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Bridging the Skills Gap: Coursera Introduces Microsoft-Backed Certificates in Cybersecurity and Power BI

Online learning platform Coursera has announced two new Microsoft-endorsed Professional Certificates aimed at fostering talent in the rapidly expanding fields of cybersecurity and Microsoft Power BI. For the first time, Coursera is offering entry-level certificates from Microsoft, designed to equip learners with practical skills, irrespective of their educational background or prior industry experience.

Addressing the Talent Shortfall in Cybersecurity and Power BI

The initiative comes amid growing demand for cybersecurity and business intelligence professionals. There are currently over 170,000 open entry-level roles in cybersecurity and 60,000+ for Power BI developers in the U.S. alone, according to Lightcast’s U.S. Job Postings data. This number is projected to soar over the next five years, with both sectors pegged to be among the fastest-growing by the World Economic Forum.

To help aspiring professionals tap into this burgeoning job market, Coursera, in collaboration with Microsoft, has launched two entry-level professional certificates: Microsoft Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate and Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Professional Certificate.

Preparing for a Cybersecurity Career

The Microsoft Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate is a comprehensive nine-course program that delves into core cybersecurity skills, such as threat detection, escalation, and using crucial technologies like Microsoft Azure. With around 10 hours of learning per week, it can be completed in about four to six months, preparing learners for entry-level roles like cybersecurity analyst.

Power BI Skills for Aspiring Data Analysts

The Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Professional Certificate is an eight-course program focusing on the fundamentals of Microsoft Power BI, a leading business intelligence platform used by 97% of the Fortune 500 companies. Just like the cybersecurity certificate, this program requires about 10 hours of learning per week and can be completed in four to six months, priming learners for entry-level roles like Power BI developer or analyst.

Prepping for Industry-Recognized Certification Exams

Both these programs will also prepare learners for relevant industry certification exams. Those completing the Cybersecurity Analyst program will be ready to take the SC-900: Microsoft Security Compliance and Identity Fundamentals Exam, while Power BI learners will be primed for the PL-300: Microsoft Power BI Data Analyst Exam.

As an added incentive, Microsoft will provide the first 2,500 pre-enrolled learners with vouchers that cover the full cost of their respective Microsoft certification exam. Additionally, Women in Cloud is offering scholarships for learners to take these Microsoft Professional Certificates on Coursera.

A Step Forward in Online Learning

Elisa Graceffo, Senior Director of Technical Content at Microsoft, underscored Microsoft’s commitment to skilling programs that leverage online learning’s transformative speed and scale. “Together with Coursera, we’re expanding opportunities for people of all backgrounds through job-relevant learning enriched by Microsoft’s technological expertise and tools,” she said.

According to a Coursera Learner Outcomes Report, one in four certificate completers reported securing a new job, highlighting the value and potential of these learning pathways. With these new entry-level courses, Coursera and Microsoft aim to bridge the skills gap while providing learners with viable opportunities for career development in cybersecurity and Power BI.

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