On the of November, I and 11 other students missed a day of school to attend a Microsoft open day in which they hoped to encourage the country’s youth to consider a future career in computing.
When we arrived, we were each given an ID tag which was either blue or green. These were the two groups and on half of all the tags was written in highlighter HOL (Hands On Lab). With the ID tags we were also given a Microsoft hat, notepad, pen and a small breakfast.
After our registration we were immediately launched into the interview of three men who had careers in computing. One of them was a former winner of the imagine cup. It was interesting how they responded to the questions being fired at them. They said that a career in computing is for anybody and does not require a specific skill set, just a keen interest in technology. They also went on to say that there is not a high demand leaving cert points-wise for computing degrees in college. However, the imagine cup winner told us that in his class of 30 consisted of 26 boys and merely 4 girls.
Next I was carted off down to the hands on lab where we were asked to design a basic computer game. We used software which made it quite easy, but unfortunately we were under time pressure so the end result was not great. We then got to play other peoples’ games and mark them out of 25. Only two of the games I was assigned to play actually worked though!
After that was lunch and we were allowed to eat in the canteen with all the actual Microsoft workers as if we were employees there, which was cool.
The game centre was interesting as they had all the x box kinect games and the latest x box controllers also. There were a few serious gamers from other schools who knew the anniversaries of x box games who were nearly beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of being able to play the latest games with the new gyroscopic controllers.
My favourite part of the day however was a speech at the end given by a Canadian evangelist called Wilber! He was talking about the powers of the kinect (which is a way of playing x box by moving your body instead of your fingers, the kinect device can comprehend your body movements and apply them to what is on the screen). He showed us how one day we will be able to go shopping from our living rooms. Swishing our hand from side to side, to browse from product to product, maybe even virtually try on the clothes to see if you look good in them. He explained to us that we will also be able to just pick things off the shelves in a shop and walk out, they will automatically be charged to our credit cards. He also flew a remote controlled flying machine over us (the spectators) from an x box remote with a live camera on it, which he told us can also be operated using a smart-phone and will soon come on the market for private consumption.
It was a great day out, it did not convince me to go into a career in IT but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I would like to thank Mr. McAlinden for bringing us and for Mr. Jones for arranging the day.