Now maybe this isn't a practical goal but I truly think it is possible for me to be named a Microsoft MVP in ASP.NET when they are announced in December.
Wanna know how I'm going to do it?
Basically I'm doing the same things that I've been preaching that we all need to do:
- Learn the newest stuff
- Evangelize to peers
- Be active in the community (online and in person)
- Make yourself known
- BE AN EXPERT
So that last one is the hardest, but I'll talk about that a little later. First I'm learning the newest stuff and catching up on stuff I've fallen behind in. For me this means getting up to date on dynamic positioning, learning ASP.NET AJAX and finding the limitations with Silverlight and trying to find ways to get around them. It means not just reading about these things online but also watching videos, reading books, building sample apps on my own time and also trying to convince my employer to use them in production. I'm well into this phase already, the only trick is going to be able to keep up the momentum.
Evangelizing to peers is something I've always done so that's not a hard one for me. When there is something I'm passionate about everyone around me knows it. I tend to talk a lot when I find something cool and want everyone else to see how cool it is.
Being active in the community is also not a hard one but takes a time commitment. For the last couple of week I've been all over the forums at asp.net answering questions about asp.net left and right. I've also learned a few things as well which is a great thing about forums, you may have a solution but someone else may know of a cleaner / cooler / more elegant solution. The in person community is a little harder just because of the time / distance issue. This is also something that I've done in the past so I need to get back at it. I had a contract gig at the Cleveland Clinic that was only a few months long but still was able to get an internal ASP.NET monthly lunch discussion going which had pretty good turnout. I also try to get to the .NET SIG at the MS office but that's about it at the moment. I really need to offer to speak at one of these groups to really push me to get involved more.
Making myself known kind of comes along for the ride if you do the "be active" item from above. You you are active enough and vocal enough then people will notice. You just need to make sure they notice you for your wisdom and insight instead of for your ignorance and stupidity.
Be an expert. This one is hard to quantify. What makes a person an expert? Is it a certification? Nope, I've seen plenty of people disprove that. What about an advanced degree? Again nope, that may give you academic knowledge but I don't think that makes anyone an expert. Personally I think you are an expert when someone else calls you one. Preferably numerous people. You can't name yourself an expert and expect it to mean anything unless you have people that truly think that you are one. Some people call me an expert in .NET web development already but I don't think I'm there yet. I will be before this year is up though, because I WILL BE AN MVP.