I was recently interviewed by Carlos Chacon (@CarlosLChacon) and Steve Stedman (@SQLEmt) for their SQL Data Partners podcast. I had chatted with Carlos at PASS Summit a couple of years back, and we finally got around to doing an interview about being an MVP.
NOTE: One aspect of the MVP program changed between when the podcast was recorded and when it was published. MVPs are no longer awarded on a quarterly basis. It is now monthly.
So, first question: Just what the heck is a Microsoft MVP anyway? MVP stands for Most Valuable Professional. This is an award that Microsoft gives to people in the community who share their knowledge about Microsoft technologies. Microsoft employees are not eligible. While it is an award, it’s also a status. The award is given for one year, so you can call yourself an MVP as long as you have been awarded within the past year.
How might you be eligible? You must have a substantial impact on the technical community. That could be by blogging, answering questions, writing books, teaching public classes, presenting, creating an open source tool, and more. You don’t have to do everything, but the things you do should impact lots of people. Hopefully, they will be things that you love to do. I enjoy presenting and writing, so those are what I do the most.
To be considered, someone, usually another MVP, must nominate you. Your contributions over the past year will be reviewed. How someone is chosen is not really public knowledge, but you must be doing a lot of community work.
I truly believe that being an MVP is a bonus for doing the things that you love to do and would do even without the MVP award.
Do you have to be an expert in everything? No, there are several technical areas for MVP status. I am a Data Platform MVP. Previously, this was called SQL Server, but because of the many data related technologies on Azure that don’t use SQL Server, the name was changed in 2015. Actually, Microsoft revamped all the categories at that time.
What are the benefits of being an MVP? Mostly, it is an honor to be chosen. There are some great benefits, too, such as an MSDN license and the MVP Summit. Being able to list the award on your resume and greater exposure if you are a consultant are some of the non-tangible benefits.
Be sure to listen to the podcast. I was even able to bring up Star Trek!