My short bio: Hello! We are:

Matthew Calder: Senior Publishing Manager at MVA (, Andrew Parsons: Microsoft Developer Audience Marketing Lead (, Christopher Harrison: Microsoft Content Developer ( + More

And we're super-excited to be hosting our first-ever Reddit AMA! You may (or may not) be familiar with Microsoft Virtual Academy (, where we give free technical training delivered by experts, so we're here to answer any questions you have about it. Go ahead, AUA!

My Proof:

EDIT: Thanks for joining us! Got a lot of fantastic questions today, which we plan on answering today. Make sure you stay in touch via twitter (, Facebook (, and of course to learn with fellow developers and IT professionals!

Comments: 184 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

babreu26 karma

Why not make retired courses available in some sort of archive? There is always useful insights even on old content.

MSVirtualAcademy18 karma

It's not a bad idea. At this point we have erred on the side of caution because we don't want people wasting time on something that is out of date. But we understand that depending on your specific needs even the old stuff can be helpful. Another factor is that we have over 2,000 courses and managing the catalog is something we're still getting good at.

Unremoved5 karma

Hey guys,

As someone with a very old Microsoft certification ID who has balanced both formal education along with certifications with a veritable alphabet soup of acronyms behind my name, how do you feel this role of establishing a virtual academy will play out? Do you feel that this environment is something that should be considered supplemental to other educational sources or experiences, or is this something for the next generation to base their career growth around? Thanks for doing the AMA!

MSVirtualAcademy5 karma

That's a great question and something we think about a lot given the same team here at Microsoft looks after certification as well. MVA is a great way of getting quickly skilled up on tech in a variety of areas, while certification is validating/proving your knowledge and skills. As a result, MVA does have certification related courses but it also has a much larger variety of topics than what can be covered through certification.

tla89304 karma

Can you offer some MVA sessions with SHORTER duration - say from 9am-1pm PST (instead of 5pm)? This would be good for East Coast developers to watch it live from 12noon-4pm (instead of going all the way to 8pm EST). Or perhaps make it 2-days session instead? Thanks.

MSVirtualAcademy4 karma

We are starting to do more short duration courses. We are very conscious that we've got a global audience and try to accommodate as best we can from our studios here in Redmond. We do have some short courses "Quick Start Challenges" which take under an hour to do

erickorlando3 karma

Hey guys! I'm from Peru, will MVA offer learning on Advanced topics for Android with Xamarin?

MSVirtualAcademy3 karma

Great topic. We'll be following up with the course planner responsible to be sure he's got it on the roadmap

AlbertGorup2 karma

I finished a "Know It, Prove It" track. It then pointed me to Born2Learn. Born2Learn had two problems: a dead link from a Pearson ad that promised 3 developer exams for the price of one and the 70-480 wiki was not editable. Is Born2Learn still active?

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

Yes, there is still a very active community there. We'll follow up with them about the wiki. Those get pretty heavy usage and should be available.

alexank2 karma

what is value of MVA points?

MSVirtualAcademy6 karma

For a long time, the points were just for fun. We are looking to do a few things and trying to consolidate the point system with other Microsoft sites (forums, certification, etc). Short story, we're working on it. Stay tuned!

mike_holmes_1232 karma

Please do courses which go beyond just being an introduction or tutorial.

Please do courses on app architecture, a real life application has several layers, please talk and show best practices what these layers are, and how they work.

Do you have plan to do this kind of courses? Thanks

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

We're certainly looking at new courses that cover architecture.

TarunPothulapati2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA Whose Idea was MVA?How did it start?

MSVirtualAcademy4 karma

Our Latin American subsidiary offices started it back in 2007 with a focus on IT pro courses. It was a better way to get lots of people access to training than our traditional methods. It was very successful and was quickly adopted by the corporate team. We added developer focused training in 2012 at the same time we started doing the live Jump Starts from Redmond.

fencernick2 karma

What's your greatest success story?

MSVirtualAcademy12 karma

Abhishek Nandy has a great story. He was working as help desk support but started using MVA courses to teach himself app development. He's used MVA to learn how to write his first app for the store, and has gone on to win a bunch of awards. Currently I think he's got a start up he formed with a few other developers. In terms of lots of people getting trained, our Virtualization and Hyper V course had almost 10,000 people watching concurrently. That was a big one for us.

trevorishere1 karma

How do you choose members of the community to come and speak on the topics the MVA is interested in publishing?

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

We look for people who have a following and credibility. We work quite a bit with the MVP community as well. We are looking to branch out and find learners as well to increase our engagement.

can_dry1 karma

My belief is that our kids need to learn programming as a mandatory course beginning as early as possible eg. primary school. Have you folks thought about tailoring courses for children - using a similar delivery - targeted specifically to educators?? Teachers would likely be very happy to just setup a class projector and have you guys teach!

