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!
About Don Box:
Since 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!
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.
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:
Big thanks to Wayne for the time!
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.
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.
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:
Second Shot is back! Are you thinking of starting on the road to MCP certification? Or interested in continuing or upgrading your certification path? Now is a great time to take your next step.
Second Shot provides you with a free retake on your exam should you need it – at no additional cost to you. To qualify as free, the retake must be the same exam as the one you didn't pass. Plus, either exam can be taken in a testing center or through Online Proctoring (OP), offering you greater exam taking flexibility. Find out if OP is available in your country.
To qualify for Second Shot,
Schedule and take an MCP exam between July 12, 2015, and January 12, 2016. Simply go to https://www.microsoft.com/learning, log in, and schedule your exam.
After your exam, log in to check your personal dashboard at https://www.microsoft.com/learning to verify testing results. Please allow up to 24 hours for results to show up on the dashboard.
Register for your retake within 30 days of the date from the failed exam date.
Review the Pearson VUE testing center availability for your specific exam and then schedule your retake.
For complete terms and conditions of this offer, visit the Second Shot page on our website.
Once you are certified, don't forget to add it to your CV or LinkedIn profile. And if you're on Xbox, put an MCP shirt on your avatar!
On Monday of my second week, I learned a lot of “rules” about working at Microsoft that nobody really talks about. I learned the first rule the minute I got to work. As soon as I entered the hallway, I noticed that all the lights were off. Honestly, I was a bit scared. No one was in the building! I checked the time—yep 8:00 A.M., right on time—but the building was empty. After messaging both Jayden and Briana, I realized that most people don’t get in to the office that early. Now when I am the first person in every morning, I am no longer worried.
As the day went on, I had a meeting with a member of the Academic Team, Yvette, who introduced me to a project about personas. I am excited about this project because it’s the first one that I will be working on without Jayden. I am to create a persona for a student growing up in Iran, and describe how they are exposed to technology. Additionally, I am to create a more general persona about a student in the Middle East.
One of the best things about Monday was that I got to go dumpster diving! I needed a keyboard and other hardware items, so Briana told us about dumpster diving, which is a fun way of telling us to check the PC recycle bins on every floor of the building to see if anything is salvageable. I found a Windows Phone, and with the help of Jayden, I fixed it, charged it, and made it into a test phone we can use for the rest of the summer.
Here comes the second rule. Jayden and I went to the Commons to meet other interns for lunch. The rule is to not show up after 11:30 A.M. if you want food. The Commons is the largest cafeteria and also a giant mall, which means there are many more people than the food vendors can handle. We had to wait in line for a half an hour just to order our food, and mine was terrible. The pizza I got was half the size of the ones in my own cafeteria, Redmond Town Center, Building 5 (RTCB5), and it cost twice as much! The icing on the cake was having to wait 10 minutes for the shuttle in burning hot weather.
Finally, after getting back to RTCB5, we met with a Products Team member, Chris, who introduced us to a new project. We are going to use a 3-D printer to create a gear that will automatically work with a door lock using electricity. This project is going to be great because we will have to redesign and create a brand new gear and print it in the 3-D printer in Chris’ office.
Here comes the third rule. On Wednesday, I decided to take a new route to get to the office. I rode my bike to Building 22, which is the closest building to my house, and then I ordered a shuttle from there to RTCB5, or so I thought. Apparently I said “Building 5” so I had to awkwardly ask the shuttle driver if he could take me to Redmond Town Center, Building 5. Note to all, Building 5 is not the same thing as RTCB5. Needless to say, that was not a great shuttle ride. Thankfully, I got to the office on time to help Briana one of our teammates offices, Shawn, for her birthday. After that we headed to Building 92 to run an Hour of Code event as part of Bring Your Kids to Work Day. The Hour of Code event was really work because I got to help thirty students—and their parents—learn how to use TouchDevelop to code. I also helped troubleshoot problems and helped them customize their projects. We hosted three sessions, so I repeated this process twice more until the end of the day.
Thursday was my first day in the office without my manager. We met with Chris once more, who gave us hints on how to use the 3-D MakerBot Printer. To me, it was a great experience because a 3-D printer is a great example of how simple coordinates, some code, and a little plastic can create anything out of the small 0s and 1s inside a computer. Honestly, working on this project, I feel I am living in the future! After our meeting with Chris, Jayden and I went back to the office and used our reenergized minds to work on the Internet of Things (IoT) project. At 1:00 P.M. we headed into the studio to film our weekly blog videos. I honestly hate standing and being interviewed in front of a camera because for some reason it scares me. I decided to go last, which turned out to not be a good idea. It made me sweat while I watched the other interns on camera. After finishing the video, I refocused my energy on the IoT project and designed multiple different gears that could possibly be installed on the doorknob before heading out to enjoy the long holiday weekend.
