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Friday, 4 September 2015

Microsoft Student Partner Program : A beautiful journey.

Hello, This is Sameer Iqubal Siddiqui, Apologies for not posting here for a long time, I guess I nearly forgot about this little blog here. So yeah, Microsoft Student Partner programm 2015, At the time of writing, I'm applying for it, And yea It as good as people says.

A bit about the program, MSP program is an initiative by Microsoft to promote and pick out the stars in coding, technology, etc. Every year they have a selection process which is usually done in the month of September/October. You get 30 days to complete the challenges provided by them which vary every year.Here are the challenges for the year 2015 :

1 : Complete an MVA Course :

Microsoft Virtual Academy, aka MVA has a lot of interesting course ranging from Security Fundamentals to C# Advanced Training Course. You must complete a course to obtain a certificate that must be attached to the Nomination Form that gets sent to microsoft. A team of Ex-MVA's and MSP's overview them and decide if you're worthy of becoming a student partner.

2 : Conduct a Session of Azure :

Microsoft Azure  is a Infrastructure-as-a-Service / Platform-as-a-Service enterprise grade cloud computing service. Azure gained a lot of popularity for its Pay-as-you-Go plan, which gives you access to all services for FREE, and you only get charged for the services you use. So you're a student, and have almost no use for Enterprise grade cloud computing services, And neither you can pay for it, So whats the use for it ?
Well Microsoft gives you free access to azure portal to play and learn from its services, You can deploy a wordpress site in minutes and pay nothing for it. You can create an online App for free, etc. So conduct a session on Azure in your college Hall and get 5 or more friends of yours to signup for azure student plan.

3 :  Get a letter of recommendation from your college :

This might be the easiest task, Or a difficult one, Depends upon your Image on teachers in your college. You can get faculty recommendation from almost any teacher, But it is highly recommended to get it from a person in power, Example : Dean, Directors etc. The lowest on your list should be HOD of any department or any teacher that knows you personally, Cause MSP Selection committee will personally contact them on phone to verify the details.

4 : A Video :

This challenge is almost a standard on every year MSP program, The duration of video lengths may vary, But this challenge has always been in the list since year 2010. This challenge requires you to create a video explaining what makes you a good candidate for MSP program. For my year it was a 1 Minute video, In 2014, It was 4 minutes or less. A good idea maybe is to watch some videos of previous students partners to get an idea on what to speak.

Some mistakes of mine and how to avoid them :

1 : I started too late :

I started when i the nomination form was released, And it was TOO late. I had barely enough time to complete all activities in time and some of them were, Politely saying SUCKED. So a good idea is to start in the month of April, Complete all the MVA courses you think could help you in the future. Create a kick ass Application for UWP platform. It really help you to kick your application to the top of the pile and increases your chances drastically.

2 : I did not publish the app :

Although it was not on the list, But I still think it would be good if I had published an app.

3 : My Faculty Recommendation Delayed The Whole Process :

I had the whole timeline sorted, Carefully arranged so that I could submit the nomination form in time, But when I went to Dean of College for endorsement, He told me to get a form from office number blah then they redirected me to some other office and that cycle went on for a whole week.

4 : Video was wrong :

I produced my video using a professional DSLR camera, then someone told me file size is really important and the video should be taken in one take, And I had it done like an episode of RWJ, full of animations and edits and retakes. Had to do it again and that took a whole day !

5 : Dreamspark Is awesome, and it comes with a price :

I thought it would take me a day or two to do a session and agree some of my friends to line up for azure student accounts. I had 27 people lined up and they created their accounts on dreamspark, But it took almost a week to verify accounts of just 7 people, And that sucked ! So do the azure challenge around 10-15 days before the date of form submission to sail this challenge smoothly.

Some tips :

Its a team event, And really no fun if you do it alone. I had about 25 friends of mine divided into 3 groups and it doesn't matter if you become a MSP or not, You get to learn a thing or two and have a lot of fun !
Don't just become an MSP for the sake of titles and keys, You'll really need to do a lot of  work and travel to far away places for MS Summits and events, So if you think you don't have what it takes, Please withdraw your name, Who knows you might be taking a spot which someone deserves more than you.
Help your fellow MSP aspirant if they ask you a favour, Don't blow someone off just so you can get a better shot at the selection.

Microsoft Student Partner Program : A beautiful journey.
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