Can education be the great equalizer this decade?


by Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka & Maldives

As the role of smart tech in people’s lives expands even further, developers have become a driving force for software innovation. At Microsoft, we are working to enable even greater developer opportunity and innovation by providing the best experiences to all developers, on any device, with powerful tools, an open platform and a global cloud.

As every industry in Sri Lanka is being impacted by technology, the developer community will only grow in numbers and importance. Their workflows will drive and influence business processes and functions across the organization—from marketing, sales and service, to IT and HR. And value creation and growth across every industry will increasingly be determined by the choices developers make.

We have been a developer-focused company from the very first product we created to the platforms and tools we offer today. Building technology so that others can build technology is core to our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Education and developer readiness

Keeping up with the rate of change in our industry can be difficult for even the most plugged-in professional. Trying to do so while juggling personal and professional obligations can be near impossible. As technology such as AI and cloud computing rapidly transforms the future of work, it’s more important than ever for developers to develop their skills.

Early developer development is tantamount to our objective. Every year tens of thousands of students from across the globe, including Sri Lanka, compete for cash, travel, and prizes and for the honor of taking home the Imagine Cup. Incredible, world-changing software innovations often come from students. We have already started the hunt for local talent for 2020 as well through sessions at universities.

Whether you’re completely new to AI or a seasoned professional looking to stay on top of your game, AI School is quite simply the best place to find the information, learning materials and resources you need to start building intelligence into your solutions.

We also built Microsoft Learn so that developers can have one stop for self-paced, guided learning on all of our platform products and services. The consolidated learning platform allows developers to explore and learn about our products for free. We’ve built interactive, step-by-step tutorial experiences to help them learn Microsoft technology by combining short instructions, videos, interactive coding/scripting environments and achievements.

Learning paths consist of step-by-step tutorials with interactive coding environments and webinars that provide free fixed-time access to Azure resources. Developers can track progress, check knowledge, and validate deployments to earn points, levels, achievements, and trophies. Among that content, developers will find experiences that will help them get ready for new certification exams for developers, administrators, and solution architects.

Workshops and Seminars

We’ve touched over 5,000 developers through workshops designed to them improve their understanding of cloud concepts—helping them acquire the knowledge they need to thrive in a data-driven world.

In 2019, we co-hosted Sri Lanka’s largest ever data science hackathon, Datathon, alongside Dialog Axiata and Ideamart. The weekend-long hackathon brrought together data enthusiasts to create data-driven solutions with respect to smart city planning.

We partnered with the Federation of Information Technology Industry (FITIS) at API Asia Conference 2019 in a bid to showcase how APIs have become key for application developers to streamline operations across business and product suites. We’ve also partnered with TIQRI at Sri Lanka’s flagship developer conference, DEV DAY 2019.

A series of learning events showcasing the versatility of Microsoft Azure and how Azure can be implemented to work seamlessly with developers’ existing developer tools and infrastructure was also kick-started last year. Azure Thursdays help developers increase their understanding of cloud computing and Microsoft’s approach to the cloud.

Our promise to developers

Developers will be at the center of solving today’s most pressing challenges. However, the real power comes when every developer can create together, collaborate, share code and build on each other’s work.

We will continue to empower developers at every stage of the development lifecycle—from ideation to collaboration to deployment to the cloud. Education, when it’s accessible, can be a great equalizer. It combats economic disparity and gives people from any background the opportunity to realize a promising future.


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