Learning to code, the Microsoft way.

In the present day, there has never been a better time to get into programming.

There’s a multitude of online resources out there to help teach and inspire you to create the next big thing, no matter you previous experience, background or history.

There’s no need to slave away infront of text books anymore, or trawl through clunky message boards.

Below I’ll give you a run down of how Microsoft is helping inspire the next generation of  digital creators by delivering all of these tools for free!

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) offers online Microsoft training courses developed and delivered be leading experts in their field. It provides hundreds of courses in over 10 different languages, so there’s something for everyone! It’s completely free to sign up, so you can start learning straight away! By completing courses you earn points, which are compared against other MVA users, this brings a bit of friendly competitiveness into learning, which pushes you to learn more!

MVA also run live development events, which you can sit in and watch, this lets you see real developers showing you the newest technologies first hand, a very engaging way to learn.

With the range of courses MVA offers, from beginner, refresher and jumpstart guides up to more in depth topics for experienced developers, it’s a very valuable tool for any aspiring developer to expand their knowledge.

Channel 9

Channel 9 is Microsoft’s home for all their free video tutorials and resources, including live streaming of current Microsoft events and recordings of past events for you to watch back at your leisure.

It includes videos on all sorts of topics and development, ranging from Windows Phone and Windows Azure tutorials, to videos of Imagine Cup presentations and videos about Microsoft’s history (One of my favourites below).

Who doesn’t miss Clippy?

When you join Channel 9, you’re joining a busy, vibrant community full of like minded people; so you best be prepared to join in! Don’t be afraid to dive in to the comments and the forums, the more you join in, the more you’ll learn; the community is ready and willing to help and advise you with anything you might be having trouble with.

You might also be interested in Channel 9′s ‘coding4fun’ projects, these are interesting, engaging projects that Channel 9 members are actively encouraged to take part in, this helps you grow your own problem solving and development skills, as instead of following a series of steps in a tutorial, you’re building something yourself and encountering your own problems!

Free Tools

For any aspiring developer, the main hurdle is access to industrial level software, as it can be expensive. Luckily Microsoft don’t provide all the content and then skimp out on the tools!

Visual Studio Express is available to everyone, free of charge. It lets you dive in straight away to develop Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Web apps straight away, plus many more!


When this is coupled with MVA and Channel 9, you’ll soon be on your way to being a seasoned developer! Using Visual Studio Express will also prepare you for the working world, if you pursue a career in development, as Visual Studio is one of the leading IDEs used in a production environment.


Finally, we come to what’s available if you’re a student wanting to get into development, at Microsoft they really value youth and the next generation of developers, so provide plenty of resources to go along with this!

DreamSpark gives students and academic institutions access to a huge range of development tools and Microsoft software to help them learn and develop.

As a student myself, it’s been massively valuable in helping to build my future career and expand my CV with relevant industry experience.


So there you go, Microsoft are massively behind supporting the next generation of developers, so here’s your chance! Get out there, sign up and get coding!

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