After the hackathon that I organised last month, it seemed that some of the attendees had not even heard of the Microsoft Student Partner program. So for all the students who have no idea about us, here is a little background on what we do and how you can get involved!
As some quick-fire statistics for you, there are actually about 100 active Microsoft Student Partners now in the UK at many of the universities and colleges. While 100 doesn’t seem big, Microsoft Student Partners aren’t just local to the UK. The MSP program is active in over 80 countries around the world!
We all have a passion for development and while it isn’t limited to, we mainly evangelise in application development for Windows Phone and Windows 8. Don’t think we are a Microsoft cult though, there are some of us who also develop applications for iOS and Android.
Promoting Microsoft DreamSpark
One of our main tasks is to promote Microsoft DreamSpark on campus. If you don’t know already, DreamSpark is a program set up by Microsoft to allow students the ability to get access to a range of development tools at no cost. All you need to do is create an account, verify it with your student email and you can begin downloading the tools you need to make amazing applications for Windows Phone and Windows 8.
If you haven’t done that yet, head to this address and get yourself started: http://www.dreamspark.com/
This one is a bit trickier than any of the other tasks you’ll do as a Microsoft Student Partner. Don’t hold back from running events though. As I learned from the hackathon, ‘if you build it, they will come’.
Running events gives you the freedom to really do what you do best. Run a hackathon to promote development, give lectures on developing for mobile platforms, get students to team up and compete in Imagine Cup. The choice is all yours.
Be Socially Active
Now this doesn’t mean going out drinking with your techie friends but feel free to do so if you want. By socially active, I mean social media. This covers everything from posting on Facebook, tweeting, blogging, creating YouTube videos or any other platforms that you fancy using.
While it isn’t compulsory to do any of this, I’ve found that you can get your word out further than students at your own campus if you do. If your blog posts are up to scratch, Microsoft will even share them on the Microsoft UK Developers website and Microsoft Student Experience Facebook group which has nearly 900,000 likes.
I do all the above suggestions and I’m getting seen on the internet! If you don’t believe me, here are some stats for you.
- 68,000+ total blog views over last 2 years
- 317 total YouTube subscribers with 136,907 views (avg. 761 per video)
- 343 Twitter followers
I’ve managed to engage with more students and aspiring developers using different platforms and I feel great for doing it.
It isn’t all about evangelism though. You’re encouraged as part of your partnership to develop your own applications for the Windows Phone and Windows 8 marketplace and Microsoft will do everything they possibly can to help promote you.
How much time does it take up?
Microsoft understand that we are only students and that our education comes first. As the time that people use for the program varies, I will let you know what I do.
- Blogging – up to 3 hours a week (depends on how many posts)
- Facebook/Twitter – up to an hour a day, sometimes more (includes personal use)
- YouTube – up to 20 minutes per video per week (depends on what I’m demoing)
- Running a hack – 24/48 hours (over a weekend so doesn’t affect university)
- Making apps – varies day-to-day with university work
- Meetings – an hour every other week
- E-mails – about 15 minutes a day
It really doesn’t take up a lot of time to do what you do best.
While it isn’t about the perks, Microsoft allow you access to things you could only dream of.
This includes help out at events to promote Microsoft development. Names to throw out there include Campus Party, Skills Show at the NEC, Eurogamer, and The Big Bang Fair. These events are huge and could have as many as 70,000 people from the public to businesses checking out what you’re doing and how they can get involved with development.
Going to these events not only promotes Microsoft but they will more than likely raise your public profile. Getting scouted by businesses is something you should be actively trying to do if you want to get a job!
As well as getting to go places, you even get the chance to meet and chat with some amazing Microsoft employees from all areas of the company. You don’t get any closer than this folks. It isn’t all about meeting the guys from Microsoft though. One of the best parts of being a Microsoft Student Partner is getting to meet the other MSPs.
Sign me up!
If you are genuinely interested in getting involved with the Microsoft Student Partner program, I highly recommend you apply for the next academic year here: http://www.microsoftstudentpartners.com/Home/Apply?country=
I’ve only been a Microsoft Student Partner for this academic year and I’ve enjoyed every part of the experience. Unfortunately, I will be leaving university this year and heading to a job in development (in Microsoft technologies obviously). However, that won’t stop me from carrying on what I do best and that is encouraging others to start application development.