MSVirtualAcademy3 karma

We'd love to do that! Stay tuned!

rmjoia1 karma

Will MVA have courses made in Portugal, in Portuguese mainland or Brazil, I think there's a huge community that would like to have courses on their "own" language.

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

Absolutely! Making sure courses are available in multiple languages is something that is very important to us.

wqwalter1 karma

You mentioned Typing as a skill. Any suggestions on tools for typing skills, and are typing skill for programming any different than general typing?

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

I'm sure others have tools they love, but to answer the second part there isn't any real difference between keyboard skills and programming keyboard skills, save for the semicolon.

welcometowales1 karma

I find that some courses are very similar and find it difficult to distinguish what they offer. For example: "Build Web Apps with ASP.NET Jumpstart", "Introduction to ASP.NET MVC", "Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications Jump Start".

All these courses are named similarly. Is there anything you can do to refine the categories or target audience for courses without having to go through the content of every course?

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

(Christopher here) I'm going to be working on cleaning that up in the future. We'll actually be doing an MVC 6 MVA in the near future, and then cleaning up the older ones that you mentioned.

tla89301 karma

Hi guys, thank you for providing great MVA sessions, and I really enjoy the online interactive Q&A.
Another question: will MVA provide more sessions on Data Analytics, Big Data...?

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma


babreu1 karma

Do you really read the comments we make when rating a course?

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

We absolutely do! There's not so many of them that we can't get through them all. They are super helpful, and please make comments. We can learn if people are actually using the course, if people are dropping off, what's good, what's bad, etc.

secretspirit1 karma

Do you have beginner courses? I for one have very basic stuff about C. If yes where do i sign up?

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Andrew showed you one of our most popular courses! Bob's course is a perfect place to start. All you need to do is sign up for an account! You can do that here:

Iulita1 karma

Can you add CC (subtitles) in English for all videos you post? (e.g. ones posted in German community)

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

All published courses have CC. We have experimented with doing CC live in the past and are continuing to explore that.

SilentPlight1 karma

For an upcoming grad in Computer Science from a California State University, is the Beginner's Section still the place to start?

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Up to you! There is nothing wrong with starting at the beginning and working your way up if you find it too easy. Go to MVA for real-world examples and you'll learn some interesting tricks they might not have had time to teach you in class.

saiavinash1 karma

I'm a student developer of mobile apps, cloud apps connected to azure but i came to know about all those technologies by microsoft it showcase people who conducted a workshop in our college. so my question is as a student developer how can i get azure services for app development by the way i don't have any credit card can u please suggest me a solution to access azure services as i am a student i can't afford for azure services ?

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Check out DreamSpark

babreu1 karma

Where's Portugal? :)

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

To the left of Spain ;)

babreu1 karma

Why there are a lot of courses on games but Project Spark is not addressed?

SeymourApps1 karma

Is there any sort of WINAPI w/ C++ tutorials in the works, or will there ever be?

I mainly develop with WINAPI, and the documentation is fantastic, but there are little to no introductory tutorials for beginners in it.

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Great suggestion! We'll pass it along to our content team.

ernie_331 karma

What is life?

MSVirtualAcademy8 karma

A journey not a destination.

razorbackgeek1 karma

I like how every one bad mouths Microsoft, yet you guys offer tons of free learning with your virtual labs. Keep up the good work.

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Thank you! Really means a lot to us and we always want to hear your feedback on how we can make MVA even better.

FinchoMatic1 karma

In your experience, do you feel being a jack of all trades speaks more volumes vs. a specialist in one area or vise-versa?

Side note, I'm currently taking your MVC course right now to get myself more acquainted with web programming. It's been really good so far from the start, I would like to try to continue with this after I finish

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Thanks for sharing! Stay tuned for some upcoming MVC courses!

nobodycaresbears1 karma

Hey Guys!

Thanks for doing this AMA - I'm moving to a new team at work where I'll be working with EMET. Do you guys have any training on MVA for EMET or know when some will be available?

bradjose2 karma

Good suggestion, and to be honest we're light on this (Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit), for those looking for the toolkit, see: We're adding this to our list of MVA topics for the first half of 2015.

nobodycaresbears1 karma

Thanks! Also, MVA is just awesome - I've been learning tons from the courses you guys have up there. Keep it up!

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Happy to hear! We're having fun, and it's thanks to members like you. Never stop learning :)

Squeebee0071 karma

Any plans for IoT subjects? I'd really love to learn how to gather sensor data with Windows on a Device and aggregate it unto Azure for reporting.

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Great suggestion! We do have a mobile apps course related to IoT. Check it out:

jasonvelocity1 karma

Microsoft appears to be shifting certification materials from MS Press to MVA? Do you think MVA can offer the same depth of education a a book can offer?

