•   

    Senior Software Architect Markku Jaatinen has been working in the IT world for a long time. With years of hands-on experience with technologies and several certifications under his belt, what more is there to learn? Why would he need to take more exams? For Markku, continued advancement in his career is important, and taking exams keeps his skills up to date and helps him stay motivated. He explains: 

    There are a number of things that really drive me to earn certifications. I think, interestingly enough, one of the reasons is to get me motivated. Because the thing is—if you are trying to learn new things—you sometimes need a little driver to do things, so if you are just studying, you aren’t studying properly enough. But if you are going to an exam, you really have to take your time and get to know what you are trying to do, and it helps you in a way, and that's the end result.

    Hear from Markku as he explains what technical certifications have meant for his career, his thoughts on Microsoft training options, and much more in this short video.

     

    See more videos:


  • By Max

    Well, it’s my fourth week on campus, and the end of my Microsoft internship is right around the corner. Sadly, this Friday was Quinn’s last day. And just watching him leave, I started to feel emotional about my upcoming last day. I still have one more week left to enjoy every moment and prepare myself mentally for heading back to school.

    This week, Quinn and I continued to work on the subway map project, which, by the way, we couldn’t finish—we ran out of time. That said, we fixed tons of bugs and made huge progress, given the short timeframe we had to work on the project. And I am so glad I was given the opportunity to work on the project, because I was able to learn Bootstrap and AngularJS. These two languages will be a huge help to my future with computer science. And on the bright side, we managed to get pretty far on the project and give something back to the team that they can take and implement.

    I was just given a new project to work on during my last week: Subway Map for CS50. I’ll be working on the visuals with HTML, but more details are to come next week. I am really excited about this project and think I can definitely tackle it in a week.

    On Tuesday I had the opportunity to present to the leadership team here at Learning Experiences (LeX). There were approximately 15 people in the room, and I was excited to tell them a little bit about myself and share all the work I’ve done here at Microsoft. Honestly, at first I was a bit nervous because I was presenting to a group of people that is very important to the whole team, but overall I think I managed to deliver a really strong presentation.

    On Thursday I had lots of fun. My manager Briana created an event for the team called “Noodle Land Spice Challenge—Intern Edition”. From the title, you can probably tell it was a competition. I and two of my co-workers had to order the spiciest Thai food possible and see who could best handle the heat! Quinn and Briana judged the competition because they aren’t fans of super spicy food. At first, it was a bit intimidating because it was a “challenge”, and you know how the word “challenge” makes everything more exciting—but it turned out to be really fun. The food really wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be. And the winner was the last person I expected: he sweated the most and finished his entire plate!

    Overall this week there were not a lot of new things to do. Quinn and I mainly focused on finishing our projects and getting prepared for next week’s events. Something I have not mentioned is the fact that the whole team is being relocated to another building which is closer to main campus. It is a bit exciting to experience the whole moving process at work, but right now I have to pack my things and get ready to go. I’m starting to think next week is going to be hectic! But we’ll see how it goes.

    ----

    By Quinn

    This was my last week here at Microsoft. I am leaving for MIT in Boston to study Computer Engineering. I have been working on the Microsoft validation path diagram editor this entire week, as well as part of last week. I have been trying to get as much done before the end of my internship, but I have hit many bumps and obstacles. Things just don’t work out sometimes and you don’t know why. However, if my experiences with programming have taught me anything, it’s that no project comes without problems, and the only way you are going to accomplish anything is by taking on the challenges you encounter. What irritates me about my current project, though, is that I am leaving for school, and so I do not have time to keep churning away on this project and to overcome all of the obstacles I have encountered. I will not finish the project. And this does not sit well with me. Yet I am not completely dissatisfied, because during my time here at Microsoft I have met some amazingly forward-thinking, innovative, and determined people, so I am confident that this validation path diagram editor will be completed and released successfully. And I know that I can leave for college knowing that I made valuable contributions to the project.

    Despite not being able to finish this last project with the Microsoft Learning Team, I have had an incredibly productive internship. On Tuesday this week, I had the opportunity to present my achievements from the summer to the Microsoft Learning leadership team and I got to listen to the other interns present their work as well. The thought of presenting to the most important people in the organization intimidated me slightly beforehand, but once I started presenting, I realized that they’re just people! They listened to what I had to say, were proud of the projects I had completed, and were eager to implement my work in a manner that would benefit Microsoft and the world of technical education. I was excited to hear that my work as a high school intern would actually make a difference.

    But Microsoft is not just a place of work—it is also a place of fun. For lunch the last two days, I have gone out with a few of my coworkers. On Wednesday, we went to a restaurant called Pomegranate. When the waitress came to our table, she looked at my manager (who is 30 years old but doesn’t look it), and then at me (who not too often finds himself being mistaken for an upperclassmen in college), and made a comment about how we were such a cute married couple. Laughing hysterically, our lunch party clarified that we were not, in fact, married, nor were we even remotely close in age. That was a fun meal, as was lunch the next day when a few of my coworkers challenged my fellow intern, Max, to a spicy food eating competition. The winner of this competition ended the meal sweating so much that anyone would have guessed he had just finished running a marathon in a sauna. The loser walked out of the restaurant with a to-go box that was only a few bites lighter than the plate that had been brought out to her before the competition. However, I can’t really judge because I cannot handle spicy food.

    And now, having finished my last day, I look back on my summer wondering how it went by so fast. I have learned a lot this summer and made amazing memories along the way. I will cherish my time here at Microsoft, and when I arrive in Boston, I plan to send a few emails to the Microsoft MIT recruiter asking about how I can get back to Microsoft next year. 

  • |

    For Joshua Walters, establishing trust with customers early is vital to the success of his business. As an IT Consultant, his clients need to know that he has the technical knowledge and expertise to bring the best recommendations and successfully complete projects. How does Joshua build trust with his clients? One of the most important ways is by earning Microsoft Certifications and keeping them current. He says:

    [Microsoft Certifications have] benefited me because when I work with my customers, I'm expected to be their trusted advisor, and having those certifications gives them that confidence that I understand what I'm there to do.

    In this short video, hear what Joshua has to say about Microsoft’s certification program, training resources, and how they have contributed to his professional success.

    See more videos:

  • By Max

    My third week with the Learning Experiences (LeX) team was very short because I travelled to California for college visits on Friday. Nevertheless, I still had some work to do during the days I was in the office. As mentioned before, Quinn and I finished our first project and have now begun work on the next one.

    The project we are working on now requires a lot more code and is very technical. As of right now, this is probably the most challenging project I’ve worked on. As a simple overview of the project, we have to create a web tool that allows users to enter data into an XML file. At first it might seem pretty basic, but we have to learn how to use Bootstrap and AngularJS in order to fully understand the process and get a better sense of how we will perform our task. My week mainly consisted of watching online tutorials and getting more familiar with Bootstrap and AngularJS. I think the biggest challenge is going to be finishing this project before the deadline. We have to learn a whole new concept, and then carry out a big project. For me this is a valuable experience because I am getting to learn new concepts that I’ll be able to use in the future.

    On Tuesday there was an event for high school students. They had to create their own game using code and TouchDevelop. I was not in charge of the event, but since I like helping others in an area that I love, I thought it would be great to help out for a couple of hours. This event was going to last a whole week, but unfortunately due to time and work constraints, I was not able to participate every day. On the only day I was able to go, the students were introduced to TouchDevelop and Minecraft. We went through the basics to prepare them for the project they were going to work on. Overall, the day went pretty smoothly. I hope we keep doing more events like these because I have lots of fun helping others.

    On Thursday I went to a “Career Afternoon” talk featuring a couple of former college interns and some full-time employees. This was a great opportunity for all of us high school interns to ask any type of question we had regarding our careers and what to do after the internship. It was helpful because we got a lot of different perspective about how to approach the college application process and different job opportunities. Afterwards, we filled out a personality style form where we were able to see what our personality was like, and see how we solved a problem with other people with the same personality. It turns out I have a pretty balanced personality but lean more towards the analytical side, and I think it was an accurate assessment. By the end of the session, I noticed that depending on our personality, we actually approach issues with different methods and thinking processes. It was an eye-opening and fun exercise.

    The highlight of my week was lunch with my manager—not many people can say that. For the first time since my arrival at LeX, Quinn and I were able to have lunch with our manager, Briana. It was fun because she took us to a place we’d never heard of or seen before. It was called Taco Time, a local restaurant chain, and honestly it wasn’t bad. It was actually pretty good. I think having lunch with people from your team is a great way to learn more about them. These are the type of sessions that lead you to have better relationships, and perhaps lead to better communication, which by the way is an extremely important factor when working in a big company like Microsoft.

