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Most developers know that in the rapidly innovating world of enterprise technology, acquiring new skills is not optional. This is no truer than for the cloud developers of EY, a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services with clients in nearly every major industry around the globe. These professionals work on some of the most advanced Microsoft technologies available and find themselves consistently reskilling in the face of cloud innovation or pursuing new knowledge to open up career opportunities they may have never considered before.

Two cloud engineers with EY recently participated in the Cloud Skills Challenge (CSC) as part of their professional development. The CSC impacted their professional development while opening the door for them to explore new skills, platforms, and career opportunities.

EY and the CSC to promote developer skilling

EY relies on Microsoft products such as Azure to support their global businesses. Since EY continually looks to leverage whatever they can from these products, they put a serious emphasis on their cloud development teams and their ability to stay on top of the latest trends from Microsoft.

Due to the need for continued skills training, many of the EY developers were already familiar with Microsoft Learn and its interactive learning opportunities. In fact, EY already pushed Microsoft Learn certification so that cloud developers would stay on top of the relevant skills they would need.

“I do it [Microsoft Learn modules] every day before I go to sleep,” said Veronica Gomez, a DevOps Engineer with EY. “I work, I have a family, I have two little kids. It is difficult for me to focus normally. It allows me to work on my career.”

Microsoft Learn provided the foundation for self-directed learning, but EY found that scaling their desired skilling outcomes while motivating their cloud development teams was a challenge for their global operations. That’s where the CSC helped them.

The CSC is a training experience where learners can follow pre-determined course paths that link Microsoft Learn modules based on their topics, like Azure fundamentals, machine learning, or Power Platform.

More importantly, the CSC leveraged certification and competition to drive skilling. Completing a module earns users points that are measured on a leaderboard. Successful completion of learning paths provides users with badges and certifications on the associated Microsoft product, while top performers stand a chance of winning bragging rights and unique prizes.

The combination of the gamified learning elements and guided paths built on top of the flexible Microsoft Learn modules allowed developers at EY to skill at their own pace, but with fun objectives and logical learning paths. “I was starting to get certified on many Azure projects, so I knew that Microsoft Learn was beneficial,” said Alejandro Peczan, Cloud Architect at EY. “I started to get an interest in Learn, then I kind of came to the CSC and decided to participate.”

Skilling beyond immediate career needs

The CSC helped developers at EY pick up or refine skills related to their immediate professions. They also expressed that it helped them expand themselves professionally beyond their immediate jobs. According to Gomez, while EY required her to certify on the Azure paths they encouraged her to take other modules. “I find other ones [modules] very interesting,” she said. “Like learning Python or learning about AI and security..some things are not part of my daily tasks but I’m interested in knowing a little about everything.”

For Gomez, the CSC and Microsoft Learn encouraged her to pursue other paths that she never really connected to her daily tasks or even paths that just interested her at the moment. Peczan echoed this sentiment, saying that other courses caught his attention even as he completed his Azure certifications. With the CSC, they were able to make connections between new skills and their current jobs while envisioning the future paths of their careers as cloud developers.

Conclusion

Combining Microsoft Learn with the CSC helped the cloud developers of EY build their skillsets in a meaningful way and expanded their desire to learn more about related Microsoft technology. Most importantly, it allowed them to learn on their own schedules.

The CSC, as an accessory to Microsoft Learn, is free of charge and open to developers.  Start skilling with the Cloud Skills Challenge now.