Students - Blog


Microsoft Learning news specifically for students
  • |

    I wanted to remind everyone that both students and Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) are eligible to earn college credit with a Microsoft Certification. In short, approved certifications can be applied for up to six semester hours of college credit in either a bachelor’s-degree or associate-degree of computer applications, information technology, or computer information systems.  There are no caveats to this. In order for you to qualify for the credit(s), you must have passed a select Microsoft Certification within the last three years.

    The American Council on Education (ACE) is the governing body that has made this possible. One exciting thing about this is that they maintain a network of more than 1,500 cooperating, accredited colleges and universities! This list consists of all accredited colleges and universities that have agreed to consider ACE college-credit.  

    The following are Microsoft Certifications and exams that ACE recommends for college credit:

    Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certifications

    IT professional and developer certifications

    Frequently asked questions are obtainable here:

    Q.  Will my school recognize the ACE credit recommendation?

    Q.  Is an ACE transcript different from an MCP digital transcript?

    Q.  Where can I find more information about the ACE College Credit Recommendation Service?

    Q.  Is my Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) certification eligible for college credit?

    Q.  Are my MCSE and MCSA certifications eligible for college credit?

    So students – whether you’re entering into your freshman year or finishing up next year as a senior, we welcome you to check out this program to start earning credit now!


  • |

    Students, if you’ve been struggling this past year taking notes on that sluggish laptop with no battery life, now’s the time to buy that new PC you need! For a limited time only (through 9/3/2011) Microsoft is offering a free Xbox 360 with the purchase of a qualifying laptop. To be eligible you only need to purchase a qualifying Windows 7 PC priced $699 or higher from the Microsoft store while showing a current student ID.

    As you know, there is a lot of hype surrounding the Xbox 360 and Kinect - the motion sensing input device that enable users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without a controller. However, ever since it was unveiled last year, Kinect has been used for much more than just gaming. KinectEDucation recently launched as a community-driven resource for developers, teachers, students, enthusiasts, and any other education stakeholder to promote the use of Kinect applications in the classroom. While the website is not directly affiliated with Microsoft, we have invited the founder of the website Johnny Kissko to come to our Redmond, Washington campus in July and present KinectEDucation in person.

    Here’s a short video on KinectEDucation:

    What are your thoughts on bringing the Kinect into the classroom? Is it the future? 


  • |

    Early on in my career, I struggled to find my niche in Information Technology. As it turned out, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I kept at it though, exploring all of my IT interests and landed my first role as an entry level support person who answered software support questions via email. Proving not to be as hands on as I had hoped, I later moved into a desktop and network administration role at a much larger company. Thankfully this ended up being far more suitable to my personality and it fulfilled my overall desire to troubleshoot things. I was happy.

    That said, if I were given the choice again in 2011 to start my IT career over, I would likely decide on a Windows Developer role – for Windows Phone. Let me explain why.

    While Windows Phone only has approximately 7% of US market share (as of March 2011, according to Nielsen), industry analysts project that it will surpass Apple’s iOS by 2015 as illustrated in the graph below.

    If you think about it, these are some very encouraging statistics for those considering a career as a Windows Developer! If you decide to go this route, you will be poised for success as Windows Phone continues to penetrate the market – trust me.

    Anyway, I hope this post has inspired you in some way to pick a career in an industry that is only going to keep getting bigger! Below are some additional resources on Windows Development from the Microsoft Learning student career portal.

    Learning Plans To Guide the Way

    Microsoft Learning Plans can help you navigate through training resources before you take your Microsoft Certification exam.

    Learning Plan for the Windows developer job role

    Recommended Microsoft E-Learning

    These e-learning courses allow you to learn at your own pace—any time and any place.

    ·       Collection 5160: Core Development with the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Foundation *

    ·       Collection 5161: Advanced Development with the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Foundation *

    ·       Collection 2541: Core Data Access Development with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

    ·       Collection 2542: Advanced Data Access Development with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

    ·       Collection 2546: Core Windows Client Development with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

    ·       Collection 2547: Advanced Windows Client Development with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005

    * Free access to verified students through Microsoft DreamSpark

    Certification Exams

    Certification is a validation of your skills and can help differentiate you in today’s IT job market.

    ·       Exam 72-536: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Application Development Foundation

    ·       Exam 72-505: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Application Development

    ·       Exam 70-563: PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

    Many Microsoft Certification exams are available at special student prices. The exams that have a "72" prefix (such as Exam 72-640), are available for students at the discounted price (up to 50% depending on country). You can take exams that have the "70" prefix; however, these exams are available at retail prices.

    ·       Find out more about certification exam discounts for students



  • |

    As you move closer to graduation and will soon be entering the workforce, consider the qualifications on your resume that aren’t work experience. One way to stand out is by getting certified in Microsoft technologies. There are currently some great discounts on certifications, so be sure to check those out.