    ---

    By Quinn

    With the start of a new week comes a start of a new project. Max and I just finished up with the CS50 wiki project in which we took all the course material and curriculum from Harvard’s CS50 course (Harvard’s largest—and most popular!—class offered), consolidated it all into a wiki page organized by lesson module, and made our work available for Microsoft to implement for an adaptation of the course for high school students and teachers in classrooms around the world. The course wiki we have prepared has been submitted and is now being reviewed by Harvard’s staff.

    Now that we have wrapped the CS50 project, Max and I are moving onto a new project. In our next project we’ll work with tree-like diagrams (which resemble subway maps) that are used by the Microsoft Validation Team to lay out the steps required in getting a particular certification. These diagrams are rendered from some fairly complicated XML files. What Max and I are doing is creating a web application that can produce and the edit these XML files using a friendly user interface. When we are done, the goal is that anybody can create a validation path diagram regardless of their proficiency in XML. The Validation Team will then utilize this application to create new validation paths and keep existing paths up to date.

    This new project is not an easy task, however. The type of dynamic web-based application that we need to create will be built with HTML and styled with CSS, both of which I am quite familiar with, but it will be programmed and controlled by AngularJS, a language that I have never even heard about before this project. This week, my goal has been to learn AngularJS and start to structure the foundation of the web application. I have been moderately successful. AngularJS is an extension of JavaScript, which I have used a few times for simple event handling, but when you are trying to create objects and more complicated data structures with this function-based dynamic programming language instead of the object-orientated programming languages that I am used to (such as Java and C#), it gets hard. I have hit road blocks and gotten very confused at times, but as I keep persisting, I can see this project start to unfold.

    Between learning AngularJS and programming this web app, however, I have been helping to run a programming boot camp for high school students throughout the week. As these are older kids, they need less teaching than the younger kids did, so we had one session of Minecraft modding tutorials and one session of micro:bit tutorials. Once they finished those tutorials, we gave them a few days to develop their own mods and programs. Kids were creating automatic house builders, simplified Galaga and Guitar Hero games, and magic carpets. At the end of the week, we awarded the best program with an Xbox One.

    Now I’m getting ready to move on to my last week here at Microsoft. Next week, I will be presenting to the Learning Experiences Leadership Team and to the High School Internship Coordinators. I have been preparing my presentations and am eager to show what I have done with my summer at Microsoft.

  • |

    For many young professionals, finding ways to get ahead in their career while adding value to their team is a top priority. This definitely holds true for Joe Harkins, a St. Louis-based Database Administrator we met at Ignite 2015.

    While in Chicago, we met Joe at Certification Central right after he earned his Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Certification. For him, walking away from the conference with proof that he is dedicated to furthering his career was important. He explains:

    Jobwise, I would definitely like to have something to take back and say that I want to further my career and I want to take a few steps forward on what I'm working on. So far Microsoft's helped me achieve that plenty.

    Get to know Joe as he shares his thoughts on the value of Microsoft Certifications, why he will be championing them in his office, and more in this short interview.

    See how other IT professionals are lighting up their career with Microsoft Certifications:

  • On August 4, I had the distinct pleasure of giving the keynote address at TechMentor. Greg Shields and I took a different approach to the keynote—it wasn’t a presentation but a fireside chat--complete with a roaring fire (video-based, of course) where he and the audience asked me questions about Microsoft’s certification and learning program. It was an awesome experience that I hope the attendees enjoyed as much as I did!

    Missed it? Here’s a high level view of the our conversation which focused on Microsoft's efforts to modernize skills validation and make it more relevant and valuable to technical audiences and employers. As our industry is changing so are the ways technical professionals want to learn and prove their skills.

    We started the conversation with an overview of the exam development process and how IT professionals and developers could become involved in that process (hint: add your profile to our SME database--http://aka.ms/MSLSME and don't forget to update it as Microsoft releases new products!). From there, we opened up the conversation to questions from the attendees. They were particularly interested in badging because it has the potential to highlight skills in a different way than certification, and badges could be easier to attain, paving a smoother road to certification.

    We also discussed why people were interested in certification and why they were not. A common complaint is that candidates want to demonstrate competence with hands on/performance-based methodologies, not with multiple choice questions. This led to how we might certify "work products." Is there a way to grant a certification for something that you're already doing? In the developer space, this is relatively easy--see the CertToApp program for an example. With the right resources and support, we could expand this to other developer "products." The IT Pro space is a tougher nut to crack, so I asked the audience for ideas on how we might take the idea of what we're doing with CertToApp and apply it to the ITPro audience. They offered some great suggestions, such as having someone submit their design specs for building a system/process to pre-specified requirements or even submitting the design spec for a system they have created or implemented (e.g., building a server and adding the features and rolls specified by Microsoft or needed for your organization's implementation). By the way, if you have ideas, I would love to hear them.

    My favorite part of the conversation, though, was reminding attendees that we value their feedback. Leave comments when you take exams, escalate issues or concerns that you have about exam questions--see https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/certification-exam-policies.aspx for more details, and complete the Exam Satisfaction survey when you receive the invite from ComScore, our survey vendor. We carefully review all of this information to make improvements that (I hope) result in the highest quality exam and experience. There's no such thing as a perfect exam; we don't always know when there is an issue, and we need your help to tell us if something doesn't seem right. If all else fails, email me...seriously.

    We also spent some time talking about the crazy ideas that I have to shake up the world of certification. Some are on Microsoft Learning's radar, but others are dreams that I have on how we might revolutionize certification as we know it today... More on that in a future blog if you're interested. Let me know in your comments.

    I really enjoyed this conversation and am always looking for more opportunities to answer your questions. Ask away!!

    Photo credit: Douglas DeCamp

  • |

    I’ll be posting this round-up twice a month. I’ll tell you about promotions, new books, free eBooks, sample chapters, author videos, and other content from Microsoft Press that you might be interested in seeing.

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    August Special: Save 45% on Developer Reference series eBooks with code "DEVELOPER" at the MicrosoftPressStore.com. Ends Aug 31, 2015.

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  • By Quinn

    My second week with the Learning Experiences (LeX) team was spent hard at work. All week long, my fellow intern and I grinded away on our CS50 wiki project. We took all the course material and curriculum from Harvard’s CS50 course (Harvard’s largest—and most popular!—class offered), consolidated it all into a wiki page organized by lesson module, and made our work available for Microsoft to implement for an adaptation of the course for high school students and teachers in classrooms around the world. We finally finished watching the hours of lecture recordings, sections videos, and topic shorts and published our wiki at the end of the week. I am eager to start work on our new project, which will involve creating a user interface that will render XML code, allowing people on the Microsoft Validation Team to create lesson track diagrams (which we call subway maps) without having to go through the hassle of typing up all the XML by hand.

    Despite being heads down on projects, I did, however, get a few breaks from working on the CS50 project. On Thursday, the high school internship coordinators were able to get us access to the Microsoft Envisioning Center, a section of the Executive Briefing Center on campus in which Microsoft shows off all the technology that it is currently researching to potential corporate partners. This center gives a live demonstration of what Microsoft’s plans are for the future, and how they plan to implement technology to improve daily life in the next decade.

    In addition to seeing firsthand where the company is headed in the future, I was able to help teach the programmers of tomorrow during an Introduction to Minecraft Modding session. In this course, Aidan Brady, one of my fellow interns, led a class of around 30 kids (ranging from ages 10–18) in the creation of their first mod. As Aidan presented, I was able to go around and help the kids one-on-one, making sure that they knew what exactly Aidan was showing them and how they could implement this new information in their own Minecraft mod. This was Aidan’s first time organizing an event like this and he did a great job, though he would occasionally lose the kids (and also one of our fellow interns Ben) through his use of technical words such as IDE, parse, and render, yet I could not have done a better job myself. All the kids ended the night with a flash drive full of new mods they had created. Some kids made pepperoni pizza, which they could feed to their wolves in the game, and others made blocks that launched their avatar 50 feet across the Minecraft world. Personally, I ended the night realizing how fulfilling it was giving kids the tools to create their own worlds, to dream, and to innovate.

    Before this event, I would never have thought about working with kids in my career, but now after my second week with LeX, I realize how fulfilling such a job can be.

    ----

    By Max

    I’ve finished my second week with the Learning Experiences team (LeX), and it seemed a little slower than usual. I think the reason is because of everything that went on last week. But apart from that, it was a successful week with a couple more awesome events.

