Welcome to our new Go DevMENTAL blog.This space is about you, the students. We created it so that you can share your stories with us and we can let you know about great programs you can take advantage of.

ChristianBut first, let me introduce myself. My name is Christian Beauclair and I’m a developer evangelist with Microsoft Canada. Hopefully you’ve heard of the role of technoloigy evangelist. If you have not, let me refer you to Guy Kawasaki’s blog and his entry in Wikipedia. Guy started this at Apple when the first Mac was coming out. Since then, all computer and software makers have created similar roles. But before I tell you how I landed my dream job, let me tell you about my studies.

I studied Computer and Automation at Ahuntsic College in Montreal and got my degree there. In those days a personal computer was a Commodore 64 or my first computer the Sinclair ZX 81 with a big whopping 1KB of RAM. Our internet was Compuserve and different BBS (Bulletin Board System) that we used Modem to dial into.

zx81

When I graduated, I worked for a small robotic school and then a company that had a chain of store across Canada. I worked there 10 years and eventually had the opportunity to join Microsoft Canada in ‘94 (yeap, 16 years now). I started as a consultant, did sales but finally landed the job I always wanted to do which is evangelist. In this job, I get to interact with developers, from students to CIO, professionals or Hobbyists. I listen to feedback and talk about the benefits of the Microsoft platform as well as all the great programs Microsoft offers them.

This now brings me to you, the students. Over the next few posts, we’ll talk about some of the benefits you have from Microsoft and some of your peers are also going to talk about their experience, but I want to give you 3 important ones that you should visit and sign up for.

First – The Microsoft Canada Student portal. We created this one landing page and URL so that you can find everything easily. Think of it as your signpost to all things Microsoft when it comes to students. I encourage you also to sign up for our Newsletter on this portal. That way when things change or time limited offers are available, you’ll be notified in your inbox (and I promise we won’t fill it with non useful stuff Winking smile)

StudentPortal

Second – Dreamspark. It still amazes me how many students are not aware of this great offering. You can get the development tools, SQL Server and Windows Server for free as well as have the ability to publish commercial applications for the Windows Phone 7 for free as well. I get a lot of students also, who tell me that their school has MSDN AA and that they don’t need it. The reality is that the MSDN AA license is owned by the school and the Dreamspark is yours to keep in perpetuity.

Dreamspark

Third and final – Imagine Cup. If there was a year to sign up, this is it. The finals will be in New York which means that for Canadian students, you’ll get North American press coverage that could go a long way to secure your dream job or start your own company. Imagine Cup pits the best students in the world against each other for some really amazing prizes. Here’s the calendar of the different categories and their deadline.

New York

Competition / Challenge

Competitor Sign-Up Deadline

Round 1
Start Date

Round 1
End Date

Round 2
Start Date

Round 2
End Date

Worldwide Finalists  Announced

Software Design

May 5, 2011

July 9, 2010

Varies by Country

N/A

N/A

Varies per country

Embedded Development

January 9, 2011

July 9, 2010

January 9, 2011

Feb. 15, 2011

May 5, 2011

May 25, 2011

Game Design

March 7, 2011

July 9, 2010

March 7, 2011

March 28, 2011

April 27, 2011

May 25, 2011

Digital Media

March 7, 2011

August 25, 2010

March 7, 2011

March 28, 2011

April 27, 2011

May 25, 2011

Windows Phone 7

March 7, 2011

Oct. 28, 2010

March 7, 2011

March 28, 2011

April 27, 2011

May 25, 2011

IT Challenge

January 31, 2011

Sept. 22, 2010

Jan. 31, 2011

February 8, 2011

March 28, 2011

May 25, 2011

Interoperability Challenge

March 7, 2011

Oct. 28, 2010

April 27, 2011

N/A

N/A

May 25, 2011

Orchard Challenge

March 7, 2011

Oct. 28, 2010

March 7, 2011

March 28, 2011

April 27, 2011

N/A

Windows 7 Touch Challenge

March 7, 2011

Nov. 30, 2010

March 7, 2011

March 28, 2011

April 27, 2011

N/A

 

I did not get the chance to have so much stuff available to me when I was in college but you do. It’s yours to take advantage of and secure a great job in the best industry that exists, Information and Communication Technology.

Cheers,

Christian Beauclair
Twitter : @cbeauclair
Linked In : http://www.linkedin.com/in/christianbeauclair