A few days ago I've written a post informing that it is finally possible to enroll IT Challenge 2011. For those, who have never heard or read about IT Challenge, I'll explain what it's all about.
IT Challenge is one of the categories of Microsoft Imagine Cup competition, which is one of the largest technology competitions for students, mainly from technical universities. IT Challenge's goal is to find the best students from the whole world, who have outstanding knowledge concerning Microsoft products and solutions that are created for IT. This year these products are:
- Windows 2008 R2
- Exchange 2010
- SharePoint 2010
- Windows 7
- System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2
- System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2
- Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010
- Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010
- SQL Server 2008 R2
- Office 2010
- Office Communication Server 2007 R2
- Windows Mobile
- and others
The competition consists of 3 rounds.
In Round 1 the competitors need to pass at least 1 of 8 technology quizzes about products and technologies mentioned above. Each test has 30 multiple-choice questions. To pass, it is required to answer correctly to at least 15 questions. In fact this round is the qualification round. Passing the first round is "piece a cake", comparing to the rounds 2 and 3.
In Round 2 we need to create a design of a complete IT infrastructure which is based on certain assumptions and meets certain requirements. Each competitor has to prepare a Business Case containing detailed description of his solution and justify "why" this solution is the most modern, powerful and secure one and why it has the lowest TCO. All the requirements are specified in Case Study, which is published at the beginning of this round. The Business Case must have 5000 words or less.
Round 3 is the final round. There are usually 6 finalists whose Business Case got highest score. There is a rule stating that only one competitor per country can participate in The Finals. Because of that rule I wasn't the 2010 edition finalist. This round is a kind of "practical exam" - the finalists have to prove their abilities to deploy and configure software products mentioned above. The competitors use Remote Desktop and connect to servers prepared by competition Stuff in order to complete various tasks.
I hope that the above description is a helpful overview of IT Challenge category. More details you can find in Competition Rules or by asking questions at the IT Challenge Forums.