My Recommendations For Becoming Microsoft MVP

In just the way every other Microsoft MVP has to go through this process, I am also undergoing to the same routine of being asked the methods and ways of becoming an MVP for Microsoft. Instead of answering the same question over and over again, I thought I should write a simple post about it and then provide everyone access to this resource. In this post, I myself will walk you through a few things that you must understand before proceeding with anything at all, related to Microsoft MVP award. 
 
 
 
The following are a few of the rules and recommendations that might help you increase your chances to win the award — note that I haven't said "help you in winning the award". 
 
Roll out the pencils and start marking a few of the most important things here.

1. Don't ask for it, make them select you

If you are going to end up asking to be awarded, or asking for methods to be awarded, there is a very large chance you won't be selected  — embrace it as, you are just not good enough for the community at the moment and there are others who deserve some respect. This is the first rule in this game. You just work hard enough and the community will itself select you if you are worthy of the award. 
 
I have been asked a couple of times what is the criteria of this award. The criteria is mentioned and fully explained by the term it is, "award". This achievement is awarded to you. You cannot just win it through a competition. I am going to walk you through a few things that would help you in being awarded as an MVP in the Microsoft ecosystem. Microsoft really does know who is doing what and basically, not just MVPs, but the Microsoft staff is also working out day and night finding the people who deserve such appreciation for their work in the communities. So, even if you are totally unaware of who is selecting the jury, how it works is: You are still going to get it, if your community work is suitable and enough to convince Microsoft. No doubt. 
 
Most of the beginners are intrigued by this award and they kind of believe it to be their "ticket to fame". If that is what you are looking forward to, then this is not for you and chances are also very low. In my own opinion, Microsoft must be looking for people with a great status in the community, well known professionals who know what they are doing and talking about. Practically, these folks are the ones whom Microsoft endorses for having a great skill in Microsoft technologies around the globe. 
 
Sometimes, life can be really very tough but still that doesn't mean you should give up on your skills and start following others. Make your own path, select your own journey, find your own tools and go for it.

 
 
After God, if there is something that I personally look up to, it is Eminem. He has been a great motivation for me throughout the harsh years of my life, and I find that mostly I work perfectly when I listen his songs with a cup of tea. Find your own motivation, do what you like. 

2. What are the requirements? 

You are the requirement. A living you! A couple of folks asked me, what do they need to have in order to be awarded as a Microsoft MVP. I always reply: You must have a life. Everything else other than your life and a healthy mind comes later. I tried to collect a few of the reasons or scenarios that must be fulfilled before you can be a Microsoft MVP, but there aren't many. There are a few myths about the requirements that I would like to expose here:
  1. You must be a Microsoft geek.
  2. You should avoid other companies, framework and events that happen. Focus on Microsoft only. 
  3. You must be employed before you can get the award. 
What Microsoft has ever said and required from a nominated professional is that they must be 18 years of age or older. That is the requirement that I know of. The rest of the stuff, I don't have any experience with. Now, breaking the myth part,
  1. Although you must be an expert in one field where you are going to be awarded, it isn't required that you breath, drink, and live Microsoft. Of course, Microsoft frameworks are one interesting thing in themselves but you are all welcome to invest your time in things that you love and care about. If you have even been to Stack Overflow you must know Jon Skeet, he is a Java developer at Google and he has been a Microsoft MVP in the field of C#. 
  2. Like I have said, Microsoft doesn't mind. In fact, Microsoft MVP is one of the best ways that you can get into any of the companies from around the globe. 
  3. I cannot say for sure, but this isn't a requirement. I am a Student at the moment, but was awarded as an MVP. For Students: Microsoft has a Microsoft Student Partner program, if you are interested, apply there.
 
For those, who are Students, I can guarantee there are many rewards for being an MSP too. One of which, being offered free trials for being Microsoft Certified!

3. Content requirement

Microsoft selects around 4000 professionals as their MVP each year, in their 4 rings (January, April, July and finally, in October). Nominations are made throughout the year for the next ring and they go through the nominations as well as their previous MVPs to select the MVPs for next 365 days. Since the list is a tight list and they have to select experts from around their 90 fields, the content must be very qualitative. 
 
