There are multiple ways that students, professors, and schools can get involved, from building final prototypes in the main competition to pitching their ideas in smaller, online competitions. This year, one lucky team will get a private meeting with Bill Gates! “One Imagine Cup World Finalist team will be chosen for a private meeting with Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. That team of students will get the chance to share their dreams and their excitement for a brighter future in person with this entrepreneur, innovator, and humanitarian”, and again the world’s top in Forbes wealth ranking with $76B.

Here are four key interviews about the power of working with Microsoft technologies and winning at the Imagine Cup:

Chat--Crystal Freese, Innovating Microsoft Windows 8 App Developer

Chat--Omar Zaarour, Innovating Imagine Cup Award Winning Developer Shares Special Tips

Chat with Reda Alhajj, Global Top Scientist Shares Deep Insights and Special Tips on Imagine Cup Winning Apps

Chat with Patryk Janiszewski, Innovating Microsoft Windows Store, Windows Phone Developer—spotlight in Top Paid, Best Rated, New Releases, DVLUP Leaderboard

From an earlier news release from the world’s largest educational, scientific, and professional association, the ACM: “Competitions like the Microsoft Imagine Cup offer a window into the world of computing and its power to address the planet’s toughest problems.  This event highlights the excitement of developing creative technology-based solutions that change the way we work and live.  It also raises the visibility of computing as a driver of innovation beyond the technology industry. As the world embraces innovations that transform our interaction with information systems, students who are learning computing fundamentals can pursue productive careers in many industries.  These positions often rely on collaborative, creative, mission-driven skills that appeal to a broad range of people.  In fact, an additional advantage of competitions like the Imagine Cup is their ability to draw young women to the computing field.  This trend helps to address the gender disparity that continues to exist among students in technology, and to provide a steady pipeline of skilled graduates for the growing career opportunities in this sector of the economy.”

Check out all the ways to get involved here with the Imagine Cup:

Create a desktop or tablet game using Windows, or a mobile game using Windows Phone, or a browser game using Windows Azure and you could win big at the Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle 2014. Game on!

The Imagine Cup Games Competition is a global contest for the best new student games and the winning team will take home $50,000 (US).

The Imagine Cup Innovation Competition is a global contest for the best new innovative software and the winning team will take home $50,000 (US).

The Imagine Cup World Citizenship Competition is a global contest for the best new software to address social issues and the winning team will take home $50,000 (US).

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Apps For Office Challenge: Build a web app in common languages such as HTML, JavaScript, PHP, or .NET and you can publish it to the Apps for Office Store where it can be purchased by hundreds of millions of users. Apps for Office is a platform for developers to create cloud-hosted web apps that work inside Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, and SharePoint. These apps work seamlessly within the installed, desktop versions of Office 2013 and in the Office 365 cloud apps, adding new features, tools, and content to the software used by millions worldwide.

Windows & Windows Phone Challenge: In this contest we want you to get out there and find someone in your community to partner with. It could be a family business, a restaurant, a new startup, an artist or musician you know, or a charity working to make a difference. Use your networks, find someone to partner with, and make your case: you'll develop a set of Windows & Windows Phone apps that meet their needs and both of you come out ahead.

Project Blueprint Challenge: This is a five-to-ten page document where you start your journey into the Software Development Life Cycle. Once you put this together, you'll have a road map for your project that you can share with team members, faculty advisors, and other people who can help you get where you're going. You can use text, images, flowcharts, diagrams, and whatever else you need to tell your story. Choose one of our three competition categories: Games, Innovation, or World Citizenship. The winning team in each category will receive $3,000 (US). Nine runners-up in each category will receive a certificate of achievement and an exclusive Imagine Cup lapel pin to show the world you're among the best. A total of thirty teams will win!

Brain Games 2.0: Think fast. Dig deep. Win big. Can you beat our toughest trivia challenge yet? From November through April win monthly cash prizes as you follow the Imagine Cup Starman on his journey through time and space to explore the history of Microsoft! Each month there will be two quizzes on a different theme. The student with the best score and the fastest completion time across both quizzes is our winner for the month and gets $1,000. Even if you don’t win the monthly contest, you’ve still got a shot. When Brain Games 2.0 concludes in April 2014, we’ll choose one student at random from all those who completed a quiz and award that person $5,000!

Visual Studio Online Boost: Every 2014 World Semifinalist team is eligible to win the Visual Studio Online Boost. When you’re accepted as a World Semifinalist, you’ll automatically be entered in this contest. We’ll ask you to take a screenshot of your Visual Studio Online setup to demonstrate how you’re using these powerful tools at their very best. Nine World Semfinalist teams will each win $1,000 for using Visual Studio Online and those winners will be announced and featured on our World Semifinals livestream in June 2014!