“With great power comes great responsibility.”
For many of us, we spend our time in school searching for a power; that area of study that fires up our brains and drives us toward the future. Gomolemo “Gomo” Mohapi thrives in software development and felt a responsibility to help other students discover the power of technology. Through the Microsoft Student Partner Programme, he built the tech community as his school, Durban University of Technology (DUT), in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. By leading technology workshops on campus and across his province, he’s able to empower his classmates and show them the powers of coding.
Learning about the Microsoft Student Partners Programme came exactly at the right moment for Gomo. The programme which Microsoft describes as “a global group of on-campus ambassadors who are eager to help fellow students, lead in their local tech community, and develop technical and career skills for the future,” aims to empower students to take the education of their communities into their own hands. In his first year of college, Gomo stumbled upon a poster on campus asking students to apply to the program so it could continue at their university. Right away, Gomo knew the programme would give him a platform to help other students. Although he was unsure if he was qualified, he took a chance and submitted his application.
Microsoft interviews candidates based upon their passion for community, leadership potential, and technical and communication skills. To apply for the program, students are asked to provide a written sample explaining a basic coding concept, to record a presentation video in English explaining what excites them about technology and why they want other students to learn about it, and to draft an event promotion plan considering different ways to reach out to their community.
Unfortunately, after being accepted into the Microsoft Student Programme, the MSP presence at his university started to lose steam. Gomo knew that he couldn’t let this opportunity for his community slide by. He noticed that his school’s curriculum was restricted to only a few types of technology, and didn’t allow students to branch out to a wide variety of emerging technologies. He wanted to give students exposure to different types of tech like machine learning and AI so they could find what really got them excited about coding, so he revived the MSP presence at his university. After applying and training to be a student partner, Gomo received access to a GitHub repository of labs, demos and talks, videos, and live access to the network of Microsoft experts and other student partners.
Prior to his training, Gomo didn’t know how to organize an event or what to include in a workshop, but his onboarding taught him everything he needed to know to get started. He found many opportunities to learn and grow with Microsoft, including mentorship from the company’s Lead Engineers and Advocates. Gomo found it even easier to host workshops after Microsoft partnered with Major League Hacking. MLH provides pre-packaged events through MLH Localhost which already have the content and curriculum of the workshops completed which takes the pressure off of students to develop the curriculum so they can spend their time practicing, perfecting, and promoting the workshops.
In the past year, Gomo was able to host over a dozen technical workshops on his campus and empower hundreds of students through the Microsoft Student Program. In addition to learning how to host these awesome events, Microsoft also gave Gomo and the other student partners $150 monthly of Azure Cloud credit, Office 365 and Visual Studio subscriptions, Microsoft Learn training, free certifications, and so much more.
Microsoft Student Partner Programme
Students all over the world can benefit their communities with the Microsoft Student Partner programme. You might find yourself organizing a hackathon to solve the world’s toughest problems, mentoring fellow students, or unlocking the next great idea with your team — it’s all up to you. In addition to the resources like the GitHub repo of talk for to organise workshops and community events, Microsoft also provides student partners:
- $150 monthly of Azure Cloud credit
- Office 365 Subscription
- Visual Studio Subscription
- Microsoft Learn skilling
- Free Certifications Exams
- TechSmith offer for Snagit and Camtasia
- MSP community updates
- Mentorship and events.
- and much more
Microsoft even helps students get recognised by showcasing their events, blogs, articles, and more on their Imagine Cup social media accounts. Sign up to be a Microsoft Student partner today and empower your community!
But before signing up, here’s some sound advice from our friend Gomo.
“If (students) want to join the programme because of the perks, then (their) heart isn’t In the right place. Become an MSP for your love of coding and sharing your knowledge. You want to reach out to the most people in such a little time.” — Gomolemo Mohapi
After building his community and finding amazing opportunities through the program, Gomo encourages students to apply, but advises them to make sure they’re applying for the right reasons, reminding us yet again that “with great power comes great responsibility.”
If you’d like to get in touch with Gomo, connect with him on LinkedIn.