The Opening Opportunities is an educational program of Asociatia Techsoup launched in 2013. It brings together mixed teams of students working on technical projects together with their Microsoft mentor.
Opening Opportunities brings together mixed teams of not just students from different high-schools, but also from different cities, working for 6 months on technical projects and using Skype to coordinate with their Microsoft mentor. Opening Opportunities teams are built by mirroring the roles and the pace of an IT start-up that has to innovate and prepare a technology ready to use product in a short timeframe. 40% of the participants on the program are technology and IT-passionate female students.
To develop the product they choose as a team, students learn new programming languages and technologies independently or with the help of their mentor. They also go through all stages of developing a technology product: from idea to MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and learn how to get and evaluate feedback from their targeted product users.
Opening Opportunities is the first educational program that mostly reaches the region of Moldova, one of the poorest regions of the European Union, covering the needs of students and computer science high-schools from 7 cities in the Moldova region, and also of Bucharest and Râmnicu Vâlcea.
In addition to their technical training and passion for technology, the Opening Opportunities Microsoft mentors also go through a technical training process with their Microsoft DX colleagues in order to accustom them with product development concepts and necessary technologies, and also with team management and mentoring skills. Most of the mentors in the program are support engineers working for Microsoft CSS in Bucharest in Timisoara, and some of them have been with the program since its launch in 2013.