Wow, I can’t believe it has already been a week. Receiving my Microsoft MVP award on February 1st 2020 was literally a dream come true. I was sitting in my hotel room in London, after just have spoken at NDC London 2020 when I saw the e-mail. It’s such a surreal feeling, but one filled with so much joy and happiness.
So how does one become an MVP?
The Microsoft MVP Award gives us the unique opportunity to celebrate, honor and say thank you to top-notch technology experts who make outstanding contributions to their communities. These technology experts have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies and love to share their knowledge. While there is no single way to become an MVP, we have some great examples that showcase our MVPs and the passion, community spirit and leadership they have exhibited to earn the MVP award
Like so many other MVPs, my goal was never to obtain the MVP award for the sake of the award itself. As much as I appreciate and value the award, I see it more as a recognition of my contributions to a development community that took care of me early in my career, and to which I now want to give back.
There are many roads that may lead to an MVP award, but they all start with your passion. What are you passionate about? What motivates you to reach outside your comfort zone, so that you can mentor and help others?
For me personally, that was the quest to make machine learning more accessible for developers. I challenge you to find yours.
How do you get started?
If I look back at my own career, I contributed very little to the developer community just two years ago. As many others, I had 10s if not 100s of open-source dependencies in my application, and I happily consumed blog-posts with neat solutions to the problems I was facing. It was not that I didn’t want to contribute, I just didn’t know where to start. For me that all changed when I started working for my current employer Excella (a special shout-out to Sean Killeen). Excella is a fantastic place to work, and consists of so many smart people, who either run successful open-source repos or are published authors. Starting to work in that kind of environment really inspired me.
I’m not saying you need to change job to get started, but what I would suggest doing is to seek out a mentor active in the community. This individual can be your partner, and help you navigate how and where to best put your passionate to work. With that said, I’m more than happy to support you today if you want to get started. Just reach out and say hi!
There are many ways to contribute, and you don’t need to do them all (in fact I would advise against it). If you have a talent for writing, I would encourage you to start a blog. If you like producing videos, consider streaming on Twitch or YouTube while you work through some code that interest you. If you are like me and really enjoys teaching people face-to-face, consider submitting abstracts to Meetups and conferences.
Another great way to get engaged in the community is to help organize a Meetup. As a Meetup organizer myself, I will say that help is always needed. If you are attending a Meetup today, consider reaching out to the organizers and see if there’s anything you can do. I promise you that you’ll meet so many new friends.
Why is it so awesome becoming an MPV?
So what are some benefits of becoming an MVP? Different people will surely highlight different things, but to me it’s the access to a fantastic group of people. I love being able to easily connect to other MVPs across the US and the world and to have a chance to meet them face-to-face at events such as the MVP Summit.
They truly are technical thought leaders in their domain, and being exposed to their thoughts and opinions is a brilliant incubator for new ideas.
As an MVP you are also invited to the yearly MVP Summit in Redmond. I’m very fortunate to be able to attend this year (held in March), and I’m excited to see with whom I’ll connect with and what I’ll experience.
Oh, I almost forgot. As an MVP you also get a really cool award kit that arrives in the mail about 2 weeks after the award. Mine arrived today. I sort of knew what it would contain after watching videos on YouTube, but it was regardless an exciting moment unpacking it. Because this award kit was mine.