By Lina Arshad
Over the past few years, Microsoft Azure services and products have experienced significant growth, with Statista figures from Q4 of 2021 showing that it had grown to become the second most popular cloud infrastructure vendor services market—owning 22% of the overall market share.
The cloud computing service is part of a rapidly evolving industry, and particularly given the pressures of the pandemic where products needed to be developed years ahead of their time to help businesses stay afloat while working from home, it can be difficult to keep up with all the changes and developments.
So, if your business uses Microsoft Azure, you need to be providing training opportunities and options to make sure your staff are up to date and comfortable with the software as it evolves. You may want to include Azure training in your induction process, or plan in regular refresher and development sessions for staff who’ve been using it for a while and to ensure everybody knows how to use any new functionalities.
If budget is an issue, there are free courses available, as well as some that are discounted. But if you’re willing and able to invest in training, you could consider having a couple of trusted Azure training providers to help upskill your staff and work towards closing the digital skills gap.
This is by no means a definitive list, so if you’ve come across any noteworthy Azure training or learning resources, drop us a tweet and we’ll add it in!
Microsoft offers a colossal amount of educational material for free through its Microsoft Learn platform.
If you’re looking to tune up your Azure knowledge, there are more than 570 Azure-related modules on Microsoft Learn that you can take at your own pace. These modules are grouped into learning paths, creating logical product or task-aligned routes that you can work your way through to get a broader understanding of a topic.
If you want to test out your new Azure skills, you can sign up for a free account and see the inner workings of the platform first-hand. New customers get $200 of Azure credit to spend in the first 30 days, essentially giving you a month to explore, deploy apps, create workflows, and analyze your data to provide you with some hands-on practice.
There’s also a considerable amount to be gleaned from Azure’s documentation content, in which you can find quick-start guides, code samples, and tutorials.
It’s also worth noting that Microsoft also offers an instructor-led version of some of their programs (POA) which takes a more hands-on approach. Students can take a certification exam for the cost of $165.
Alongside its paid courses, Udemy offers several free Azure-focused courses. These freebies range from beginner-level overviews to service-specific outlines, as well as certification preparation. Most are relatively short and can be completed in a couple of hours, making them an excellent starting point to get to grips with Azure tools.
Coursera courses are free to view, meaning you can read all of the content at your leisure without paying a penny. However, if you require a certificate at the end, or want to take advantage of quizzes, watch videos, or take part in assignments, you’ll need to pay.
There are a lot of more general cloud computing courses on Coursera, though the options for Azure-specific content are fewer. There’s an option to pay for an annual user license ($399 per user) for small businesses or an enterprise level for larger organizations.
There are heaps of fantastic cloud-related courses you can take by signing up for an A Cloud Guru subscription. But if you’re looking to dip a toe into Azure or see what kind of learning content you can expect from A Cloud Guru, you can take the Introduction to Azure course for free.
Pluralsight is (usually) a paid subscription-based learning platform, but if you want to develop your Azure skills, then you’re in luck. Pricing starts from $39 p/m for individuals or $34 p/m if you pay annually. There are three teams packages too, which start at $33 per user p/m.
Pluralsight has partnered with Microsoft to provide a massive number of Azure courses absolutely free. Pluralsight’s Azure courses are aligned to eight different roles, with each of these “Role IQ” pathways aiming to prepare students for specific Azure certification exams.
Students can choose one of the below roles and take a Role IQ test to size up what they already know. Pluralsight will then point them in the right direction as to where to start on the path to becoming an expert in their chosen position.
Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is an online learning platform that offers courses in partnership with over 100 educational institutions, including many created and delivered by Microsoft itself.
edX courses are free and take up just a few hours a week. You can purchase a verified certificate for $99 but accessing the content and completing the course won’t cost you a penny. There is also a business version with flexible pricing (from $349 per learner per year).