    On Monday, I was introduced to two new projects. The first includes learning how to use new programs, such as Bootstrap and Angular. Quinn and I are in charge of creating a tool and a user interface (UI) that produces XML. In other words, a UI that allows the authors to create and edit using this specific tool. There are still more details to come within the next few weeks, but our main priority and focus this past week was to finish Harvard’s CS50 wiki page. We started working on it during the middle of last week because we had all the events going on, and today (Friday) I am proud to say that we have successfully completed our first major project with the LeX team. Finishing a project and being recognized for my work is such a great feeling and it motivates me to keep moving forward. Another project I might be working on is Creative Coding Games and Apps (CCGA). In this project, I have to create an app or a game, and then film tutorials on how I made the app or game. Although this project sounds like a lot fun, it’ll be a challenge to complete this one since time is very limited. But who knows? Anything can happen in three weeks.

    Thursday was the day I couldn’t wait for. The high school interns got a tour of the Microsoft Envisioning Center. The Envisioning Center is a place where visitors can go and experience conceptual prototypes that will transform the way we live, work, and play. It is basically Microsoft’s vision of the future. And just in case you didn’t know, I love getting to see things that will shape the future and watch how it all comes to life. The tour was divided into two groups, one which started at noon and the other at 1:00 P.M. My group started at noon, so we all gathered at around 11:40 A.M. in the building lobby and chatted about projects we were working on. It was great to see everyone reunited again. Well, the Envisioning Center did not disappoint. It was astonishing, innovative, eye-opening, and every other word that describes a mind-blowing experience! Everything we got to see was out of this world—things you’d probably never imagine. That, my friends, is the power of technology, and it is important to note that it will change the way we as humans interact with our surroundings. Ever imagine how the world will look five or ten years from now? Things will never be the same.

    On Thursday evening, Aidan Brady, a fellow intern, hosted a Minecraft modding tutorial session with my manager, Briana, and a few other interns, including Quinn and Ben. The whole tutorial was run by Aidan, and the students learned how to create their first mod for the game. Our job was to assist the students with any issues they had. I’ve personally never played Minecraft (I know…embarrassing), but it was very interesting to see the possibilities of Minecraft with just a few lines of code. After being in that session, I think I’ll probably be playing a little bit of Minecraft myself. Most of the students were going crazy (in a good way) as most of them were hardcore Minecraft fans. Seeing the look on their faces when they created something new was rewarding because those are the moments when you know that you have started to make a difference.

    Today (Friday) was a pretty sad day. Being an intern is not only about working—it’s also about building relationships not only with the people you work with directly but with whoever you meet along the way. This summer I got to meet a pretty unique person, Aidan Brady, and today was his last day as an intern at Microsoft. He’s responsible for a lot of things at Microsoft, but he is known for his passion for Minecraft. A passion so strong that he created a program to introduce others to Minecraft modding, which was a huge success. I consider myself very fortunate to have him as an “intern friend” along with others who are not leaving yet. Since it was Aidan’s last day, several of us interns decided to have a small reunion and enjoy the day together. We had lots of fun and told each other we will definitely meet again someday as we have some of the same top two university choices—Berkeley and Stanford—in mind for our future!

  • |

     

    Hayden Brown has a lot to think about. That’s because in his role as an Enterprise Architect, it’s his job to determine what brings business value to his company. No easy task.

    Add to this that it’s important for him to also be an expert in technologies, earning Microsoft Certifications made a lot of sense. He says:  

    Becoming an authority in knowing these technologies and understanding what these technologies can do for our company is extremely valuable.

    In this short video, get to know Hayden as he explains why he’s excited to be the first in his company to get certified, what he thinks about the training provided by Microsoft and more.

    See more Lighting IT up videos:

  • |

    The technology industry is growing at an electric pace. Code.org estimate that in just a few years, in the US alone, we’re going to be short by one million jobs. Other estimates show we’re headed to a three million shortage worldwide. And while we see three out of every five science-based jobs are in computing, only one in fifty students will enter into computer science fields of study. That’s not even factoring in all the other industries that are increasingly reliant on technology. Sports, fashion, auto, medical, and more. All need technology to be successful in today’s world.

    At Microsoft, we’re all-in helping young people get excited about technology and the possibilities; to help showcase the opportunities they have if they enter the world of computer science, and to give them easy access to the resources they need to get skilled up in coding and technology.

    We already provide great tools, resources and content for institutions and educators to be able to teach and get skilled themselves through services like IT Academy and Microsoft Innovative Educator. We also offer ways for students and educators to showcase their technical skills to employers through certifications.

    We have a solid track record for students, particularly those who have already chosen the technical path. Imagine Cup is Microsoft’s premier technical competition for students and ImagineAccess gives them access to software at no cost.

    With the launch of Microsoft Imagine last year, we created a destination for students who express interest in technology.

    Now, we’re proud to announce the launch of Imagine@MVA, an innovative destination for students to explore the world of coding, giving them the first steps in going beyond an interest and trying their hand at creating apps, games and technology solutions for themselves.

    Imagine@MVA is a specialized portal built inside Microsoft Virtual Academy, a leading online video learning platform. It helps students understand what computer science is, and how they can build their own projects. Whether it be a mobile app, or an awesome web site, or a super creative game, Imagine@MVA has courses and resources to help them get started.

    Imagine@MVA is also for educators, giving them curriculum, hands-on learning and teaching components that can be used to create an engaging environment for their classes, and teach valuable skills in problem solving, creative thinking, collaboration and entrepreneurship.

    The portal has four primary areas, each with a multitude of courses and associated material:

    • Learn to Code – the main starting point for students wanting to explore the world of coding. The courses are introductory and specifically targeted at programming and creating apps and games.
    • Reign in the Cloud – the current state of the modern technology industry means that understanding the cloud is crucial. So, we’ve gathered together some great beginner courses for students to get started with the cloud.
    • Validate your skills – helping students feel confident in their skills is an important step in guiding them into the industry once they’ve completed their education. This section of Imagine@MVA helps them review their skills and prepare to sit Microsoft Technology Associate exams, our technology fundamental series of certifications.
    • Educator Resources – resources for teachers to both prepare for teaching technology in the classroom and using Microsoft technology to be more effective in their teaching methodologies.

    We’re incredibly excited about this new entry in the Imagine family of services, all designed to work together to guide students into the world of technology, then give them the skills and reinforcement to excel in it. Imagine@MVA is available today, with a large number of courses and assets ready to use and more to come.

    Head to http://aka.ms/imagineatmva and check it out!

  • |

    In April 2015, Larry Kaye announced recertification through MVA for MCSE Data Platform and MCSE Business Intelligence. I’m happy to announce that we now have this option for MCSE Communication, MCSE Messaging, and MCSE SharePoint. 

    Recertifying  with Microsoft Virtual Academy provides a great way to maintain your current skills and to catch up on advances in your area of expertise, all on your own schedule.

    You can recertify by completing these three steps:

    1. Select the available skills path for your expiring certification.
    2. Pass all of the assessments for each Microsoft Virtual Academy course in the selected path.
    3. Let us know when you've completed your studies, and once we verify your completed activities we'll update your transcript.

    Please note that this option applies to recertification only.  Individuals seeking MCSE certification must still pass a series of robust, proctored exams.

    To learn more about this recertification option, click here.


  • By Max

    Where to even begin. It’s been six weeks since I started my internship, and I still can’t believe I’m here—and neither can my family! Getting this internship has been a life-changer. Something I’ve come to learn and appreciate about Microsoft and its culture in just weeks is that what makes Microsoft so unique is the fact that it’s not all about being smart, but about the way you think and how creative you are. I believe that, and it’s one of the main reasons I’m here.

    I recently moved from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) team over to Learning Experiences (LEX,) and I have to say that the transition was not easy because the teams are so different. With OEM, I job shadowed a lot and helped prepare the team for the Windows 10 launch. I was able to set up one-on-one sessions with people from different teams, which gave me the opportunity to build connections. With the LeX team, things have been different. On my first day, I met most of the team members and got an amazing project to work on, which consists of creating and organizing a wiki page for Harvard’s CS50 course. As someone who just started learning computer science, this is a great opportunity as it allows me to work and learn at the same time. I’ve had to watch videos and link them with corresponding topics, and while doing so, I have been able to reinforce what I know and learn new topics about computer science.

    On Tuesday I had some unfinished business with the OEM team. I set up and staffed the S4 Knowledge Fair, an event for companies such as HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Asus to come together and display their products to retailers. I was in charge of HP’s booth, and along with four other interns our role was to answer any questions a buyer might have regarding HP products. At first it was a bit nerve-racking because we were the only team with interns, and the competition was pretty intense. It was up to us, the interns, to sell a product and present a strong, positive image for both HP and Microsoft. We started feeling comfortable and learned that by the end of the day we actually sold something!

