Are you ready to #InsiderUp?
We believe that everyone in the world (who wants to) should have the chance to learn to code. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, happily settled in a job, or just think it’s too late to upskill. Everyone. The Windows Insider community has (of course) raised their hands to help make this mission happen for the 7.7 billion people of the world.
Over the past few months, we’ve worked with some amazing people to create and test learning tools and support experimental Windows Insider-led projects. These projects leverage the latest in Microsoft tech and can help the people you care about most learn coding skills. IT pros, military veterans, young people, former full-time parents wanting to get back to work, retired folks—anyone you think would benefit from upskilling the superpowers they already have.
We’d like to offer you and your closest friends the exclusive opportunity to try out these projects in pre-release mode. We’d love your feedback before we roll these out to the whole world. If you’re a Windows Insider, you know the drill.
Be an #InsiderUp community leader
If you or the people you support want to build a local community, we invite you to apply today to be an #InsiderUp community leader.
We expect community leaders to:
- Try out the learning content below and send us feedback
- Adapt and deliver the relevant content to your community in a series of in-person events
- Participate in a monthly call with our team to talk about how things are going
Our vision is for community leaders to build the skills and networks you need to be a leader in your city AND that you’ll apply to be a Windows Insider MVP.
Our current partners and projects
The Microsoft mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Yet, only about half of the world’s population has access to the internet. Access to the internet is also extremely variable. Internet penetration is over 100% in some countries, but below 2% in some sub-Saharan African nations. 99% of the unconnected live outside the United States. Access to energy is also variable. 1.3 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity—nearly 1 in 5 people.
We’re committed to helping change this. Through the Microsoft Airband Initiative, we’re partnering with equipment makers, internet and energy access providers, and local entrepreneurs to make affordable broadband access a reality for communities around the world. Microsoft has developed a strategic approach that brings together private and public-sector organizations to help address the needs of millions of people who live in rural parts of the world and lack access to energy and broadband. Through rural community digital transformation projects, we’re helping reimagine how cutting-edge technologies can improve the world. We’re focusing on bringing connectivity to schools, clinics, and hospitals to create a brighter future for everyone.
Through the Airband Initiative, we’re developing innovative new products, solutions, and business models to help billions more people affordably get online and access online applications and services, powered by Microsoft’s Cloud. We have over 70 projects in 20 countries, including projects in 20 states in the U.S.
We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve seen. When we first launched the Airband Initiative, a TV white spaces network connectivity device cost more than $800. As of 2018, higher-quality and more capable devices cost less than $300. As the price of new technology falls and demand rises, these prices will continue to fall—a critical goal—and we believe this market will become self-sustaining.
The Codie Service
Codie, your friendly programming assistant, lives today as a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app and a Visual Studio Code extension. Codie won a Microsoft OneWeek prize for this project during Hackathon 2018. Codie is a machine-learning based programming assistant, which can help you with answering any coding questions in your own language. Codie is multi-lingual, and can speak 60+ languages, so anyone can talk to Codie just like asking questions to their friend.
Want to help empower every person on the planet to learn how to code and make Codie the best coding and learning tool?
Project Catnip (Windows Insider PWA)
All of you have been asking how you can get your Windows Insider information on your phone and get notified when a new build comes out. Project Catnip is the answer.
Project Catnip is our new PWA (Progressive Web App) of our Insider website that showcases the latest Windows Insider news and brings together key Insider information, including build releases, Insider stories, Flight Hub, and Insider cohorts you’re part of, all in one place. It also showcases your Insider profile and your Insider achievements. And because it’s a PWA, it works across platforms and has offline support.
Our canary ring filled up quickly and is trying it out now, but we’ll let you know when it’s available for all our Windows Insiders.
Microsoft Learn is the central learning portal for technical content from Microsoft for all future tech, to help upskill people for free. You can start with the basics, then move to advanced methods that address real-world challenges. Microsoft Learn meets you where you are and takes you where you want to go. On Learn, you can find interactive step-by-step tutorials, hands-on learning and coding environments, task-based achievements to reward your skills, and training in the spoken and programming languages of your choice.
