The Microsoft MVP programme is an award programme that recognizes individuals who are active in online and local communities that show the value of Microsoft products and the Microsoft platform in general.  The individuals who receive this designation are some of the most hard-working and knowledgeable technology professionals in Canada.  If you have followed a tutorial on a Microsoft product or read a blog post about a Microsoft technology, there is a good chance that at least one MVP is involved in with it, either by delivering the content or adding to the conversation around it. If you’re an MVP, feel free to comment on this post on what the MVP programme means to you.  If you’re interested in becoming an MVP, read on for more information!

I have had the great pleasure in meeting and working with some amazing people in my career.  Certainly, my co-workers are people I count in that group, but there is an extended family of technology professionals that I also count in that group as well – the Canadian Microsoft MVP community.  The men and women in this group not only know their craft inside out, but also share that knowledge with Canadians interested in technology at-large.  In fact, many have garnered global recognition and are sought after for speaking engagements in every province in Canada and many countries around the world.

They also provide their knowledge to you online through a number of channels including their blogs, Twitter feeds, LinkedIn groups, video tutorials and pretty much every other online media type available.  They are great resources for you if you’re learning a new technology or if you know a technology inside out but you’re running into a brick wall trying to solve something.

So what exactly is a Microsoft MVP anyway?

Glad you asked.  The best place to learn about the MVP programme is here.  This site basically answers the What, Who and How of the MVP programme.  In essence, an MVP is someone who is active in the community that helps others understand Microsoft technologies and how to use them.  An MVP is not a Microsoft employee – they are technology professionals that use Microsoft technologies everyday and are therefore in a position to provide you with not only an objective opinion on the good and the bad of the technology, but chances are if you’re having a problem with a given technology, an MVP in that technology expertise has probably already been there and knows the answer how to fix it.

Who are the Canadian MVPs?

The list of Canadian MVPs can be found here (it’s the first page of 5 – just click through the pages to see them all).  This is a dynamic list and will change over time.  As you can see, each MVP has an area of expertise.  Every MVP has demonstrated leadership in their area of expertise and has been recognized by Microsoft not only for their knowledge but also their willingness to share that knowledge with others.

What benefits do MVPs receive?

When you become an MVP, Microsoft sends you a letter telling you that you have been accepted into the MVP programme, along with a plaque or trophy that you can adorn your home trophy case (or work shelf) with. 

You also receive an MSDN (for developer-focused MVPs) or TechNet (for IT Pro-focused MVPs) subscription for the duration of your tenure as an MVP (some MVPs have been in the programme for over 10 years!). 

In addition to this, you get an invite to the exclusive and very prestigious MVP Summit.  The MVP Summit is an annual event that happens in Redmond where only MVPs attend and are invited to sit in on sessions given by product groups talking about the future of various technologies.  Better yet, the product teams are looking for your input as an MVP given your expertise in using these technologies in real-life situations.  You actually can get a say in how the products might be shaped!

But most importantly, as an MVP you are recognized in the community as a leader in your chosen field of expertise and that recognition can create new and strong relationships with others in the community, which can be both personally and professionally rewarding.

I want in.  How do I become an MVP?

As you might imagine, becoming an MVP is not a particularly easy journey, but it is a rewarding one.  If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else, you should visit this page.

There are several considerations that Microsoft reviews and assesses each MVP nomination against.  Some of them include:

  • Proven technical expertise in a specific Microsoft product or platform
  • Strong track record in presenting in front of the community on your technology area
  • Consistent and positive community engagement on your area of technical expertise
  • Strong online presence across social networking and blogging, specifically talking about your area of technical expertise
  • Willingness to share your expertise with others and an openness to discussion with others on your experience
  • Sharing tangible experience with others, in the form of materials like tutorials, forum/blog posts and the like

If you are an MVP, why not share your experiences on being a Microsoft MVP and what it means to you by posting a comment on this blog post?  If you are interested in becoming an MVP, why not share your reasons why here as well?

Or better yet, why not join the conversation on LinkedIn?