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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

How to become a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) ?

Recently I recieved an e-mail asking about "How to become an MVP?" on one of the technical groups that I am subscribed on. I felt oblijed to respond to these questions and following is my response. (Feel free to comment!)

You are not the first one to ask these question and definately not the last one either. I believe its natural ask these questions and i will be really happy if my answers can help you understand things better.

So here goes my response to your queries .. but ...one be one!

1) First of all can any one tell me that what and who is a MVP,what type of people are awarded MVPs by Microsoft I mean to say that what profesisonal qualities and skills does these people have.

Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) is an individual whom Microsoft recognizes for his community participation and willingness to help others. MVP is an individual who provide invaluable online and offline expertise to the technical community in a specific or a group of Microsoft Technology areas.

So as for the best of my understandings MVP program is all about identifying people in technical community who are active participants and are always willing to share their experiences and knowledge, pertaining to particular technology area (like C# , ASP.NET or XML Web Services etc), with other developers in the community.

2)2) My second question is that how to become a MVP, do we have to pass some kind of Test or some certification like MCSD.net/MCP/MCAD.net etc , I think that we have to prove our skills in any one of the Microsoft Technologies fo eg C#,SQL Server etc but what is the crieteria of Microsoft for which it accepts that some person is really expert in one of the technologies I mean to say that how does Microsoft judges the skills of a person for some technology,do we have to develop some world class Software or any other product but again what is the Microsoft's defination for a world class Software .

My answer is No!. You don’t require any certifications or such credentials, you need not to have worked on any world class software etc. But the point is you need to have expert level skills in some Microsoft technology area. Believe me that area could be any thing from MS Word to BizTalk Server, i.e. any thing. But remember doing certifications, working on development of great software can always help you become a guru!

Now the second part of your question was how does Microsoft judge some one's skills? Now there are multiple channels where Microsoft can get to know about such individuals (aspiring/would be MVPs), one place where Microsoft is carefully observing techies is msdn newsgroups (http://msdn.microsoft.com/newsgroups/) another very important platform where Microsoft looks for such individuals is INETA User Groups (http://www.ineta.org), and then there are other places like blogs, mailing lists etc.

3) The third and last question is that what benefits one gets by becoming an MVP,does he gets some kind of financial benefits or ny other such benefits and if not than whats the use of becoming a MVP?

Well, MVP is an award its not a designation so there aren’t any financial or such benefits associated with it. Being an MVP within itself is a great achievement and I am sure not a single MVP looks for financial aspects or such gains while becoming MVP.
Becoming an MVP is the biggest benefit within itself i.e. if you understand.

However there are certain other benefits associated with MVP program as well. Following is a brief introduction to them:

A) Technical Resources·
MVP Source Licensing Program enables eligible MVPs to gain access to Microsoft source code.
· MVP Academy virtual learning center delivers timely instructor-led online courses that help Microsoft MVPs realize their full potential.
· Downloads host key documents and files on the MVP Member’s Web site so Microsoft can securely distribute information to MVPs on the MVP Members (Web) Site.
· Microsoft Learning Opportunities offers resources, skills assessments, books, online reference materials, course, workshops and certification programs.
· Knowledge Base Resources give MVPs opportunities to get articles published, view articles on pre-release products and issues, and rights to republish KB articles to the web.
· MVP Private Newsgroups provide forums for MVPs from around the world to share ideas on Microsoft products and technologies with Microsoft employees.
· MVP Product Feedback allows MVPs a direct channel to submit comments, suggestions, and reports of abnormal behavior or potential viruses related to Microsoft products and technologies through the MVP Member’s Web site.
· Technical Support includes 3 free technical support incidents per MVP for use during their award year.
· MVP Webcast offers eligible MVPs the opportunity to deliver web-based sessions on relevant topics for the Microsoft community.
· MSDN or TechNet subscriptions provide MVPs with one-year online priority access to products and expert advice.

B)- Relationship services:
Microsoft assigns an MVP Lead as a relationship owner between Microsoft and MVP community. Like here in Pakistan we have Mr Vaqar Khamisani. MVP Lead is a person who acts as a bridge between MVP community and Microsoft, he is the one who advocates and keeps MVP community updated with latest happenings, initiatives and other opportunities. Through MVP Lead, MVPs get to know about conferences and events where MVPs can participate. A good example of such an event would be "Global MVP Summit", every year Microsoft invites MVPs from all over the world to acknowledge their services and to maintain a close relationship with them. Like this year Adnan Farooq went to attend it and got a special mention from Steve Ballmer.

So thats it from my side and I hope I have been able to answer your queries.

ps: I would also like to refer you to Robert Mc Laws blog entry on "How to become an MVP?".

Hammad Rajjoub


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