India has great brains and some very good colleges. But going by the past trends it has been observed that there is some difference when those students who excel in academics in, say, Engineering colleges come on board companies and are not able to perform to the mark.
The reason being – there is some difference in the technology corporate wants and what the students have. Hence, Microsoft, the world leader in software and solutions, has come up with a bridging exercise in the form of Microsoft Academia Accelerator.
The program is aimed at building a deep long-term association between industry and academia – in collaboration with the faculty at 10 leading Indian engineering colleges, it will aim to enhance the Computer Science curriculum in selective areas and foster even greater student-driven innovation and entrepreneurship.
The program basically bridges the gap between what students learn and what corporate asks for. It stresses the concepts of teamwork and collaboration as well as multi-disciplinary focus that takes students beyond pure technology or code (read: theory) into other equally important determinants of success, such as user experience, design, customer value propositions, etc. (read: practical experience)
The program currently 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 that leverage the latest Microsoft platforms including Mobile and Cloud.
Workshops: They 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.
Although primarily designed to be deeply technical in their nature, workshops often include other important considerations such as the business landscape, anticipated trends or promising areas for future research.
Hackathons: Delivered under the code.fun.do brand name, they 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 such as smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and the Cloud.
Students then work in teams that are tasked with conceiving and implementing original apps for these platforms within 24 hours, with the full support and guidance of Microsoft mentors present at these events.
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.
CSR or shrewd business sense?
Competition is heating up everywhere. With Google pressing the pedal on Open Source and Apple also pulling up its socks, Microsoft doesn’t want lag in the race it started. With their B2B teams aggressively targeting the corporate, its necessary that someone actually handholds the students of colleges, who are just a rung below the corporate.
Making them proficient in colleges itself with tools like MS Cloud and MS Mobile, it would save the companies time, energy and money to recruit them plus value addition to the students who are always eager to apply their theory to practice.
Not only in computer science, we really want companies to start such initiatives in all verticals so that our students are more corporate ready plus can startup with the Accelerator guidance on their own.
One more feather in the Universe of entrepreneurship!