    Another way that you can supercharge your resume is by being a part of professional organizations relevant to the industry you are looking to join. The best way to start is to look at industry veterans whom you respect and see if they belong to a professional group or organization. They can sometimes require a commitment of time and money, but they are worth the investment of both.


    In the world of software engineering, the foremost organization is the IEEE Society, “the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity,” according to their website.


    If you’re not familiar with the IEEE, it is very student-friendly and knows that the future of technological innovation lies with dedicated students. They have compiled a robust repository of interesting videos on that are engaging for students interested in the IT field.


    Here are a few of my videos recommendations:


    Nerd Girls: This is a series that documents some cool projects by the Nerd Girls, a group of stylish, self-possessed, ambitious and confident women who are engineering students to boot. It is really an interesting series that breaks down the myth that engineering is an industry dominated by men.


    Art, Technology, and Whimsy: Students at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program show off creations that spin technology in fun new ways, such as an upright piano rigged to make mixed drinks and a motion-sensitive belt buckle that can be used to control vintage arcade games.


    The Future Awaits: This is my personal favorite. It is a retro video from the Global History Network, done as a recruitment tool for leadership positions in IEEE student branches on college campuses.


  • |

    For those of you who have been following along with the Career Factor reality show, you have seen all of the great progress the cast has made. You have watched Steve struggle through the life of an unemployed IT pro, and have watched Rabeb successfully submit her first Windows Phone 7 app, and have cheered Caroline on as she worked her way through the MOS certification exams.


    You can now become part of the story and win a prize package to follow Steve, Rabeb or Caroline’s footsteps. All you have to do is go to the Career Factor site and tell everyone in 100 characters why you deserve to win one of the following prize packages:


    Windows Server® Boot Camp

    • One 3-exam Microsoft Certification pack for Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Enterprise Administrator
    • Three Windows Server 2008 Learning Plans
    • One practice exam from MeasureUp
    • One self-paced training kit (e-book) from Microsoft Press
    • One e-learning collection from Microsoft

     Develop For Windows® Phone 7

    • One 3-exam Microsoft Certification pack for Microsoft Certified Professional Developer with Windows Phone 7 concentration
    • Three Learning Plans (Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Silverlight 4, .NET Framework 4)
    • One e-book from Microsoft Press
    • One practice exam from MeasureUp
    • One e-learning collection from Microsoft


    Conquer Microsoft® Office

    • Four Microsoft Office Specialist Certification exams, including Expert level (Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010)
    • One study guide (e-book) from Microsoft Press
    • One practice exam from MeasureUp
    • One e-learning collection from Microsoft


    This is the perfect opportunity for you to win big. As a student, you have everything going for you. The winners will be selected entirely on the number of votes they receive. So as a college student, you have a very active network of friends online. Just tell them to vote for you via Facebook and Twitter, and you’ll have a good chance of winning!


    This is a great opportunity to get free stuff that can actually help you in your pursuit of a career in IT.  Get certified and get noticed by future employers. 


    Anyone can win, enter now!



  • |

    A Microsoft Certification is always a good idea, whether you're at a tech student at university,  IT college, working in an IT department, or looking to switch into the IT field. Competition for jobs is fierce, but a Microsoft Certification will help set you apart from all the other applicants and will help your resume rise to the top of the pile!  

    And just in time for all the college students graduating this May, not only do you get over 50% off the standard exam price, if you take your certification test before June 30th, you can take advantage of the FREE Exam Retake offer -if you don't pass your the first try, try again!

    To take advantage of this offer before it expires -- grab a voucher code at Act now, offer ends June 30, 2011 and Microsoft Certification exam prices increase July 1. 


  • |

    As a student in IT, it is important to stay up to speed on the latest trends in technology because those trends often indicate the fastest-growing career paths. There are hundreds of thousands of tech blogs out there, but not all of them are created equal. Here are a few of the best blogs we’ve found for students to follow.

    Start with some of the heavy hitters such as: 

    • Engadet – Blog includes obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics.
    • Mashable – On of the most widely viewed sources for news in social and digital media, technology and web culture.
    • Gizmodo – “The gadget guide.” Latest news on gadgets and technology.
    • Boy Genius Report (BGR) - Technology category leader among early adopters, savvy technophiles, and casual readers.
    • GigaOM – Well-known provider of online media, events and research for global technology innovators.
    • TechCrunch – Blog dedicated to profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.

