At a press conference in Hyderabad earlier today, Microsoft launched a new program with an aim to build a deep long-term association between industry and academia.
As part of the Microsoft Academia Accelerator, Microsoft has collaborated with the faculty at 10 leading Indian engineering colleges with an aim to enhance the computer science curriculum in selective areas and foster student innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Microsoft Academia Accelerator is a depth-oriented program, targeting a subset of top-flight engineering colleges. A majority of the activities will get delivered on-site and thus exclusive to students at these campuses, but cuts across all engineering streams, which means non-computer Science students also get to learn about the amazing opportunities that software offers in today’s world of devices and services.
“We are really excited about this program. We strongly believe that efforts like the Microsoft Academia Accelerator which connect students and faculty to the very latest in the industry will accelerate the impact of India’s amazing talent.”
- Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D) Pvt Ltd
A fascinating aspect of the program is that all program content, delivery, and mentorship is done by a volunteer group of passionate Microsoft engineers, several of whom are alumni of these very same institutions, and see this as an opportunity to give back to their alumni.
The program has two main components – a series of workshops that span a wide spectrum of topics relevant to the modern-day high technology industry, and a series of student hackathons which give all students at these campuses an opportunity to work collaboratively in team environments to build modern, real-world applications.
These workshops are tailored to the curriculum at each partner college, based on the needs of the computer science faculty and their specific asks, and get delivered by seasoned Microsoft engineers who are domain experts on that particular area.
The hackathon series, delivered under the code.fun.do brand name, are open to all passionate coders at partner college campuses. Hackathons are preceded by fast-paced, hands-on talks, and demos that orient students to key concepts needed to build apps for modern platforms. Top teams from the hackathons conducted at the college campus level graduate to a 3-month long online code.fun.do Finalists Forum, a Champions’ League of sorts, where India’s best student developers get further opportunity to refine their winning ideas and take them to the next level, ably supported by seasoned Microsoft mentors.
India produces some of the world’s finest engineering talent, and a program like this would expose students to important technology trends and practices during their formative years, preparing them with vital skills and experiences that will enrich their careers and fuel innovation.