It’s very common for myself and other Microsoft MVPs to get asked “What does it take to become a Microsoft MVP” or “I want to be an Microsoft MVP, please tell me what I can do” when we speak at conferences or chat with each others on social networks. The short answer is most people outside of Microsoft do not know that the “secret formula” is. The long answer requires a little bit of understanding of how Microsoft evaluates potential candidates for receiving the award and what the propose of the award is.
The rest of this post is my opinion on how you can become a Microsoft MVP. To see what Microsoft says about how you can become a Microsoft MVP visit http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/becoming-an-mvp.aspx
In order for one to earn the Microsoft MVP award, Microsoft has to see the recipient as some one who provides value to the Microsoft ecosystem and is influential in the software industry. The award is given based on the previous years contributions to the Microsoft ecosystem and is from one of the product teams. Product teams include, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft .NET and many others. Each product group budgets for a certain number of MVPs a year, depending on the specialty, there can be very few spots to many spots available to for new candidates. In addition to this, you need to get nominated by a Microsoft MVP or Microsoft employee for Microsoft to consider you.
OK, so how can I provide value to the Microsoft ecosystem you ask. That’s the tricky spot, there are no fixed rules, minimum contributions or formula for getting in. That being said there are a few things you can do to get on the radar:
- you can blog
- speak at conference / user groups
- respond to forum post on MSDN, Stack Overflow, C# Corner and similar forums
- help out you local user groups and Microsoft Developer Evangelists at events
- contribute to open source projects, especially ones that Microsoft is interested in (Thanks @jamie_dixon for the tip)
My recommendation is that you do not make becoming an Microsoft MVP a goal, but let it happen naturally by doing some of the things mentioned above and even if you do not get the Microsoft MVP award, remember that you are still helping people with your contributions.