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

The difference isn't necessarily the depth (with a book you have no limit on how deep you can go) but the difference is more the learning style we are trying to support. Different people will find different modes useful in different contexts. MVA is great for people that want the experience of hearing it from a human and even having the opportunity to ask questions in real time (during our live courses). It's not so much we're shifting, as spreading ourselves out. (MS Press is on our team as well - we've got a good 360 degree approach)

eguilbs1 karma

Wondering if you would agree that coding is a very important skill for students today to learn and if there are other more specific skills and what way people might go about acquiring those?

MSVirtualAcademy4 karma

Considering students of any age two skills everyone should learn are 1) the ability to touch type Fast typists have an advantage in our world, and coding teaches you that 2) everyone should have some familiarity with how to code. For IT pros, when you have to automate things, you'll be doing things that will make doing PowerShell much easier. The skills you learn from one language will be transferable to another. Even if you aren't getting into technology, just learning how to think logically is very helpful. C# for Absolute Beginners and JavaScript for Absolute Beginners taught by Bob Tabor are a great place to start. We also recommend the Intro to Python course Christopher Harrison and Susan Ibach is also great for beginners

occupiedusername1 karma

Which course did you had the most fun with? And what is the greatest thing about this job? And what are your future plans with MVA?

I watch MVA very often. Unfortunately not live, because of another timezone.

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Jerry Nixon & Darren May, Christopher Harrison & Jon Galloway are fun pairs.

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

The ALM courses, the PowerShell ones with Snover are the ones that jump out.

rdeiana1 karma

With large corporate web application in mind, It's a good idea to use AngularJS + WebAPI or it's better to start with a basic MVC project?

MSVirtualAcademy3 karma

The answer is "yes" We've got classes on all three of those

It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. With Angular + Web API there are limitations from an SEO point of view. If you don't care about having the content on the page discovered by search engines, it will really shine. You get the ability to mimic a full application within a browser.

On MVC your pages will be standard html pages that can get optimized for search engines.

But you can use both, choosing the right tool where you need the right strength. For an ecommerce site, you might want the main catalog to be displayed from MVC but when you add things to your cart you would choose AngularJS + Web API

alexank1 karma

are you going to offer functional programming course (F#)?

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

Not sure at the moment. It's certainly a possibility.

babreu1 karma

Should I put MVA courses in my resumé? How can someone wanting to assess me tell that I take MVA seriously and not just grabbing brag points? Maybe a points over time average chart?

MSVirtualAcademy3 karma

Yes, we've heard some great stories about people using their MVA courses to get new jobs or to get promoted. We're looking to tie MVA work more closely to official skill validation in the future.

AlbertGorup1 karma

How much training in education do the trainers go through before releasing a video? By training I mean instructional design and classroom management, not subject matter expertise. Some of the videos are real hit or miss in the category.

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

We totally understand that. We really work with our instructors to nail down the presentation :) Rick Claus has a great blog on how to deliver impactful demos:

adamhi221 karma

What about the possibility of a virtual hands-on sandbox to work with? I personally learn better hands on than watching videos.. But if I could watch a video then apply what I just learned.. I excel much faster and retain everything better plus If one doesn't have the means to pay for the hardware and/or software to apply these skills, it would help them out a bunch.

I can't be the only one, right? :)

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

You are not alone! Like Andrew said, we are looking into ways to integrate all types of learning.

redditkilledmygpa0 karma

I am desperate for some extensive training in VM use on AZURE. My boss has pretty much mandated I become an expert on it and I can't find much in the ways of training for azure specific to virtual machines. ie load balancing, best practices, etc. Any chance of something like this showing up sometime in the near future?

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

We hear you on that! Have you checked out this course? It's on SQL Server in Azure VMs.

flyingepeto0 karma

As someone who is in the first year of a major in computer engineering, what do you think are the most important programming languages i should know?

I'm currently learning java in college but i don't see many current applications being developed on it, i would love your opinion

MSVirtualAcademy1 karma

Java and C# are definitely two of the most popular we see. You should check out these courses on Java & C#. You might learn something you haven't learned in the classroom: and

manudattaraya0 karma

What can I learn at your academy ??

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

Some of the highlights are our PowerShell courses, and keep an eye peeled for anything taught by Simon May who covers IT pro topics like Active Directory and Windows 10. The beginner courses mentioned in the AngularJS v Web API courses are great. Also we've got good deep courses on game development using C++ and Direct X But there's a lot more there.

grldsndrs0 karma

What are you all thinking that we could do with the accumulated points?

MSVirtualAcademy2 karma

For a while, the points were just for fun but we're coming up with a few ways to try and integrate the point system into other Microsoft sites (forums, certification, etc). We'll have some ideas for you. Stay tuned!