Microsoft's Imagine Cup Shines on Next Generation of Developers

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-08-04 Print this article Print
Microsoft Imagine Cup

“It’s just amazing to see what can be done in so little time,” Martin told eWEEK. “Some of the teams have been working on this for a long time, but some of them created their projects just for this event. So you can see what’s possible. And this opens the eyes of other potential developers out there to see just the variety of things that can be done and to have some insight into the problems and puzzles they are trying to solve. It makes it less overwhelming and less intimidating.”

Shewchuk said having Microsoft sponsor the competition is key because it is one of the most unique companies around in terms of having assets in the enterprise, on the clients, in the cloud, on Xbox. “If you want to do something interesting, if you want to do next-generation interface, if you want to do something in the enterprise space, if you want to do something different, it’s kind of hard to beat the opportunity that this company offers,” he told eWEEK.

Moreover, “The other thing I would say is we used to be the Windows, Windows, Windows, Windows company,” Shewchuk said. “Now we’ve got people running huge systems in Unix with Node.js and AngularJS and Bootstrap on the client. It’s not the old Microsoft. We’re out there hacking with the new technologies. We’re having fun with people and we’re trying to engage people with wherever they want to go to and see what we can do to help and to really push the envelope. So kids can come in wherever they are in their area of development and we’re able to be great partners across the board.”

Martin said as far as the students using Microsoft technology, “I think that’s neither here nor there. It's more about the company getting excited and getting behind it. I wish more companies were doing things like this to support students and to support projects around the world.”

When seeking new, young talent, Martin said he looks “for people who’ve done stuff. I ask people what have you done. It doesn’t matter where you went to school -- that means something, but more importantly it’s a question of what have you done, especially on a team. Because it’s easy to look smart in a classroom or on a laptop by yourself, but can you work with other people and get along and solve problems?”

Partovi told eWEEK he thinks what’s really special about the Imagine Cup is that it creates a worldwide level of interest in students and the youth in building apps and platforms and solutions. “This event is such heads and shoulders above what you might expect a student competition to be,” he said. “And the excitement to bringing this to the student community in a mobile-first world is just great.”

Microsoft is helping Partovi’s promote its mission amongst new and burgeoning developers.

“I’m an old time Microsoft alum and Microsoft’s strength has always been in reaching out to developers and getting developers excited,” he said. “And the new round of tools is designed for a mobile-first, cloud-first world which is Microsoft's big vision right now.”

Meanwhile, Guggenheimer noted that “Now it’s an open environment so it’s [the competition] not limited,” he said. “We’ve increased the number of categories. If you talk to the students, they use lots of different software back ends, they use lots of different code. Of course we want them to use some Microsoft technology, but, look, in today’s world they use some of our stuff and some of others’ and that’s OK.”


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