    Throughout this past week, Microsoft had an event called Oneweek. During Oneweek, Microsoft hosts a company-wide hackathon, expo, Q&A with Satya Nadella, and a huge celebration. In the expo there were a lot of products being displayed from different teams, like Xbox, Bing, Windows, and more. I was able to check out their latest devices, software, and games. My personal favorite was the Xbox team. Not only could you play games, you could also learn about the internal components of the Xbox and its accessories, and new devices like the upcoming gaming controller were on display. Oh! And how could I forget, tons of free stuff at every booth, varying from shirts to portable chargers. By the end of the day, I had a bag full of goodies. 

    The Imagine Cup was another event happening on campus this week. It is a global technology competition that provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and create applications and games, and to integrate solutions that can change the way we live, work, and play. I was really excited to go to this event because not only were the students going to showcase their projects, but they were also going to demo them. As soon as I arrived, I was blown away by all the creativity. Every project was so unique and innovative. Time flew by that day and I ended up leaving Microsoft at 8:30 P.M., and although I left very late, I was so energized. I had met so many talented students who wanted to make a difference and empower people to do more. It was a truly inspirational day and a great way to learn about the possibilities that surround us.

    As part of the Imagine Cup, Microsoft hosted an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people learning to code in one day. It was insane! There were thousands of people of different ages taking part in this important event. As a matter a fact, even I was able to participate. I didn’t know if we were going to be able to break the record because space seemed limited, but as time went by more and more people were filling up the rooms and more computers were being brought. By the end of the session, we had done it.  Microsoft had officially broken the record, and I am proud to say that I took part in it.

    The top highlight of this week for me, hands down, was the Imagine Cup finals. All I can say is—stunning! Every second of it. The energy in the room was like nothing I’ve felt before. I had goosebumps throughout the entire event. I got a front row seat with the other interns. The finals began with staff throwing signed shirts, then there was a dance crew who battled each other in a dance-off, and before the ceremony began there was a DJ. The most exciting part was getting to see important figures like Alex Kipman (HoloLens), Jens Bergensten (Minecraft), Thomas Middleditch (HBO Show Silicon Valley), and Satya Nadella. Overall my first week with LeX was a blast. I can’t wait for what comes next.

    ------------

    By Quinn

    Before I began my internship with Microsoft, I had believed all the company did was code products. Type a few lines of code and bam, you have Halo; a couple more and bam, you have Windows. However, as I now wrap up my sixth week here at Microsoft, I know this assumption was a sad understatement of the vast array of projects that take place in this company.

    During my time with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) team, I helped prepare for the launch of Windows 10 through the implementation of the new operating system  on to-be-released devices for testing and demo purposes. Once we confirmed that the software integration was sufficiently debugged, we distributed these devices, along with other resources, for use at launch events around the world. The launch was a tremendous success being reported as, “Well executed… From an HP perspective, good placement of key HP products in the different experience areas! We [regional teams] appreciate the support! Looking forward to a great ramp up with Windows 10!” And finally, this last week, I wrapped up my time with OEM by teaching worldwide (WW) sales vendors about new products to aid in WW sales efforts during the S4 Conference and Knowledge Fair. In conclusion, working with the group that helped to design and sell devices that would host Microsoft software revealed to me how active Microsoft was in ensuring a superb user experience in all aspects of technology.

    And now after my first week with the Learning Experiences (LeX) team, I find my original stereotype of a Microsoft based solely on coding shattered yet again. As my first assignment, the team has me working with Harvard’s CS50 course—a class that teaches computer science and coding basics. My project is to take all the course material made available for CS50 students, such as lecture video, informational shorts, and section work, consolidate it all by topic, and then make it available on a wiki page so that Microsoft can use these resources to put on boot camps, high school coding programs, and teacher course guides. As we finish up with this project, I am eager to watch it get implemented and to see its effect on students and teachers.

    It was not only in the office, however, that I was amazed by what Microsoft was doing this week. Going on in the middle of campus this week were the Oneweek celebrations where Windows 10 and all its features were exhibited. I received tons of free swag—including t-shirts, water bottles, and chocolate—as I got the opportunity to test out the new features of Windows 10, Xbox, and Azure. There was even a booth where I blended my own smoothie using a bicycle.

    On the other side of campus were the local hackathon tents. In the annual Microsoft hackathon, thousands of employees, not only from the Redmond Campus but from all around the world, teamed up and built programs, technology, and solutions to solve problems in our world. Two football-field-sized tents housed these hacker teams as they coded for three straight days while lounging in bean bags, surrounded by bottles of soda and pizzas.

    But then for non-Microsoft employees, there was the Imagine Cup, a global student technology program and competition that provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion, and knowledge of technology to create applications and games, and to integrate solutions that can change the way we live, work, and play. The Imagine Cup had already been going on for close to a year now, but I had the opportunity to attend the Championship ceremonies, which were hosted right here in Seattle. Winners were announced in each of the three categories: gaming, innovation, and world citizenship. Then the all-around winner was announced. There were thousands of people in attendance to watch the team eFitFasion—the innovation category winners who developed algorithms to produce custom-tailored clothes for anybody—be crowned the Imagine Cup Champions by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella (who sported a very epic ninja cat t-shirt). There were more people at this event than I have ever seen in a single room before, and I was still able to snatch up seats in the eighth row from the front.

    I was blown away by the innovation taking place at all of these events and by the ever-present dedication to make the world a better place through technology.

  • Earning a Microsoft Certification is an effective way to validate your technical knowledge. It also provides hiring managers and recruiters a clear way to recognize the skills and experience you bring to a team or project. But does being an MCP mean more exposure and opportunities?

    Brett Hagen, a Systems Engineer from Davenport, Iowa, has this to say about what being certified does for him: 

    Your cert will give you a window into the vaster world of Microsoft. It opens doors to networking opportunities and events. There’s so much more you can do as an MCP that will broaden your experience in IT.

    Get to know Brett as he explains how he’s lighting IT up with his Microsoft Certifications in this short video

  • |

    Want to be inspired, humbled and excited all at the same time? I’ve got an easy way for you to do just that. Imagine Cup is the Microsoft’s premier technology competition for students and runs worldwide. Tens of thousands of college and university students from more than one hundred countries enter multiple challenges across the year. And it all culminates with the Imagine Cup World Finals, this year held in Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

    Starting on July 27, 33 finalist teams arrived in sunny Seattle, bleary eyed but hyped up on adrenaline and the realization that they were only hours away from the biggest moment of their lives. At Microsoft, we’re fully committed to helping and supporting these students show off their creations to their best ability. So, as they arrive, we give them access to top notch presenters and technical evangelists, masters of crafting a story and distilling important facts into a short but engaging presentation.

    But really, it’s the students that are the masters this week. Every single team has brought a literal masterpiece to compete with, some kind of technical marvel that often defies expectation. I’ll give you three examples to try to convey just how marvelous these young entrepreneurial and technical minds are.

    IzHard is a team of three young Russians who only got together less than a year ago at a hackathon in St Petersburg. In less than 24 hours, the trio had come up with a concept for a 2D puzzle-platforming game and built the prototype. And this despite none of them having any experience in game development previously.

    Their puzzle game is inspired by the likes of Escher and optical illusions and eschews a very simple black and white aesthetic with multiple gravities. As the player progresses, the levels become more complex and challenging and the judges agreed that it has the makings of a hit. Check it out here.

    eFitFashion from Brazil are true entrepreneurs. They’re a small team who had a goal to revolutionize the tailor-made fashion industry by allowing customers to enter their measurements into the Clothes For Me marketplace and have patterns from designers and tailors be automatically be cut to fit to their exact size, allowing customers, seamstresses and clothing firms to come together in a way that hasn’t been possible before.

    Leveraging Azure to do the calculations and backend that powers the entire solution, eFitFashion were eloquent on stage at every step of the competition, revealing that they’ve already been doing deals with firms and potential investors. What were you doing at 20 years of age? I certainly wasn’t wowing the world with an amazing blend of business nous and technical ability!

    The final team I wanted to highlight are near and dear to my heart – three very talented and passionate Australian students from Swinburne university known as Opaque Multimedia have created the Virtual Dementia Experience (VDE). The VDE simulates the effects of aging and dementia in a virtual environment, giving users an unsettlingly realistic view of what it’s like to have conditions like Alzheimer’s.

    Designed from the ground up to help carers have a greater appreciation of their patients and loved ones, the project has been under development for over 18 months and has already won many awards.

