We had been lately busy in shortlisting, interviewing, evaluating and recruiting Microsoft Student Partners (MSPs) from across universities and institutions of Pakistan.

As the process is almost finalized and new MSPs are being brought on-board, I wanted to share my understanding of a couple of aspects that a Microsoft Student Partner should invest in to strengthen him/herself technically, be known, diversify and outshine others. Here’s my Top 5 List in bulleted points,

1- Be a Community Person

-          People should be comfortable reaching out to You as an MSP. Be polite, humble, affectionate and helpful to others.

-          No question is an unnecessary question. When confused about something, simply ask Us.

-          It is fine to NOT know answers to a lot of questions raised by community. Contact your regional Microsoft executives to fetch the Right answer and reach back to community.

-          Consider launching a community page on social media for fellow students in your respective university to keep them updated with recent news, activities, offerings

-          Try to form a Microsoft community in your campus with likely minded people. Remember, one and one makes eleven.

-          We don’t mind you becoming member of other societies (ACM, IEEE, etc.). As a matter of fact, we want You to socialize and carry the word forward.

2- Do Blogging

-          If you don’t already, start blogging NOW! There are many blogging services.

-          Blog Religiously

-          Blog Original. Don’t steal other’s stuff. If You must, reference it

-          Rule of thumb, If you face/d challenges learning/acquiring/finding something, share it as Top Priority

-          Personalize yourself in posts and blog identity. Establish Yourself as a brand (see point 5, Be Known by a Virtue)

-          Regularly respond to questions/comments or user's feedback and build around it

-          Do you have Microsoft Azure subscription? Preferably host your blog on it. Find a custom domain and point to it. Free services don’t let you install all plugins/extensions and that will also be a good starting/learning point towards Azure as Microsoft being cloud-first company.

3- Contribute in existing communities

-          When was the last time you spared some time to help someone you might never meet in life?

-          Don’t answer wrong. It is better to NOT answer than misguide.

-          Engage on forums not only to help others but also for self-learning. Explore questions you find interesting. This will increase your skill-set and make you known in respective community.

-          Consider contributing in TechNet Wiki, StackOverFlow, MSDN Forums,CodeProject or any other.

4- Compete & Win

-          Participate in local as well as global competitions/contests/hackathons

-          Search for upcoming promotions of such contests, competitions and spread the word around them

-          Learn third party tools/technologies yourself that facilitate in development. For example, we might never be able to teach you all the gaming engines available for Windows Store app development and there might be a lot of competitions held around them

-          Remember, some compete to win, few for the experience. You should know your driving force

5- Be Known by a Virtue

-          Be known and try to distinguish yourself from rest of the MSPs through a virtue such as,

  • Post unique or challenging problems or blog about technology
  • Open Source your App code for other’s help
  • Make a Video/series in localized language on any technology aspect
  • Command a product/tool/technology
  • Volunteer in various Microsoft lead local initiatives
  • Become a well versed presenter
  • Anything other that makes you fall in community good books