My second week as a Microsoft Intern was a blast. First of all, it was a short week. Friday was a holiday, so I didn’t have to work and still got paid! This week started out with loads of fun. I was assigned more projects. One of them is an Internet of Things (IoT) project to make an automatic deadbolt. I am also working on creating a student persona, which involves updating the existing personas with my perspective about technology and hardware. I also had one-on-one time with my manager, Briana, to talk about my goals for the summer, which include networking with others around the campus.
Tuesday was a real work day. I tried to figure out how to program a Raspberry Pi 2. It involved hours of research and technical problems. Finally, after spending almost the entire day, I was able to program it. The only problem I ran into after that was figuring out what I could do with it. I tried to write small programs with it in Python, but ran into some missing hardware issues. Instead of trying to go on, I started to write down my thoughts and ideas to create a blueprint layout of what I wanted the IoT project to be.
Wednesday was an eventful day. We had a chance to finish and submit our goal sheets. Laughing about some of the things I wrote was a plus—I wrote them to see if Briana would notice! Wednesday was the big day though because it was Bring Your Kid to Work Day at Microsoft. Our team, Learning Experiences (LeX), ran Hour of Code events for parents and their kids. We were supposed to run three sessions of 30 kids, or so we thought. A half-hour before the first session was to start, there was a line all the way down the hallway. I felt horrible rejecting kids who wanted to learn to code. I could feel the wrath in their parents’ eyes as they glared at me and my team for telling them all three sessions for the day were already full. At least we were able to tell them that they could take the course online at home.
I had tons of fun teaching kids how to use TouchDevelop, the programming language in the course. This was probably the highlight of my week. I truly felt like a teacher. I worked along my fellow interns, Aidan and Ben, who are now close friends. We were able to help a lot of kids so that their games were up and running like they wanted them to be. The room was filled with smiles and laughter in each session. As kids left the room, I heard many of them thank their parents for letting them come, and they asked if they could do more at home. It felt amazing knowing something like this helped the kids’ curiosity about coding grow.
This was my first (almost) full week of taking the Connector to work and back home every day. It felt weird at first due to the fact that I didn’t know where it would pick me up, but later on I began to figure it out. The ride is so much better than having to drive. Instead of driving two hours on my own in a hot car, I get to ride in an air-conditioned shuttle with Wi-Fi, which is superb. The only thing I am scared of is that if I fall asleep on the way home, I fear that I may snore and that secretly everyone on the bus would hate me. I might need to ask someone if I do so that I can get over it. As my second week of my 10-week internship comes to an end, I realize it is going by way too fast. But you know what they say, if you enjoy something so much, time flies!
Microsoft Learning Experiences provides the learning assets and online capabilities developers, educators, and students need to harness industry-leading mobile and cloud technologies and foster life-long learning and skills development. We are focused on exciting students, engaging parents and communities, and equipping educators with the skills and tools they need to embrace productivity skills, cloud technologies, and Computer Science learning opportunities.
Through our ongoing interactions with the educator communities, we keep hearing great interest and need for in-depth, product specific training and the accompanying credentials. Our team joined over 18,000 educators at the 2015 International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Philadelphia last week to address this need and make certification exams available on site for attendees interested in getting certified in a Microsoft Office application, or becoming a Microsoft Certified Educator, or achieving a Microsoft Technology Association title in various technical fundamentals areas. Through conversations with attendees and onsite testing, we provided the information and tools to help schools and teachers integrate Microsoft technologies into the curriculum, use certification exams as learning frameworks and assessment, and prepare students for success in higher education and future careers.
On Sunday, Microsoft Certified Trainer Heather Fitzpatrick Serverino delivered an exam prep session to a packed rooms, which included an overview of Microsoft’s certification paths. On Monday, I participated in a live Q&A session at Microsoft’s Learning Lounge and answered attendees' questions about training resources and the Microsoft IT Academy program. During the conference expo hours, ISTE attendees took over 460 Microsoft certification exams. The onsite exam room was 100% full from open to close every day.
Some attendees, like Karen, made the effort to earn multiple Microsoft certifications while at ISTE 2015 – which many deemed a valuable investment of time and focus at the conference.