    I could have highlighted many others. Like the French team with their rollercoaster simulator taking advantage of the Oculus and combining it with a large wooden crate contraption. Or the Singaporean team who developed a system that included a laser that they used to count the flaps of a mosquito’s wings.

    Everywhere you turn at the World Finals, you get wowed. You blink in surprise. You look around in amazement and awe. These are incredibly talented people who have created things that are beyond your imagination. And they’re students. They’re not only at the start of their sure-to-be long and productive careers, but they’re still learning! And they’re a testament to what can be done with technology if you’re willing to learn.

    It’s why I do what I do. It’s what WE do what we do here at Microsoft Learning Experiences. It’s why Microsoft Virtual Academy was created. Why certifications – the key way people can validate their skills and approach creating things with confidence – are still front and center of what we do. Microsoft Press. Training options. Imagine@MVA. IT Academy. Know it. Prove it. Born to Learn. All of these things are here to help people learn more, do more, create more.

    I feel incredibly privileged to have been part of Imagine Cup for the past 7 years. Every year, I have taken part by serving the students and the judges who help guide them through the competition and beyond. Every year I see more students bring their talents to a world stage and show the massive promise we have coming our way. I’m ready to welcome them. How about you? 

    One last thing. Those three teams I highlighted above? They are the winners of the three primary competitions – Games, Innovation and World Citizenship. On Friday, July 31, in front of thousands of technologists, and a multitude who watched the live stream, the three teams presented their solutions and one was ultimately crowned the winner of the Imagine Cup. Who won? Check for yourself – www.imaginecup.com.

  • |

    Our friends from the Born to Learn blog have asked us to create a Microsoft Press Round-Up a couple of times each month. I’ll keep these posts short and to the point so that you can quickly skim through the content. I’ll tell you about promotions, new books, free ebooks, sample chapters, author videos, and other content that you might be interested in seeing.

    Featured Promotion

    August Special: Save 45% on Developer Reference series eBooks with code "DEVELOPER" at the MicrosoftPressStore.com.  Good from Aug 3, 2015 – Aug 31, 2015.

    Featured book

    Exam Ref 70-695 Deploying Windows Devices and Enterprise Apps

    Prepare for Microsoft Exam 70-695 and help demonstrate your real-world mastery of deploying enterprise apps and devices. Designed for experienced IT pros ready to advance their status, Exam Ref focuses on the critical-thinking and decision-making acumen needed for success at the MCSE level.

    Focus on the expertise measured by these objectives:

    • Implement the operating system deployment infrastructure
    • Implement a Lite-Touch deployment
    • Implement a Zero-Touch deployment
    • Create and maintain desktop images
    • Prepare and deploy the application environment

    Learn more about this book: https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/exam-ref-70-695-deploying-windows-devices-and-enterprise-9780735698093

    Featured Free eBook

    Microsoft System Center Deploying Hyper-V with Software-Defined Storage & Networking

    When you’re looking at testing a new IT solution—such as implementing a software-defined datacenter that includes virtualization, networking, and storage—the best starting point is always to get advice from someone who has already done it. You can learn from experience what to do and what to avoid. That’s the idea behind this book. We’ve gone through the work of deploying Windows Server, Microsoft System Center, and the innovations that Microsoft Azure has brought to these technologies. Our goal is to give you the step-by-step benefit of our proof-of-concept implementation to save you time and effort. And we want to show you how you can take advantage of innovation across the datacenter and the cloud to simplify your infrastructure and speed delivery of services to the business.

    Download this eBook here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/microsoft_press/archive/2015/03/17/free-ebook-microsoft-system-center-deploying-hyper-v-with-software-defined-storage-amp-networking.aspx

    Featured Sample Chapter

    Get Started with Office 365

    Office 365, one of the public cloud-based services offered by Microsoft, is a software as a service (SaaS) suite that includes not only the personal computer versions of Office, but also mobile versions and the server services needed to connect them. If you’re ready to learn more about Office 365, this chapter from Microsoft Public Cloud Services: Setting up your business in the cloud will give you a great overview.

    • Introduction to Office 365
    • Under the hood of Office 365
    • Find the right subscription
    • Sign in for the first time
    • Explore the Office 365 Admin Center
    • Configure a custom domain
    • Add, edit, and delete user accounts
    • Work with files
    • Use Office Mobile on all your devices

    Read the complete chapter here: https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/articles/article.aspx?p=2416189.

    Featured Video

    Learn how to use the Microsoft Press Guided Tour of the Titles Windows App

    The Microsoft Press Guided Tours app is now available on Windows Store! This Windows 8.1 app provides insightful tours by Microsoft Press authors of new and evolving Microsoft technologies. Use the app to explore technical topics in powerful new ways, including multiple ways to mark up content so it's more useful to you.

    The app is available on Windows Store: http://aka.ms/mspressguidedtours


  • By Behnam 

    Week five didn’t start off on the right foot. In addition to Jayden not being in the office on Monday and Tuesday because he was attending Freshman Orientation at the University of Washington, Briana was out of the office as well. Monday was the worst day of my internship so far because there was no one to talk to and I had to sit alone in my office and work on my projects. The worst thing about the whole day was eating lunch by myself. After seven straight hours of work, I decided that I couldn’t take it any longer, so I told Max and Quinn that I would come over to their building and start checking out what kinds of projects the OEM team does. It was a great experience because I had the chance to talk to the team and understand their projects and the mistakes they’d made, and they gave me some tips for future projects once I start with the team. I also told them about my time with the Learning Experiences (LeX) team and what I’d been working on so far.

    On Tuesday, my friend who is really interested in Microsoft asked me if he could shadow me for the day. Briana said he could come hang out, and it was nice not being alone in the office for the day. After we checked in at the receptionist desk, he helped me clean up my desk so we could clear some space for him to work. I shared details about my projects and told him how fun it has been to work at Microsoft, and then we went upstairs so I could show him my favorite machine in the building. In case you’re wondering, it is not the free soda machines—it is the 3-D MakerBot printer. It is a fast and detailed machine that has the ability to print out anything that a person can imagine. He loved it, mostly because I showed him how it worked by printing a small chain. Then I showed him all the gears that I had printed over the course of the summer, which will hopefully make the Internet of Things (IoT) doorknob work. He was fascinated by the workplace, the community feel of the office, and by how people communicated. Not long after that Max and Quinn came to my office because they had finished their project and decided to take a break. Together, we decided to print out a pencil holder to put in the office. We didn’t want to use the printer for a personal side project, so we went to The Garage and used their 3-D printer.

    On Wednesday we were supposed to help high school students beta test the TouchDevelop language within Minecraft. I personally do not like Minecraft, but I enjoyed writing mods and hacks for the game using TouchDevelop. After troubleshooting with the computers and logging all of them on to a Minecraft account, we explained to more than 50 students how the testing process would work. We gave out raffle tickets to anyone who either answered a question or participated throughout the day. It was fun to help the students because not many of them were familiar with coding. At the end of the day, it was obvious that most of the students enjoyed using TouchDevelop with Minecraft, despite the fact that a lot of the computers crashed during the event. After the event, Max, Jayden, Quinn, Aidan, and I went to the café in Building 40 for lunch. We played games and spent some time that afternoon hanging out before going back to our own offices to finish our work.

    Thursday we had to kick it into high gear to finish everything by Friday. We had multiple projects due and a lot of work left, but we really focused that day. We decided we’d work for an hour straight, then take a 20 minute break. The breaks kept running longer and longer, so we decided to lock up our phones in a drawer and put the key on top of the door to our office so neither of us could reach it. This helped us get a lot of work done over the next two hours. I decided to take a stab at fixing the 3-D printer and was so excited when I actually did! We had one more team meeting and then the day was over. The LeX Academic team has really interesting people in it, and I enjoyed spending time with them this summer.

    Friday was our last day with the LeX team. I am going to miss this team so much! I have learned so many important lessons and they’ve helped to prepare me to work at a great company like Microsoft. After finalizing our Real Reelz scripts, we headed to the studio and ran into Max and Quinn in our building. We invited them into the studio to see what it is like being on camera. They were definitely freaked out. When I finished filming I was upset because, in addition to hating being on camera, I felt that I had messed up a lot. More than that though, I couldn’t believe that I would be leaving the group. I had bonded with everyone and knew I wouldn’t get to see them anymore. I enjoyed the experiences I had working with this team. My time with LeX is motivation to work hard this next year to have the chance to come back next summer and work with these great people again. During these five weeks I had so much fun and gained an understanding of what it’s like to work at a successful company like Microsoft. The LeX team is an amazing team to spend half my summer with because of the community and the warmth and friendliness of my coworkers. They helped me tackle every problem I faced, even if we’d only just met. They we so patient, even when we made mistakes in our work, and they always guided us in the right direction. They taught me how to use my time wisely and they showed me how Microsoft makes a difference in the world. I will miss a lot of things, such as the 3-D printer, getting to eat lunch with Briana and the rest of the team, even being in front of the camera. While I still dislike being on camera, I will miss the fun we had behind the scenes. Before this internship, I didn’t have any ideas about what to study in college, but now that I have seen the impact that Microsoft and technology have on the world, I am inspired to create a plan for myself. I want to come back to Microsoft and inspire others to open their eyes to technology and to help get them started.  

