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This series highlights Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors who achieved the Gold milestone and have recently graduated from university. Each blog features a different student and highlights their accomplishments, their experience with the Student Ambassadors community, and what they’re up to now.
Today we’d like to introduce Sagnik Chattopadhyaya who is from India and recently graduated from the Calcutta Institute of Engineering and Management.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
When you became a Student Ambassador in 2019, did you have specific goals you wanted to reach? What were they, and did you achieve them? How has being a part of this community impacted you?
Before I actually applied for the program, I got into the habit of attending local community meetups where usually I saw a lot of tech stacks being discussed. And from there, I developed my interest in cloud technology. I found out I needed to spend money even for a hands-on learning, which I wasn't willing to do at that moment. Then at one of those similar meetups, someone told me about this program. After some research, I found it offers Azure credits to explore and learn Azure. From the first day I was part of the community, I had the plan to learn more about this cloud computing platform, Azure. Now, almost 2 years into the program, I passed the AZ900 Microsoft Technical Certification, and even my own personal website runs on Azure. Out of all the university studies I did, I feel most confident in working with Azure. Though Azure was my main target, I can't be unfaithful to the help I got from Microsoft Learn (I completed around 35 learning paths). I never thought there can be such an amazing resource available on earth. In indirect ways, I believe using Microsoft Learn helped me in achieving perfect scores in my university exams for two continuous semesters during this pandemic last year. I never achieved such high scores before.
What was the one accomplishment that you’re the proudest of and why?
My very first Student Ambassador event that I hosted. Technically it was my first public speaking event. There was me with a mic in hand and around 70 people sitting in front (including 2-3 professors, seniors and juniors). But that one event gave me so much confidence that still today I don't hesitate to talk to large audiences.
Another accomplishment is that I’ve passed 5 Microsoft Technical Certifications and am planning for more.
What do you have planned for after graduation? What’s next for you after university?
In coming months, I will be joining Mindtree as a Software Engineer. Along with that I will pursue my passion for content creation and start making more educational videos on my YouTube channel. In my free time, I explore new fields and give back to the community by conducting sessions.
If you could go back in time and redo your time with the Student Ambassador community, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have been more active in the program right from the start. In those initial days, I ignored the events and stuff happening in the program, and I dedicatedly explored Azure. But I think I made a mistake there. Later on, I understood the mistake and changed my approach, but I should have been involved with the community earlier on. A lot of stuff happens in this community, and lots of opportunities float around. In order to improve engagement in community, I took an easy way. The Student Ambassador community works through Microsoft Teams, and it allows you to react to every post and to replies to that post. So, I started with reacting every post and if possible, gave a general reply. It hardly takes a second to do that but everyone who is currently active in the community, including the program management team, gets to see your name again and again in their notifications. Someone may argue that it is irritating, but no one can say anything against you, that you are not doing something you are not supposed to. Doing this for around 1 month or so, I gathered enough knowledge about the program in details, got a few small opportunities related to new Learn paths or from some cloud advocates or something similar.
If you were to talk to a student who's interested in joining the Microsoft Student Ambassadors community, what would you say to convince them to join?
Community is something which should be closest to your heart. There is nothing to fear or be ashamed of. It may happen that someone is senior or junior to you, but everyone is treated equally within a community. If you write a blog or make a YouTube video or do something similarly. A community would always give you positive and constructive feedback that would definitely help you improve. No one knows any more or less within a community—everyone shares their knowledge for the benefit of all. You will always feel the inclusive nature within a community. And in a global community like the Student Ambassador community, you will get to know the latest technology trends happening around the world. You will get to interact, collaborate, and work together with fellow students from all over the world.
What advice would you give to new Student Ambassadors?
The program is well documented. Make sure you go through that documentation as soon as you join the program. It would help you a lot in those initial days. The program is structured and very detailed with its milestones and requirements. New Student Ambassadors could easily get lost in it, but referring to the documentations helps a lot.
Do you have a motto in life, a guiding principle that drives you?
I'm deeply motivated by the words of Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam, a former Indian President. He said, "Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career. We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us." These statements drive me in my journey of life. I even keep this quote written in front of my study table and also on my website's education page.
What is one random fact few people know about you?
I have management skills. In my leisure time, I read about various companies in crisis (now or in the past) and try to work on solutions on what the company could have done in those situations, what I would have done in that crisis. Kind of trying to solve problems. :smiling_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Good luck to you, Sagnik, in all your future endeavors!