
If you’re new to Pluralsight or if you have a Pluralsight account and want quick access to the free Azure content, check out this Pluralsight page about free courses on Microsoft Azure.
Once you’re all set up, find the list of courses that are available through the free subscription by accessing the view to the main library after logging in (you can also click on the Home icon in the top-left corner or simply visit this link). Once you’re on this screen, there’ll be a section called ‘Course List’ near the bottom, which features a list of all the trainings available to the user.
ITMAGINATION, Microsoft Azure and Pluralsight
ITMAGINATION works with companies from a variety of different sectors (including banking, financial services, e-commerce, retail and more), and has experienced how companies of all shapes, sizes and standing have embraced cloud in recent years. ITMAGINATION is supporting them on their journey. A Microsoft Partner since 2012 and previous Microsoft Partner of the Year in Poland, ITMAGINATION has 8 Microsoft Gold Certified Partner certifications, including in the area of Cloud Platform. We understand the importance of certification and the importance of certification in Azure. Many ITMAGINATION employees are certified in Azure (some of whom have shared their story about the journey to getting certified in Azure), and we are wholeheartedly encouraging them to advance their skills using Pluralsight – after all, it’s helpful in their own development and it demonstrates ITMAGINATION’s commitment to providing its customers with expertise that meets – and exceeds – industry standards.
Learn it. Know it. Done.