Ronnie passed multiple exams (MCE, MOS), and said she really enjoyed the onsite testing experience. Tiffany took MCE and 3 MOS exams and passed them all! She said onsite testing really added value to her conference attendance – and tweeted about it herself.
We know that today’s students want to learn in different ways, and assemble a “portfolio” of knowledge and validations that is most suitable for their area of focus or chosen career path. We are continuing our discussions with educators about looking at Microsoft’s certification programs as a tool for both teaching and learning, with a high level of relevance in both academic and career readiness, to inspire and prepare students for future success. The excitement we heard from everyone at ISTE 2015 is a great indication of how valuable and effective certifications can be for teachers and ultimately their students.
Here are a few more celebratory tweets from ISTE 2015 attendees. Congratulations to everyone who earned a shiny new Microsoft certification during ISTE 2015!
I passed certification test! I am now a Microsoft Certified Educator! #MIEExpert2015 #ISTE2015 pic.twitter.com/lVEL3g6sMR
— Tina Buda (@OPS_TBuda) June 30, 2015
I passed certification test! I am now a Microsoft Certified Educator! #MIEExpert2015 #ISTE2015 pic.twitter.com/lVEL3g6sMR
I'm now a Microsoft Certified Educator, and Office Specialist in Word and Excel. #freexams #why #ISTE2015
— Mark Suter (@Garlicsuter) June 29, 2015
I'm now a Microsoft Certified Educator, and Office Specialist in Word and Excel. #freexams #why #ISTE2015
Woohooo! Microsoft certified educator! #ISTE2015 #MIEExpert2015 pic.twitter.com/1ZJWFjyd2E
— Mary Blair (@Mary_Blair9417) June 30, 2015
Woohooo! Microsoft certified educator! #ISTE2015 #MIEExpert2015 pic.twitter.com/1ZJWFjyd2E
Have you ever played a game of word association?
If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an exercise where one person says a word and the other person says the first associated word that comes to mind in response. For example, if I say “dog”, you may reply with “fun”, “loyal” or some other word you directly associate with dogs. The idea is that people share their honest feelings about a word because they state the first word that comes to mind purely on impulse.
Recently, I decided to play a game of word association with some MCPs. The word? "Microsoft Certification". See how they responded in this short video. Enjoy!
Sometimes people ask me how I, Jayden, got an internship at Microsoft. Honestly, I don’t know. I never believed I would spend my summer working here as an intern. None of my previous summers have been like this. They are usually always the same: wake up, babysit, maybe have some fun, and then the end. While being the oldest of five children has its pros and cons, I would never trade the world for it. I appreciated the trust my elders bestowed onto me, and hey, I think I’ve turned out to be an amazing babysitter.
Recently I graduated from Highline High School, which is something to be proud of considering at one point the dropout rate was 25%. Not everyone enjoys Highline. Not because there are bullies around every corner, but because with each step you take you run a chance of getting hurt. Let me elaborate. Highline was built in 1924, and it hasn’t been upgraded even once since then, except for a few new buildings. That means brown rusted water flows from each sink and faucet. Ceiling tiles fall from above our heads. Even the books and sports equipment are outdated. Football pads from the 80s, books that are older than some teachers, and the list goes on. That’s why when people ask me how I, Jayden, got an internship at Microsoft, sometimes I don’t know considering my underprivileged school and family. But, I do know I can thank one thing for helping me land this internship—TEALS.
Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (T.E.A.L.S) is one of the main reasons I believe I landed this internship. My mentors—John Fawcett, a Principal Software Engineering Manager, and Louis Bowman, an attorney here at Microsoft—made the drive to Highline each morning for the entire school year to ensure we had a computer science teacher. They taught me the fundamentals of coding and computer science. John taught me coding, while Louis taught me to think outside the box. Without them, I wouldn’t be an intern today.
As I finish the first week of my internship, I can only say one thing—Amazing! The workplace is awesome. I got to meet so many new people, other interns, visitors like CS50 Professor David Malan from Harvard University, and my team members. So far, it’s been great. The first week went by fast even though it took up forty hours of my week. Since I job shadowed back in the winter with John’s group, I was expecting the same atmosphere. But the Microsoft Learning group is way different, but a good different. I love how energetic the team is about learning. Especially because I wanted to be a teacher when I was younger. Being able to use technology and help with learning is probably the best of both worlds.
