Creating games and apps is your dream, and Microsoft Imagine can make it a reality. Microsoft Imagine connects you with the tools and knowledge you need to create, code, and develop your ideas. So whether you're new to coding, studying it in school, or planning for your career, you can dream big, build creatively, and boldly bring your ideas to life.
Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) is a program for university students worldwide who are passionate about technology and want to share that excitement on campus. MSPs are trained in the latest Microsoft technologies and use their expertise to build skills, ignite their careers, and inspire and mentor the next generation. The program gives students in more than 100 countries the opportunity to represent both their region and local campus as a Microsoft technology expert.
We connected with four Microsoft Student Partners from around the world to learn more about their experiences in the program and how Microsoft technologies have helped them develop skills and lay a foundation for future success.
In 2002, Dara Oladapo walked with his two older brothers to the local cybercafé in Ibadan, Nigeria. The three boys went to the café intending to open a joint email account. There, Dara’s brother taught him how to hold the mouse, click on the screen and navigate around Windows.
That was the first time Dara touched a computer. He was 10-years old.
Unlike many of this millennial generation, Dara, now 23-years-old, did not spend his toddler years binge watching Sesame Street on Netflix or tapping a touch screen to talk to Grandma on Skype. But talking to him now, you’d think he was born a techie.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently announced that the company will take a lead role in bringing the Hour of Code to millions of youth around the globe during Computer Science Education Week from Dec. 8 - 14. What a perfect opportunity for our Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs) to showcase their expertise!
MSPs from campuses across the globe will be volunteering to teach students in middle schools, high schools and learning centers to help bring the Hour of Code to 100 million youth during this historic event. Our MSPs have firsthand knowledge of how computer science skills can provide vast opportunities and are excited to help expose the next generation of developers to the art of computer science.
Many of our 7,000 MSPs will teach an Hour of Code using tutorials created by the Microsoft Learning Experience Academic Product team. One of those tutorials is an activity that uses the TouchDevelop coding tool, an easy-to-use visual game that teaches basic coding logic and gives students hands-on practice building and fixing games. During this Hour of Code activity, students will be asked to help fix a fun and simple game called “Jetpack Jumper,” that challenges players to guide a robot through a maze of wacky obstacles.
Love to code? So do we! But we also know that learning to code can be a real challenge for students of any age. And while Microsoft has some great programs like Imagine Cup and DreamSpark to connect university student developers with contests, free tools and great opportunities to learn and grow, we also want to welcome younger students just taking their first steps into this amazing world.
That’s why we’ve created Microsoft Imagine, a new cornerstone of the YouthSpark initiative, and launched it today to celebrate Computer Science Education Week and the Hour of Code. At our new website, http://imagine.microsoft.com, students of all ages and skill levels will find everything they need to create apps and games. Whether you’re a 10-year-old student who wants to make your first game or a 25-year-old university student with a project to develop and sell in app stores, Microsoft Imagine is where you get started.
Microsoft came back home to Seattle to host this year’s Imagine Cup World Finals July 29 – August 2 and Avanade was there! The week started with 35 teams arriving on the University of Washington campus from all over the world. Passports were displayed with room assignments being made and then the real fun began – the competition briefings and then the welcome reception in UW’s Red Square. Lots of food and music filled the air, with Mt. Rainier as the backdrop while participants geared up for an opportunity of a lifetime – the Imagine Cup World Finals competitions. The winning team receiving $50,000 plus a private session with Bill Gates.
Days one and two were filled with presentations to the Imagine Cup judges where nerves appeared to be maintained. The panel of judges asked some great questions following the presentation and feedback was provided. Avanade sponsored a self-serve coffee cart in the student lounge – the main hang out at the competition. Students created coffee concoctions of all types to calm nerves, stay awake and sharpen their barista skills. Julie Madayag, Colleen Burke, Lisa Field, Rosanna Aho and I – all members of the NA Recruiting team – were present to talk to the participants and watch them prep for their presentations. We had the opportunity attend a few of these presentations and WOW – talk about top talent – these projects were impressive!!!!
With our new free Azure offer, student developers can publish their own web apps to Azure and host them in the cloud. But if you’ve never deployed to the cloud before, that first step can be a big one.
We’ve created a walkthrough to explain exactly how you can publish your code to Azure in any one of three ways:
Download the PDF and you can get started today!
Microsoft and the nonprofit STEM Labs teamed up to give students a chance to sharpen their coding skills by designing responsive and sophisticated cloud-based apps. Organizers and development managers were wowed by the results, saying the apps were as good as those created by professional developers!
When Sabrina Wallace describes her latest technology project, she launches into a pitch and sounds more like a seasoned entrepreneur than a teenager. The young programmer recently walked away with $20,000 in cash prizes from the AT&T Hackathon in Las Vegas for an innovative app designed to prevent traffic accidents.
Not only does she program, she just started college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and volunteers teaching middle school students how to code. This impressive young teen has big plans for her future.
