The Microsoft ‘Most Valuable Professional’ Program

DevToolsGuy / Wednesday, April 24, 2013

 What is a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional)?

The Microsoft ‘Most Valuable Professional’ (MVP) award is given out by the folks at Redmond to members of the Microsoft community that are judged to be leaders and influencers within their fields. In particular, focus is given to people who are very active online (with things like message boards, blogs, Twitter) as well as at conferences and events.

Microsoft has long enjoyed active and enthusiastic communities for many of its products (SharePoint, Dynamics CRM, and .NET platform are excellent examples) and the MVP award both acknowledges people who contribute to these communities, as well as helps to foster the activity in the first place. There are currently 4000 MVPs in 90 countries, covering 90 different Microsoft products. Microsoft estimates that these people answer more than 10 million questions a year.

So how do does one get involved? Let us explain.

Why become one?

MVPs are able to count themselves among a select group of professionals in the Microsoft world, and the various benefits of the program stem from this standing amongst peers. Useful as they are, they can best be categorized as intangible - things like respect among peers, a more direct line to Microsoft, and access to a wealth of useful technical resources.

The best way of thinking about the MVP Award, and its benefits, is not to think about it at all really. Better to focus on getting involved in the community, contributing online, and working to help your fellow professionals. Then, and really only then, should you consider the MVP program. Over the years, Microsoft has become very adept at judging the Award and who is suitable, and it is much better to apply once you have some standing in the community. Treat it as a reward rather than a goal.

How do I become a Microsoft MVP?

There are no actual set rules for becoming an MVP. This is in part due the varied nature of Microsoft’s products. What makes an Azure expert an MVP, might differ from what makes someone who works with Windows Phone OS an MVP. However, Microsoft does provide some basic guidelines for things they take into account. This list includes:

  • Contributions to Microsoft Answers, TechNet, and MSDN
  • Contributions to wikis, blogs, and other online content
  • Appearances at conferences and user groups
  • Articles and books authored

Here are a few more tips we have garnered from past and present winners, we hope they prove useful:

  • “Don’t focus too much on winning the award, rather sharing knowledge online and being helpful to users in your community.”
  • “The MVP award has always been proud of being independent from Microsoft. Bear this in mind.”
  • “An MVP award is generally for a particular focus on a particular product. This isn’t for ‘jacks of all trades’”
  • “The award is for one year only, so don’t stop doing what you do if you wish to be renewed, Microsoft is always watching!”

Are there Microsoft MVPs at Infragistics?

Yes, there are! Infragistics is proudly home to several current and prior Microsoft MVPs, with more to come in the future. 

  • Jason Beres, Senior Vice President, Developer Tools
  • Nick Landry, Senior Product Manager
  • Daizen Ikehara, Developer Evangelist
  • David Burela, Technical Evangelist
  • Ken Azuma, Managing Director / Senior UX Architect  
  • Ambrose Little, Principal Design Technologist, Product Management