Honestly, I loved my first week. I thought I was going to fail and embarrass myself. It turns out even Microsoft has computer problems. It took me all week to sign up for the Connector—the shuttle system at Microsoft. I enjoyed every mistake. I’m looking forward to more weeks to come of technical difficulties and fun projects.
By BehnamBeing a Microsoft Intern might sound hard and stressful, but it is also amazingly fun and exciting. On the first day—after a super-long interview process—I went along with 40 other interns to do the technicalities to become an official intern. During the New Intern Orientation (NIO) process, we sat through a presentation about the basic “need-to-know” information and we were handed over to our future managers for lunch. During this lunch, my manager, Briana Roberts, told me and my co-intern, Jayden, a bit about the Learning Experiences (LeX) organization. She told us that each intern would get at least three projects throughout our ten-week internship. We tried to get her to share more details, but she held strong and explained that she would give us more info soon, with the rest of the crew (LeX Academic team).
The second and third days went by quickly despite the fact that I was stuck outside, unable to get into the building because my badge wasn’t ready yet. I also encountered computer issues that were caused by my account not being set up in the system. On the second day, Jayden and I were introduced to the LeX crew and given a speech of who does what, who to joke around with, and who to take seriously. We were also challenged to create a game with PowerPoint, which took me about two hours of work, only to find out that it was a pseudo-joke. On the third day, LeX Academic team member Brian Swan gave me my first project! This project is related to TouchDevelop—this great project that is still being created and worked on by the Microsoft Research team. My project requires me to test every single step in the video tutorials, a total of around 48 links on browsers like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox. It might take up to 20 hours to go through every single link and examine them. I am also noting each bug I find.
My fourth day, however, was like a miracle. After receiving my badge, I was finally able to open the door using the magical technology chips inside the badge. In the morning, although I still couldn’t log in to Outlook, we moved into Microsoft Building 20 to help the LeX group connect with the Harvard crew to run a CS50 boot camp for 40 teachers from 12 states around the United States. This program is not only for students who have exhausted other computer science (CS) classes in their high school, but for others who have not even taken any CS classes before. Professor David Malan explained every single important step in this course to make a 13-week college credit class into a 36-week AP high school class and also how to attract students from other classes. David Malan is a great speaker and a smart educator. His methods of teachings are interesting and intense, which causes you to get completely pulled into his words and mini-games that he makes up in the middle of his speeches. I finished the day by spending time at TechLink trying to fix my laptop, but it wasn’t successful.
On the fifth day, which was this past Friday and the last day of my work week, I finally got my account fixed and became a real Microsoft Intern. I had to go into the LeX Studio and answer questions about myself for this blog and my introductory video, and it made me really nervous because I am camera shy. And here we are. This is my first of what will be a weekly blog. I spent the afternoon at the Developer’s Experience (DX) Morale event, which was a fun time at Field 5. It was a great event to go to because it was filled with a lot of mini-games, like basketball shooting, RC car racing, and other fun events. At around 2:00 P.M., my crew left the field to go to Building 20 to wrap up CS50. However, I finished the day writing this blog instead of helping them out. :)
Dear Learning Partners,
In our GM Alison Cunard's earlier message to you, she outlined what our team will be sharing with you at WPC this year. She and the Microsoft Learning Experiences team will give you an update on that journey of growing a proficient and enthusiastic ecosystem and innovating to reach millions more potential learners. You are a vital part of that journey, so please join us at all three of the "learning" track sessions at WPC 2015. Our sessions are live in the session catalog. Find them all at http://aka.ms/wpc15lex and add them to your WPC 2015 schedule builder today!
Monday, July 13
Learning Partners: The Online Opportunity (Part 1 and Part 2)
Microsoft has transformed itself from a seller of packaged products to a provider of software services. As Learning Partners, you are facing the disruptive innovation of on-demand learning, a model Microsoft is embracing as the most effective way to scale training. In this two-part session, we will talk about what Microsoft’s shift to services—including learning as a service—means for Learning Partners, and how Microsoft will support you as you evolve your business.
(This is a two-part session. You are encouraged to attend both.)
Speakers: Alison Cunard, Carrie Francey, Chris Roy
Tuesday, July 14
Learning at Cloud Speed
In the new “Cloud Order,” learning never stops. Keeping your team up-to-speed at today’s incredible rate of change can be overwhelming, even without added budget and resource pressure. It’s time to rethink how you train your teams! We’re working with our partners to make training more accessible, affordable, and convenient so that your team can learn, assess, and certify at their own pace and their own place. Join us to learn about new ways to stay and stand out on the leading edge.
