What is DreamSpark?
DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes. If you are a student, educator or part of an institution you could be missing out on Microsoft software.
Why would I want DreamSpark?
You can download Microsoft software and development tools for no cost. I.e. if you are a student you can get Microsoft software FOR FREE!
A few examples of DreamSpark software:
Click here to see see the full DreamSpark Software Catalogue.
To look further into how to get DreamSpark or how it could help you..
Dene Palmer, a Microsoft Student Partner at the University of Lincoln gives his insight on the value of DreamSpark below. (The image below is Dene giving presentation on DreamSpark to 14 students at Campus Party Europe!)
‘I’ve used DreamSpark over the last 3 years of my University life, mainly for the latest versions of the Windows Operating System and the Visual Studio IDE. More recently I’ve also utilised Project and Visio for University Assignments and the free Windows Store Developer account registration offered to students.
DreamSpark has allowed to me to keep up to date with the latest operating systems and development tools which the price, as a student, would make hard to obtain without DreamSpark. Microsoft providing these resources has allowed me to keep up to date and current in the development world. This grants me a much better looking CV and higher employability upon leaving University.
This year at Lincoln I’ve been asked to help teach our Social Applications Development module, focused on Windows Phone Development. Having just updated all our lecture materials to Windows Phone 8, we have updated all our lab machines to run Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 - the required development platform for Windows Phone 8. The immediate response from students was fear they now could not work from home, due to not having Windows 8 or VS2012 – meaning they weren’t aware of DreamSpark. Because of this, it was decided I would do a talk on DreamSpark to Lincoln University Students.
My presentation runs through the sign up process, and how to activate the extra benefits of an Institution DreamSpark Premium subscription. Something I am really trying to push is encouraging individuals to register for a Windows Store Developer account, which allows you to publish apps. Publishing an app to the store demonstrates to potential employers that an individual has worked on a project from its creation to delivery, meaning understanding of every stage of a product lifecycle. It also great numeric proof of success for your CV, as you can say you have created (X) apps with (Y) downloads.
None of this app publishing, development experience and CV improvement would have been possible without Microsoft DreamSpark. It provides an extremely important tool to any student who’s passionate about a career in the IT industry.’
1. Have you checked if you can get more software through your school/ academic institution at no cost?
Enter your full academic institution to see if your school has enrolled in a DreamSpark Premium account: https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Default.aspx
2. Why not look into developing applications for Microsoft software that showcase your talent, skill, development creativity?
DreamSpark has the tools for app development for Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Indie Games and Windows Azure. Many students have developed, got apps into the Windows Store and have become success stories - you could too.
3. Do you know an educator who could benefit from Microsoft software for learning, teaching and support?
Direct them to the following page: https://www.dreamspark.com/institution/subscription.aspx. Through an institution subscription, an educator can get access to DreamSpark software at no cost.
4. Do you know an institution that could benefit from Microsoft software? Your school, University, a family member who works in a school or institution?
Inform them about DreamSpark! Pass on the following link: https://www.dreamspark.com/institution/subscription.aspx. An institution can get either DreamSpark Standard (for all types of institutions) or DreamSpark Premium (a wider software catalogue of over 500 products for qualifying technical departments).
5. Unsure about the capabilities of DreamSpark? Have a specific question?
There is a great support tool: https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/Support.aspx so experiment, play around, begin some app development - then ask if you get stuck.
I (@philcr) am in Madrid at the moment at a worldwide meeting with my counterparts from all over the world. I love these meetings for 3 reasons:-
So whilst I might not come back and change the world straight away it is always a possibility that I’ll do it in a couple of weeks time.
So on that basis if you could change one thing what would you do?
It also got me thinking about how I approach tough decisions and it reminded me of the best course I have ever been on. I can strongly recommend reading the Steven Covey Seven/Eight habit books – like a lot of these courses, books etc you can take some, all or nothing out of it. I personally realised that you must seek first to understand and then be understood – don’t force your ideas on others until you really understand what drives them – it s a strong position to be in. There are lots of other take-aways (Chinese, Indian etc ) but rather than expose them all here have a look at the habits – you can get into some very good ones!
Loads of you are now back at uni and for many it’ll be time to start applying for a placement year...
I'm @gracegimson ,and am on my year internship here at Microsoft . Here is an insight into my experiences of looking for and applying to a placement year... hopefully you’ll be able to relate to them or pick up some tips!
The application process is a lot about managing your time. Second year does feel like a step up, and with lots of coursework deadlines in the first term, you need to keep on top of it. While applying I was helping to manage a Christmas ball and had six sports teams to organise, as well as holding down a part time job. It’s all about prioritising what needs doing first, and placement applications should be somewhere near the top (I know how easy it is to put them off!).
