Yesterday, the two-month Tech Elite competition officially ended. This time, it took place in APAC. Microsoft technology lovers from Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, and other 5 countries were able to gather in one place known as Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). In MVA, there are many essential learning resources on a lot of cool topics, such as Microsoft Azure, Windows Server, mobile app development, and C# programming, available.
We can take the courses that we like in MVA and then earn the points by attending the online lectures and finishing the quizzes. So, within these two months, points earned in the officially recommended courses will be used to decide the winner of the Tech Elite competition. The first prize is a Nokia Lumia 1520. Too bad. My ranking on MVA is not even close to the first place. =P
Learning from the Pros
Although I did not manage to get the phone, I am still quite happy with what I’ve learned in the past 60 days.
I took only one course, “Windows Azure for IT Pros Jump Start”. It is one of the long courses which consist of more than 10 chapters in Tech Elite.
Normally, I spent around one and a half hours after my work to attend the lecture on MVA. I will first read through the lecture slides before I proceed to watch the lecture video recording. It normally took me around 1 hour to finish the materials and then another 15 minutes on the quiz of each chapter.
The sessions in the course are prepared by David Tesar, Microsoft Lead Azure Technical Evangelist, and David Aiken, Azure Group Technical Manager. They made the sessions to be fun and interesting. I would even laugh in front of my computer when I was watching the recording of their lectures. So, it is quite an enjoyable learning process.
I have left the school for two years. However, it does not mean that learning should get left behind. When I talk to my friends working in different industries, I am always shocked by the fact that how little I know. In work, I am also constantly challenged again and again with new requirements, new technologies, and new ideas. Hence, frequent exposure to a broad range of topics and exploring stuff which matters in my career as a software engineer are necessary.
Self-learning, unfortunately, has a limitation. I am working in a startup. Time and energy are the two most important things for me. Hence, with the limited time, self-learning without a guidance cannot bring me too far. MVA has thus become an ideal place for me to get more knowledge by directly learning from the tech masters.
Acquiring new knowledge is a never-ending process, even after I graduated from NUS. Hence, self-learning is a way for me to be open to new opportunities and to keep pushing myself forward.
However, since I left the university and started my work in startup, finding time to do self-learning is a challenge. I once tried to wake up around 6am in the morning to attend the online lecture before going to work. Unfortunately, my body did not like this. Every day, getting out of my bed is still my biggest challenge. Hence, eventually, I decided to just do the learning after work for one to two hours.
Studying after work is not easy as well. It is tiring. Luckily, Davids did a very good job in MVA by making the course to be interesting. Even though the content is interesting, studying for more than 2 hours after a long day at work is inefficient because I probably won’t learn much in long-hour studying. So, 1 or 2 hours of self-learning is just nice.
Tech Elite in APAC and OneSword
It is a great experience to learn in Microsoft Virtual Academy because I get to learn more Microsoft technologies in an organized way. By the way, for those who wonder why I keep learning MS stuff, it is because my company is using .NET technology a lot. So finding out more about the tools that I am using in my daily life is a natural thing to do in my self-learning.
You should have noticed that the homepage of Tech Elite has this ninja theme. People always like to use “ninja” to refer to good programmer. Even in the previous Microsoft hackathon, I have been seeing the word “ninja” around. There was even a person in ninja costume walking around during the Microsoft hackathon. I don’t know why they do that and why there are so many people like to call themselves ninja. So, in the Tech Elite, I have designed my avatar to not have the ninja design. I also added a sword, aka OneSword, to the character. Ya, why not?
Yup, so my self-learning is not just about coding, setting up servers, but also about cute stuff like drawing as well. =)