     Once you are familiar with these blogs and what they offer, start to dive deeper into the blog world:

    • gHacks Technology News -  Software reviews, Internet news, and Windows and Linux tutorials.
    • ReadWriteWeb – One of the more popular technology blogs out there that covers a very broad range of trending topics. Known for insightful analysis about each day's Internet industry news.
    • The Windows Blog – Everything Windows
    • Digital Inspiration - Award winning technology blog. Features software reviews, consumer gadgets and useful web applications.
    • Beta News - Tech gear, cloud computing, and IT Systems news and popular file forum. In the last couple of years BetaNews has stepped up its game, hiring a well-known Microsoft authority Joe Wilcox from eWeek.
    • Dvice – Not as widely followed as the key consumer technology blogs but a favorite. Tech news and plenty of engineering concepts and designs. A fun read.
    • How-To Geek – Computer help, how-to’s, and IT tips.
    • Redmond Pie - Covers news from Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Geared toward those who love the technological innovations coming out from Microsoft and other companies.
    • Naked Security – IT security blog of the year. News, opinion, advice and research on computer security issues and the latest internet threats.

    These blogs will plug you into the pipeline of IT news. As you start to find trends that are interesting to you, take a look at the sources these blogs link to, generally blogs that are even more focused. This is a good way to refine your interests and expertise, and help develop your niche as a hirable employee.

    Any other blogs that you read on a daily basis that we missed?



  • |

    Students, your IT career is just around the corner. But you need to land that first job, right? An internship is a great option and can be one of the most important things you do before graduation. The experience can help you explore IT and, in many cases, position you for a full-time job offer. With these benefits and a challenging job market, you’ll want to differentiate yourself from the other candidates and guarantee that competitive advantage.


    Here is some helpful advice:


    Get Experience


    School Organizations: Build and utilize your own professional network. Get involved with a school-affiliated organization that participates in real-world activities that relate to your major. This is a great way to get to know the students in your class, meet future contacts that will work in your industry, and diversify your college experience from other college graduates. It also looks great on a resume.


    School Projects: What are you learning in school? Showcase it! You are doing projects related to your field every semester. Be sure to highlight that experience in your resume and showcase what you have learned. If you are at the top of your class, ask for a recommendation from your professor and post it on your LinkedIn profile or resume.

     Use your resources


    University Career Centers: Most universities have departments specifically dedicated to finding students internships and full time jobs. Be sure to take advantage of all their different services including resume building and workshops highlighting best practices for interviewing.  Once you feel like your resume is solid and you have finely tuned your interviewing skills, check out different job postings on their website and apply early!


    Career Fairs: Go to your school sponsored Career Fairs. These provide a great way to learn about companies in your area and find a company best suited for you. It’s a great way to apply to a number of places at once and build relationships by having conversations with the different recruiters at each booth. Don’t forget to dress professionally. See


    Connections: You’ve heard it over and over that success is all about who you know. Well, it holds a lot of truth. Exhaust all your connections! The Born to Learn blog can help you. Get advice from the experts and be active on blogs like Born to Learn. If you know someone in the field, be persistent and find out everything you can about what they do. Show interest and pass along your resume for future consideration. What could it hurt?


    Stand out


    Resume and Cover Letter: Get advice from as many professionals as possible. Everyone has a different opinion on resumes. When applying for an IT position, wherever possible, quantify your experience. Mention numerically, time periods/efficiency improved, lines of code written/debugged, numbers of machines administered/fixed, etc. which demonstrate progress or accomplishments due directly to your work. Begin sentences with action verbs related to IT field. Show yourself as someone who is active, uses their brain, and gets things done. Stick with the past tense, even for descriptions of currently held positions, to avoid confusion.  Make sure you can effectively sell yourself in one page. Employers will scan over these very quickly and you need something that will catch the eye. Many times, grammatical errors catch the eye so be careful and review it multiple times before sending it out! Some companies require you to send in a cover letter along with your resume. You can create a generic cover letter highlighting qualities that you think will benefit the company OR you can customize a cover letter for each company that you apply to. This will help you stand out among applicants that go generic!


    You can also find some great advice from Microsoft/Student on resumes and cover letters.


    Take classes and get certified: This time of year many college students will be competing for the best internships. Set yourself apart from everyone else by showcasing how hard you’ve worked. For example, if you have any interest in working for Microsoft, a great way to stand out from the crowd is to earn a Microsoft Certification. Being MS Certified shows that you not only got your degree in college, but you have worked hard to accomplish other goals. Check out My Intern Life 2 to see what life is like as a Microsoft intern.


    Don’t wait to apply for internships! Start now! Most companies are already reviewing applications for summer internship spots. Use these tips to make sure you secure your internship spot!






  • |

    Hi everyone, it’s me again.  Kevin, the student from Career Factor.  I just wanted to invite you to a very cool Tweet Chat with the Career Factor cast.  The chat will take place next week, and is an event for anyone looking to get in touch with people who are seeking certifications just like you.  So if you are (like me) wondering which direction to take on your career path after graduation, come chat with me.


    It will be on Twitter under a chat called #CFchat. If you don't know much about Tweet Chats (I didn't either, it's easy to setup quickly) check out other Career Factor cast and I will be joining in to speak with the public, so if you have are looking to find out more about a specific certification, or have any tips you’d like to share, please join us!

    Open on 2 days: March 16th at 10am PDT (check your time) and March 17th at 5pm PDT (check your time).