    -------------

    By Jayden

    This was a short work week for me as I was out of the office on Monday and Tuesday attending Freshmen Orientation at the University of Washington (UW). It was a blast! I met a lot of new people, got my class schedule, and received a campus tour. In addition to receiving my Husky Card (student identification card), I had the chance to visit some dorms and meet some upperclassmen who shared tips about how to succeed during my freshmen year.

    I loved getting so much information about the UW—who to contact if in trouble, how the rules work, financial aid information, study abroad information, and leadership opportunities in student government. The information was endless. I learned so much in those two days. At first I was nervous because I knew that I wasn’t going to know anyone at orientation, but thanks to my time as an intern at Microsoft, I think I have improved my networking skills. I felt like I was making friends left and right. I am happy to say I think I’ve made my first friends in college. I am looking forward to starting at the UW this fall.

    Coming back to work on Wednesday was very stressful. It was my last week with the Learning Experiences (LeX) team and I needed to finish all of my projects before I start with the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) organization next week. I worked on some of my projects on Monday and Tuesday night to ensure that I would finish everything by Friday. I managed to finish creating a gaming persona for the team that explores how gaming is a likely path for students to become interested in computer science. I also had the opportunity to work at another event. On Wednesday, along with the other interns in LeX, I worked with students from a UW program that collaborates with high school students to get a head start on preparing for college. The other interns and I got to teach the students how to mod in Minecraft using a mod that works with TouchDevelop. It was tons of fun getting to watch these students make their own mods. The only challenge we faced during the event were periodic crashes, but the mod is still a work in progress so it was to be expected.

    By the time I came into work Thursday, I wasn’t feel great. It was the first time I had come into the office sick. I was unclear about any rules around being sick and working, so I came into the office anyways. Considering that I had already missed Monday and Tuesday, I didn’t want to be out anymore. I pushed through the rest of the week despite having a cold, and I am definitely in need of a break. I apologize in advance if this week’s video is a little rough. I didn’t want to miss out on spending time with the LeX team during my last week. I know I’m going to miss it here. I’ve had so many amazing lunches with coworkers and have gotten to know the small community of employees in Redmond Town Center, Building 5 (RTC B5). All I can say is that these past five weeks have gone by fast!

    I am sad to leave the LeX team. I have learned a lot of things working with them and on the projects that I was assigned this summer. As tedious as it was working on the TouchDevelop testing because I was reviewing the same content multiple times, I did find it useful and rewarding when I finished the project. It taught me to pay attention to detail, and it took almost 40 hours. I finished the majority of my projects, such as creating both a hardware and gaming student persona, I wrote five blog posts, and I starred in a Real Realz video sharing my story about how I became interested in computer science. I enjoyed these projects because they are tangible representations of how I spent my time with the LeX team. I will always look back and remember my time with the LeX team as a positive experience. Another thing I loved about the team was participating in so many events, such as the CS50 boot camp, BYKTWD Hour of Code sessions, and the Minecraft modding session with high school students. I loved teaching kids and watching them get excited about coding! Even though I’ll be part of a different team, I have five more weeks as a Microsoft intern and I get to start a new adventure with OEM. 

  • Welcome to another edition of the MCP Insider Series, bringing MCPs exclusive access to career resources, technical content, and Microsoft’s latest innovations. This month we had the pleasure of bringing Don Box, Microsoft Technical Fellow and Rock Star Developer into the studio to talk with us about the Windows 10 release, specifically about Developing Universal Windows Apps.

    This is unfiltered access to one of the top technical minds at Microsoft. Tune in and prepare to be entertained!

    Check it out!

    Patrick

    About Don Box:

    Picture of Don BoxSince joining the Xbox team in 2011, Don has been focused on building devices. During his first year in Xbox, Don led an incubation team through the transition into productization, yielding Xbox SmartGlass. From late 2011 until Nov 22nd, 2013, Don led the development team that produced the operating system for Xbox One, taking it from early ideation into product launch in twenty four months. In 2014, Don took a role leading the development teams for graphics, media, and silicon/hardware platforms in the newly formed Operating Systems Group (OSG), which spans Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone, and other yet to be released device families.

    Don’s first nine years at Microsoft were in the Developer Division and the Server and Tools Business (STB), where he worked on several releases of the .NET framework, XML and Web Services frameworks and standards, and tools and languages for data and modeling.

    Prior to joining Microsoft, Don was co-founder of Developmentor, which was the leading training and consulting firm in the Microsoft developer ecosystem. During this time, Don wrote several well-regarded books on the Component Object Model (COM) and software integration, and was a columnist for the C++ Report and for Microsoft Systems Journal (MSJ) – nee MSDN Magazine. Don also became a featured speaker at industry events, where his reputation for technical depth combined with outrageous stunts became legendary.

    Don received a master of science degree in Computer Science from U.C. Irvine and a bachelor of arts degree in Mathematics from C.S.U. Long Beach. Don lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three kids, where he practices martial arts and plays Ukelele, although rarely at the same time.

  • |

    There are millions of reasons professionals around the world choose to pursue and earn Microsoft certifications. Some do it to validate their skills and to have proof that they know what they say they know. Others do it because they want to take the next step in their career and they see certifications as a way of getting noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. For Microsoft Certified Trainer Alfred Okujwu it was different; he wanted to better serve his customers. He says:

    I had a colleague of mine that said, "Hey, you should take the Certification Exam." From then on it was sort of something that I could put in my title, I could have conversations with my customers, and they would also understand the value that I would bring to the table wasn't just the know-how and manipulation of the technology, but it was also the understanding of how it worked. It enables me to answer more and more questions that customers might have.

    Get to know Alfred and learn more about how he’s lighting up IT with Microsoft Training and Certifications in this short video. Enjoy! 

  • By Jayden

    From a projects perspective, I finally finishing testing the TouchDevelop curriculum, which took over 30 hours! I had to do quality testing on browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer to look for bugs. Going through the testing process was good for me because it pushed me to learn more about the world of coding. I also got a chance to explain the persona I created for the team, which highlighted how hardware can be a path for students to become interested in computer science. It involves thinking outside the box. I got the greenlight on the persona and received a new project. The new project was to create another persona, one that would illustrate how gaming can be a path for students to become interested in computer science.

    Time management has been hard around the office. Trying to balance my multiple projects is difficult. I am now working on an Introduction to Security course that covers four basic concepts about networks, safe passwords, antivirus, and a general overview of the Internet. The content needs to be simple enough for a student between the ages of thirteen and eighteen to easily grasp. Other projects, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) 3-D printing project, are going to require a bit more time and delicacy because the 3-D printer jammed this week. It is inoperable right now, which means so is the completion of the project. I did manage to code the Raspberry Pi device thanks to open source code that allowed me to get a deeper understanding of how it worked. Overall, it’s been an amazing week that took a lot of hard work to complete.

    This week was filled with events that blew me away. On Tuesday, I went with a group of interns to explore The Garage in Building 27. There was a huge room filled with 3-D printers and laser cutters. It was pretty cool seeing all the amazing projects that were in the room. After a long shuttle ride to Overlake Transit Center that was filled with songs and laughter from the other interns, we hopped onto another shuttle to go to the Lincoln Square building for lunch. We walked around aimlessly for a while until we found the tower, thanks to a quick phone call to Briana. We ascended to the twenty-eighth floor for lunch and were met with a view of the skyline of Bellevue and Seattle. After munching on our taco bowls for a couple of minutes, we decided to catch the shuttle back to the main campus. As we passed the Westin hotel, I noticed a red bus with the Manchester United symbol on it. I jokingly told the group “Hey look, its Manchester United.” They laughed it off until we saw the team filing out the door. We couldn’t believe our eyes! Since I’m not a huge soccer fan I was not as excited as the others, but it was still a really cool moment.