I have been asked, what to write. My simple answer is, what you do... Just write it. Most of the time, programmers solve technical problems in their fields, such as finding a way to solve a problem, a logical issue, building a framework that most people require and so on. Most of these items are a good candidate to be written for your profile. I mostly write what I did previously in the past week, which most of the time covers a new tip for programmers, and advice for programmers to use in their own projects. Most of the time, when I build stuff I share that online as a code. If you want to increase your chances, upload and publish it at MSDN Galleries. I would also recommend using and joining a good community to start participating in. Microsoft looks for individuals who are active in communities, and not just individually. 

Post materials 

In case you like to share written content, articles, blogs, and tips are the best way to share them. You can share the material in any language, English is recommended -- not required. Here are my tips for such content:
  1. Must be catchy! The title and the content must be friendly. MSDN has everything written up already, but why would your blog post stand out? 
  2. Grammatical issues and sentence structure does matter. But since English is not the primary language for most of us, that won't be an issue. 
  3. Try ignoring a duplicate post. Write something that you believe hasn't been covered yet. 
You can write your content on your own personal website or blog, but to get more views and a good audience I recommend joining a good community. C# Corner is best -- yes, C# Corner hasn't paid me a penny for saying this! I joined C# Corner a year ago and I received a lot of love from here and the bad sides (every community has them, right?) are not heavier than the love that I had received. Plus, did I mention, having Dinesh Beniwal in your contact list will definitely increase your audience. He is a great guy, do follow him @dbeniwal21
 
You can post your heavier articles as ebooks on the community too. Books are a great addition to your online profile, and they will definitely help you out in standing out in the crowd. There have been discussions, as to why post the books for free. Well, when money comes in, ethics go out of the window. Period.

Videos

Videos do play a vital role because most of the audience and users don't like to read a long book, or guide. They need to learn and fix their problems in under five minutes. Videos are great in such conditions and, a good speech won't let them down either. 

Open source contributions

Microsoft has now started supporting your open source contributions too. You can publish your projects on GitHub, add them as a profile achievement and it can surely count as a contribution to the community. This will help you out in many ways, even if you simply just added a contribution to existing project -- Microsoft has many projects, in fact, Microsoft is the top contributor to open source projects as of now.
 
 
 
So, of course if you are an open source contributor then don't give up hope, your chances are still very fresh and ripe.

Meetings and local events 

This is the most important part and contribution to the community. Most of the time, the local events count as the heaviest contribution because at the same time many people come and interact with you on the topic that interests them most. Microsoft itself provides many local events and gatherings and also supports many MVP-lead gatherings, which means Microsoft has a keen interest in finding the individuals who try to participate locally, with customers and students in training them, helping them learn new standards of technology.
 
So my own personal opinion is to move onward and try in this one. Now, before I move onwards, before I became an MVP, Vincent and I had a talk and just like any non-MVP programmer, I asked him and just like any MVP, he answered my questions in the following theme:
 
 
 
I believe this would clarify most of the things and confusions in the mind of beginners.

Final words 

Just like Vincent has said, if you are working hard just to get the award, you are never going to get it. I can confirm this, because back in 2013 when I wanted to be awarded an MVP award, I didn't get it. Yes, I was annoyed. But now, I had been sharing my knowledge, just because I loved to and one day I got message from Dinesh, telling me that I should nominate myself (Vincent said the same)... I was unsure whether I would qualify as one or not, but something told me to go and do it. A few weeks later, I received an email from Microsoft, telling me that I need to share some information to complete the nomination form, and on the 1st of July I was awarded as Microsoft MVP.
 
So, the rule of thumb is: Just share your knowledge. There are many experts out there too. If you don't get an award, don't give up. Keep sharing, keep learning and keep teaching. Microsoft will keep track of you and in  any case, Microsoft employees, previous MVPs, and the person himself can nominate himself. Microsoft will look into the application again, and if you qualify, welcome to the crew. :-)