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After all the product announcements, betas and sneak peaks at all things management related at MMS last week, one thing crept out out of the Las Vegas haze that might have gone unnoticed. We’ve launched an online Virtual Academy called the MVA (Microsoft Virtual Academy).  Picture it as a single place to go for free training online on a variety of hot topics (private cloud, IaaS, Paas, Saas, System Center, Virtualization, Azure etc…) that you take assessments to validate your learnings and show off your score.  A Microsoft Passport is required, personalized profile options and international and national rankings.

I took the plunge and went through “Planning, Building and Managing a Private Cloud” course for in an effort to gain 60 points.

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Once the course was selected, check out the interface for your modules and progress below (I had just finished the first 2 when I had to refill my coffee).

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OK – the coffee had not quite set in yet as I finished up the last questions from the last module – I passed, but don’t tell my boss it wasn’t perfect, OK? To be fair – I was 100% on the other two modules.

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One of the neat things I like about this (not that I am competitive or anything) is the ranking in your country and around the world – you can see this on your dashboard screen.

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To sum it up:

  • Free resource to valuable online training and skills assessment / validation.
  • Based on current technologies for topics that are important to your skills development AND your business.
  • Helps you gain the knowledge to carry on a Proactive conversation with your organization, instead of a reactive one.
  • Leads you to MS learning resources for certification or in person events to supplement your knowledge even more.
  • Looks like there are promotions in the works that you can take advantage of based on your Skilz ranking (still to be confirmed – I’m checkin’ in on it).

Go on out – sign up and give it a shot. Can you Unseat me as #2 in Canada? I’m looking to gain #1 spot!!!