For my first post of the new year, I thought I’d focus on our future – more specifically the future bright minds of the technology and computer industry that currently take the shape of ambitious and passionate students in the market that my team and I serve.

For many years now, Microsoft has been promoting and holding Imagine Cup – a competition for students, age 16 and older, to design “software, games and web sites that help make a difference on global issues.”  Registration for the US spring competition closes February 1st for finals in late April.  Encourage your students to register at http://www.imaginecup.us – they can win $10,000 just for registering!

More than the prizes and glory of qualifying and winning in such a competition is the sense of purpose that it provides students in computer and technology field.  I toiled and hacked as a computer science undergrad for 4 years, spending countless hours in front of a workstation writing C code to solve what seemed like meaningless problems and functions.  What I would have given to inject some purpose into my studies that revolved around pure competition, if not also the spirit of addressing pressing global issues.  Not to date myself too much, but those days in the computer lab were right on the cusp of the modern GUI, OOP and coding toolkits that make coding life much more intriguing for today’s students.  Nevertheless, the Imagine Cup neatly squares up a cool contest with a great competitive and enriching collaborative experience for those students who have the mettle and solution to further their technology aspirations.

US finalists have the opportunity to travel to Warsaw to compete internationally for some great cash prizes and recognition – a pretty darn cool experience if you can beat out 299,999 other registrants to win the top Imagine Cup honors!