Check out this interesting project from Learn that we’ll be following:
With things like Azure, AI, ML, and IoT at the forefront of technology, the role of IT Pros is changing. The US Bureau of Labor predicts IT Pro jobs will grow about 13% over the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. Software Application Developer jobs are expected to grow by 24%. This Windows Insider-led experiment will help ensure IT Pros are upskilled and ready for the Windows developer jobs of the future.
Each year, roughly 200,000 active duty service members leave the military for jobs in the civilian world. As veterans transition to the private workforce, we want to empower them to achieve success as developers on and for Windows. Our military veterans possess the qualities (persistence, dedication, attention to detail) that will enable them to be great developers. Through guided learning paths and community support, they’ll be able to achieve the Windows developer careers of their dreams.
We’re incredibly proud to work for Microsoft, a company that encourages its employees to use Microsoft’s platform to pursue their passion. One person who embodies this is Fernando Sanchez, a Senior Software Engineer on the Windows team. On nights and weekends, he and his partner Pedro have started an NGO to teach coding to immigrant students of color through the non-profit, GOKiC.
On top of diverse learning content, the feedback we’ve heard from around the world is that some people learn best by working with others in real life. This resonated with our experience too, and we realized that we need to find a way to help anyone learning to code not feel so alone. We recognize the road in front of us is steep. We know that sitting here in Seattle, we won’t know all the needs of local communities who are learning to code. This is where we need YOU to represent the needs of your community. This is exactly what the Windows Insider Program is about—building Windows products and services for everyone in the world.
We’re fortunate to have four Windows Insiders who are doing what they do best—supporting their local communities and bringing us their feedback—helping us make #InsiderUp happen.
Caleb Ndaka from Nairobi, Kenya: Teaching teachers to code
You’ll see him sometimes, walking village to village in rural Kenya, 5 laptops strapped to his back. Years ago, when he was in college in Nairobi, Kenya, Caleb Ndaka and his friends decided they wanted to help those who were less fortunate. They went to a school in a village with no access to computers and spent a few days training students on computer basics. The students were awestruck by these lessons and able to quickly pick up the skills. Caleb was surprised to see such fast progress and realized he could have a real impact on his country with this work. That was the day Caleb’s business Kids Comp Camp was born.
Caleb and his team of four made a quick promo video for Comp Camp, which they shared across their network. Suddenly, they received over 50 requests to do similar camps all over East Africa. Caleb hesitated—he was a student and no expert in training others. While he and his friends had managed to find 20 laptops, they didn’t have the transportation they needed. They moved from one village to the next—hitchhiking, using public transportation, and walking—carrying the machines in battered, overloaded backpacks. It was a hard life.
However, requests for these camps kept coming in from all over Kenya. The demand made it clear to Caleb that he’d found the work he needed to do. He’s genuinely excited about the future of the communities they’ve served and loves what the kids create, even after just a day of computer training. Caleb and team realized that instead of simply training kids in schools—which would take a very long time – they also needed to train adults to support the kids. Since then, Comp Camp has evolved to not only support kids, but also the adults who love them.
Vuyo Mhlotshane from Vanderbijlpark, South Africa: Teaching kids to code
As a student at WeThinkCode, a coding bootcamp in South Africa, Vuyo learned to code in C, PHP, HTML, CSS, and JS, plus dabbled in Docker. She realized the power of this technology and wanted to spread this knowledge to others in her community. She’s the mother of a 4-year-old son named Noah, and she started to teach him logic games. Other parents soon started to ask her to teach their children, too.
Realizing that coding is the next universal language and that trying to do it one by one isn’t efficient or scalable, Vuyo is spending Build week learning skills to create a platform that will not only make it fun for kids all over the world to learn logic and programming using the available open source platforms that are already available, but also enable them to come together as a community.
