2023 Azure scholarship banner

2023 Azure scholarship banner

Amid a rapidly changing world of work, certification programs from technology companies such as Microsoft are highly relevant. Skilling and upskilling opportunities are key for economic security, career growth, and business development. Women in Cloud is teaming up with Microsoft and Coursera to introduce 250 new scholarships for all learners. WIC and Microsoft’s Azure scholarships will focus on AI and cybersecurity to meet the developing needs of the tech industry. 


There are currently 3.4 million cybersecurity jobs that need to be filled across the globe. WIC and Microsoft are aiming to bridge that gap by promoting a free scholarship opportunity and supporting diversity in tech. The scholarship is available to all genders and all regions around the world with an emphasis on supporting women and other marginalized people as they start (or continue) their journey in tech. Current research shows that women only make up approximately 24% of the cybersecurity workforce this underrepresentation increases the labor shortage, and this shortage increases digital threats on companies who do not have a large enough team to deal with adapting cybersecurity threats. 


WIC, with input from Microsoft and Coursera, has decided that along with cybersecurity, AI training for the WIC community is essential. This focus is important because of the growing influence of AI. Businesses are looking to automate some processes with AI to help with the talent shortage while also still benefiting their employees. With some basic systems relying on AI, employees would be able to spend more time innovating, training costs and time would be reduced, and future employees from “nontraditional” backgrounds could be more easily identified.   


“At Women in Cloud, our mission is to empower every member of our community to build technical, business, and leadership capacity to thrive in the $7 Trillion Cloud and AI Ecosystem,” said Chaitra Vedullapalli, President and Co-Founder of WIC. “This includes expanding access to training and skilling opportunities for women to excel in the ever-changing technology landscape.”


The curriculum, provided by Microsoft and Coursera, will begin in July 2023 with Azure AI Fundamentals and will grow to include Microsoft Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certificate and Microsoft Power BI Developer/Analyst Professional Certificate after they are released on Coursera’s platform in early and late summer 2023. Furthermore, scholarship students can work directly with the WIC team to access any Microsoft specialization or professional certification program available on the Coursera platform. There will be 2,000 Microsoft certification vouchers available for scholarship recipients who complete a full Microsoft specialization or professional certificate through the scholarship program.