Currently, there are 2 Azure-related courses available now for enrolment, with another two on their way:
We’ll cover Skylines Academy’s paid courses a little further down, but it’s worth noting if you’re a cloud newbie that they offer an introductory Azure course for free.
A subscription-based learning platform geared toward prepping students for certification exams. Whizlabs frequently offer money off, so it’s worth checking to see what’s available.
Each of Whizlabs’ Azure courses is aligned to a specific Microsoft certification exam, helping students to skill up so they can pass their tests with flying colors. You can also test what you’ve learned during the video-based course by purchasing a set of practice exams.
Udemy’s paid courses tend to cost around $40, but they’re almost always heavily discounted in some way: if you see one you like that’s not on offer, it’s worth signing up for email alerts, as it likely won’t be long before the price comes down. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee if your chosen course isn’t what you’re looking for.
Skill Me Up offers comprehensive Azure training aligned to a range of cloud job roles from cloud architects and developers to data and security professionals.
Learning content is delivered via on-demand courses, live labs, and live-streamed instructor-led training. Currently, Skill Me Up offers 11 Azure-based learning paths, each containing a mix of lectures and hands-on labs. Some are explicitly geared towards passing a specific Azure exam, while others take a more task-focused approach. (POA)
Formerly known as Lynda, LinkedIn’s wide-ranging training brand LinkedIn Learning has a vast range of Azure courses and videos. To date, there are over 120 courses and more than 3,100 video tutorials designed to help sharpen up users’ Azure skills.
Courses are produced by Azure professionals and experts, with options for technical and non-technical cloud users alike. There’s a good mix of exam preparation, practical task-based learning for product specialists, role-aligned training, and conceptual overviews for beginners.
LinkedIn Learning works on an all-you-can-learn basis, with access to all courses available for $39.99 per month (with a free one-month trial) or $323.88 for the year if paid annually. There is also a business option (POA).
Skylines Academy is an online learning provider that aims to prepare budding IT professionals for their Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, HashiCorp, and Google Cloud Platform certifications.
Skylines Academy content can be accessed either through a monthly subscription at $19 p/m or $199 per year. You can buy one-off courses, too, with prices starting from $29. Study guides are available, along with practice questions for Azure exams, starting from $19. These are included with the membership subscription.
Simplilearn currently offer 245 Microsoft Azure courses. There are courses, university and master’s programs available. Pricing varies. There is also a corporate ‘bootcamp’ available, delivering in-person training. POA. They do have some free materials as well.
Cloud Academy is a colossal online library of training courses covering all kinds of hands-on technical skills.
Their training is split up into learning paths, making it easy for you to know where to start and how to progress. These paths don’t just cover career-centric routes like skilling up for a specific job role or preparing for a certification, but also practical tasks such as migrating a business to the cloud.
There are currently 77 Azure courses, set along 24 learning paths, that cover all levels from foundational, introductory knowledge to advanced specialisms like security and machine learning.
Most of them are less than an hour long, meaning they’re super digestible and easy to squeeze into your day. Individuals can get access to the library, which boasts more than 10,000 hours of training materials and practical labs, for $39 a month, and businesses can have access for $55 per user p/m (up to 15 users). A 40% discount is applied to annual subscriptions.
As well as their free introductory course, A Cloud Guru offers some truly extensive courses geared toward both prepping learners for certification exams and offering deep dives into some of Azure’s most popular services.
They combine fun, hands-on digital learning with video and practical labs that give you real-world experience with Azure products. There are a range of Azure courses to choose from, ranging from beginner-level intros to advanced concepts like architecture design. A business plan starts from $420 per year.
Training and development has become even more important to employees around the world, with it being among the top 5 employee perks you should be offering in 2022, according to our Nigel Frank Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft 365 & Azure Edition 2021-22. So, companies who are not investing in it or providing opportunities are at great risk of losing top talent, whether that’s now or during future hiring efforts.
You can read more expert training and development advice on our blog. If you’re looking for new hires to join your team, get in touch or browse our extensive roster of Azure candidates to fill your vacancies.
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