    Later that week, along with the rest of the high school interns, I had the chance to attend a Q&A session led by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. He shared the future he envisioned for Microsoft and how he wants the company to be. It was an interesting session that I thoroughly enjoyed. Some of the interns asked some funny questions to Satya, such as “Would you want to be a dragon or own a pet dragon?” I learned a lot about the company and how Microsoft is operating in comparison to other tech companies

    Overall, it was a fantastic week. I worked hard to complete several projects and I had fun decorating Nacho’s office for her birthday. I also explored more of the Microsoft Campus this week than I had before, I heard Satya speak, and took in an amazing view for lunch. I also met an ecstatic Microsoft researcher named Peli, and I witnessed an elite soccer team invade Bellevue. Such an awesome week! I’ve concluded that Microsoft is the place I want to be. I have reached out to the High School Intern Program advisors to get more information about the Explorer Program. I hope to return to Microsoft next summer as an intern because I love this place. 

    -----------

    By Behnam 

    Week four was supposed to be another typical work week, but there were many surprises that made it as interesting as my very first week! In my 1:1 meeting with Briana on Monday, I was assigned a new project that involves TouchDevelop. For the new project, I’m reviewing the shorts from Harvard’s CS50 online course on EdX[MW1]  to determine if these videos explain the concepts in our Creative Coding through Games and Apps course on Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). There are a total of 50 shorts, and each one takes five to eight minutes to review, so I jumped right in. I made an Excel spreadsheet and watched half of Week 0, which contained five shorts. Then I went to meet with Yvette to review the persona I had created. She asked me to recreate the persona in PowerPoint instead of Word. This was super annoying because, as all of you know, it is difficult to create a table in Word and I’d spent time drafting all of the content in Word. At least I already had the information and simply had to transfer it over. After the meeting, Briana managed to get a serious cramp in her leg, right in the middle of the hallway. I knew that I shouldn’t laugh but I couldn’t help it when I looked at her dancing around on one leg while holding the other and practically throwing her laptop and phone to me and Jayden. Exciting moment number one for week four.

    In my entire life I have never personally encountered a celebrity. That changed on Tuesday! The day started off just like any other until I randomly saw Max and Quinn walking around in the hallway. Max and Quinn are two other high school interns who currently work in the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) team and will be switching to LeX after next week—and Jayden and I will be heading over to OEM. Since most of their team was out of the office at a conference, they had time to explore other parts of campus and had randomly chosen to come to Redmond Town Center. By chance, they found me and Jayden. But wait, it gets better. Every Tuesday my team has a meeting called “The Two-Buck Tuesday Twenty at Ten-Ten” or "T6” for short. The purpose of the meeting is for each person to give a quick status update on what they are working on that week. Once I got to the meeting, I told Briana I’d run into Max and Quinn and that they were going to go to Lincoln Square for lunch. She told me to go catch them and make sure they waited so Jayden and I could go with them. Well, I didn’t hear anything about Briana instructing me to come back to the meeting, so I end up hanging out with Max and Quinn for about thirty minutes and completely missed the meeting. This worried Briana because she didn’t know where I’d disappeared to. We figured it all out and all of us interns headed over on a shuttle to The Garage. The concept of The Garage is that people get to go in and tinker with things—but this case the things are all high tech. It wasn’t quite as fun as we were expecting because it was smaller than we’d anticipated. Since we were the only ones on the shuttle to Lincoln Square, we had a bit of fun. The shuttle does not stop in front of Lincoln Square, but instead parks near the Westin Hotel. We had an adventure trying to find the building, let alone the elevators to the Microsoft floors. Thankfully, it was worth it. The food was great and the view was even better. You could see all the way across Lake Washington to downtown Seattle. It was priceless. As we were waiting for the shuttle back to campus, the most amazing thing happened. I saw the Manchester United soccer team bus. I repeat, I saw the MANCHESTER UNITED soccer team bus! I LOVE soccer and was in awe as all the players started to get off the bus, and I caught a glimpse of Wayne Rooney. Wow! I was paralyzed and couldn’t even reach for my phone or move towards him to ask for a picture. I wanted to chase after the players into the hotel, but the shuttle arrived and I had to leave.

    On Wednesday, we had to kick it into high gear to work on our projects because we’d been out of the office most of Tuesday. It was rough sitting in front of my laptop screen the entire day. Thankfully, we had relief on Thursday when I, along with all the other high school interns, had a meeting with the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella. Again, another famous person that I got to see up close all in the same week—exciting, right? This is why everyone should try to get an internship at Microsoft. He had an inspiring speech about why the interns are important and how they benefit the company. He also mentioned Aidan, another intern who works with us, in his speech, and Aidan was really excited! Even though I hate being on camera, I think I wasn’t half bad this week in the studio.

    Friday morning Briana came in and told us that we would be leaving LeX at the beginning of next week—a whole week earlier than was originally planned. The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) team needs help because they are preparing for the upcoming Windows 10 launch. Jayden and I were not prepared for this. We were really sad because we’d been thinking of giving out gifts to our manager and a few friends we’ve made in LeX. However, an hour later she came back and told us that she’d made a deal with the OEM team and we’d get to stay for our last week. We were thrilled! We were also happy to have a fun project for the rest of the afternoon—we decorated Natasha’s office. Natasha, better known as Nacho because that is her Microsoft email alias, interviewed me and Jayden. She has been out of the office for nearly four weeks travelling for work. We made an absolute mess of her office since her birthday is next Tuesday. We decorated it using sticky notes, finger puppets, pictures of her muppet, pictures of her horses, and a lot more. I had so much fun getting to make her office completely unusable! I had to get back to work eventually, so I reviewed more of the CS50 shorts, finished this blog, and then went to Building 99 with the other interns to meet with Heidi Johnson to discuss next Wednesday’s event. We will be working with a group of high school students with both TouchDevelop and Minecraft. I can’t wait!

  • |

    What makes Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Wayne McGlinn excited about his job? For him, it’s all about the people he teaches. Overflowing with personality and a type of kindness that seems rarer and rarer these days, Wayne is one of the many MCTs who helps professionals around their world advance their careers by earning Microsoft Certifications. But being a trainer wasn’t always the path for Wayne—he got his start in the Australian Army. Join us as we get to know this MCT from "the Land Down Under".   

    In this three-minute interview, we ask Wayne about:

    • How he first started with Microsoft Certifications
    • The reason he first wanted to earn a certification
    • His favorite student success story
    • What he enjoys the most about being an MCT

    Big thanks to Wayne for the time! 

  • By Ben

    After spending the holiday weekend in Canada, I had a long road trip home and started off Monday feeling tired. However, after I reached Redmond Town Center, Building 5 (RTCB5) excitement kicked in and woke me up. I was ready to tackle the day. This week I had extra time to work on the Internet of Things (IoT) project, which was fun and amazing because I had the chance to use the 3-D printer. If you guys haven’t read my earlier blog posts, you should!

    For the IoT project, I have to come up with a type of gear that will be part of a lock that can be opened both manually and electronically. In the morning, I had my regular one-on-one meeting with Briana to discuss my Goals Sheet for my internship. We checked in about all of our projects and went over their deadlines. After that, Jayden and I worked mostly on our IoT project. Jayden spent his time coding the Raspberry Pi 2, while I fixed my old gear design that had been unsuccessful. It is challenging to work on this project because I have to focus on every little concept and brainstorm it on my own, because if it doesn’t work it would be my fault and a waste of plastic and use of the printer. Later that afternoon, we met with Yvette to check in about the persona project. My contribution to the project is to detail my upbringing and exposure to technology in Iran. After the meeting, I worked on the TouchDevelop testing project, and since I was almost done, it made me work harder to finish it.

    On Tuesday, when I arrived in the office, I intended to work on the persona project, but I needed to have a conversation with my sister and mother to help remind me of our life in Iran and when we got a computer, a cell phone, and so on. So, instead I went back to using the 3-D builder program to create a new prototype that I printed that day. While it worked, it wasn’t the right size for the platform, so I had the choice of creating a new platform or resizing the gear. I opted to recreate the gear. Finally, at the end of the day, I finished the TouchDevelop testing.

    Wednesday was again a typical workday except for the fact that we had to move offices and were assigned a new project. We talked to one of Briana’s colleagues, Phil Helsel, who lives and works in Texas, and he told us about the need to create an Introduction to Security course for Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). This course would prepare a user for basic protection of their PC. All I wanted to know was whether or not I had to be in front of the camera again, and luckily I won’t be!

    On Thursday, Jayden and I decorated our office to add some personality. Jayden and I discussed all the projects we had and contemplated if we needed more. We decided to finish the ones we were already assigned, and then we’ll ask for some new ones. For the rest of the day, we worked hard to finish our projects and helped each other when we got stuck.

