How has DreamSpark made a direct impact on your life and how do you feel this has enhanced your employability?

I was first introduced to the DreamSpark program whilst studying Physics at university. On the second year of this course, I did a module of programming in C and discovered a real passion for it. I began to spend more and more of my free time learning how to code having purchased some books and wanted to try my hand at developing for the Windows Phone after hearing some really positive things about developing for the platform.

After downloading the software development kit and familiarising myself, a friend recommended the DreamSpark program to me where it’s possible to download professional grade development and design software that I could use to design and build better Windows Phone apps and other software.After registering using my university email address,

I was really surprised by the amount of software available all completely free ranging from Microsoft Robotics Studio to Kodu Game Lab all completely free.

I began by downloading Visual Studio Professional and Expression Studio and have used them in my projects ever since. One of the programs I use the most, Expression Design (featured in the Expression Studio), has allowed me to design quality vector graphics which I would normally have been unable to do due to the price of other vector drawing tools available.

Using these software packages has allowed me to continue to build on my knowledge of app and software development. The growing skills and interest in this area played a significant role in my decision to switch courses from Physics to Software Engineering which I made at the beginning of this academic year. I feel I am now doing something I really enjoy and have found an area I really want to work in when I graduate.

Besides this, using the software and my still quite basic skills I created some fairly successful apps which so far have generated over 5,000 downloads. Since these were released I have been working on further improving these and have also set up my own app development company (having also been joined by two friends) through which we are hoping to release some great apps we have in the pipeline.

All the above, I believe, have significantly enhanced my employment prospects and have inspired and encouraged me to pursue something I really enjoy. I am now a better programmer who is improving all the time and am also now familiar with a number of the tools I would make use of in a career in Software Development, though for now I hope to remain working with the team I have assembled. I also feel that these changes can largely be traced back to my experiences and the software I downloaded using the DreamSpark program.

What do you now achieve through the services of DreamSpark that you think could not have been easily achieved without it?

The DreamSpark program has allowed me to download and experiment with professional, high quality software at no expense to use both for University and my own personal projects. Being on a limited budget I would normally have to carefully consider using a piece of software due to its price, possibly resulting in me getting the cheapest version or maybe not at all.

This program has allowed me to download some of the very best tools available for developers at no expense and with no risk.

normally this type of software would be well out of my budget. DreamSpark has also allowed me to start my own student-run business and develop apps and software without expensive software start-up costs, we can download software on the fly and try out new ideas within a matter of minutes and at no expense which I feel has been invaluable to the venture so far.


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