    Networking with other techies is the best way to accelerate your career as you look into internships or entry-level jobs. And on Twitter, everyone's on the same playing field – from interns to hiring managers to CTOs. Who knows, you just might meet your next boss.


    Message me on Twitter or Facebook and see you next Wednesday/Thursday!




  • |

    At last week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco, one of the key topics discussed was smartphone security. In this day in age where the smart phone is as capable and connected as a personal computer, many vendors predict that smartphones will become the next big target for malware. Although there have not been many documented mobile malware scares yet in the US, in many countries the problem has already arisen. 

    One of the main concerns vendors say is that people put information on their smartphone that they may not put on their PC since their phones generally are never out of their immediate control so they feel more secure. However, it is that same mobility that puts them at risk - smartphones can be lost easily and they cross through myriad wireless networks on any given day. 

    Similarly, the caution PC users exhibit when downloading and installing software on their PCs may not carry over to their smartphones even though their phones may be just as vulnerable. Fortunately many companies are taking preventative steps to ensure the security of their products with these risks in mind. The Windows Phone, for example, has a strict application development process making certain the security of its users’ information. 

    According to the PCWorld coverage of RSA conference, many security software companies have either released or are planning to release a mobile security app of some sort showing that over the next few years a large emphasis will be placed on smartphone security and the development of smartphone security apps. This can be a huge opportunity for students looking to set themselves apart in searching for employment. Students with knowledge and skills in smartphone application development and security will prove to be valuable assets to their future employers. The ability to protect vital mobile information will become increasingly relevant as smartphone use and technology continues to grow. 

    Students interested in learning more about mobile applications should familiarize themselves with Windows Mobile MCTS certifications.

  • |

    It’s that time again and school is in full swing.  My name is Kevin, and I am a participant in Microsoft’s Career Factor online reality show.

    I’d like to talk some about my “Career Factor” experience and how using blogs and social media helps advance my knowledge of the IT world.

    Let me first begin by encouraging students to work while in school. I work in the computer lab on campus at my university and I also am working towards completing some Microsoft certifications! 

    It is that final semester and I am a big advocate of pursuing certifications while in school. As I approach graduation in May this year, I begin to see how classmates around me are competing for the same jobs that I am also applying for. We know that the last several years of the job market have been a bit rocky, and nobody wants to graduate with no leads on jobs.

    I have noticed there has been a lot of work, mixed with excitement, towards getting Microsoft certifications. So naturally, to have the advantage in the field of my future career is priceless here.

    Essentially, I have had three core items on my to-do lists this semester:

    • School (graduation)
    • Work (on campus IT job)
    • Certifications (reading/preparing for exams)

    Come the middle of February, school will have been going for a month now. I have three more months of work to do – but it will one day pay off.

    I wish I could have gotten started on certifications in previous semesters. In fact, I am beginning to learn that certifications are almost like piece of Graduate School degrees to have under your belt on resumes! If I could do it again or at least give students (non-seniors & seniors) suggestions, I would recommend them starting MSCE practice exams as soon as they feel a passion for working in IT.

    Another recommendation: being an active member of social networks can be huge. I don’t know if you have seen the movie or not called “The Social Network” but it is true to the world of today. I joined Facebook when I entered college. My parents and many other parents jumped on the Facebook movement just years ago. Twitter, on the other hand, I just started with this last year or two. Learning to make use of these resources is pretty helpful in looking for jobs and leads on what companies want to do next. It even helps as a tool to spread awareness for Career Factor itself and to ask questions about what I should work with and study extra to pass my exams.

    A little about what I am doing now for Career Factor:

    • Blogging and asking questions on
    • Reading a few certification books, in pursuit of MSCE certifications.
    • Keeping updated with companies, recruiters, and job fairs
    • Connecting and staying plugged in to the relationships around me that are my support

    So if you’re interested in following my pursuit for success and eventually jobs, connect with me on Career Factor. You don’t know how much being a student flies by!

    -Kevin Dicken


  • |

    Many of you may have seen or heard of the exciting new online reality series Career Factor through Microsoft Learning. Here’s a quick overview:

    Career Factor is an online reality show focused on the lives of a handful of IT professionals at different stages of their professional development. Each of theses candidates comes from a different background but all have set career goals for themselves and have invited you to follow their steps along the way. They are sharing their experiences through social media – blog posts, video confessionals, Facebook and Twitter feed.

    For students, the show offers an interesting peek into what your lives could look like years down the road as IT professionals. You can learn from participants’ experiences that can  help guide your own skills development as you consider what certification tracks would work best for each of you.  Closer to home, the show includes fellow students, Kevin, Caroline and Rabeb, so be sure to cheer them on!

