Microsoft and Coursedot have joined forces to open the first Microsoft Certification Lab in Sofia, Bulgaria. The new project aims to create top certified IT professionals on a worldclass level.

The main focus of the new Microsoft Certification Lab is going to be the cloud and the Azure platform. There are over 100 trainings from the start of the Lab. They are available for free and over 40 companies and IT professionals have already joined.

The trainings feature both online courses and instructor-led courses with top certified trainers. The first trainings start on May 28th, 2018 in the Microsoft Innovation Hub in Sofia Tech Park. Participants will also have the opportunity to apply for certification after the trainings.

The need for IT professionals grows

“There are about 55 000 IT developers in Bulgaria and many of them are focused on the cloud”, said Kalin Dimchev, CEO of Microsoft Bulgaria. “There are still many additional topics that need attention like Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and many more”, he added. All of these will also be part of the Microsoft Certification Lab.

These centiments were echoed by the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel. She was a special guest at the opening of the new Microsoft Certification Lab in Sofia.

“Europe needs about 320 000 IT professionals right now. Until 2020 that number will rise to half a million. I am happy that only 2 days after the new tech strategy of the European Comission there’s already such an initiative by a big company like Microsoft and a local success story like Coursedot”, Gabriel said.

The European Commissioner said she will continue to draw more attention to the topic as it needs to reach as many people as possible. She also noted the need for more attention to the topic of women in IT. Gabriel said Bulgaria is leading in this as while the average share of women in IT for the EU is 16%, in Bulgaria is 30%.

There’s still a problem in education where only 24 in 1000 university IT graduates are women. The new Microsoft Certification Lab will aim to make IT accessible and interesting to even more women to join the technology industry.

“The need for IT professionals for the cloud grows with every single day. So, the main goal of the Microsoft Certification lab is to create certified professionals who can be on a worldclass level and be exactly what tech companies look for”, says Teodor Panayotov, CEO of Coursedot.

New skills and opportunities

The first wave features two main courses which will be lead by a certified trainer. They are Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure and Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions.

The first training is for IT professionals with some cloud experience and want to hone their Azure skills. The training helps learn the insides of Microsoft Azure and how to use virtual machines and networks, web and mobile apps, cloud storage and much more.

Next, the second training is for IT professionals with some Azure experience. This course is for professionals who work with Azure on a daily basis. Especially if they plan to expand their organizations’ Azure-based solutions. These trainings start next month.

The second wave of trainings is slated for August 2018. Both Microsoft and Coursedot already want to expand the Certification Lab in other cities in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe.

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