Visual Studio Subscriptions resources for remote learning and productivity
If someone had told me three months ago, that very soon I would be required to stay in my house and only leave for necessities, I wouldn’t have believed it. But many of you, like me, are facing this as a new reality. This means increased work as we juggle working from home with our families, or increased spare time on our hands that we weren’t expecting.
My cat Nika, attempting to cut off my access to the outside world
COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of people around the world. The Visual Studio Subscriptions team wants to do everything we can to support you, wherever you’re at during this tough time. We’ve got some suggestions for staying productive at home, and ways that you can take advantage of benefits in your Visual Studio subscription to maximize this time of great uncertainty.
Almost everything we’re sharing can be accessed right from your subscription, so just sign into the subscriptions portal to get started.
Take the time to learn and experiment
Monthly Azure Dev/Test Individual Credit
Many subscriptions include a monthly Azure credit of up to $150 that you can use to explore and try Azure services, including: Visual Studio Online, Windows Virtual Desktop, and Azure Functions to name a few. You can also use your credit to create your first bot or leverage speech service to add speech recognition to an app. Check out some other usage scenarios and get started by activating your credit in the subscriptions portal.
When you reach the monthly cap for your credits, your Azure services will stop until your next monthly credits are added, no additional cost.
In some regions, you may see less options available than usual – in the event of capacity constraints, Azure prioritizes services for first responders, health and emergency management services, critical government infrastructure organizational use, and ensuring remote workers stay up and running. Read more about Azure’s commitment to customers and Microsoft cloud services continuity.
Use your downtime to build new skills—Pluralsight allows you to learn anytime, anywhere, even without an internet connection. If you’re tired of sitting in front of your computer all day, you can sit on your couch with the cat and use apps to stream over 7000 courses to your TV, learning about topics such as: cloud, mobile, security, IT and data. Visual Studio subscribers are eligible for up to six months of free access to Pluralsight courses. Activate your benefit by clicking on the Pluralsight tile in the subscriber portal. Check out this remote work guide from Pluralsight for some great tips and tools to make the most of working from home.
Enhance your skills with expert-led, online video tutorials from industry experts through LinkedIn Learning. You can sign up for the free trial or activate the LinkedIn Learning benefit included in selected Visual Studio subscriptions. Check out the 16 LinkedIn Learning courses available for free, including tips on how to: stay productive, build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, use virtual meeting tools, and balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way.
Increase your data science skills from the comfort of your browser with DataCamp to learn all the data science skills you need from the comfort of your browser. You choose when and what you learn, with no software to install and no special hardware requirements.
Continue being productive at home
If you have a Visual Studio subscription and need to develop at home, you can download it to your home computer and use Visual Studio the same way you do in the office. Make sure your company’s policy allows for this, and don’t forget—only users with an appropriate Visual Studio subscription can use the software.
Visual Studio Online
If you don’t have access to a development environment at home, or don’t have the hardware to support Virtual Machines, cloud services can help. Visual Studio Online is a service that creates cloud-hosted dev environments from any hosted Git repo. You can connect to these environments directly from Visual Studio Code (Visual Studio is in private preview), which provides an experience that looks and feels local. You can also use the built-in browser-based editor, which works on any device. For tasks that require access to specialized hardware, devs can link their existing machine to Visual Studio Online. You can also use your monthly Azure individual dev/test credit for this service.
Visual Studio Live Share
Working remotely can be a challenge if you participate in peer reviews or pair programming, where you would normally sit side by side and learn from each other. Our developers use Visual Studio Live Share for joint debugging sessions and peer learning. Live Share allows you to work together and independently, and feels a lot like in-person collaboration.
All of us at Microsoft use Teams daily for chat, meetings, calls, and collaboration. Now that we find ourselves working remotely, every meeting is now a Teams meeting. Our team has even started a coffee chat each morning, where those water cooler conversations happen online. I’ve seen online lunches and happy hour meet-ups too!
Teams is part of Office 365. If your organization is licensed for Office 365, you already have it. But Microsoft wants to make sure everyone has access to it during this time. Read this blog post for more on how to get started with Teams.
Part of the Visual Studio Subscriptions team enjoying a casual afternoon coffee chat
Additional Microsoft resources
Check out some of these other resources to help you work remotely.
If you don’t have a paid Visual Studio subscription, or have a subscription that doesn’t include all of these benefits, try the free resources in Visual Studio Dev Essentials. You can check out limited offers for Pluralsight, SyncFusion, and a free Azure trial account.
If you’re an active Visual Studio subscriber, edit your profile to opt into the Visual Studio Subscriptions newsletter, which serves a monthly dose of developer resources specific to subscribers.
Visual Studio Subscriptions documentation
For more information about eligibility and how to activate your benefits, check out the subscriptions docs.
Windows Virtual Desktop
You no longer need to be concerned with the constraints of physical hardware or your location. Your organization can issue laptops with a Windows Virtual Desktop solution that allows you to remote into your dev environment.
Master core concepts at your speed and on your schedule for free. Whether you’ve got 15 minutes or an hour, you can develop practical skills through interactive modules and paths.
Onward and upward
We hope these suggestions give you some ideas about ways to stay productive while working from home. Who knew we’d have an opportunity to brush up on skills and do all the extra things we’ve always wanted to do? Whether this time is brief, or lasts for a while, know that all of us at Microsoft want to help support you. We’re in this together as a close community, and yet also across the globe. We can’t wait to see how we all emerge from this time—hopefully for the better!
Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and be good to one another. Until next time,
Caity & the Visual Studio Subscriptions team