How attending one tech event probably changed my career and life

In late 2001/early half of 2002 (I don’t remember the exact date)Microsoft held a launch party for Visual Studio at FSU – one that was well hyped among the students. I distinctly remember attending and getting a free copy of Visual Studio which included among other features – a new language named  C# (new to me at least). The sequence of events is blurry with the passage of time but it went somewhere along these lines:

  • I went home and installed this new IDE on my laptop
  • RTFM and created a couple of programs
  • Learned some basic C#
  • In an interview with a local software company few weeks after this event, one of the interviewers asked me about C# and I was able to provide an educated answer to some basic C# questions including a comparison with Java (Java was my primary language of usage at that time)
  • I landed the job.

The background to this story is that I was seriously in need of a job and a H1B sponsor, failing which I would have to leave the US. I will not go into immigration details here so not to distract from the next part of this post.

Fast forward 16 years, I spoke at a career panel at FSU yesterday as part of the MVP Tech Tour at FSU, this time as a Microsoft MVP.

It was a surreal experience, being back at my alma mater and advising young soon-to-be-grads on career tips. Looking back at it, attending that tech event (Microsoft Visual Studio launch at FSU) on that fateful day in late 2001/early 2002, probably changed my career and life forever and is also probably the reason I stayed loyal to Microsoft products and platforms over 16 years, and probably also influenced my journey to a Microsoft MVP.

If people at Microsoft (or any other tech company) are taking note, this is how you build for the future.

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