Gomolemo Mohapi from Durban, South Africa: Teaching students & community members to code
Gomo believes he’s blessed with the gift of tech knowledge and that it’s his responsibility to share it with others. He’s a third-year student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in Durban, South Africa. A few years ago, he noticed a trend of students struggling with programming, so he decided to write walkthrough guides and tutorials covering content that existed on the syllabus. Topics such as basic C# programming, ASP.NET MVC, Entity Framework, Android Development, etc. These guides became very popular among his peers, and they were dubbed as Gomo’s Guides. Gomo releases about 2 or 3 per semester.
Recently he’s garnered interest in Azure, DevOps, Bots, Automation, AI, Cognitive Services and SignalR, and has been conducting various workshops on campus, educating his fellow students as these are topics that are not covered by their university. He’s also started to host basic computer skills workshops for non-CS students, so everyone who wants to can eventually learn how to code.
Gomo takes it as an obligation to help as many people as he can access the benefits of emerging tech in his home country and eventually, the world. He’s spending BUILD week learning content that will go into the next Gomo’s Guide.
Michael Gillett from London, England: Connecting the Windows Insider community
Over the years Michael has been involved in the Windows Insider community doing what he can and what he loves. Many of you might be familiar with his work around:
People around the world love Microsoft wallpapers, whether they are from Surface devices, the Bing homepage, or ones featuring #NinjaCat. Michael wanted to create a place for people to easily access all of them. Since he’s a web developer and loves to use the latest technologies, he created WallpaperHub to offer wallpapers and use modern web technologies such as Azure Functions. The Microsoft community around the world loved the wallpapers, but also wanted to get involved themselves to have their own designs on the site, so now the site is full of wallpapers from both Microsoft and fans.
Michael’s newest idea is to create Fluent FTW, an open source project on GitHub for the global community of designers, developers, and Microsoft followers to bring the look of Fluent Design System to the web. The plan is for the online community to implement the components of Fluent and to support multiple front-end frameworks and UIs. Anyone can contribute to the project from making single line changes to full feature implementations and everyone is free to use the output of the project.
On a more local scale, there’s plenty of people in the UK who love technology and Microsoft, and Michael saw an opportunity to bring them together on a regular basis to share their passions and talk all things geeky. These meetups often take place alongside Microsoft’s events in the UK and often see Insiders, fans, and bloggers getting together to discuss all the latest Microsoft news and rumors. For this year’s #MSBuild, Michael went international and brought the meetup to Seattle on Sunday night before the conference. For those in the UK, keep a look out on Michael’s Twitter for the next meetup.
Over 10 years ago, Michael started to get involved with Microsoft when he wrote about the company and its technology across a range of blogs. He would often write opinion pieces and worked with some teams within Microsoft to bring Microsoft engineers and their users closers together. He has less time to write now, but it’s what brought him into the community and where he discovered his passion for creating things for the community.
Social Media [Twitter, Buzzword Bingo, etc]
The easiest way to find Michael is on Twitter sharing headlines and rumors and taking part in silly antics on Twitter. For #MSBuild in particular, what started off as a fun game on Twitter has grown into #BuildBingo. People would watch the keynotes and any keywords or phrases mentioned would result in people tweeting bingo jokes on Twitter. Michael saw this as an opportunity and started off making it into a game and has since turned it into a site that the community can play along with during the keynotes.
Michael’s involvement with the community started off with blogging about what he thought of Microsoft, its products, and technology in general. That quickly moved over to Twitter where he generated more social engagements for the community, and now he hosts events for that community to physically meet. Using his dev skills, he also created several sites and projects for the community to use and contribute to.
Michael is proof that you can be an active member of the community by engaging and contributing both online and in-person.
Insider Dev Tour
Each year after Build, we run a series of world-wide developer events to bring all the latest technology to you, in person.
This year, through collaboration with the MVP and RD community, we’ve expanded our content to bring you even more developer awesomeness.
You’ll enjoy an inside peek into some of tomorrow’s innovative dev tech, as well as practical information you can use today. Plus, you’ll gain valuable access to a peer network along with exposure to all-star devs from a wide range of tech disciplines.
The #InsiderUp crew