I am an IT Pro and this is my journey to the Cloud

By Samuel Erskine

The technology landscape is forever evolving and keeping up with the innovation as an IT Pro is even more challenging in the cloud era. We as IT Pros are forever hearing that if you don’t adapt you will get left behind and, worse be redundant!

Microsoft understands this challenge and is first in simplifying, as well as providing solutions. The solution in question is the launch of the IT Pro Cloud Essentials website. Before I dive into what you get and how you access this service, let me start with why?

There are 3 core common challenges for all IT Pros:

  1. How do you keep up with technological changes in your field or new fields of interest?
  2. How do you get access to and use new technology and innovations in the industry?
  3. How do you update your skills and which skills are relevant for career advancement?

The first challenge is easy to address today. In short “social media” and the endless community/individual/vendor blogs.

The second and third challenge in my opinion are also addressed through a series of free online resources and a vast array of vendor trial options. Usually these trials are time bound and access to resources are not always structured to match the busy life style of an IT Pro. Microsoft allows you to address these common challenges through the launch of the IT Pro Cloud Essentials program in April 2016.

The IT Pro Cloud Essentials program provides all IT Pros with two core options

  1. Access to cloud resources
  2. Access to career advancement educational resources

These two options are the IT Pro Cloud Essentials and IT Pro Career Center:




Both of these resources are free and available to you today. The end of this article provides links to resources including videos on what the program is and how to get started. Here is a quick overview of both options.

IT Pro Cloud Essentials (Cloud Services)

Once you register with the site, you have three core areas:

Cloud Services: A series of free trials to Microsoft’s vast array of cloud services including but not limited to Microsoft Azure, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Office 365 and Windows 10.

Technical Support: The service gives you a link to a forum where you can post issues to the community and Microsoft experts for free. You also have 1 individual Microsoft Support Incident available to use.

Azure Scenarios: Sample Scenarios to use for lab experimentation in the different cloud services; for example, how do you experiment with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).


IT Pro Career Center

You can access this part either by clicking on the Education tile or through the direct link. The central feature and value of the career center is the option to map your existing role to the equivalent cloud based role.


The role mapping tool gives you a primary and secondary role equivalent in the cloud space. More importantly you are also provided with a list of primary and secondary skills you must focus on. These skills include links to the Microsoft Virtual Academy website to the specific free courses you need to update your skill set. Additionally, the IT Pro Essentials program also includes free training courses from Pluralsight as well as a free Microsoft certification exam voucher.

I and MVP Lee Berg recorded a video as part of our fun series on how to Journey to the cloud. The video walks you through the program and provides additional links to resources. I had the honour of meeting the leader of the team behind what I believe is a game changer in the Journey to the Cloud for the IT Pro. Check it out yourself through the website and these great videos from the IT Pro Cloud Essential team explaining the program and what you get for free!

Go on, have a go!



By Samuel Erskine. Samuel is a certified Microsoft trainer, who also holds certifications in Office365 and Cloud Deployment. Samuel is also the author of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Unleashed as well as Microsoft System Center Service Manager 2012 Cookbook. 

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