On Wednesday at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft Corp. announced the Microsoft Professional Degree (MPD) program, the first program of its kind to offer employer-endorsed, university-caliber curriculum for professionals at any stage of their career. MPD is a Microsoft-led initiative that provides professionals with real-world knowledge and hands-on experience to grow their skills in critical fields. The initial MPD offering is in data science, with all courseware available on edX.org, the nonprofit online learning destination founded by Harvard University and MIT. A significant skills gap exists in the data science field. In response to this growing need, Microsoft designed its pilot curriculum to deliver the critical skills and experiences that are required for success in the data science field. Since May 2016, over 200 pioneering partner and 650 Microsoft employees have been participating in a closed preview to evaluate and validate this new data science curriculum.