Getting time, and resources to stay current with technology is always hard for IT professionals even when that training applies directly to your role.  If you are thinking of cross training because for whatever reason you can’t see a future in doing what you are currently doing then you’re probably going to end up investing your own time and money to reskill.  It can also be hard to work out what to learn about, and if it’s the Microsoft stack you’re interested in there’s just so much stuff it can be hard to know where to begin. 

The Microsoft Virtual Academy is designed to help with this by providing introductory training in a variety of cloud related technologies, but is it any good?  I wasn’t totally sure so I decided to give the course in the private cloud track a spin and see if they are any good.

The private cloud track has four separate courses:

Each course is made up of a number of modules and  each module has various videos and technical articles in it plus an assessment test.  The videos are often on other Microsoft channels such as TechNet Edge, and ShowCase and you get points by following the links , and points for completing the assessment and all module in the course.

Note: don’t watch all the videos by clicking in the TechNet Edge portal, go back to MVA and click on the links there to get credit for each module

So I have registered (you’ll need a LiveID ) logged in and have got going..

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To be honest I cheated on the Success with the Private Cloud course and tested out as I am pretty comfortable with our cloud messaging and was able to get good scores without watching the videos again..

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The other three courses are well worth watching in their entirety even though that’s going to tack a day to do. There’s lots of anecdotal stories from the field along with the high level stuff and the demos really get the concepts across and there’s not too much PowerPoint in there either.  When it came to the assessment questions the level jumped into considerable detail- for example on the Hyper-V deployment module in the Hyper-V for Vmware professionals – the platform course I confess that I did have to rely on what I just learned to get past some of the networking questions.

Finally There are several other track in MVA , around Azure , Office 365 etc. and that  content is continually being added to the MVA platform and I will be looking forward to deeper exploration of the new cloud stuff coming in the next wave of System Center (2012) that is now in beta.