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Microsoft to train half a million people in cloud by the end of the decade

Microsoft plans to train up 30,000 people in cloud computing by 2020 and will expand the idea to produce half a million cloud experts in the same time frame, it has announced.

This chimes well with a number of reports of skills gaps (only last year we interviewed the chief executive of international IT industry body CompTIA who was deeply concerned about young people’s lack of interest in tech careers.


Speaking at the launch of the event, Microsoft’s UK CEO Cindy Rose said Brexit meant the UK would be charting a “new and different path” to the future and stressed that as a company that has been active over here for some 30 years, Microsoft would continue to be a part of that future.

Chancellor Philip Hammond, who also attended the event, stressed that this meant that Britain was a great place to do digital business. There’s an element of “well, he wouldn’t he” but anything that increases the relevant skills base in the UK has to be better for the public sector and the population overall.

The only issue we’d raise, somewhat tentatively, is: at the moment, the cloud looks like a safe bet. Everything appears to be moving that way, from the government’s G-cloud to the music on people’s phones. We get it.

However, 30 years ago everything was held on personal computers. Individually. 20 years prior to that the trend was towards everything being held centrally on a mainframe and people having only terminals attached to it.

The technology has upgraded phenomenally but the cloud is arguably a move back to centralisation. The real question here is going to be whether that’s permanent, in which case half a million people with cloud skills is unalloyed good news, or whether this might be a cyclical thing, in which case an untransferable cloud skill might be of little use.

As a side point, half a million is quite a chunk of a population of 64m. Do we really need almost one in 12 people to be a cloud expert?