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Microsoft Launches Pair of Programming Certifications

Writing computer code is not necessarily glamorous, but it is a highly employable IT skill. Now Microsoft Learning is adding to its array of certifications with two credentials that address popular programming languages.

Despite rapid advances in machine learning, the list of things that computers can't do independently, or at least not yet, still includes writing their own code. Many experts in the field, as well as more than a few casual observers, are convinced that advances in AI will make programming done by humans obsolete ... someday.

 

Perhaps even someday soon. Consider this recent comment to a post about Google's new "learn to code" app on the Facebook page of Certification Magazine:

 

Cert Mag Facebook April 18

 

So, yes, there's certainly a prevailing opinion among some that it's hardly worth the effort or time required to learn to write code. Why take an interest in programming when computers are just going to squeeze you out of the field before your career is even warmed up?

 

Taking a different perspective are the good folks at Microsoft Learning, the certification and training arm of software titan Microsoft. According to a brand new post at the Born To Learn Blog, Microsoft Learning and nonprofit online education provider edX have teamed up to create two new start-to-finish computer programming certifications.

 

Each of the new computer programming tracks feature a popular programming language, and each is spread across three online courses. Because the courses are offered through edX, you can take them free of charge. Or, for a nominal fee of $99, you can get a professional certificate at the end of each course.

 

One track teaches learners to write code using the popular and widely-adopted Java programming language, which is owned by database technology leader Oracle. The other track teaches learners to write code using the versatile Python programming language created by Guido van Rossum.

 

The Java track includse the following three courses:

● Learn to Program in Java
● Object-Oriented Programming in Java
● Algorithms and Data Structures

 

The Python track includse the following three courses:

● Introduction to Python: Absolute Beginner
● Logic and Computational Thinking
● Introduction to Python: Fundamentals

 

Once you have the Java courses under your belt, you'll be prepared to take and pass Microsoft Learning's Exam 98-388: Introduction to Programming Using Java, while the trio of Python courses prepares you to take and pass Exam 98-381: Introduction to Programming Using Python.

 

Passing either exam gets you the foundational Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification. MTA is an entry-level cert, but the Microsoft name on your résumé is a solid indication of both knowledge and initiative, and you'll have a solid stepping stone from which to pursue higher-level credentials.

 

You'll also walk away with a valuable skill that, while perhaps pooh-poohed in some corners, is definitely of value to employers. As noted in the Born To Learn Blog post announcing the new certification tracks, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics project that employment of software developers — people who write code for a living — is projected to grow by 24 percent from 2016 to 2026.

 

Thanks to the all-hours availability of courses on edX, you can jump in any time. So which will it be? Are you in the mood to swig a hot coffee, or would you rather wrestle a snake?