Academic Resource Kit – Free Tools and Resources from Microsoft

Whether you want to build an AJAX-based web application, or a Windows game, the Academic Resource Kit is a great place to start.

A Microsoft Romania initiative aimed at driving technology access and adoption, ARK is designed as a comprehensive collection of tools and resources addressing both the development and design aspects of building software solutions. I had the chance to chat with Microsoft Romania's Todi Pruteanu about the ARK initiative, and the interview below will provide you with a great insight into the Academic Resource Kit.

1. Just to get started, please tell our readers who you are and what is your role at Microsoft.

Pruteanu: My name is Todi Pruteanu, my role is Academic Developer Evangelist at Microsoft Romania for more than 4 years now.

2. What is the Academic Resource Kit and how does it benefit students today?

Pruteanu: ARK is a set of powerful development and design tools plus useful educational resources, such as documentation, code samples, curriculum materials, and tutorials that demonstrate the value of the Microsoft platform in technical education.

The result is a fully loaded DVD that we’ve produced in a quantity of 100,000. We have disseminated most of the copies during the summer and in back-to-school campaigns, especially in High Schools and Universities. The product is described on (in Romanian).

3. Please tell us a little about the background of the initiative. In what manner has it evolved since its introduction?

Pruteanu: It all started with a couple of facts we have in mind.

On one side, we need more and better equipped professionals in the IT industry. We hope that ARK, with the technology included and usage scenarios we’ve described, will create enthusiasm amongst the young audience. For instance, it has never been easier to program games for Windows or Xbox 360 consoles or Web applications or data-intensive applications, to describe only a couple of usage scenarios of ARK – we now hope that the young developers will realize even more the magic of the software and will follow a career in information technology. For the more experienced students, ARK should play the role of free tool set always available for school or personal projects.

To summarize, we hope that ARK will influence the number and the quality of the professionals in the IT industry in the years to come.


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