"Through DreamSpark, we are providing professional software development and design tools to university students around the world as a download at no cost."
Bill Gates | San Jose Mercury News | February 19, 2008
With those words Microsoft launched DreamSpark in 11 countries including the United States. College students who want to learn programming such as ASP.NET can now do so without the burden of purchasing proprietary software tools.
Web developers in training will receive free, fully functional software from Microsoft, just for the asking! Here are the tools available for FREE download:
- Visual Studio 2008, Professional Edition
- SQL Server 2005
- Expression Studio
- Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition
- XNA 2.0 Game Studio
One Billion Served
Bill Gates is concerned about the future. "During the last decade, the number of college students who study math and science in the United States has declined dramatically", according to Gates. "Today, there simply aren't enough people with the right skills to fill the growing demand for computer scientists and computer engineers."
The giveaway is now available to more than 35 million college students. As the program expands, up to one billion students worldwide could gain free access to Microsoft's development tools, according to an article in The Stanford Daily.
To learn more about the software giveaway check out a Bill Gates interview on Channel 8, Microsoft's internal communication network. You'll need Microsoft's Silverlight software to view this interview. Alternately, you can access a Flash version on YouTube.
The Future is Now
Thus begins what could become the greatest transfer of Web development knowledge from one generation to another that the world has ever witnessed.
If you are a student, now is the time to begin learning SQL Server, C# (C "sharp") and ASP.NET, three of the Top 10 Web Technologies in Boston (see right-hand column for links to more than 1,000 job vacancies that list these skills).
If you are a parent of a teenager, now is the time to ask your child's high school administrators and teachers about their plans to introduce Microsoft tools into the educational curriculum. (Microsoft is expected to extent the software giveaway to high schools later this year.)
If you are neither a student, nor a parent, and still want to expand your career options, you can attend a FREE Microsoft Launch Event in your area and receive FREE Web Development software. The Boston event will be held Tuesday, March 18.