At the hackathon, Sabrina and her father, Clyde Wallace, created a wearable device and cloud-enabled app that monitor driving habits to detect if users are facing danger due to road hypnosis, a trance-like state that occurs when driving on an open road for a long period of time. A watch measures wheel activity to determine if a user is driving in a straight line, and measures hand movements to detect when someone may be falling asleep. The app then sounds alarms and asks questions to ensure drivers stay awake.
The founders of Estimeet were once a few friends with a good idea. Now, they are entrepreneurs with a great app and lofty business plans. Several months after winning the Imagine Cup 2014 in the Innovation category, Jason Wei, Hayden Do and Chris Duan found themselves at the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator London excited and … cold.
When we asked what they would have told themselves four weeks ago upon arrival in London, Jason Wei says, “Bring more warm clothes!” That and he would have told himself to have a pre-made list of all the things to accomplish in London because the accelerator proved to be full of more opportunities than he imagined.
Last June, we learned that Imagine Cup 2013 game category winners, Team Schein, were gearing up to submit Schein to Steam, the leading independent platform for computer games. After a lot of work, including numerous tweaks to the game and jumping through the seemingly endless hoops for Steam, Schein launched in October of 2014. We caught up with two of the members to find out all about that process.
Schein is a puzzle game that tells the story of a father who enters a dark, mystical swamp in desperate search of his son. A wisp appears, offering him a light that reveals hidden worlds. Schein means "light" or "shine" in German, but the team named the game for Schein’s second meaning: "illusion,” referring to the different realities and illusions revealed in the wisp’s light.
Attention student technologists! The Imagine Cup 2015 season is officially underway, meaning it’s time to start thinking about how to turn your amazing app idea into a solution. We invite you to join us throughout the year for games, competitions, and training that will help make your vision a reality.
The Imagine Cup is not just the big technology competition you’ve been reading about over the past few months, it’s an opportunity to form your idea into a solid proposal, learn how to pitch it, and develop a business plan. You can do all this without the stress of worrying about investors or searching for professional experts to help you. We want you to spend that time on your project.
You’ll build the skills you need to launch a business and learn important life lessons that will help you throughout school and your career. Past participants have told us how much their public speaking, team building, and interview techniques improved after they became involved. It’s a pretty awesome thing to be able to put on your resume and a great way to launch into a career in technology.
The 2014 Imagine Cup World champions recently traveled back to Seattle from Australia to claim part of their grand prize, an incredible boot camp that included a one-on-one mentoring session with Bill Gates. Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah, who make up Team Eyenaemia, won the competition with their groundbreaking app that uses a selfie to diagnose anaemia, one of the world’s most common blood disorders. In addition to $50,000 to further develop their product, they won this valuable week of meetings with innovative and influential people who offered advice and guidance for the next steps on their product.
Eduardo Ramirez Santos, ‘Edu’ as his friends call him, is soft-spoken and doesn’t much like to talk about himself. Until you ask him about technology, that is. Then his words come out fast and easy, his voice gets louder and more animated and he makes punny techie jokes like, “I give Windows 10 a 10!” He’s 23, but when he talks about coding, Edu sounds more like a young boy with a brand new toy than a student developer, almost as if he’s been transported back to the first time he ever looked at a line of code.
Edu was 10 years old, visiting his uncle at work at a telecommunications company in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, when he had his first meaningful encounter with technology. Standing at a computer terminal, Edu watched lines and lines of letters and numbers scroll by onscreen. When he realized that those lines controlled the machine’s movements, something came alive inside him. The idea that his own written commands could affect a machine’s functions thrilled him then and continues to drive him today. Edu loves that it takes so little code to do such big things.
Want to create a new game to share with your friends? Or do you have an incredible idea for an app that you want to hold in your hand? What about sharing those on your website with the latest technology?
Microsoft’s Visual Studio Community 2013 is an incredible piece of software that can help coders like you get started in game, app, and web development! Visual Studio Community 2013 is an integrated development environment (IDE) that brings together many useful tools for developers, along with other services, that let you create code that works across several platforms. You can create and run your new app across Windows, iOS, and Android devices, at no cost!
Several Microsoft Student Partners from Belgium recently attended TechDays 2015 in Paris, an intense, information-rich mega conference that offers non-stop sessions that last all day. This highly attended conference focuses on exposing IT pros to a new technology (in a day or two) so they have the confidence to deploy and then implement the technology wherever they work.
But why should students like you, who might not have started a career yet, attend TechDays?
Get ready! It’s time for the Microsoft Visual Studio Connect(); event on Nov. 12 and 13! For two days, industry leaders and experts will be sharing their insight into software engineering, Visual Studio, Azure, and .NET development. You'll get a sneak preview of the next version of Visual Studio, code named 'VS14', and useful real-world advice for developing in the mobile-first, cloud-first era.
So who can attend? Everyone! The whole event will be broadcast live on Microsoft's Channel 9. You can hear what leaders like Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, have to say about the future of software development on Visual Studio. You can listen in on live Q&A sessions with Scott Hanselman, the Principal Program Manager for Microsoft Azure. You can check out the technical details in over 40 on-demand technical sessions.
