Have you checked out the Windows Azure Challenge? It's not too late! You've got until February 15 for someone on your team to pass the Windows Azure Challenge quiz, which is available from your Dashboard once you've signed up for the challenge and created a team.

We're spending this week sharing information about the challenge and about developing for Windows Azure. Here's my Top Ten Reasons to Compete in the Windows Azure Challenge:

  1. You get a Windows Azure account to build your submission for FREE!
  2. Much more power than your favorite superhero without the occupational risks!  From the safety of your couch with a click of a button you can quickly build, deploy, and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers.
  3. Born to code? Me too, we already have so much in common :) - Windows, Mac, Linux - .NET, node.js, java, php, python and others you can build applications using any operating system, language or tool. Use what works best for you!
  4. When building your solutions you consider leveraging partners from the Windows Azure Store who provide both application and data services.  For example you could use Microsoft Translator to translate text and SendGrid to send an email.
  5. Need a Database? Apply your existing knowledge and hit the ground running using one of the following popular databases including Windows Azure SQL Database, MySQL and MongoDB.
  6. Building a distributed system? Check out Service Bus for relayed connectivity between distributed components anywhere in the globe!
  7. Got Video? Build media solutions using Windows Azure Media Services: Ingest, Encode, Protect and Stream media from the cloud with ease.
  8. Go Web go! With Windows Azure Web Sites there is no easier way to get a web site up and running in seconds. Before you could read a whole paragraph on how to use Web Sites, you could have a site up and running with a database back-end.   Develop with ASP.NET, PHP or Node.js and deploy in seconds with FTP, Git or TFS.
  9. Got Mobile? When competing in a world class challenge every minute counts.  Within seconds you can use Windows Azure Mobile Services to create a back-end for your Windows Store + Windows Phone apps to incorporate structured storage, user authentication, and push notifications.

And the number one reason to compete in the Windows Azure Challenge is . . .

  1. Got Job? huh... wait!, what now? When the competition is all done and dusted, the skills you've gained working with Windows Azure will set you well apart from the rest when it comes to looking for your dream job -- it did for me!

Nick Harris
Imagine Cup Windows Azure Challenge Captain
@cloudnick