    A little more info about the students participating in Career Factor: 

    • Kevin Dicken: The Student. Kevin is a college senior studying Management Information Systems at DBU in Dallas, TX. Kevin grew up as a technology enthusiast and found his niche for helping those around him with their computers problems.
    • Caroline Weilinger: The Office Competition Contender. Caroline is a student at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary, enrolled in the Administrative Information Management (AIM) program. Her goal is to train to compete and succeed at the 2011 Certiport Worldwide Competition on Office.
    • Rabeb Othmani: The Windows Phone 7 Developer. Rabeb is a senior computer engineering student at The Faculty of Sciences of Tunis (FST) who specializes in User Experience Technologies including Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation, and Windows Phone 7, in addition to C# and .NET Technologies.

    Be sure to visit the participant’s profiles to see their updates, blogs, and videos, and to follow them on Twitter. They will appreciate the support!

  • Make sure you're up to date on the latest discounts and products to help you get trained and certified!

    Our new mailing list features the information you need to take advantage of new special offers as you reach your learning goals. We won't send too many emails (promise!), so anything we do send is intended to help you get skilled and get hired. 

    Oh, and here's another reason: Sign up by February 28 and get a free excerpt from an upcoming (and very popular) Microsoft Press book! Mailing list subscribers will get to read and use this excerpt long before the book is published, so take advantage of this limited-time opportunity. Sign up today! 

  • |

    Great news for graduating IT students! According to an Economic Impact Survey taken by CIO of 333 top IT executives, 54 percent plan to increase their budget in 2011. This is a big improvement from May 2009 when a mere 14 percent planned to increase their budget. Where will all this increased funding be spent? Many IT executives will be investing in mobile solutions, top-line revenue-generating projects, and applications. Even more exciting for students is news that 56 percent will be increasing salaries and 42 percent plan on bringing on new employees.

    What does this mean for IT students? This means that now, at the beginning of 2011 is a great time to start looking for employment for after graduation. If you haven’t already started applying, there is no better time to start than now. Also, familiarizing yourself with in-demand technologies is essential for anyone entering the job market this year. A great route for students to take will be to specialize in mobile technologies and application development. Even if that is not your specialty, becoming familiar with the concepts and technologies will definitely prove an invaluable asset to you as you search for a job.

    Earning a Microsoft Certifications can help prove to employers your expertise in your field. To start your education in these in-demand and other technologies visit the Microsoft Learning Training page.

    [via CIO]

  • For students who are just getting started in an IT career, Microsoft has lots of resources.   One career resource is the Microsoft Student Career Portal.  It’s a good place to check out IT job roles like Web Developer, a Server Administrator, Consumer Support Technician, etc.  If you're not quite sure which direction to take, the portal has a nifty tool to explore which role might be a good fit. 

    Once you have a job role in mind, dig a little deeper by going into Start Your Career and selecting that job role.  You'll see that each role outlines the skills necessary and training you need to get there.  The final step, of course, is validating your skills. Microsoft offers great discounts for students who are interested in getting a Microsoft Certification.  As you enter the job market, a Microsoft Certification is a good way to set yourself apart as you look for a job in a competitive job market.  And, it just so happens that you can get up to 55% off standard certification exam fees PLUS a Free Exam Retake by going to Special Offers.  

    Hear what other students have to say:  


    Check out these other Microsoft career resources for students:   

    Student to Business  - Find internships and jobs from Microsoft partners, and unique networking opportunities, plus the guidance and connections needed to help ensure that you are prepared to meet the needs of companies around the globe.  

    DreamsparkDownload and use Microsoft tools and software to unlock your creative potential and embark on a path that will help lead to your academic and career success. Hone your skills in technical design, technology, math, science, or engineering. 

    Own Your FutureGet information on how to build a resume, write an effective cover letter or have the perfect job interview

  • Hey students, with holiday travel and classes starting up again did you get a chance to check out the 2011 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) held last week in Las Vegas?  

    We took look at some of the newest technologies and coolest gadgets unveiled this year.  Here are some of our favorites, let us know what you think….

     The phone: Samsung Infuse 4G with "Super AMOLED Plus" display technology. This ultra thin smart phone features two main improvements that migjt be useful to students. First, the "Super AMOLED Plus" technology that features a 50 percent boost in sub-pixel count allowing for improved contrast and better outdoor use. Second, it boasts an 8 megapixel camera on back and a 1.3 megapixel lens in front. The Infuse 4G also features a 1.2GHz single-core Hummingbird processor giving you the ability to do pretty much whatever they need to on their phone. The phone will be available only for AT&T.

    The tablet: The Motorola Xoom for Verizon. Of the many tablet computers introduced at CES this year, the Xoom shows some impressive potential for anyone in the tablet market. The specs include a 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, 10.1-inch display, 720p video recording and 1080p video playback, 4G connectivity (available as an update in Q2), 1280 x 800 resolution, a 5 megapixel camera, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and 32GB of storage. Additionally and perhaps of most interest to students, the battery is rated to support up to 10 hours of video! It can pretty much go all day on campus without having to worry about running out of battery.