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and you learn pretty quickly what you’re good at. I had lots of past experiences to talk about which definitely helped for the telephone interviews. But the part of the process I found hardest was the psychometric tests, particularly the numeracy tests. Luckily they get easier each time as you get used to working within a time limit!
Here are a few key tips which I learnt along the way:
- Make sure you have a solid, well prepared C.V. before you start applying. Ideally get this done at the start of the autumn semester (this is almost a whole year before the placement would actually start), and make sure someone who knows what they are doing has looked over it. At many universities you can show your C.V. to the careers centre and they will look over it to guide you on improvements.
- Come up with a list of companies you would like to apply to (do this by reading info on company websites, attending careers fairs, talking to students who are on placements, and checking placement/internship ratings on sites like RateMyPlacement).
- Start applying early. Find out when closing deadlines are to make sure you don’t miss any (some companies close applications as early as mid October).
- Learn about the companies...or it could be embarrassing when they call you for a telephone interview and ask why you’d like to work for them.
- Prepare cover letters carefully...explain how good you’d be for the company and specific position rather than listing facts about who they are (they already know about their own company!).
- Don’t give up, it’s not realistic to expect to get the first position you apply to. The competitive nature of placement applications means it’s an achievement to even get past the first stage, and it helps you to know what to expect the next time.
To give yourself the best chance of being accepted you need to put in time and thought to each stage of the process. Make a list of relevant experiences you’ve had, for example; when you’ve managed a team well, when you’ve overcome a problem, when you’ve influenced others and when you’ve exceeded someone’s expectations, this will be really useful for online applications.
Prepare yourself before a telephone interview; come up with a list of questions they could ask you, and make sure you’re ready with to-the-point but informative answers. When you get as far as a face to face interview, it will be a chance for you to ask questions as well as for them to question you. Really make use of this, for example you may be interested in knowing whether there are opportunities for career development after the placement, or whether the organisation encourages activities outside of office hours such as sports or volunteering. Most large companies use an assessment centre as part of the application process, the biggest tip I can give for these is be yourself and be confident with your abilities, especially if you are asked to give a presentation.
Overall, apply early, think carefully when giving answers, practice lots of psychometric tests, and be prepared. Don’t let it stress you out,
Came across this blog which discussed 5 soft skills that are in demand in a high tech world. Interesting reading but thought we would see what our Facebook students though of it and we got a lot of people reading the link and a couple of comments about how it was all common sense.
Here is my personal take on the skills.
1. Ability to communicate professionally. Yes, we all do this don’t we? Well, actually, I am guilty of bashing away at my keyboard and not re-reading what I have written before sending emails, tweets, posts etc. So in my case its probably more “take care when communicating”rather than the professional word.
3. Maintaining a good attitude. This is hard to do 100% of the time and we are all influenced by lots of factors - internal and external. However, you are the only one who can control your attitude so again I think we could all practise techniques to make this a real skill for all of us. Pick the times when you need to be 100% positive and focus on it.
4. Critical Thinking. You can check this out for more info or the wikipedia article referred to in the blog post. Not an easy skill to develop and I personally think its more about practise. Infuse this into everything you do , think about it, practise until it becomes second nature. Easy to type this, very hard to do.
5. Teamwork and Collaboration. When interviewing students for roles they can ALL give examples of project work where 2 or 3 of the team did not pull their weight. So what did they do about it? A tough one but as a team member and possibly a leader you have a responsibility not just to yourself, but to the team as a whole. I coach youngsters at Rugby Union here and one of the biggest challenges is to get them to look up and see what is around them and involve their team mates proactively rather than reactively. When they have the ball they all want the individual glory, they like to run with it but by involving their team mates we can be more successful. I am being hard on them as they are young but we can take this into work as well – work out what skills people have and use them, if people are struggling or not engaged find out why and involve them in the way ahead!
Interesting times and I really enjoyed writing this article and thinking about soft skills. Hope it helps you.
Did you know that on 31st October 2011, the population of the world officially reached 7 billion? Have you considered what effect the rising human population is having? Let’s take Africa; its population just passed 1 billion and the problems that it faces today look to worsen in the future; hunger, environmental degradation, widespread disease, the high cost of living in towns and cities. In the developed world countries are struggling to support ageing populations and deliver the education and skills needed to increase employment and grow the economy. The Imagine Cup is your opportunity to make a difference; to solve some of the world’s toughest problems. Read some of the success stories from Imagine Cup 2011 and see how students are helping to make the world a better place.
Last year’s Imagine Cup winner Team Hermes from Ireland
Imagine Cup 2012
If creating something life-changing, winning some amazing prizes and showcasing your talents to the world sounds right up your street then enter the Imagine Cup. You can enter one of four competitions:
· Software Design
· Game Design: Xbox/Windows
· Game Design: Phone
· IT Challenge
This year we’re running a UK Software Design competition, while the other three competitions are run as global on-line competitions. The winning team from the UK Software Design Competition will travel to the World-Wide finals event in Australia in July 2012, as will the winners in the on-line Game Design and IT Challenge competitions. There are more Challenges coming – register now to keep up to date with the latest news.
