I’m Starting out on the Microsoft Professional Program in Big Data!!

Over a year ago Microsoft released a new kind of certification which was different to its usual study and sit an exam type, for this certificate you needed to pass various courses on different subjects which were all related to an over arching subject of Data science.

This peaked my interest initially, but this quickly waned when I realised I didn’t really want to pursue a career in data science and regardless most data scientist jobs required candidates to have a degree in mathematics  and I didn’t even have GCSE in the subject, so that would no doubt have resulted in my CV being instant filing  under B.I.N for any job application in this field. So I decided against taking the course and  hoped Microsoft would release different tracks for this new type of certifications.

Later in the year Microsoft did announce they we’re going to release two new tracks, one focusing on Big Data and another on Web front end development.  I waited and waited but there wasn’t really any big announcements about the course being available to start so I completely forgot about them all together.

That was until this summer when I decided to take another look at these course tracks and finally decided to take the leap and start the big data course track.  Here are some of the questions which I’ve been asked about the course when I’ve mentioned it to colleagues or friends who work in the technology industry, so I thought I’d answer a few in this blog post.

Why the big data course? : I currently work as a kind of hybrid SQL professional, I’m a DBA, developer and BI type guy but have mainly been working in data warehouse development now for quite a few years and love the work.  Therefore learning new skills to advance the way I can gather and process data seemed a no brainier compared to the alternatives like the data science track.

Hows it all going? : Well lets not get giddy about it, I’ve completed the first course on Big data orientation and received my first certificate . But from first impressions I think I’ve made the right choice with the big data course, its more the type of career path I want to pursue in the future and also seems to better compliment my current skill set.

Are the edx courses any good? : Judging by the couple which I’d taken prior (both python courses) and this course I’d say a massive 100% yes, the courses are free (you need to pay to get a verified cert to pass the MPP however) and the content is excellent. Sure you need to have the time to complete the courses, but hey 2-3 hours per week is quite doable, even ask you employer if you can have an hour of so a week to study for something which technically they’ll benefit from and if they say no; well happen its time to move on (joking, please don’t quit).

What am I looking to get out of doing the Microsoft professional program course? : Having worked in the data professional world for 10+ years I’ve always know one thing, I love working with data. To most people that would seem utterly boring, but to me I love it.  Being able to do everything from protecting and ensuring data is available in the DBA role, to the developer role bringing data insight to the companies to facilitate decisions to push the business forward by constructing way of delivering data insights to the business users, it all excites me.

However, as the world of data has exploded in recent years, so has the technologies which are used to carry out these tasks and the world where all this can be carried out in a RDBMS are long gone. Therefore as anyone who works in technology will know you need to constantly learn more and more skills to keep pace with progress.  Therefore I’m hoping this course will give me a good solid grounding to start and incorporate these technologies like Azure SQL data warehouse and data lakes into the solutions which I develop.

Final words (Jerry Springer style :-))

I hope this blog post helps someone who’s happen undecided about whether to take the course of not to hopefully take the plunge and give it a try.

I know for me the decision was made when I attended SQL Saturday Manchester (England) and watched some excellent presentations (not for the first time) from people like @ctesta_oneill , @mrpaulandrew and @PurpleFrogAlex which finally made my mind up for me, watching them presenting solutions and features which just looked simply amazing inspired me to take the plunge and learn these skills myself.

But like most people I’m quite goal driven and need something to aim for otherwise learning new skills can sometimes simply get filed under the “do it later” category and then brushed to one side.

So hopefully in the near future I’ll be able to post some blog posts on my new found skills.

See you all soon and happy learning.


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