    On Friday, I met with Briana in the morning and we created a giant chart on the whiteboard of all the projects we’ve been assigned and their respective due dates so that Jayden and I can be more organized. I wrapped up the day by finishing a prototype that was perfect for our IoT project, but the printer jammed halfway through the printing process. Sadly, I have to wait until next week to reprint it. Sigh. 


    ------------------

    By Jayden

    After my third week, I can finally say I have experienced what a typical week is like at Microsoft. Work. Surprisingly, I did actually get a lot of things done. It’s crazy to think about the number of hours I spent working on individual projects that had to be completed this week. I finished the bug testing for TouchDevelop and documented what could be improved. I tested the TouchDevelop content on both Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, and I am almost done testing the content on Firefox. I finished adding new information to the personas that the Academic team had previously created. Specifically, I am sharing how hardware can be an inroad to interest in computer science. For me personally, I didn’t even know what a computer scientist was when I was growing up, and it wasn’t until middle school that I finally saved enough money to buy a laptop. The laptop was in terrible shape, so I had no choice but to take it apart and install new parts to replace the broken ones. I’d purchased the laptop with all the money I had, and I wanted to make sure it would work. After spending so much time tinkering with and fixing my laptop, I started wondering how it actually worked—how the software inside of it worked. I had become an engineer, and I was hooked. I built my first desktop! I figured out what I needed, I set my budget, and I made it happen. This is what led me to where I am today, to this very internship, so adding this insight to the team’s personas is right up my alley.

    Another win for the week was when I finally got the Raspberry Pi to work. I needed a few additional materials, such as electric jumper cables and a breadboard to plug all the cables into. I also got hold of a new motor to ensure that I had a backup. To make it all work, I coded the Raspberry Pi so that when the correct pin is entered an LED light turns green. If an incorrect pin is entered, then the LED light turns red. Hopefully, once Ben and I get the right gear printed, we will be able to create our final product of an automatic door lock.

    Something I’ve really been enjoying is getting to eat lunch with Briana and Ben every day. The food is pretty amazing, but I love going to lunch because of what Briana, Ben, and I get to talk about together. We have talked about everything, our lives in general, and exotic foods we have eaten. Thanks to these lunches, I feel that I have gotten to know each of them more, and vice versa—that they’ve gotten to know me. I’ve had a great time getting to talk to these two!

    This week Ben and I were also evicted from our office, which is actually Nacho’s office. After being squatters for the past three weeks, we were kicked off of the property. We almost had it—seven more years until we get to call it our own. A couple miles down the hallway, we found our new home. It consists of two tables and chairs, a shelf, and a drawer. We are now finally home for the next two weeks. After getting situated into our new office, we decided that we needed more things to fill it in. We took Nacho’s lamp—don’t worry, we will give it back—and some other fun stuff to decorate the office.

    I experienced panic this week when the Connector shuttle ran late. The Connector usually comes to Overlake Transit Center around 4:24 P.M., but one day this week it didn’t arrive until 4:54 P.M.. A mob formed! Everyone was angry and tired from having to wait for an extra half hour in the heat. I also saw the bus driver leave someone behind for being one minute late. If you’re standing right next to the bus and the door closes, you have no luck of getting onboard.

    It feels surreal that I am completing my third week already. At first I thought the weeks were going by so fast, but now it feels like they are slowing down a bit. It feels like I’ve been here for a long time. I love it. Just knowing that I have put in over 120 hours working here is insane, and that doesn’t include the hours of commute time. I wonder what my life would’ve been like if I didn’t get this internship. What would I be doing? Would I be at home sleeping? Camping on the coast? Climbing a mountain? All I know is that I enjoy working here. Although this is technically my “summer vacation,” I know it’s all part of the planning for my future.

  • |

    Over the past year, I have had the privilege of speaking at several SQL Saturday events, and I have been amazed at the turnout and passion of the SQL Server community. If you have never heard of SQL Saturdays, they are free community-driven, one-day training events for SQL Server professionals. These events rely on local speakers and volunteers to provide a variety of high-quality technical sessions covering all aspect of SQL Server. There are sessions for administrators, developers, and even beginners just starting out with SQL.

    As a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), attending these events has allowed me to improve my presentation and communication skills. They have also allowed me to gain a tremendous amount of knowledge that I would not find anywhere else, at least not for free. But most importantly, it has allowed me to meet and share war stories with highly skilled professionals who also share my passion for learning.

    For example, I asked Hope Foley, who is the organizer of the SQL Saturday event being held in Indianapolis on August 8, 2015, why she attended SQL Saturdays. She said, “I began speaking at SQL Saturdays five years ago. I fell in love immediately, and they completely changed my life. I was floored, and still am, at how many people began supporting and encouraging me. We’re very lucky to have such a vibrant, good-natured, and talented community. I am passionate about bringing that to others, and a large part of that is bringing SQL Saturday to my local community.”

    And it is not only about a free day of learning. In May, I had the chance to meet Grant Fritchey, who gave the opening keynote at the SQL Saturday in New York City. He explained the concept of SQL Saturdays the best, and thankfully he allowed me to quote his words here, “SQL Saturday is not just an opportunity to learn technical skills, but a chance to network with the most motivated data professionals in your area. I know they’re the most motivated because they’re taking their own time, a Saturday, to expand their knowledge.”

    Did I mention this was free training organized around the world by local SQL Server user groups? Do you want to join the community? Visit SQL Saturday to find an event coming up near you.

    If you are not interested in SQL Server, there are many other Microsoft communities out there. A good way to locate events around you for SharePoint, Exchange, and PowerShell is through social media. If you are just getting started with networking, The Krewe is probably the best place to start.

  • Have you been paying attention to what's been happening in the world of Microsoft Certification? June brought two big announcements that are highlighted in this ACE NewsByte:

    1) Online proctoring expands to most European countries with plans to continue the worldwide expansion over the next few months, and

    2) MCP Profiles were launched, allowing you to create a public profile that showcases your skills not only to others in our community, but to potential and current clients, customers, and hiring managers!

    Learn more by watching this ACE NewsByte!

    And, by checking out these links:

  • Build your product knowledge and capabilities by earning the certifications and accreditations that help you and your company stand out.

    By purchasing a Microsoft competency exam pack, you take a step toward meeting your organization's Microsoft gold or silver competency requirements. Provide exam vouchers to individuals within your organization to prepare them for their Microsoft Certification exams and to achieve your organization's competency requirements. Whether you're looking to meet new competency requirements or to simply highlight your team's world-class skills, this is a great way to get started.

    Purchase your voucher packs today!

    Choose the Microsoft competency exam voucher pack that works best for your company.

    • Buy 10 Exams, GET 20 -- Get double for your money! Purchase ten exams at full price and get ten more exams free.
    • Buy 5 Exams, GET 8 -- Purchase five exams at full price and get three additional exams free.

    Don’t delay! The promotion ends August 31, 2015, and the vouchers expire December 31, 2015.


  • Hello, Partners! The Microsoft Learning Experiences (LeX) team is here in warm and sunny Orlando, Florida, ready for the 2015 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. The expo booth is all set up, session rehearsals are scheduled, and various pre-day meetings are underway. We’re looking forward to seeing and catching up with all of you!

     

    Using Twitter to connect during WPC 2015? Follow @MSLearning and @CWMarketplace. The official conference hashtag is #WPC15.

     

    Here’s a quick summary of where you’ll find us this week:

     

    Day one – Monday, July 13

    LeX Sessions: Learning Partners, The Online Opportunity (LEX01, LEX02) | 2:00pm – 4:30pm | Orange County Convention Center, Room N320 E/F

     

    Learning Partner Reception | 8:00pm – 11:00pm | Dewey’s Indoor Golf & Sports Grill

     

    Day two – Tuesday, July 14

    LeX Session: Learning at Cloud Speed (LEX03) | 9:00am – 10:001m | Orange County Convention Center, Room N220 F/G

     

    Monday – Wednesday, July 13-15

    LeX Booth @ The Expo | Booth MC20 | MPN area in Microsoft Central

    Look for “Microsoft Learning” and “Arvato Bertelsmann” in bright green lighted signage.

     

    Reasons to visit our booth:

    • Explore the latest enhancements in Microsoft Official Courses (MOC), including interactive assessments and lab linking.
    • Test drive the new Skillpipe app for Windows at our device bar.
    • Have your questions answered by the Arvato team and receive some free goodies!
    • Get your exclusive MPN exam pack discount offer.
    • Find out about the popular Second Shot and online proctored exams.
    • Learn how to become a Pearson VUE testing center so you can administer Microsoft exams.