Speaker: Ken Rosen
Because many of you were so kind to respond to our text entry survey (see this blog post: https://borntolearn.mslearn.net/b/weblog/archive/2015/05/11/help-us-evaluate-a-text-entry-scoring-tool), I wanted to follow up with some details on what we learned.
What did we learn about the scoring tool that we were testing?
What do people think of including text entry questions on our exams? Respondents indicated that:
Overall, survey responses provided support for including these types of questions on our exams. So, never fear...although this scoring tool didn't work as well as we'd hope, we are not giving up. We continue to explore other options to creating an innovative solution that allows you "code" or write commands/syntax in such a way that 1) gets us closer to the real world experience than multiple choice questions, 2) takes into account the multiple different ways a solution could be implemented, and 3) is scored correctly on the exam!
Thanks to everyone who took time to respond to our survey and provide this valuable feedback!
Calling all Windows developers! Microsoft Learning is in the process of defining the next set of developer exams on the new Universal Windows Platform, and we would like your input on the importance, frequency, and rigor for each functional group and objective for these exams.
If you wish to participate in the online survey, please click on the following link, and submit your responses by July 6th:
A few weeks back I announced the retirement of Lync 2013 exams. See the post here. I want to let you know that we are moving the retirement date of Lync exams (335, 336, 337, and 338) to November 30, 2015. We’re updating the retirement dates on our web pages to reflect this.
Remember, the new Skype for Business exams will count toward MCSE: Communication certification like Lync exams 336 and 337 currently do.
Stay tuned for more information on the new Skype for Business exams!
Q: Should I hold off on taking exams until the Skype for Business exams are available? A: Not at all. Skype for Business builds on Lync’s features and functionality. The Lync exams provide you with a solid foundation for your Skype for Business implementation. See what’s new in Skype for Business.
Q: Will there be an upgrade exam for those who have completed both Lync exams and want to move to Skype for Business? A: No. Once you’ve earned your MCSE: Communication certification you cannot re-earn it. You can, however, keep it current through recertification. If you’re not ready to recertify but want to gain some Skype for Business skills, check out this training video.
Q: What about recertification? A: Holders of the MCSE: Communication credential must recertify every three years. Recertification is a great way to ensure that you stay current in the latest technology, such as Skype for Business. We’ll be providing more information about recertification options for MCSE: Communication this summer.
Q: I’m a partner with the Microsoft Partner Network. I have the Communications Competency and just took the Lync exams to qualify. Do I still qualify? A: Retirement of an exam from Microsoft learning does not retire it as a qualifying exam for a Competency. Lync Exams for the Communications Competency will still qualify for a period of time. Always check the Microsoft Partner Network competency requirements. You can view the current Communications Competency requirements here.
Hello, Learning Partners!
Did you see our GM Alison Cunard's message about WPC? Did you catch the part where she invited you to golf with her in Orlando?
Microsoft Learning Partners are again invited to join our team for a fun evening on Monday during WPC week this year. Get ready for a round of golf with plush seating (yep!), play your favorite casino games, and enjoy some great food and beverages, including a signature cocktail from Pearson VUE! Here are the details. Send in a quick RSVP, and we'll see you there!
What are you doing on August 4 at 8:30am PT? If you're looking for something to do, I have an idea. Come to my keynote address at TechMentor 2015.
I cannot tell you how honored I am to be invited to do this! I am SO excited about this amazing opportunity. Of course, it won't be your typical keynote address filled with a PowerPoint presentation because I've never been one to do the normal. Instead, it will be more like a fireside chat with TechMentor co-chair Greg Shields. I am planning to discuss research showing the benefits IT Pros receive from becoming certified and explain how Microsoft designs and develops its MCSE certification program to ensure ongoing relevance and value.
I am going to reveal the "secret” sauce for how we develop valid and reliable certification exams and how we ensure that our exams AND your skills stay relevant and up to date. I will also be sharing some changes that are coming, not only to certification exams but to our certification program, and other great ideas we have in the pipeline. As you know, we continue to look for ways to improve our certification process, innovate, and increase our certification's value not only to you but to hiring managers and organizations... I hoping to be able to share some really cool stuff that I'm working on that should help with this!
Want to know more about my session (or see what I look like)?
Well, what are you waiting for? Register today! I would love to see you there!
Take your next Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) or Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) exam online, from just about anywhere! Since its beta launch in September 2014, online proctored (OP) exam delivery has expanded to more countries. Below is the latest list of thirty (30) additions. See if your country is among the list.
