This tech giant wants to help you land your next job

Microsoft is launching an online education program aimed at creating qualified data scientists. But they’re not the only big name creating courses to draw job seekers.

This tech giant wants to help you land your next job

Like many jobs in the tech industry, there are more open data scientist positions than qualified candidates to fill them. That’s a shortage you can work to your advantage—and some tech employers would love nothing better. Microsoft is launching an online certification program aimed at getting more qualified data scientists into the job market. Called the Microsoft Professional Degree (MPD) program, it’s designed to offer “employer-endorsed, university-caliber curriculum for professionals at any stage of their career.”

The first course offerings are in data science—Microsoft hopes it will be a resource for both entry-level individuals starting their careers and mid-career professionals looking to sharpen their skills.

Leading data scientists at Microsoft developed the curriculum, which consists of multiple courses and a final project. If you just want to learn, auditing the material is free, but to receive credit towards the Microsoft Professional Degree, you must purchase certificates after each completed course.

Other tech giants have already made an effort to court job seekers via online education courses. Google works with Udacity, the online learning start-up, to offer nanodegrees in the basics of Android programming. GitHub also partnered up with Udacity to teach Ruby on Rails. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have also all offered certification courses in their respective cloud platforms.

Even if your career is already established, it could be beneficial to enroll in online programs and add another skill to your resume. It’s no surprise that some employers are focusing on cloud jobs—it’s a huge growth area, with a high salary to boot. And according to Monster, Android skills as one of the 10 most in-demand abilities for job-seeking mobile developers. Data scientists, meanwhile, account for over 1,000 available jobs on Monster right now.

As for employers, the ongoing tech shortage may mean embracing more dynamic hiring strategies. This might mean hiring more diverse employees or looking at qualified candidates with nontraditional educational backgrounds, including those with nanodegrees or tech bootcamp graduates.

Once you’ve brushed up your skills, check out some of the many postings looking for data scientists. Microsoft is searching, but so are Nintendo, Amazon, T-Mobile and many other desirable places to work around the country.