Microsoft Academia Accelerator Program Launched in India

Hyderabad, January 16, 2014 – Microsoft today announced the launch of the Microsoft Academia Accelerator, a new program aimed at building a deep long-term association between industry and academia. Microsoft, in collaboration with the faculty at 10 leading Indian engineering colleges, will aim to enhance the Computer Science curriculum in selective areas and foster even greater student-driven innovation and entrepreneurship.

Announcing the program, Vinod Anantharaman, Head of Business Management, Microsoft India (R&D) Pvt Ltd, said: “India produces some of the world’s finest engineering talent. Much of this talent get started on their journeys at our top engineering colleges. By adding a layer of cutting-edge industry know-how on top of the existing Computer Science curriculum, the Academia Accelerator program aims to expose students to critically important technology trends and practices earlier, during their formative years, thereby preparing them with vital skills and experiences that will enrich their careers and fuel innovation and impact from India.”

The program currently has two main components—a series of workshops that span a wide spectrum of topics relevant to the modern-day high technology industry, and a series of student hackathons which give all students at these campuses an opportunity to work collaboratively in team environments to build modern, real-world applications that leverage the latest Microsoft platforms including Mobile and Cloud.

Workshops are tailored to the curriculum at each partner college, based on the needs of the Computer Science faculty and their specific asks, and get delivered by seasoned Microsoft engineers who are domain experts on that particular area. Although primarily designed to be deeply technical in their nature, workshops often include other important considerations such as the business landscape, anticipated trends or promising areas for future research. Topics of recently delivered workshops include Agile Practices in Software Engineering, Smartphone Trends, Cloud Computing, Online Advertising, Big Data and Web Mining.

The hackathon series, delivered under the brand name, are open to all passionate coders at partner college campuses. Hackathons are preceded by fast-paced, hands-on talks and demos that orient students to key concepts needed to build apps for modern platforms such as smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and the Cloud. Students then work in teams that are tasked with conceiving and implementing original apps for these platforms within 24 hours, with the full support and guidance of Microsoft mentors present at these events.

Top teams from the hackathons conducted at the college campus level graduate to a 3-month long online Finalists Forum, a Champions’ League of sorts where India’s best student developers get further opportunity to refine their winning ideas and take them to the next level, ably supported by seasoned Microsoft mentors. This program stresses the concepts of teamwork and collaboration as well as multi-disciplinary focus that takes students beyond pure technology or code into other equally important determinants of success, such as user experience, design, customer value propositions, etc.

“We are really excited about this program. We strongly believe that efforts like the Microsoft Academia Accelerator which connect students and faculty to the very latest in the industry will accelerate the impact of India’s amazing talent. Our effort is made possible because of great sponsors and collaborators in academia—we are truly fortunate to have some amazing partners among the faculty of the colleges that we work with,” said Anil Bhansali, Managing Director, Microsoft India (R&D) Private Ltd.

The announcement was made at a press conference today which was attended by key members of the faculty of Microsoft’s partner colleges as well as some of Microsoft’s senior engineering mentors.

About Microsoft India
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 6,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research and development and customer services and support, across nine Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune. Microsoft is committed to touching and transforming lives and businesses in India through technology.

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