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My Experience as a Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador | by Afroz Chakure | May, 2022

including my Journey into the Program with Learning and Takeaways

Disclaimer: The following experience is entirely my own. I was part of the program during my Final year of Engineering in 2020–21 and hence my experience can be limited. Others may have had a different experience based on their tenure and involvement within the Program.

I received the email of acceptance into the program on 4th April 2020 which was 45th Birth Anniversary of Microsoft. The day was special for me as I was getting bored during my internship and did not have much to look forward to as Covid19 had started and everything was going remote.

Just try spending time to create working Docker images for Computer vision models with no help and try to resolve errors which cannot be found on StackOverFlow and then you’ll understand what I was going through during my internship. 🙂

Anyways, I did what most people would do — On receiving the mail, I shared it on LinkedIn and the post just blew up, literally blew up. I had previously worked as a Student Partner for companies like Internshala and Bolt IoT but being an Ambassador for a company like Microsoft with more than 40 years of history in Technology and Software felt like an enormous honor.

Getting into the program on Company’s Birthday was special

When you get enrolled into the program, one of the first things that happens is that you get your own “@studentambassadors” Email Id along with perks like Visual Studio benefits, subscriptions to Microsoft Azure, TechSmith, Office 365 and LinkedIn Learning till you are part of the programme.

Also you’ll become part of the Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador teams channel where updates and benefits for the program will be shared. A Youtube live session was organized by MSP Inspire group on their Youtube channel where Pablo Veramandi, Director of Microsoft’s global Student Developer programs briefed us about the program and answered our questions.

Initially I was assigned Alpha 1 tier when I joined the program. The thing is that the Program has different levels and each level requires you to complete certain tasks to get promoted to the next level. Each tier has different benefits associated with it.

When I was part of the program we had 4 levels,

Gold being the topmost levels has the best privileges and you get to be mentored by Microsoft employees and even get nominated for Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) program.

My first event I conducted was on 3rd May 2020 on topic of “Introduction to Git and Github” with one of my fellow MSP (Microsoft Students Partner) and college friend. The event really changed my outlook about how I looked at teaching and conducting online technical events. The registrations we received were more than 550+.

Event on “Introduction to Git and Github”

To be honest, we weren’t able to accommodate a lot of these people as the limit of Microsoft teams at that time was around 300 for a normal online meeting.

The experience of managing so many people and explaining concepts to them while typing was engaging and insightful. And after about 2 hours 40 minutes of teaching and answering questions the event was over and I really felt fulfilled.

Knowing that you have done good to someone with no expectation of anything in return, is one of the best things you can do.

The first event although we were proud of what we were able to achieve (considering the number of participants), it did left a lot to be desired. I still cringe whenever I see that session on Youtube.

The good thing was I got promoted to Beta after this event. 😀

The 2nd Event we did was on the topic of “Introduction to Machine Learning using Azure Notebooks” on June 17, 2020.

Azure Notebooks at the time were these Jupyter Notebooks that were running on Microsoft Azure cloud servers where you could run your Machine Learning code without doing any installations or setup in your local machine. Pretty similar to Google Colab but you do get to create a directory structure just like in a local machine.

My 2nd Event on “Introduction to Machine Learning using Azure Notebooks”

The topic was really close to my heart and we managed to do 250+ registrations for the event.

On the day of event though, somehow the email with link for joining the meet somehow ended up in the spam folder and only 80+ people joined.

Anyways, me and my friend were able to complete the event despite facing audio issues and network lags. For some reason this event still remains one of my favorites despite the low participation.

One of the perks of the program is that you get swags delivered to you for your contributions every year until you are part of the program.

Apart from the swags, you get to attend online sessions which are conducted by Microsoft Cloud Advocates on latest Technologies that Microsoft is working on.

My swag kit for the only year being part of the Program.

You get to be part of annual summit that is conducted specially for Student Ambassadors with talks from leading Industry experts from Microsoft like Scott Hanselman and many more. Trust me there is no technology and no industry that Microsoft hasn’t touched or improved with their Products.

Additionally you can participate in Microsoft Imagine Cup with your team along with iinternal hackathons and competitions that take place within the program. You get to promote Microsoft Build and be part of an amazing group of students who are just as passionate about technology as you.

I really enjoyed being able to chat and be friends with students around the globe. Whether it be Discord, Microsoft teams or WhatsApp, you’ll be able to interact with some of the most talented and driven people in the world.

To be honest the program won’t directly help you get that Internship or that Job offer you really want. If you join the program with this mindset, trust me you’ll be disappointed. No Tech company hires a candidate just based on Developer Community Involvement except if you want to become a Developer Advocate which in itself is a lucrative job role.

Join the program to learn the tools from the best minds in the industry, conduct sessions together and build awesome connections with people. Attend weekly learning sessions which are conducted during the course of program and make sure to speak out and ask questions. Use the perks you are given to build awesome projects. most important showcase whatever you are doing on LinkedIn.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

The aim of the program is to foster leadership in students and help them build technical communities using the skills they learn from the program. I have seen my fellow program members scaling their Youtube channels, their startups and their Personal Brand by just contributing to the program.

There are countless examples of people on LinkedIn, who after being in the program for a little over a year have been able to achieve some amazing things.

My biggest regret is that I joined the program really late in my final year of engineering and wasn’t able to do justice with it. Final Year being the time when people are preparing for jobs and internships, it can get a little bit overwhelming handling both. So do yourself please apply for the program as soon as possible.

During the program try to learn as much as possible. There will be frequent interactions with other Microsoft employees and trust me you’ll get to know a lot more than most people who are not in the program. Use this to your advantage. There will be free vouchers for Microsoft Azure certification exam, try to get certified as soon as possible.

Try to democratize technology among your peers and build amazing communities during the course of the program.

But, Most importantly be a “Force for Good” and have Fun.

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