A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn essential career skills such as software engineering, game development, network administration, and coding, plus life skills such as learning from experts, teamwork, and following your dreams. Its flashy presentation falls a bit flat in terms of functionality, but all is forgiven once you get past those initial layers. YouthSpark Hub points motivated kids, youth, and adults from around the globe to real-world tech literacy and development opportunities.
The overall vibe is one of confidence in young people and their ability to achieve.
Products & Purchases
Prizes in the form of software and links to Microsoft products are common and reasonably expected considering the platform. Access to a purchase of Microsoft student-version software is weighted equally with programs and opportunities.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that YouthSpark Hub is Microsoft's online portal for kids and teens interested in careers that include technology, from game designer to journalist. It contains links to free online classes, developer tools, competitions with significant prizes, and other opportunities that focus on technology with a subtle emphasis on social change. High school-age kids to young adults -- especially those looking to jump-start careers, businesses, and tech skills -- will find not-to-be-missed resources here.
Is It Any Good?
YouthSpark Hub gathers up Microsoft's extensive educational and social programs and puts them all in one place, where motivated kids, parents, and teachers can access them easily. Although the interface could be more streamlined (all the overlapping layers can be a bit bothersome), there's a straightforward and nearly complete list of the widely diverse offerings, including school-based digital literacy, Microsoft store mini-camps, research blogs, online classes, mentorships, competitions, free software downloads, certification resources, and video instruction. Whew! There are lots of points of entry depending on what your kids are looking for; they can search by age, personal goals (learn to code, run a business), activities (win prizes, get inspired), skills, or job titles. Although non-tech jobs such as doctor, fashion designer, teacher, and environmentalist are included, kids interested in becoming software engineers, game developers, entrepreneurs, or even nonprofit founders are more likely to find what they need here.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.