    The N-Control Avenger Xbox 360 controller attachment was highlighted. This contraption is absolutely perfect for the hard core gamer student. As explained in their CES video, the controller comes complete with all sorts of triggers, straps, and cables designed to allow the player to keep their thumbs on the joysticks while maintaining the ability to use all the other triggers. Apparently this is meant to give you a split second advantage over your competition.

    Panasonic shows off their latest ultraslim compact cameras the Lumix FP5, FP7, FH5 and FH2. Both the FH5 and the FH2 feature a newly-developed retractable 28mm wide-angle lens, a 720p movie mode, and a 4x optical zoom while the ultraslim FP5 and FP7 models include Smart Touch Screens that enable users to adjust multiple settings while only pressing one physical button. The newest additions to the Panasonic line are perfect for students looking for a high performance digital camera that you can take anywhere.

    And, the Razer Switchblade concept was unveiled. We're talking cutting edge here. This Windows7-based mini notebook is designed entirely for gaming on the go. The device features a touch screen and a dynamic keyboard based on the game content. The notebook will fit easily into backpacks and saddle bags and is a perfect way to kill time between classes.  Bummer, it's still in the concept stage but due out some time this year.  Perhaps in time for graduation. 

    Microsoft and Samsung unveil SUR40 with Microsoft Surface. The SUR40 new surface technology give users all the key features of the original Surface product such as a massive multi-touch experience, the ability to recognize fingers, hands, and objects, plus new technology that has enabled a more flexible form factor. Though the classroom application is evident, the SUR40 is primarily intended for business and will be available later this year in 23 countries. Be sure to keep an eye out for this technology, it's likely to surface at a school near you. For more details be sure to watch the Microsoft Surface 2.0 Experience.

    For a complete review of CES devices click here and tell us about your favorites.

  •  As the calendar turns yet again, it's time to get organized.  In the same way that we organize our homes at the New Year, it's good to get into the habit of doing the same on computers, servers, online profiles and IT experience. 

    A great place to start is with our digital information, especially as more of our daily lives are online.

     Refresh your passwords - With recent information breaches such as the one involving Gawker passwords, it is important to change and diversify your passwords. Once you start to go through how many accounts exist in your name, it can be daunting, but start with the most-important accounts and work your way down. Be sure to create passwords that are different, difficult for other to guess, but easy for you to remember.

     Organize your email - If your inbox is in disarray, resolve in 2011 to keep it in order. With the amount of email we all get, it can be easy to let important messages slip through the cracks. The only way to avoid this is by having an email inbox that is free from the email minutiae. Flag everything you need to get done, set up auto-filters, unsubscribe from all mailing lists you don't use, and create archive categories that are mutually exclusive. If you are looking for more tips, you can find recommendations on organizing Outlook here.

     Back Up Your Data - There is nothing more maddening than losing all of your hard drive data. In addition to creating backup copies on an external drive or USB drive, explore the cloud. If you haven't tried our Windows Live SkyDrive, this would be a good chance to do so. It gives you 25GB of free storage anywhere you can access the Internet.

    Move into Mobile - Mobile applications will continue to grow as smartphones and other mobile devices percolate to consumers worldwide. As an IT professional or aspiring IT professional, be sure you don't miss the boat. Mobile SDKs (such as those for Windows Phone 7) are becoming more and more accessible to programmers, and mobile applications are in higher demand to companies. Getting experience in mobile programming will make you more employable come graduation.

    Of course there are many more resolutions you can make from an IT perspective. Explore which are best for you, and tell us about them! 

    What other New Year's resolutions are you making?

  • |

    Every year college students take a couple of weeks off to relax, watch football and spend time with family. While all of those activities are important, you can also dedicate some time to advancing your career. A couple of weeks may not seem like a lot of time to make relevant career progress, but small steps can make a big difference.


    Build a website for yourself – In the current economy where there is a surplus of potential employees and a deficit of open jobs, the first thing an employer will do to sort through applicants is plug your name into a search engine. If the first result is an attractive online portfolio showcasing your work, then you will increase your chance of getting in for an interview. This is especially important as an aspiring IT professional, where a substantive website is a showcase of your core capabilities. Additionally, as you put yourself out there on social networks, you need to have one central hub to direct traffic, which assures continuity between your accounts across the social web.


    Social network with a purpose – Social networks are not just for photo sharing and status updates. Social networks act as a way to connect with potential employers and colleagues, and to demonstrate your level of engagement related to IT topics, such as Microsoft TechNet forums. Be sure to read and re-read your posts to make sure that what you are posting is accurate, appropriate and grammatically accurate. This shows attention to detail that all employers are looking for. 


    Love it or hate it, Twitter allows you to share publicly your interests and your level of expertise is on a given topic. For example, if you are an expert in Windows Phone 7 developing, you can join discussions and answer questions on Twitter. When potential employers look at your Twitter handle, they will see your active involvement in these conversations. It also demonstrates a level of dedication to the industry and a passion for IT that is valuable to all potential employers.


