Blog Action Day – Fighting Poverty with Tech

Today is Blog Action Day, a day for bloggers to rally to a cause. This year the cause is poverty. I firmly believe one of the best ways to fight poverty is via education. Since what I know is development technology, I’d like to offer some suggestions and advice for someone aspiring to get into a career as a developer. Assuming someone has access to even a moderately low end computer, there are some great ways to educate yourself about development technologies at no cost, even ways to get development software at no charge that you can put to use to begin making money.

First are the express editions of Microsoft Visual Studio and SQL Server. You can find these at http://www.microsoft.com/Express/.

If you are still in school, Microsoft gives you access to more full featured versions of their development tools through their DreamSpark program. The site has complete instructions on getting your school added if it’s not already.

There are many ways to learn how to use these products. One of the main ways is through podcasts and video training. There are many I listen to, but the ones I’d suggest starting with are DNRTV, DotNetRocks, Channel 9 and Security Now. Other shows are linked to on my links page.

If you want something to help you manage and find other podcasts, consider the Zune software. Even if you can’t afford to purchase a Zune, you can download the Zune software for free and use it to manage and listen to your podcasts. You can go to the marketplace to find and subscribe, for free, to many podcasts. Once subscribed the software will download them automatically for you.

Finally, check out the free educational opportunities available to you at local user groups. Again on my links page you’ll find a list of groups local to my area. At these user groups, most of which are free, you can learn, and more importantly make contact with people in the tech industry. These contacts will be valuable to you as you seek to begin your career. They can tip you off to better paying jobs, prep you on how to look / talk, and more.

Of course, most of the links I’ve provided here revolve around Microsoft technologies. There are also other technologies available, surrounding languages such as Java, Perl, PHP, Ruby and more that are also free to the aspiring developer. Since they are a bit out of my areas of expertise I’d suggest searching the web for what interests you. If you are not sure, check the want ads (both newspaper and on-line) for the skill sets that are in demand in your area.

Using your time to advance your education can give you knowledge with makes your more valuable in the workplace, a proven path to escaping poverty.

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3 Responses to “Blog Action Day – Fighting Poverty with Tech”

  1. kouji haiku Says:

    great point. there’s a lot of free learning available online, for people who are willing to put in the effort.

    saw this post via the front page of blog action day. it’s great that you’re participating. :)

  2. Laura Says:

    Thanks for your post. At the Open University we have used an open source virtual learning environment (Moodle) to give free public access to some of our course materials. We also published them under a Creative Commons license so people can reuse and remix. Some of these are in technology and might interest you and your readers. Hopefully the site helps open up access to education by reducing at least one of the barriers – cost. Check it out at: http://www.open.ac.uk/openlearn

    Thanks for your post
    Laura

  3. arcanecode Says:

    Here’s a link to a fellow tech blogger who is using her blog for fighting poverty: http://crazeegeekchick.com/blog/geeks-let-s-band-together-to-help-end-poverty/


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