Imagine Cup 2012 UK Software Design Competition, Prizes and Benefits
Take part in a local competition…
· In December we’ll be announcing a number of local Software Design competitions at universities around the country.
· There will be prizes for the top teams and someone from Microsoft will visit the university to see what the teams have achieved.
· The winning team (or teams) from the local competition will go through to the UK Software Design finals.
· If your university is not running a local competition you can still enter the UK Software Design Competition on-line.
Get through to the UK Software Design final…
· Your entry will be reviewed and judged by some of the brightest business minds in Britain, and they will provide your team with constructive feedback on your project.
· All entrants who reach the UK final will receive prizes.
Win the UK Software Design final…
· The winning team and their faculty mentor of the UK Software Design Final will win a trip to Sydney, Australia for the Imagine Cup worldwide finals*.
At the Imagine Cup Worldwide finals …
· First Place: $25,000 USD**
· Second Place: $10,000 USD**
· Third Place: $5,000 USD**
· The opportunity to apply for an Imagine Cup Grant of up to $100,000 to develop your idea further.
Game Design and IT Challenge Competitions: Prizes and Benefits
Game Design (Xbox/Windows and Phone)
· First Place: $8,000 USD**
· Second Place: $4,000 USD**
· Third Place: $3,000 USD**
How to enter the Imagine Cup
Now it’s time to enter the Imagine Cup Software Design Competition.
1. Register to get started and to keep up to date with all the latest news about the Imagine Cup.
2. Form a team of up to 4 students and choose a team name. Please note the IT Challenge is an individual competition.
3. Find a faculty mentor for your team.
4. Register your team and all team members and sign up to a competition. It’s a good idea to take a few minutes to read the Rules & Regulations for the Imagine Cup and for your chosen competition: Software Design, Game Design: XBOX/Windows, Game Design: Phone and IT Challenge.
5. Think of a great idea and start your project.
For any questions or more information please email email@example.com
See the entry by Team Note-Taker from USA here.
*Trip includes round trip coach airfare from the major airport closest to winner’s home, standard hotel accommodations, select meals and activities.
** Prize money to be divided equally among each officially registered member of the team. Mentors will not be awarded any portion of the monetary prize winnings.
You are awesome, but you knew that. Now we’d like to help you spread the word about how great your skills are and potentially reward you in the process. Yes, to enter you have to have written a Windows Phone app, but once you have then it’s all pretty much plain sailing. As a student developer or designer you have 2 chances of winning.
The rewards are varied - from a DAB Radio to an Xbox 360, from afternoon tea for 2 to a 22” TV. The more apps you enter for the rewards programme then the more chance you have of winning. Full details are on the site here. As a student though you can also enter the student only rewards programme for a DreamSpark hoody, or do you prefer hoodie? You’ll have a pretty good chance of winning one as we are offering up to 10 per fortnight from now until February 5th. Full terms and conditions are below. In the spirit of keeping it simple all you have to do is you mail details of your app, and your publisher ID to firstname.lastname@example.org and we enter you into the random draw. Simple!
We’ll also help publicise your app through our UK student channels – Facebook, twitter and blogs, and possibly via the global site here (there are limited opportunities through the global site hence the caveat).
You can enter the same app for the both programmes so hence you have 2 chances of winning. Any questions? You can email us, connect on Facebook or twitter.
If you like the idea but are not sure where to start, you can learn all you need to know about writing apps by following the 3 simple steps here. Good luck!
Satisfy yourself that entry doesn’t constitute selling your soul by reading the terms and conditions below.
1. ELIGIBILITY: This competition is open to UK students who are 16 years of age or older at the time of entry. Employees of Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising or promotion agencies are not eligible, nor are members of these employees’ families (defined as parents, children, siblings, spouse and life partners).
2. TO ENTER: To enter, you have to publish a new Windows Phone application into Windows MarketPlace during the weeks of the competition which are detailed below. Any previously published apps will not be eligible. Email a screenshot of your Windows Phone application together with its name, your publisher name and email address to email@example.com. All entries published and submitted during the 2 weeks of each round of the competition and by midnight on the closing date of each round will be entered into a random draw, overseen by three Microsoft employees. We will offer a maximum of 10 hoodies per 2 week period – there may be a limited selection of sizes as the competition progresses. Any number of entries per person is allowed BUT only one entry per application published in MarketPlace will be accepted. Incomplete, damaged, defaced or illegible entries may be deemed invalid at the sole discretion of Microsoft. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms and Conditions. Microsoft reserves the right to disqualify anyone in breach of these Terms and Conditions.
