Microsoft Virtual Academy: Big Data

Making sense of it all, that is what Big Data is about. Some businesses and organizations acquire massive amounts of data, but then find they have no real way to draw proper conclusions from them. Whether it is raw or structured data, machine- or human-generated data – Microsoft’s analytics tools can give a helping hand to any type of storage or analysis of data such as emails, server logs, bank transfers, social network behaviors, and mobile content.

Learning to draw conclusions is crucial

Learning to draw conclusions is crucial

Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) has only seven courses in its Big Data section, but this small amount of courses holds answers to “Big” questions. The courses provide an introduction to Big Data, as well as insight into related software and ways of implementing Big Data analysis.

The courses are:

  1. Microsoft Azure Big Data and Business Analytics (Level 100)
  2. Implementing Big Data Analysis (Level 100)
  3. Big Data Analytics with HDInsight: Hadoop on Azure (Level 200)
  4. Big Data with the Microsoft Analytics Platform System (Level 200)
  5. Big Data Analytics (Level 200)
  6. Getting Started with Microsoft Big Data (Level 200)
  7. Data Science and Machine Learning Essentials (Level 300)

The two most popular courses in the Big Data section are Getting Started with Microsoft Big Data and Implementing Big Data Analysis. Let’s go a little bit more in-depth with each of these popular courses.

Course Review: Getting Started with Microsoft Big Data

Getting Started with Microsoft Big Data is instructed by Bill Ramos and Saptak Sen. This training course acts as an introduction to Microsoft’s Big Data services, such as Azure HDInsight and Azure Storage. Students who lack experience with Big Data will be able to find an overview of how Microsoft views Big Data, and of how Big Data tools can be used to become instantly more productive.

Azure HDInsight

Azure HDInsight

The topics covered in this course are:

  • Introduction to Big Data
  • Introduction to Map Reduce
  • Introduction to Hive and HiveQL
  • Developing Big Data Applications with .NET
  • Operationalize your Big Data Pipeline
  • Recommended Resources & Next Steps

This course is worth 47 points. It runs approximately four hours, and it has six modules and five assessment exams. Being a “getting stared” type of course, there are no prerequisites. However, because it is a Level 200 course, IT or data professionals who wish to enroll in this course should have at least six months of experience. The course is rated 4 out of 5 stars.

About the Instructors: Bill Ramos and Saptak Sen

Ramos works with Advaiya, Inc. as their SQL Server Workstream Manager. Prior to his work with Advaiya, he spent 15+ years at Microsoft. Ramos works on or with the SQL Server development team in some capacity, be it in Visual Studio, Access, or Excel. He is also on the SQL Server Manageability Team.

Sen is Senior Product Manager for High Performance Computing and Technical Computing at Microsoft. Before his current role he was with the Developer & Platform Evangelism team and Microsoft Consulting Services team, helping customers and partners solve high scalability challenges. He was been with Microsoft Corporation for over 10 years.

Course Review: Implementing Big Data Analysis

Implementing Big Data Analysis is instructed by Pete Harris and Graeme Malcolm. This course is an intro to Big Data in general, and Windows Azure HDInsight in particular. In this Level 100 course, the duo teaches students the fundamentals of Big Data, its values, as well as common scenarios and technologies.

Instructor Pete Harris

Instructor Pete Harris

The topics covered in this course are:

  • Introduction to Big Data
  • Getting Started with Windows Azure HDInsight
  • Introduction to Windows Azure PowerShell
  • Processing Big Data with Pig
  • Processing Big Data with Hive
  • Automating Big Data Processing
  • Analyzing Big Data with Excel
  • Recommended Resources & Next Steps

This JumpStart course is worth 66 points. It runs approximately five hours, and includes eight modules and seven assessment exams. There are also slides and screenshots available for download. Students can use these aids to progress alongside the instructors. This course is rated 5 out of 5 stars, and there are no prerequisites. Because it is a Level 100 course, even IT and data professionals who don’t have too much experience can join in and learn how to utilize Microsoft Azure’s power to store and organize data.

About the Instructors: Pete Harris and Graeme Malcolm

Instructor Graeme Malcolm

Instructor Graeme Malcolm

Harris is a Senior Content Developer with the Microsoft Learning Experiences team located in Redmond, WA. He has been building content for Microsoft since 1995. Harris’ diverse background in building content spans the Microsoft application platform, and includes Microsoft Azure as well as other data platform services.

Malcolm is a trainer, consultant, and author who specializes in SQL Server and the Microsoft data platform. He is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert for the SQL Server Data Platform and Business Intelligence. He spent years working with Microsoft as a partner and vendor, and is presently a senior content developer with the Microsoft Learning Experiences team, where he plans and creates content for developers and data professionals.


Trying to make sense of it all? You need some major weapons in your analytics arsenal. Microsoft makes sure that you get everything you need in one place. The Microsoft Analytics Platform System is a marvel of modern engineering. It helps countless businesses and organizations across the globe make smart, business-minded decisions.

Take a look at the Big Data courses on MVA, and see how Microsoft’s experts can help your business or organization grow.

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