    Land a freelance gig – Freelance work may not be as glamorous as working with a Fortune 500 company, but it carries many benefits. First, you get relevant work experience while not having to sign on for a long-term commitment. This is perfect for the short-term break between semesters. Second, freelance work demonstrates to potential full-time employers that you are proactive and resourceful. There are many resources you can tap to find freelance gigs, including localized classified ad sites like, or freelance-specific ones like or Most IT-specific job search sites such as also have pages dedicated to freelance jobs currently available.


    What else are you doing during the break between semesters to help advance your career?


  • |

    It’s hard to avoid giving gifts that are just more of the same to college students. Moms will give them socks and ties. Dads will give them money for books. But what students really are looking for is something they won’t just stick in the sock drawer. Here’s a few ideas.



    sWaP Wrist Watch It is about time a Dick Tracy-style communication device catches on. For my money, the sWaP could help tip the trend. It is a fully functioning cell phone that you can strap onto your wrist. It retails in the UK, but you can find it through online retailers here in the US. A phone call never looked so sneaky.


    Microsoft Kinect – Students will use it for gaming, sure. But the Kinect is a powerful accessory that the tech-savvy community has jiggered to be used for pretty much anything. This includes everything from 3D video capture, to augmented reality light sabers, to a mechanism for autonomous flight. Check out some interesting videos of these applications here. It’s not just a gaming peripheral, it’s a learning tool.



    Pretty much anything from J-list – including an Itazura Cat Coin Bank How can something that encourages putting money in the bank be this adorable? If you are looking for a unique gift that no one else will be giving this year, is a good place to start.


    Windows Phone 7 w/ Zune Pass Windows Phone 7’s advertising touts the ability to “save us from our phones.” Sounds like a good thing. When coupled with a Zune Pass, it can also save students from hundreds of dollars spent on music downloads. Zune Pass offers a subscription-based model of music consumption that allows unlimited downloads as long as you pay the subscription.


    Solid State Drive One thing students can’t afford to lose is their information stored on a hard drive. The world in which we live of spinning discs is starting to lose ground to lightning-fast solid-state drives. Samsung’s recently launched 256 GB offering has been landing some impressive reviews recently. It may not seem as glamorous as other gifts given this holiday season, but they’ll love it the next time they drop their laptop without dropping their data.


  • If you read Born to Learn, you're already doing a great job of staying up to date on the latest training and certification announcements. Now you can do a deeper dive on these topics by signing up for the new Microsoft Learning mailing listWhen you sign up, you’ll get occasional, single-topic emails highlighting specific learning resources and how you can take advantage of the latest special offers. Emails will cover topics such as charting your career at the Career Portal, keeping track of the latest free e-book downloads, and more. We'll even have some just-released, exclusive information for students as you study for exams and prepare to start your career, so you won't want to miss out!

    Join the mailing list today and get the full story on the resources we offer to help you make the most of your Microsoft technology!

  • Facebook has always been connected to the fun part of college life. The days are not too far gone that you needed an .edu email address to join and track your friends. You could share the pictures from parties, road trips and rivalry games with your close-knit network of college friends, and few others. This has changed over time, now parents and corporations are as much a part of Facebook as college roommates.

    And now, last week, the London School of Business and Finance  introduced their latest offering on Facebook: an MBA. Facebook is again for college students!  But the boring, studious part of college, not the fun social part.

    According to the New York Times, the program is a "try before you buy" approach where anyone can access the Facebook page and take the courses without paying, and then opt in to the handsome £14,500 fee for formal accreditation.

    This "try before you buy" program sets an interesting precedent: education is free, accreditation isn't.  It's an interesting idea, and will add to the conversation around the potential of online education. However, at the end of the day it will beg the same question that other online programs have faced for years: on a resume, will a degree earned on Facebook measure up to one earned from a brick-and-mortar school?  

    What do you think?

  • Today Microsoft is launching Imagine Cup Solve This, a new Imagine Cup program created to offer students a marketplace of real problems that global inter-governmental organization (IGOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations need help solving.  

     If you're looking for additional inspiration to kick start your Imagine Cup projects, or if you want a specific problem to tackle, you can now search through a library of problems submitted by the IGOs, NGOs and other non-profit organizations on

     So far, we have submissions from NetHope, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Programme on Youth (UNPY), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and local New York City nonprofit the Robin Hood Foundation. We expect the list to grow over time as more organizations get involved.

     We've heard from many students who wonder what they can do to make the world a better place. Imagine Cup SolveThis can help spark new ideas for Imagine Cup projects, and inspire students to apply your creativity and passion for technology to propose new solutions to the challenges these organizations face.

     In many ways, Imagine Cup Solve This is like crowd sourcing solutions to solve societal problems. Will your idea help solve one of the world's toughest problems? 

