Free Digital Skills Development Courses Provide Opportunities for Continuing Self-development

In Bulgaria, more than 27,000 people have benefited from the Microsoft, LinkedIn, and GitHub initiative

Emergency situations such as the one with the pandemic call for decisive action. In the worst-case scenario, the International Labor Organization expects nearly 25 million people worldwide to lose their jobs. By comparison, the global economic crisis of 2008-2009 left 22 million people unemployed. The labor force must be prepared for the new economic reality in order to find a suitable workplace.

The recent fast-paced adoption of technologies – thanks to social distancing and remote everything - has proven that two years’ worth of digital transformation have been concentrated into a few months. This accelerated digital transformation means both old and new jobs will require more digital skills. Many jobs will continue to be remote for the foreseeable future. Other jobs will be more “tech-enabled” and will require employees to have some level of digital fluency to be able to get and succeed in these roles. So, to be competitive on the labor market people need to have deeper knowledge of technologies and additional digital skills. 

Working in the new digital world. Photo provided by Microsoft.

In this increasingly digitalized world, the society expects technology leaders to act as a flagman for positive change. Motivated by public expectations and the need for swift and adequate actions against the growing health crisis that evolves into an economy crisis, Microsoft, LinkedIn and GitHub have launched a joint initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the digital skills needed for the new economic reality.

This is a long-term program that focuses on achieving positive and sustainable results. It continues to develop and is successful in our country, as more than 27,000 people have already benefited from it.

The initiative is implemented through two main channels - LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn. LinkedIn Learningis an online learning platform with a library of 16,000+ courses covering current professional topics and taught by experts. For those who want to acquire more in-depth technical skills, there are courses from Microsoft Learn | Microsoft Docs. With 3.9 million registered accounts, Microsoft Learn offers over 225 learning paths and more than 1,000 modules and is localized in dozens of languages. The trainings comply with 35 Microsoft certificates and provide an opportunity to update knowledge and skills according to today's technical roles and requirements. Everyone can follow their own pace of perception, and have the opportunity to practice what they have learned so far in the GitHub Learning Lab.

Digital learning. Photo provided by Microsoft.

Businesses rely on Microsoft technologies and services to keep mission-critical applications and processes up and running. According to the Earnings Release FY19 Q4 report companies use more than twice as many solutions from Microsoft than from the nearest competitor. There’s a high demand for professionals skilled in Microsoft technologies and a Microsoft Certification which validates people’s ability to perform in a modern digital business. The provided opportunities for training and certification are suitable not only for people who want to change their professional path, but also for those who want to continue to build their own skills or the competencies of their team.

One of them is Stoyan Kostov. He is an IT Infrastructure and Networks Manager at Mnemonica JSC. He graduated from the Technical University of Sofia, majoring in Computer Systems.

Stoyan has been into computing for over 20 years - with a focus on Microsoft technology. In his opinion, the future is Cloud-based.

“More and more companies are starting to use these services - IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, to successfully develop and modernize their business. In order to be able to offer our clients effective solutions and to respond to the increased demand, my team and I have focused on raising the qualification and acquiring new skills in this field. For me personally, I can say that my focus is on Azure Infrastructure and Azure Security”, he says.

He explains that technology is at the heart of progress and its main task is to be the engine of new achievements and improvements.

“The world of information technology is constantly moving forward, making information more accessible, communications more convenient and data storage more secure. Cloud technologies allow users to take advantage of all this at once.”

Stoyan Kostov. Photo courtesy of Stoyan Kostov's personal archive.

Stoyan is determined to maintain strong competitiveness. “It requires constant care for professional development, and this is achieved through constant training and acquisition of new competencies. These are the things that motivate me and my team to keep learning new and new things in the world of information technology.” 

Microsoft estimates that over the next five years, the global economy could take on about 149 million new jobs that are more digitally oriented. Software development represents the largest single share of this forecast, but the demand for positions in related areas such as Data Analysis, Machine Learning and Information Security will also increase significantly. At the announcement of the initiative, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stressed that digital skills will be needed in all professional fields and by 2030 about 800 million people will have to acquire new digital know-how.

In Bulgaria, most often in LinkedIn Learning, as part of the global initiative, learners complete the learning path for "soft" skills – essential for each profession, as well as for everyday communication - Master In-Demand Professional Soft Skills.

People are also interested in learning paths like Customer Service Specialist and Data Analyst.

You can also view the learning paths for:


Software Developer

IT support/Help Desk

IT Administrator

Project Manager

Digital Marketing Specialist

Graphic Designer

Finance Analyst


By providing the opportunity to acquire new digital skills from the part of the population that needs them most, and to retrain employees, Microsoft will continue to promote economic growth and help shape the diverse workforce of the future.

If the world cannot push the private sector and governments to take significant action today towards lowering the grave economic impacts of unemployment, the result will be an increased economic inequality and a significant skills gap among the wider population.

This article is part of a paid partnership between AUBG Daily and Microsoft, regarding their new initiative in free digital skills development courses.


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