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When it comes to comprehensive digital business solutions, few companies in the world offer the portfolio of services that NTT DATA does. Headquartered in Plano, TX, NTT DATA manages a worldwide team of 50,000 employees that help their customers through their digital transformations. From cloud migration to infrastructure upgrades and business process optimization, NTT DATA provides a list of support services that their clients count on.

Being a Microsoft partner, NTT DATA employees must stay skilled on all of Microsoft’s latest products. So, when company leadership decided to offer enrollment to the Cloud Skills Challenge with Microsoft Learn, many developers took part. Two of those developers recently gave some insight into their experience with the Challenge and how it helped them personally and professionally.

Learning how to develop cloud skills quickly and intuitively with Microsoft Learn and the Cloud Skills Challenge

It was important for any skilling solution NTT DATA used to support relevant training on emerging technology, while at the same time enticing developers to participate on their own schedules. To incentivize skilling in the organization, NTT DATA leadership decided to invite their developers to take part in the Cloud Skills Challenge.

The Cloud Skills Challenge provides a framework for Microsoft Learn built around achievements and learning paths. Participants can choose learning paths that cover topics comprehensively. Completing individual modules earns participants points that are ranked on a competitive board.

For developers Nisha Prasad and Nilendra Singh, the opportunity to learn new skills in an interactive and simple environment led to them joining the CSC.

“That was the first time I used Microsoft Learn” Nisha, Business Process Management Consultant at NTT DATA, said. “I wanted to learn Azure technologies but I’m not using them in my daily work. So, when I got the email and went to the meeting, I registered.”

“The good thing about Microsoft Learn is that it provides you a sandbox, and this sandbox is free,” Nilendra, a data scientist with NTT DATA, said. “Normally, I would need an admin to set up boxes, make a cluster… with Microsoft Learn, I was able to learn and work immediately.”

Nilendra and Nisha praised Microsoft Learn as a tool but said that it was somewhat overwhelming because there are so many free modules available to pick from. That’s where the Cloud Skills Challenge helped them drive their skill development.

“If someone just comes to learn, they get lost because they don’t know where to start,” Nilendra said.

With learning pathways built into the CSC, however, both Nisha and Nilendra were able to jump into Microsoft Learn modules relevant to their positions. The competitive aspect helped drive their learning in a fun way. Nilendra, the winner of the CSC, said that the gamified elements made learning more engaging, and drove him to complete modules to earn points and expand his knowledge.

Nisha agreed. “Having the CSC helps you understand what path you are on,” she said. “And having the challenge is a rush when you win.”

Using the Cloud Skills Challenge to develop personally and professionally

Both Nilendra and Nisha noted that because of the competitive elements and ease of use, they were able to take modules that were outside their immediate area of expertise and expand their knowledge.

When asked what modules she took, Nisha laughed. “A lot of them,” she said. Outside of the core Azure modules, she also branched out into machine learning and AI to help her learn more about testing models against data in an organized way.

Nilendra also noted that he took AI and machine learning modules, as well as modules covering streaming data analytics. “These modules were quite intensive but quite easy to follow. It’s so simple to learn.”

Both Nilendra and Nisha noted that they took additional modules on their own, outside of the demands of the NTT DATA training program. They did this to broaden their skills while developing clear personal and professional interests that could further their careers.


The greatest benefit of the Cloud Skills Challenge is how it fills in skills gaps that otherwise would not have been filled. Both Nilendra and Nisha said that they had never used Microsoft Learn before their participation. With the Cloud Skills Challenge, however, they found the structure and competition provided an incentive to jump into modules, engage with the exercises, and maximize their time and energy to develop their careers.

CTA: Ready to level up your skills? See how you can join the Cloud Skills Challenge