Online proctored exams are the same exams taken in onsite testing centers. The difference being that it is administered by a remote proctor who will oversee your experience via webcam and microphone. There are security and system requirements that need to be met. Be sure to review the hardware, software, and protocol requirements located here. If you ensure that these requirements are met before you check in for your exam, the check-in process should only take about ten minutes. Note that greeter support, proctor support, and the proctoring software are currently only available in English.
Learn more about online proctoring, and schedule your exam today!
BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY
FRENCH SOUTHERN TERRITORIES
VATICAN CITY STATE
VIRGIN ISLANDS, BRITISH
Passing a Microsoft exam and earning a new certification is a result of a lot of different things: hard work, dedication and a passion for investing in your career to name a few. But why do professionals decide to get certified in the first place? We recently got the chance to ask a few MCPs in this short video and here’s what they said. Enjoy!
Oh, I have your attention now, don't I?! Here's the deal. To help you get more from your investment in earning Microsoft credentials, Microsoft Learning is exploring several options. Some popular ideas are: free retakes, free practice tests, free online training, free exam prep materials, etc. We would like your feedback. How much to do you value each of these options? Do you have other ideas we should be considering? Which ideas do you prefer?
Please take a few minutes to complete this brief survey: http://microsoftlearning.co1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3UjGMTYmmc9pNQN
Your input will be used to help us assess the value of each option. During the survey, you'll also get some insight into some ideas we’re considering for enhancing your exam and certification experience. So, what are you waiting for?! Complete the survey today!
The fine print: While I always welcome comments on my posts, please be sure to respond to the survey so your input will be included in the results. Thanks!
During the week of June 28, 2015, Microsoft Learning Experiences team will join thousands of educators at ISTE in Philadelphia, PA. We’re bringing with us information that will help schools and teachers integrate Microsoft certifications into the curriculum, use them as learning and assessment resources, and prepare students for success in higher education and future careers.
ONSITE CERTIFICATION TESTING
We will be making three types of certification exams available to ISTE attendees onsite, at no cost.
Testing hours (all times local):
Testing location: PCC Booth 2800, Hall B
Registration: Just walk up! Our team and representatives from Certiport can help you register for exams on the spot!
ONENOTE EXAM PREP SESSION
The Microsoft OneNote team is offering an entire day of OneNote training on Sunday, June 28, including a session designed to prepare you for taking the OneNote certification exam while at ISTE 2015. The session will be led by a Microsoft Certified Trainer. Passing the OneNote exam will earn you the title of Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS).
Title: Prepare for Microsoft OneNote CertificationDate: Sunday, June 28, 2015Time: 2:30-3:45 pmLocation: PCC 203Presenter: Heather Fitzpatrick-Severino
To learn more about this one-day focus on OneNote training, visit Microsoft Office's recent blog post.
To see all Microsoft activities at ISTE, please visit this page on ISTE conference website.
MICROSOFT IT ACADEMY
In addition, we will have information about the Microsoft IT Academy program. Please come by PCC Booth 2800 in Hall B, and chat with our team. See you soon!
Hello to Microsoft Learning Partners around the world!
Here in Redmond, we’re busy getting ready for July’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando, Florida. I’m really looking forward to welcoming you to this year’s event.
On Monday, July 13, after the keynotes, we have an entire afternoon devoted to talking with you about the training business. At WPC 2014, I spoke with you about the journey of growing a proficient and enthusiastic ecosystem and innovating to reach millions more potential learners. This year, we’ll continue those themes and update you on how the journey described is unfolding.
Monday night, we’re throwing you a party! This is our chance to celebrate the successes of the past year and raise a toast to the promising year ahead. It’s going to be at Dewey’s Indoor Golf, so when you get home you can say “I went golfing in Florida and didn’t even break a sweat!
On Tuesday morning, for the first time ever, we’ll have a session for your audience: Microsoft partners who want to understand how Microsoft’s learning programs can help them get trained and certified. You can bet you’ll be part of that story, so please join us.
Our sessions are live in the session catalog. Find them all at http://aka.ms/wpc15lex and add them to your WPC 2015 schedule builder.
During the week, we hope you’ll also visit us at our booth in the expo hall. Tell us how you’re doing, ask questions, and give us feedback. You can find us in the MPN area this year.
I personally look forward to meeting as many of you as I can at this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference. If you have any specific questions or topics you want us to address, let us know. We’ve set up a dedicated email address: LeXatWPC2015@microsoft.com, and would love to hear from you.
See you in Orlando soon!