Microsoft Virtual Academy: Learn to Code

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened, which unleashed the power of our imagination – we learned to talk.” – Dr. Stephen Hawking

Applications, websites, operating systems, databases managers, computer languages – what do they all have in common?

Dr. Stephen Hawking

“Then something… unleashed the power of our imagination”

The answer is, they are all created using code.

Coding is our way of talking with the computer. If – as Doctor Hawking says – human speech is what unleashed the power of our imagination, then coding is certainly the way to unleash the power of our digital-age abilities.

If you learn to code, you can create your own website, begin or change careers, start a business, and generally gain a better, more in-depth understanding of how computers work. Knowing what goes on under the virtual “hood” of a computer is very empowering, and it can open up many doors.

Even though Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) is meant, first and foremost, for IT and data professionals, it does contain a unique section which is strictly for students and absolute beginners.

Computer code is what lies in the heart of every program. It is a world entire, and it is where every IT professional begins his or her journey. Are you interested in creating the next hit App, game, or software? You’re on the right track!

MVA has 13 courses on code learning.

Course Review: C# Fundamentals for Absolute Beginners

The most popular course in the code learning section is C# Fundamentals for Absolute Beginners, instructed by Bob Tabor. This course is exactly what the title says. It is the beginning. Tabor starts from ground zero, and works his way up. Learning the concepts, terminology, tools, codes, debugging features, and other fundamentals of C#.

The topics covered in this course are:

  • Series Introduction


  • Installing Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop
  • Creating Your First C# Program
  • Dissecting the First C# Program You Created
  • Quick Overview of the Visual C# Express Edition IDE
  • Declaring Variables and Assigning Values Duration
  • Branching with the if Decision Statement and the Conditional Operator
  • Operators, Expressions, and Statements Duration
  • For Iterations
  • Creating Arrays of Values
  • Creating and Calling Simple Overloaded Helper Methods
  • While Iterations and Reading Data from a Text File
  • Working with Strings
  • Working with DateTime
  • Understanding and Creating Classes
  • More About Classes and Methods
  • Working with Classes and Inheritances in the .NET Framework Class Library
  • Understanding Namespaces and Adding References to Assemblies
  • Understanding Scope and Utilizing Accessibility Modifiers
  • Enumerations and the switch Decision Statement
  • Gracefully Handling Exceptions
  • Working with Collections
  • Filtering and Managing Data Collections Using LINQ
  • Understanding Event-Driven Programming
  • Where to Go from Here

This lengthy course is worth 103 points. It runs approximately 10 hours, includes 25 modules, and also has 19 assessment exams. There are no prerequisites, since it is a Level 100 course. Everyone is welcome to enroll in this course and begin their C# coding journey. This course is rated 5 out of 5 stars, and is one of the most viewed courses in the entire Academy.

This course also has a downloadable companion guide, a link to which can be found on the course page. It has reference material and exercise projects, so the students can get some hands-on experience while studying.

Tabor is a .NET and C# developer, a Channel9 / MVA contributor, and the founder of LearnVisualStudio.NET. He is an author and entrepreneur, with a 12-year history of experience and success.

Course Review: Introduction to Programming with Python

Another very popular course is Introduction to Programming with Python, instructed by Susan Ibach and Christopher Harrison.

Instructor Susan Ibach

Instructor Susan Ibach

Ibach is a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft Canada, with a passion for Windows Phone, HTML5 and the cloud. She has worked as a consultant doing programming, testing, data conversions, roll-outs and also as a trainer teaching Oracle, SQL Server, SQL Server BI, and .NET programming.

Harrison is a content developer for Microsoft, focused on ASP.NET and Office 365 development. He is a SharePoint and SQL trainer and consultant, and a regular presenter at TechEd. Side note: he is a keen blogger and avid marathoner!

So, whether you are merely interested in knowing more, or are looking for a career change – coding is your best friend. You don’t need a computer science degree or years and years of education to begin taking steps in the IT world. All you need is a way to start, and guess what – MVA’s experts want to help you get your foot in that digital door.

MVA’s courses are here to guide people in the right direction. Give it a try, sign up, enroll in a course, learn something new, and see where you can go from there. You never know. You may decide coding is not for you, and you may find your calling. It really is that simple. Some people didn’t know they loved programming until they sat down and started typing.



Consider Microsoft’s Windows, Zuckerberg’s Facebook, or even the classic 1970’s pong – in the hands of the right people, codes really can change the world. Computers these days are so advanced, so interactive. And thanks to websites like MVA, anyone can learn how to wield this unique digital power, and use it to build anything – from operating systems to Angry Birds.

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