Microsoft Software and Systems Academy Now Virtual and Free

Good news for U.S. service members – the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy has shifted wholly online in response to the pandemic.

Richard Hay, Senior Content Producer

February 3, 2021

2 Min Read
Microsoft Software and Systems Academy Now Virtual and Free
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As companies look for new IT talent to spread out a pandemic-increased IT workload, one area for potential employees is the people who are leaving the armed forces. The Microsoft Software and Systems Academy is an eight-year-old program that provides transitioning service members and veterans, including those with clearance, with training in tech skills to bolster their qualifications for employment in the tech sector.

Recently Microsoft announced that the entire program, which had shifted online over the past year due to COVID-19, will now remain a permanent virtual training program open to all eligible U.S. military service members and veterans across the United States, including those who live outside of the country.

Although the move to providing the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy training entirely virtually is not a surprise, the unexpected element of this news is that Microsoft will now fully fund the program for its participants. That means no cost to service members or veterans or the need to use their GI Bill benefits to cover the cost of the class.

According to Microsoft Vice President for Military Affairs Chris Cortez (USMC General, Ret.), there are almost 200,000 service members leaving the military this coming year and they are looking to enter the civilian workforce at their earliest opportunity.

Cortez also added that the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy has proven to be a very effective career step for transitioning military members: 95% of its graduates are either working full time in a technology position or have completed their college degree.

“Participants of the revamped, full-time, 16- to 17-week course will receive a solid foundation of technical training and career transition skills through practical, hands-on exercises, virtual labs and certification testing, delivered by leading education partners as well as mentors from Microsoft,” Cortrez said.

There are two main tracks for the course which attendees can select to focus their learning efforts – cloud application developer or cloud administrator. With organizations continuing to move through their own digital transformations and shifting into hybrid and full public cloud configurations, these areas of focus will provide valuable skills to those organizations.

Learn more about the program at the MSSA website.

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About the Author(s)

Richard Hay

Senior Content Producer, IT Pro Today (Informa Tech)

I served for 29 plus years in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer in November 2011. My work background in the Navy was telecommunications related so my hobby of computers fit well with what I did for the Navy. I consider myself a tech geek and enjoy most things in that arena.

My first website – – came online in 1995. Back then I used GeoCities Web Hosting for it and is the result of the work I have done on that site since 1995.

In January 2010 my community contributions were recognized by Microsoft when I received my first Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award for the Windows Operating System. Since then I have been renewed as a Microsoft MVP each subsequent year since that initial award. I am also a member of the inaugural group of Windows Insider MVPs which began in 2016.

I previously hosted the Observed Tech PODCAST for 10 years and 317 episodes and now host a new podcast called Faith, Tech, and Space. 

I began contributing to Penton Technology websites in January 2015 and in April 2017 I was hired as the Senior Content Producer for Penton Technology which is now Informa Tech. In that role, I contribute to ITPro Today and cover operating systems, enterprise technology, and productivity.

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