Mumbai: 16-year-old's app gets him into Microsoft programme

Kandivli teen’s idea for an app got him into a programme that supports students; through it, he bagged a berth in Microsoft Developer Network

On Thursday morning, while the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, was busy addressing thousands at an event in the city, just a few kilometres away, a 16-year-old student was busy working on new software models to pitch to his company.

After Umang presented the idea for his app, Microsoft BizSpark sponsored the project. Umang is part of DreamSpark, a Microsoft programme, that supports students by giving them professional level developer and designer tools at no cost, so that they can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology. Pic/Shadab Khan
After Umang presented the idea for his app, Microsoft BizSpark sponsored the project. Umang is part of DreamSpark, a Microsoft programme, that supports students by giving them professional level developer and designer tools at no cost, so that they can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology. Pic/Shadab Khan

Umang Raghuvanshi is the envy of almost every student in his college. Like everybody else his age, this teen loves computers and gadgets and is always busy researching and experimenting with technology.

What sets him apart, however, is that Umang is now one of the few people his age to be part of the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), where he gets to ideate with a bunch of brilliant minds working with the company, from across the globe.

“I am like any other teenager who stares at his computer and wishes there was an app that could solve problems. But while others wait for such an app to be introduced, I started work on designing the software,” said the gritty teenager, who is a Std XI (Science) student at Thakur Vidya Mandir High School and Junior College, Kandivli (E). His aim has been to be stand apart from others his age.

Joining a Microsoft programme
After designing native apps, which could work on computers without the Internet, Umang wanted to be a member of DreamSpark.

A platform for young talent, DreamSpark is a Microsoft programme, that supports students by giving them professional level developer and designer tools at no cost, so that they can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology.

“I pitched in my idea (see box) to be a member of DreamSpark, and immediately got placed on board. What’s amazing is how I get to use all kinds of professional tools to create my own designs. That is better than the money any job can give,” said Umang.

A student of Birla Public School in Pilani (Rajasthan), Umang moved to Mumbai only this year with his parents to a home in Kandivli. While computers have always fascinated him, the real attraction started once he started learning more about computer language and website making in school.

“Technology is so easy to get hooked on to. There are some days when I find it ridiculously difficult to manage studies, and my passion for software development but my parents ensure that I am grounded,” he said.

Asked what is the highlight of being part of one of the biggest software companies in the world at the tender age of 16, he points at the opportunity it provides him with to interact with people from across the globe. “I use GitHub to get in touch with various people to design software.

We share ideas and it is incredible how technology, and help from Microsoft, makes this world really small and accessible,” he added. Today, when the young generation is often blamed for being glued to computers, Umang said the need of the hour is for youngsters to know where to draw the line.

“There are days when I spend hours in front of my computer and forget about the world around me, but then there are times, when I don’t bother checking my computer. We need to go with the flow , and while technology can be luring, one should remember to live life as well,” he said, before adding that his parents, while excited about his prospects, also ensure he doesn’t lose touch with reality.

Preparing for IIT
Already preparing for his entrance tests for engineering institutes, Umang’s primary aim is to get through to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in USA. He is working hard to opt for a course in artificial intelligence in any of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) as well.

And while his college and classes kept him from getting a chance to see Satya Nadella in person, he isn’t disappointed. “I am sure, some day I’ll meet him in person, and there will be no crowd to fight through to get to him,” he quickly added, before going back to class.

Umang’s app
At present, Umang is almost ready with ‘Statusify’, which is a web-application status app for companies. This app can be used to report to users of a particular website/application, about a scheduled maintenance, which will lead to the website/application not functioning well for that particular time. Umang already has managed Microsoft BizSpark sponsorship for the project, but is still looking for contributors for the same to officially launch his app.

What is Microsoft Developer Network?
The Microsoft Developer Network that is responsible for managing the firm’s relationship with developers and testers, such as hardware developers interested in the operating system (OS), and software developers developing on the various OS platforms, or using the API and/or scripting languages of Microsoft’s applications.

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