Experiment and Challenge

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-02-19 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, Wilson said Microsoft is not only hoping to reach computer science and engineering students with the DreamSpark program, but students in any discipline where software is prevalent.

"The numbers of students going into IT in developed countries is declining, but the use of IT skills is increasing in other disciplines," Wilson said.

Joe Schulman, a senior computer science student at the University of Nebraska -- Lincoln, said he believes DreamSpark is "a great idea. I believe learning as many platforms as possible helps students be more marketable for jobs and successful in their careers. In fact, I can trace my future employment back to getting access to MSDNAA [Microsoft Developer Network Academic Alliance]. Each platform has advantages and disadvantages, but until now many non-IT students simply did not have access to the Microsoft platform."

Schulman said he sees three types of scenarios that can be "unlocked immediately" by the DreamSpark program: the programming hobbyist student, the non-IT student doing research and the "presentation guru," who can benefit from the Expression suite.

"The .NET platform is relatively easy to learn with very rich libraries," Schulman said. "The Expression Studio is a huge leap over Paint and competitive with Photoshop. Easy access to each with school-age enthusiasm I believe will spawn great projects."

Moreover, Schulman said that various departments including the business school at the University of Nebraska calls for students to give several presentations. "Expression Studio enables them to create more engaging presentations with better graphics and design," Schulman said. I think a lot of people want to try out graphic design, and prior to this announcement, there were no free professional tools available."

Meanwhile, Enderle added that a result of the program could also be better software from Microsoft.

"This will also result in different and hopefully better products over time as young people are more willing to experiment and challenge than their more mature counterparts which should add, as more come into the fold, a more dynamic aspect to Microsoft's offerings," Enderle said.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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