The students in Mr. Tanimoto’s 4th period Computer Science class may not know it yet, but it’s not your average Monday. Seattle’s Ingraham High School is one of many schools participating in Computer Science Education Week, and to kick off the first day, they have invited James Whittaker to speak.
Microsoft and other tech engineers are a familiar sight at Ingraham. For three years, the school has partnered with Microsoft TEALS, which sends volunteer software engineers to schools to team-teach computer science alongside classroom teachers.
Whittaker is a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, as well as an author and a former professor. With charisma, a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt and more pop-culture references than a late-night comedy sketch, he grabs the attention of these students right away, almost despite themselves. Even the hyper-focused kid who started working at his computer before class can’t help but look up and listen.
HTML. The Cloud. Platforms.
These are not exactly the words you’d expect to hear upon entering a 4th grade classroom. But guest speakers John Shewchuk and his 17 year-old daughter, Annaka, don’t seem the least bit surprised. It’s like they are used to speaking in code. This dynamic duo has volunteered their time to facilitate the Hour of Code.
Throughout the year, we hear about exciting solutions designed by teams around the world during Imagine Cup. After the fanfare settles, we like to catch up with some of our alumni teams, check in, and find out how their projects are progressing.
We talked to Team Simplex, a group of students from Romania that created a solution to help patients in physical therapy. Since competing in the 2011 Imagine Cup, the team has launched a startup featuring their product and has exciting plans to expand.
Physical therapy can be a long, difficult and repetitive process and the team wanted to find a way to motivate people to do their exercises. Dubbed MIRA, (Medical Interactive Recovery Assistant), the solution uses Microsoft Kinect sensors that enable patients to play video games that incorporate rehabilitative exercises.
This is a particularly exciting month of July. The World Cup dominated attention spans around the planet. Now, the Imagine Cup community is ready to descend upon Redmond.
Roberto Sonnino has a unique perspective on both Cups. Originally from Brazil, Roberto works as a software development engineer for PerceptivePixel. For years, Roberto was a passionate and persistent participant in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup: Starting in 2005, when he was still in high school, he competed seven times with his brother. They won six first-place awards across various categories.
“There are many similarities between the Imagine Cup and the World Cup,” Roberto says. “People from all over the world come together in one place. We’re competitors but friends. All eyes are on you, as you are on the world stage.”
From the latest startups to the largest enterprises, cloud services are where new projects are born and new ideas take flight. We want to ensure students around the world aren’t left behind, so today we launched Microsoft Azure for student developers.
This new offer for students in 140 countries around the world gets you started with the services you need most to develop in the cloud at no cost and with no credit card required.
It wasn’t easy, but the Project Blueprint Challenge judges have come to a consensus on the winners!
In the Games category, the winner is Team Scrolling from the United States, for their puzzle-platformer Scrolling! The game centers on a clever size-changing mechanic that allows the player to manipulate the environment to solve challenges.
In the Innovation category, the winner is Team Dogma from Germany, for their project CoZyPut! CoZyPut allows physically disabled gamers to control games with eye, tongue or single-hand gestures, with the fidelity and responsiveness necessary for fast-paced gaming.
In the World Citizenship category, Team Eye3 from Canada takes the prize for their project Ciris! Ciris is a real-time color augmentation overlay that allows the colorblind to more clearly see contrasts on their desktop computers and mobile devices.
“Everyone says you need to have experience, well Imagine Cup gives you the experience you need.”
Those are the words of Francesca Guerrera of Reverse, a team of students from Italy who competed in the Imagine Cup World Finals last month. The quote sums up what we heard from participants throughout the competition. It’s not just the final competition they will remember, but the year of learning that will last a lifetime.
Talking to teams who made it to Seattle gave us a renewed perspective on what exactly student developers take home from Imagine Cup. The teams’ ideas and experiences vary, but most agree the competition and year leading up to it taught them not just to develop innovative products and solutions, but important life skills. They learned team work, how to create business models, and public-speaking skills. They got access to mentors and industry professionals, and learned of other programs that could help push their projects along.
Meet ‘Estimeet.’ You might remember them as the Imagine Cup 2014 first place winners in the Innovation category.
Hayden, Jason and Chris – three energetic New Zealanders – form the trio that is Estimeet. One of the perks of winning Imagine Cup 2014 is the chance to participate in Microsoft Ventures Accelerator.
Last week, we highlighted Team Estimeet, the 2014 winners in the Imagine Cup’s Innovation category. They’ve spent the last few weeks in London at the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator, learning what it takes to transform their winning social app into a successful startup company.
Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in London offers a kind of crash-course in business for young, promising startups. In London alone, 40 different companies have graduated from the program. They’ve all benefited from meetings and sessions geared toward refining a business model, basic business accounting, pitching to investors, and deep dives into technical aspects, marketing strategies and legal advice.