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I have several certifications, MCPD, MCTS, MCAD, etc and I've learned that MVP is an award (just a title), not a certification.

So if I wanted to get one of these, I'd have to spend valuable time on communities, sharing knowledge and providing answers to others for free, consistently, for years, until finally someone special notices and rewards me. I imagine there'd be some personal benefits along the way, but supposing I achieved this goal and became an MVP, would this pay off financially in any way (career opportunities, higher pay scale, etc.)?

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Do it if you really care about getting the distinction. Otherwise, do what pays your bills. –  Bernard Jul 11 '11 at 21:06
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You get the REAL Microsoft Support phone number, not the fake one they give out to the other schlubs. Plus they tell you the registry key that turns off the random bluescreen process. –  JohnFx Jul 12 '11 at 0:19
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@JohnFx Funnily enough, when I asked for the number; they gave me Jon Skeet's cell number. –  vcsjones Jul 12 '11 at 15:41
    
Yes, technically, having a MVP can help you out. However be warned that from what I've learned from MS employees that the vetting process of nominating people for being a MVP is very thorough and if they find indications that you are purposely trying to game the system to get an MVP they will black label you so you won't get into the program. The purpose of the MVP program is to highlight outstanding members of the technical community that are passionate developers. MS doesn't look highly on those trying to use the program to profit from it. –  AlanBarber Jul 14 '11 at 13:15

3 Answers 3

As a 5 year MVP; I can share my experiences with you.

Most (including myself) MVPs are not MVPs by effort - we do what we do; and being an MVP was a nice benefit. It's more of a reward, than a goal. Now, that isn't to say that aiming to be an MVP is a bad idea. The problem with that approach is it seems more like "work".

If the idea of using your personal time to do things like contribute to forums, user groups, code camps, etc seems bad; then don't do it. I do it because I was doing it long before I was an MVP.

As far as pay off? There are a few nice perks, but nothing enormously substantial. For the curious, the actual "perks" are: a 1 year MSDN Ultimate Subscription, access to some NDA information, discounts on some conferences like Tech Ed; etc. The MVP summit is a blast as well. However, there really isn't any monetary gain. Not all companies care (or know) what the award is.

Does it "pay off" for me? I think so, but not for the reasons you seek. I didn't really make that a priority when I started getting involved in the community, nor did most of the MVPs I know, so to me, it was effortless. I like it because I get to interact with other MVPs, learn about cool stuff, and it's encouraging to me that Microsoft is trying to reward the community built around them.

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As a first year MVP, I fully agree with this. The MSDN subscription is nice, but I have one through my work, so it's not that important. It does open doors that would otherwise be closed, but most of those doors would eventually be opened anyway as all MVPs are EXTREMEMLY active in the communities, and as such, have very strong networks. Your last sentence says it all. The first rule of the MVP is don't do it for the MVP. Most MVPs honestly don't REALLY care about the award itself so much as it's a platform to help people more and better. –  Ryan Hayes Jul 11 '11 at 21:18
    
Like I said, I understand it is a reward but I can't agree it's effortless as you have to be active in communities; yes for reasons of joy, learning and teaching. –  William Jul 11 '11 at 21:38
    
@William - but it was effortless for me (and most) MVPs because they would have been doing all of the community work that they do even if the MVP award didn't exist. Bluntly, I would say "no", it is not worth more time doing something you would not have been doing in the first place. –  vcsjones Jul 11 '11 at 21:42
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"The first rule of the MVP is don't do it for the MVP". I agree as it's something attracted to you by the way you serve yourself... –  William Jul 11 '11 at 21:46
    
"Not all companies care (or know) what the award is" - surely true, but I'll bet that those that do know and care would be highly impressed. I can absolutely guarantee you that if I was reviewing resumes, it would shoot you to the top of my pile! –  Carson63000 Jul 12 '11 at 0:48

Based on the way you have broken things down, I would say no - it is not worth it for you.

I would bet that most MVPs do what they do because they truly love it. I don't think that Jon Skeet decided that the path to becoming MVP was to answer as many questions as he could online - thus raising his visibility and reputation until Microsoft finally recognized him... I expect that he just loves teaching, and learning (how else could he put himself into a position to teach if he didn't learn first) and the exposure, reputation, and MVP status were just by-products.

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You know, this is a really difficult thing to answer. It depends both on how you value being a MVP and how much "work" you deem it be becoming one. If you love teaching and learning than the job aspect of it isn't really a sacrifice. On the other side being a MVP might be good for some professional relationships but if you only want it for ego and validation you're probably pursuing it for the "wrong" reasons. If it seems to much of a chore to get, it probably isn't worth it either.

I'd say, do what you love doing. If you get a MVP, fine. Try it out and see if it's worth the effort. If it's too much of hassle than at least you know that. I doubt the tangible advantages, at least the monetary ones, of being a MVP is so crucial that you can't get them otherwise.

If being a MVP aligns with what you do anyways it might be a good bonus though and you might get the opportunity to build relationships with some people you otherwise wouldnt'. Be very wary of being dependent on something like a title bestowed on you by someone else to define yourself though.

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I'm not saying you necessarily become best friends with everyone but you certainly might get the opportunity to get into contact with some people you might not. The rest is as always what you make of it –  konrad Jul 11 '11 at 22:20

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