Off late I have been working with Microsoft to pull together training on DevOps. The experience of working with the Microsoft products, the staff and the broader ecosystem reflects that the Microsoft of today isn’t the Microsoft we’ve known for years… The hyper scale of innovation coupled with a lean culture and a DevOps way of working is enabling Microsoft to bring new product features out at a dramatic pace. While it’s great to open the Azure Portal and find new features and services showing up almost every other day. This pace of change is starting to almost challenge the uptake of these feature because of the lack of supporting training, feature documentation and overall community support. Like any other businesses Microsoft also makes investment in the products based on its uptake. This is leading up to be a chicken and egg problem as the lack of learning content is impacting product investments…

A technology book project takes about 6 - 9 months on average from agreement to go live. While the authoring may not actually take more than 3 months, the publication process takes up the remaining time. As you would appreciate these prolonged times don’t necessary lend themselves to the pace of change introduced by the cloud. The lack of publication also means people who want to take product certification don’t have good official content available for learning…

How are you getting your training these days? I am finding more and more that the days of the traditional “Book” based training is starting to die off! Amazon might still be making a fortune by selling books, but I don’t think this includes a huge chunk of Technology based books. As an author of a relatively popular ALM & DevOps training book announcement myself, I am slightly disappointed but at the same time excited about the potential for new opportunities that may open up as the replacement for what we now refer as the traditional ways of learning…

How are you finding the learning content from Microsoft, challenging or appropriate? Leave a comment…

So, What is Microsoft doing this?

The existing platforms are being ramped up, have you seen the new Microsoft docs website - this is an overhaul of the MSDN documentation? It uses the GitHub Static Pages and Jekyll engine that I use for my blog. The brilliance of further customization allows you to make edit suggestions to the documentation which opens up a pull request for the repository backing the product documentation. The investment in learning content has shifted from just internally run learning platforms to open platforms. You would have noticed that there are more Microsoft engineers answering questions on StackOverflow and Twitter than every before. Taking inspiration from the uptake of video based training platforms such as PluralSight, Microsoft MVA academy is producing significantly more video content than every before. More user group events are streamed on Channel9 and even more MVP’s are contributing to the video training series on Channel9. In addition to this, Microsoft is also exploring new platforms…

Welcome to the brave new world of Microsoft Open Edx! Microsoft has heavily refocussed its investments from Microsoft Press to more open platforms such as Open Edx. Having locked down the right platform that will get you the reach, but without compelling content the platform still won’t solve the traditional problems.

edX is a massive open online course provider. It hosts online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide student body, including some courses at no charge.

As you probably know I am a Microsoft MVP in Visual Studio Development Tools, leading the DevOps capability for Avanade here in the UK. Within this capacity I spend a lot of time with customers solving real world challenges of DevOps. Microsoft is partnering with industry experts like myself who have real world experience in running through these DevOps transformations for Business critical systems to bring these learnings out into training content. Combine the expertise of these individuals and the open edx platform, you almost have a secret sauce!

So, how was the experience of creating training content for Microsoft?

I’ve absolutely enjoyed creating these training courses. Having authored a book I can contrast how limited decision making an author has. However, in this case… I had full freedom to propose the storyline for the edX training courses, I was encouraged to focus on the subject and not the tool set. This meant, I didn’t have to speak about the Microsoft Platforms, I could talk about Open Source tooling, 3rd party products and if appropriate show the integration of these back into the Microsoft tool sets. Although, I must say that I found almost all interesting open source tools integrating with VSTS and Azure in some meaningful way. Microsoft has both internal and open source contributors review the storyline to validate the coverage of the right frameworks broadly used within the community.

In addition to creating the content for the training, reviewing some of the other content created by Microsoft I was also asked to record the training sessions. I travelled to the Microsoft Lex Studio on the campus in Redmond. I was totally impressed by the Microsoft Studio setup, the channel 9 studio team are also in the same building and record a lot of their content in this studio.

Lex Studio Microsoft

The studio recording and editing kit and the professional studio staff running the studios is amazing!

Lex Studio Microsoft

Of course, me, recording the courses…

Lex Studio Microsoft

Courses I have in the Edx Library?

I would encourage you to check out the library, it’s loaded with a lot of courses on DevOps, PowerBi and Azure… So far I have two courses up on the library…

How are you finding the training content from Microsoft, would love to hear your views…


About author
Tarun Arora
Tarun Arora
Tarun Arora is obsessed with high-quality working software, DevOps, Continuous Delivery and Agile. His core strengths are Azure, Azure DevOps, PowerShell, SQL and WPF. He is a Microsoft MVP in Visual Studio Development Tools and the author of 'DevOps & ALM with TFS 2015'.
We Are
  • onlyutkarsh
    Utkarsh Shigihalli
    Microsoft MVP, Technologist & DevOps Coach

  • arora_tarun
    Tarun Arora
    Microsoft MVP, Author & DevOps Coach at Avanade

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