  • Given the current state of the job market, concerns over how to get a job after graduation are becoming increasingly more valid. You make have questions about how to prepare yourself to compete in an already overloaded job market with little or no work experience.  We spoke with various graduating and recently graduated IT majors from different universities about what they are doing to set themselves apart and how to overcome any hurdles they have faced in gaining employment. Here is what they had to say.


    Mathew, a senior at Brigham Young University in Provo Utah, has been able to set himself apart during his interview process and even gain employment before graduating. He has been working full time now for two and a half months while finishing up his degree in IT. A few advantages Mathew feels set him apart from the crowd are his previous work experience in the IT field, and the extracurricular projects he took on which he did purely for enjoyment. He recommends applying for a job at the IT department of your university or a local business, or to just think up a unique project and do it! When asked about how he was able to successfully land his interviews, Mathew says he tapped his own network and spoke with an associate he worked with previously to help him get noticed and in for an interview.


    Vik, a recent graduate in Information Systems Management from Long Beach California, also was able to get an edge on the competition. Although he had to go through numerous interviews with accounting firms and other companies in need of IT help, Vik was able to get the job he was looking for. The main factors that Vik says contributed to his success in the job hunt were the IT related certifications he earned, as well as the associations he had with other IT professionals. Vik mentioned the importance of not just networking for networking’s sake, but being sociable with the IT professionals. 


    Speaking of networking, Born to Learn is a great place to get acquainted with IT pros from around the world who can help you get started in IT.  Join in the discussion and tell us your story. 

  • On November 18, 2010, Microsoft is hosting the first ever career conference– virtually. The goal of the Microsoft Certified Career Conference is to help you and others navigate the world of IT. If you’re thinking about a career in IT,  you should definitely look into this one!  Get the full scoop in this video 

    The conference will have a balance of tech and career-focused sessions running for 24 hours, so regardless of where you are in your career or where you are in the world, you owe it to yourself to attend. 

    Oh, and students get a special 50% discount when you register by using the code STUDENT50.

    You can also view recorded sessions for 90 days after the event!

    There will be Keynote sessions featuring Dick Bolles, the author of the bestselling book for job hunters ‘What Color Is Your Parachute’ addressing “Where Do I Go From Here With My Life?” and Stephen Rose, Senior Community Manager for Microsoft Windows, addressing “Building and Managing Your Brand (i.e. you)”.  Check out the video of Stephen giving you a glimpse on what he’ll speak about at MCCC.


  • Hello students, welcome to the new student section of the Born to Learn blog.  We have a few things going on here at Microsoft that we think might interest you if you are a technology student and looking for a job in IT.  We started the Student section to let you in on the great deals Microsoft offers students,  more importantly,  we want to hear what you have to say about starting your career and getting into IT today.  What are your interests, challenges and thoughts?  

     Did you know that more than 50 percent of today's jobs require technology skills, and experts say that percentage will increase to 77 percent in the next decade?  (Source: IDC)  That's one of the reasons  Microsoft is working to help students get low-cost training and certifications that are crucial for today's IT job market and the next generation of IT experts. 

    If you're interested in a career in IT, check out the Student Career Portal to learn about IT jobs, training resources and certifications that will help you gain the skills you need for the career you want.   There are many paths you can take and many certifications available. So it's important to fine the right ITcareer path for you  - check out Explore Careers where you'll find IT job roles and learning plans.  Then go to the  Offers Page and find discounts you get just by being a student.  The best deal is the student-priced Microsoft certifications with a FREE exam retake!


    Here's another cool thing - a FREE e-book: Own Your Future: Update Your Skills with Resources and Career Ideas from Microsoft

    • Learn what technology skills employers are looking for today
    • Identify your learning style and your work style,
    • Assess the skills you have, and identify new skills you need
    • Chart a learning map for your own career development
    • Explore Microsoft resources to learn the skills you need in key areas
    • Practice a set of demonstrable abilities-making a pitch or delivering a
    • presentation-that you can use in your interviews
    • Create a career marketing plan to manage your job search

    The master plan is to help differentiate you from others vying for the same IT jobs.   As you know, jobs are pretty competitive right now ... getting the technical validation of a certification could be your competitive advantage!  


    Another GREAT opportunity through this blog is to connect you to a community of IT experts who can share information and help you build your social and professional network.  Along those lines, you will want to check out the Microsoft Certified Career Conference which is loaded with sessions that will be helpful in your career no matter what stage you are in - beginner to expert.   This is an event worth every penny (students get a 50% discount) and you don't have to leave your computer to attend.  The event will be held during a 24 hour period and is intended for a worldwide audience - covering both technical and Office related categories.  November 18th is the date, register as soon as possible. 

    That's a start.  There's more to come, so let's stay in touch!  Tell us what's on your mind, meanwhile, make sure to bookmark the blog, chat with us on Twitter, and follow our posts on Student Facebook