Making .NET accessible to our youth….

Martin Spedding had a discussion with friends in which they deduce that the young folks in software development are more interested in non-.NET platforms, tools, languages.

I believe that your friends observation is accurate of many recent college graduates. I also believe that the key to the young folks hearts is shedding the big bully image and time and money to make your software available to college students in a virtually free manner while also educating them and their teachers/professors.

Microsoft is doing two things to get into the minds of young developers:

1) They offer MSDNAA which is similar to and MSDN Universal license only better in most ways. The college or high school pays 400-700$ and they get all development related tools (VS.NET Arch edition) and most of the enterprise server software (Win 2003, Sharepoint, etc.). The really cool thing about this deal is that students can borrow the CDs and legally install this stuff on their own PCs!

2) Microsoft created a group called the Academic Developer Evangelists. There is a lot to the program but, as you can derive from the name, these folks are responsible for evangelizing .NET inside universities and high schools. This is something new to Microsoft so we’ll see if they can pull off the implementation. Btw, Microsoft, if you need any more Academic Developer Evangelists then shoot me an email – I have some great ideas of how you can innovate in this space. =)

Comments (9)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dustin Mihalik’s Blog

  2. Anonymous says:

    Julia Lerman Blog

  3. Matias Woloski says:

    hey alex,

    I’m part of this project. It seems this is a ms worldwide move. I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was contacted by ms to "evangelize" .NET inside my university (University of Buenos Aires).

    It’s actually a chalenge for me, because most of the guys here LOVE *nix platforms.

    We (me and some other guys) are focusing our strategy to the open source aspect of the framework i.e. starter kits, mono project, etc. Also we are going through the process of being member of INETA.

    Anyway, we are excited about it.

    "I have some great ideas of how you can innovate in this space"

    I would be really interested in your ideas if you want to share them 😉


  4. James Edelen says:

    In some universities, the academic department is the problem. They have a problem with control. I have seen a couple schools and heard about several more which have MSDNAA, but refuse to let the students have any of the software from it (except VS.NET Academic). They feel they will loose control of the software if they start giving it out to the students. Other schools have it, but don’t talk about having it, and the students don’t benifit there either.

    I think it stinks! The students are the ones loosing out. They have easy access to Unix and Open Source software, so that is where most people tend to lean. I know where I go to school, there is quite a few students who would love to have .NET – centric classes, and learn more about ways to use .NET, but with the exception of the Student Ambassador program (which is great BTW), they don’t have those resources. The department seems to nix anything Microsoft-centric. It is like Microsoft is the enemy of the computer science department, which is weird because all of the student labs run Microsoft Windows and quite a few classes use Visual Studio, but if you talk about using Microsoft developed technology, that is a quick and decisive no-no.

  5. I just finished my summer semester and have one to go before I graduate from Auburn University. Here we have the MSDNAA and I used it to get the first release of Visual Studio.NET. What is odd is I had to wait a couple weeks because someone else had the CDs. Finally I complained and they sat me down to make copies of the originals. Took the copies and installed it on my home computer. At no time did they even ask who I was, let alone check if I was student. I suppose anyone could have walked in there and asked for it. Maybe thats what happened with the first copy. Anyway, It was cheaper than the 12 dollars I had been paying for the shipping of the beta 1 and 2.

    PS: they have a new system where you download instead of borrow the CD’s

  6. Alex Lowe says:

    Right, the scenario you just described means that Auburn University is violating the rules of the MSDNAA agreement. From the Program Usage guidelines:

    "Each department may make up to 50 copies of the MSDN product for backup purposes or checkout by students or faculty. The Program Administrator is responsible for maintaining internal controls. Please refer to your Getting Started Guide for details."

    So, there should be a process in place and I believe the "Getting Started Guide" describes exactly what is expected when checking in and out software under the agreement. I would recommend you mention this issue to the faculty member responsible for the physical software.

  7. Making .NET accessible to our youth….