What are the real benefits of being an MSDN subscriber?

DevToolsGuy / Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A typical software developer’s day includes anything from writing and coding new programs to resolving bugs and attending meetings with clients. With the rapid evolution of technology in the past decade, developers should also spend at least part of their day keeping up to date with tech news. Be it a new tool or framework, IT pros need a finger on the pulse - you never know when you’ll be asked to work on an entirely original technology.

Developers are a mixed bunch, but if they share one thing in common, it’s the unending requirement to learn about the software they work with. You just cannot rely on one particular set of technologies as you can always count on disruptive tech knocking even the most popular tools into irrelevance. We all know, for instance, how the Pascal and VB languages are now decreasing in terms of popularity and usage.

Taking that further, when applying for jobs, interview questions often focus on the technologies you know and how comfortable you are in adapting to a new technology. Equally, your contribution to the community is also analyzed.

Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN)

Microsoft’s Developer Network one of the largest community platforms for developers working on Microsoft technologies. MSDN is free for students at participating universities and provides resources required in the development lifecycle. Key benefits of an MSDN subscription include:

  • Online and offline versions of Microsoft Product documentation
  • Software licenses for Microsoft Products like Visual Studio, Windows, Azure, etc.
  • Technical support
  • MSDN magazine
  • Updates on various events and conferences h

So, how can you use your subscription to the max?

Develop and test solutions in the cloud with Azure

Microsoft provides Pay-As-You-Go access to the Azure test environment with an MSDN subscription. This gives access to Virtual Machines, the Azure Database, BLOB Storage, Websites, Mobile services and more.

Development Centers for all Needs

With an MSDN subscription, you get to use specific development centers for all Microsoft Products. Within these development centers, you get all the resources required to build your application under any framework or devices with all the documentation and resources available for each tool, framework, languages or service.

MSDN forums

Once developers start learning and implementing new technology, it’s common to encounter issues which aren’t completely covered in the documentation. MSDN provides a great platform under the covers of MSDN Forums for users to post their issues and queries. These forums are constantly moderated and have a healthy participation rate. Gaining insights from others has never been so easy, with a talented pool at your disposal, subscribers can pick the brains of some of the best programmers and developers around.

Improve your coding skills

With access to Microsoft tools and technologies, developers are free to learn any new technology using the MSDN subscription. With MSDN subscriptions, subscribers can access exclusive benefits and use vast development resources.

Let’s say I want to develop a PowerShell script to create my own SharePoint farm on Azure which I can use for my SharePoint Development. We all know that the cost of a SharePoint license is pretty hefty and not every developer cannot afford it. But with the Azure monthly credits I can swiftly create my own VM with SharePoint configuration and use it for developing my PowerShell script to test on the VM. A major plus point.

Great for beginners

Microsoft has launched various free services for developers such as Visual Studio Online, Visual Studio Code or Visual Studio Community so that a beginner can quickly start learning about the new technologies without worrying about the licenses. Visual Studio Code is available for Windows, iOS and Linux too. As per Microsoft, Visual Studio Community has all the features of Express and more, and is still free for individual developers, open source projects, academic research, education, and small professional teams.

Availability of code samples

Developers often need to jump right into application development and if there are any ready-made code samples available, this can save them a lot of effort. Microsoft provides code samples for various technologies on its MSDN site under the Code Samples. This resource offers more than 8,000 samples to help developers to begin using various technologies. There’s also an open source community called codeplex where you can find many more Microsoft code samples. And they just keep on giving - Microsoft has a visual studio gallery that currently comprises of more than 5,000 projects for you to learn from.

MSDN offers developers a pretty good deal; it provides a space where they can explore Microsoft’s products and use them in their day to day development and testing activities. For anyone working in Microsoft land, MSDN offers as many individual benefits as there are individual users,

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