3. TIMING: The competition timings are as follows (all timing are GMT)
Round 1 Monday 00:01 am 14th November 2011 until midnight on Sunday November 27th 2011
Round 2 Monday 00:01 am 28th November 2011 until midnight on Sunday December 11th 2011
Round 3 Monday 00:01 am 12th December 2011 until midnight on Sunday December 25th 2011
Round 4 Monday 00:01 am 26th December 2011 until midnight on Sunday January 8th 2012
Round 5 Monday 00:01 am 9th January 2012 until midnight on Sunday January 22nd 2012
Round 6 Monday 00:01 am 23rd January 2012 until midnight on Sunday February 5th 2012
The closing date of the entire competition is midnight BST February 5th 2012. Completed entries will be entered into the specific round of the incentive based on when the app was published and when the email arrives in the Microsoft inbox.
4. USE OF DATA: Personal data which you provide when you enter this competition will not be used for future Microsoft UK marketing activity.
5. SELECTION OF WINNERS: The 10 DreamSpark Hoodies per round of the incentive will be randomly selected form all eligible entries received in the relevant round of the programme. All eligible entries submitted during the 2 weeks of each round of the competition and by midnight on the closing date of each round will be entered into a random draw, overseen by three Microsoft employees. Those who win the hoody will be notified via email during the week after each round closes. The winners agree to have their publisher names and application names published via the Microsoft UK Students Facebook page, Microsoft UK Students blog and Microsoft UK Students Twitter.
6. PRIZE: The winning 10 entrants for each round will receive one DreamSpark Hoody – there may be a limited choice in your requested size. Prize is as stated and non-transferable. No cash or other alternatives available. Microsoft reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. The prizes will be dispatched within two weeks of the competition’s closing date for each round. Prize may be considered a taxable benefit and the winner will be directly responsible for accounting for any tax liability arising on their prize.
7. WINNERS LIST: The winner consents to their surname being made publicly available. The winner’s name and application name will be available for a period of 3 weeks after the closing date by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
8. OTHER: No correspondence will be entered into regarding either this competition or these Terms and Conditions. In the unlikely event of a dispute, Microsoft’s decision shall be final. Microsoft reserves the right to amend, modify, cancel or withdraw this competition at any time without notice.
9. Microsoft cannot guarantee the performance of any third party and shall not be liable for any act or default by a third party. Participants in this promotion agree that Microsoft will have no liability whatsoever for any injuries, losses, costs, damage or disappointment of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from acceptance, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in this promotion. Nothing in this clause shall limit Microsoft’s liability in respect of death or personal injury arising out of its own negligence or arising out of fraud.
Problem or issues registering?
Are you having trouble with App Hub registration to submit Windows Phone Apps? Did you get this error?
We’re sorry, an error has occurred.
Rather than duplicate the fix here you can go to our Faculty blog you can find out how to fix it.
We’ve checked all the entries and will be emailing the recipients of the phones later today – keep an eye on your inbox……
For anyone developing an app for Windows Phone, don’t forget you can get prizes through our rewards programme.
Here’s a sample of what you can get for 1 app
and for 4 apps you receive something like
Check out the site (after you have registered here) for all the rewards.
Ever wondered what it’s like to work at Microsoft as an Intern or Graduate? Well now you can find out, check out Be Your Future, the graduate and intern blog, to find out all the latest news and updates from our current interns and grads.
Learn about different job roles, the culture and what we get up to on a day to day basis. We also have blogs from other subsidiaries around the world including Australia, Sweden, Singapore and Ireland, so not only can you find out about us in the UK but also what it’s like to work for us further a field.
Get involved and leave us comments or contact us to find out more.
Come along to our information sessions on the UK Imagine Cup where you’ll learn about the Imagine Cup and have a chance to network with other students.
As you’ve probably heard the Imagine Cup 2012 competition is up and running and people are already signing up ready to compete. The Imagine Cup is a chance for students to get together and use Microsoft technology to be awesome and do amazing stuff. So if winning a trip to Sydney, Australia and up to $25,000 in prize money sounds right up your street then come along to one of the events that we’ve set up to tell you more about what the Imagine Cup is as well as giving you the chance to meet like-minded people.
Perhaps you’re interested in entering and finding out what sort of projects you could do or what prizes you could win. Maybe you’ve already registered and want to find some team members to create something awesome. Or maybe you just want to come along and find out what Microsoft offers students.
Right now we have events set up in Edinburgh and London. Simply register for free and come along.
Edinburgh 29th November 2011 - http://ukimaginecup.eventbrite.co.uk/
London 1st December 2011 - http://ukimaginecuplondon.eventbrite.co.uk/
If you have any suggestions for other locations where we can hold such an event let us know at email@example.com.