Data Analytics Students Benefit from Microsoft Program

December 17, 2020 By David Meany

Eastern Washington University is continuing to offer data analytics courses that can help students prepare for Microsoft Certification through its participation in the Microsoft Learn for Educators program. With access to the materials included in the program, Eastern students will develop future-ready technology skills that are in high-demand and in high paying industries.

For EWU, the curriculum replaces the Microsoft Professional Program (MPP), which Eastern also used to prepare students for careers in data analytics. Microsoft Learn for Educators is designed to bridge the gap between industry and academia, allowing educators to utilize instructor-led training tools from Microsoft and bring them into the classroom.

This means EWU instructors can access ready-to-teach materials aligned to industry-recognized Microsoft Certifications, which are integrated into the university’s Data Analytics capstone sequence so students are prepared for the data workplace.

“The Microsoft component adds another strong component to our rigorous analytics program,” says Elizabeth Tipton, PhD, professor of decision sciences (analytics) at EWU. “Combined with our own coursework, Microsoft Learn for Educators will empower students and give them the skills needed to be successful across a variety of technical careers.”

Tipton points out those careers could be in business, the health care industry, social services, utilities, as well as professional, scientific and technical services.

“I believe it is important that EWU incorporates a platform such as Microsoft Learn because it will provide a foundation for the career path,” says senior Paul Dicus, who transitioned from Computer Science to Data Analytics at EWU. “Being able to gain Microsoft Certifications and learning about the services that Microsoft provides will give me with knowledge necessary to enter the work force as an analyst.”

“I had been working in the financial industry for several years and wanted to transition to one of the reporting and analytics teams at my organization,” says Corrina Buzick, who first earned her degree at EWU in 2011 but returned to take analytics classes so she could join her employer’s data management team. “The value of the certifications from Microsoft is that we can prove to employers that we have hands-on experience.”

Graduates certified through the MPP curriculum say the data analysis and visualization expertise learned at Eastern are applied every day on the job.

“The skills I learned through EWU’s Data Analytics program are essential in my role, especially when visualizing how data will look when meeting with leadership teams for their dashboards,” says Tej Sidhu (’19), Business Intelligence Analyst with CHAS Health. “Having the opportunity to get Microsoft certifications as part of the Data Analytics program at Eastern gives you the edge in the job market and tells your employer about your capability and skill set.”

By participating in Microsoft Learns for Educators, Eastern will also have ongoing access to training opportunities and materials from Microsoft.

“By coupling the expertise and talents of faculty with the technical content available from Microsoft, students will have the opportunity to gain valuable, in-demand skills as well as Microsoft certifications through their school’s curriculum,” says, Rachel Wortman Morris, PhD, Sr. Business Program Manager, Microsoft Worldwide Learning.

According to research by International Data Corporation (IDC) on how cloud skills are accelerating the careers of I.T. professionals trained on platforms like the one offered by Microsoft, certified employees earn 15 percent more than those without certification, are nearly 20 percent more productive, and have longer tenure.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Tipton, PhD, professor of decision sciences (analytics)

EMAIL: etipton@ewu.edu