In this tutorial, you will learn how I became an Episerver EMVP and the potential steps that you can follow if you would like to become one as well. If you have an aspiration of becoming an Episerver EMVP, this is the tutorial for you 🔥🔥🔥
Let us start things off with a little history lesson. The year is 2012 and I had been a 'professional' developer for around 8 years. I wanted to make more money and become a contractor in London, however, I wasn't sure how I would stand out from the crowd. To help me stand out, I thought it was probably a good idea to set up a website to demonstrate my skills. Over a weekend, I knocked up a very ugly and basic HTML page that had my CV on it, registered a domain. This is the website you are now reading 📖📖📖
A few months later, I started working on a project using a VERY useless CMS product that didn't really work and wasn't fit for purpose. Using this CMS to build a website was a very frustrating experience. The documentation was terrible, there were no user guides, no documentation, and no one had blogged anything about it.
On that project, I had to figure out everything myself. My memory is terrible, so I was learning things and then forgetting them a week later. After a month, I would be faced with the same issue, I'd then have to research and re-learn how to solve the same problem again. To help myself out, I thought I would blog about these things to save myself some time in the future. A gift to future Jon 😊
To introduce this capability within my website, I had to upgrade my static one-page website to use a CMS or blogging platform. I wanted to include a few posts about how to troubleshoot some of the issues using this archaic CMS. Up until that point, my website may be had 1 hit a month but after writing about 15 blogs I started getting maybe 20-50 views a month... the big time I know!
Even though I had a tiny amount of traffic on my site it was still pretty cool, so every now and again I'd write a post here and there. After that project finished, I started working with Episerver 6 again. Around this time I learned about the EMVP program. In the back of my head, I always thought it would be cool to be an EMVP. In terms of contracting, I might even be able to charge a higher day rate. At the time I worked with an EMVP and I decided if I wanted to get to work on the best projects with the best rates, I'd have to up my game somehow.
At a minimum, getting some form of recognition from the London community as an Episerver expert would, hopefully, help me land contracts more easily. When I sat down to create my brilliant mastermind plan to achieve Episerver world domination, the best (only) way I came up with was to just try and help as many people as I could with their problems. If I had a work problem that I couldn't figure out easily, or find a blog post that I could read and digest easily, I wrote something about it and shared it with the world.
Forward on a few years, to the beginning of 2016, Episerver randomly emailed me and told me that they had awarded me with an EMVP status for my help with the Episerver community, which was a bit of a surprise. After looking around, I don't think there's too much information out there to help people figure out how to get EMVP status themselves, so I thought I'd write this post to help developers who are now wanting to do the same thing. Below lists some simple steps that I used to create this website and get an Episerver MVP status.
What Can I Do To Become an EMVP?
The below quote comes from the welcome EMVP email I received:
The EMVP status is given to extraordinary individuals that publicly and selflessly do a big effort to help the Episerver developer community. Answering forum posts are one way, blogging is another. We also look at sharing code, participating / running open source projects around Episerver, public speaking, videos, arranging meetups and much, much more.
To become an EMVP you need to share knowledge with the world on a consistent basis. You can not just write a single blog post or answer one forum question. It took 3 years of writing before I was awarded an EMVP status. To become an EMVP you need to do things weekly. My first tip is to figure out what you like to do. If you like answering forum questions, go for it. If you like writing code and contributing, great, publish some NuGet packages. If you like public speaking, volunteer to speak at all Episerver meet-ups. If you hate doing something like answering forum questions, the chances are that you will give up before you win an award. Find the thing you enjoy the most and then do that, over and over again!
It’s all about passion and consistency!
Consistency is the key to a lot of people's success. Being consistent is not exciting or some secret magic silver bullet, however, it is the key to being successful in life. If you walk into any gym, you will almost always see some huge pea-headed ripped guy in the corner, curling some weights with his veins looking like they might pop any minute. These guys weren't born that way, they got there by going to the gym 7 days a week and eating the right food. Becoming an expert in any field takes the same dedication, you need to make a habit of showing up every day, and make it a point to not let anyone else outwork you.
To turn up and train every day you need to have passion. If you don't care enough you might answer a few forum posts and after a few weeks, give up. Contributing to a community is something you do because you are passionate about it. If you enjoy helping others, then you do it consistently, by regularly showing up and working hard because you want to... not because you have to.
Becoming an Episerver MVP is very similar, you need to consistently work towards helping the community daily/weekly. This is a much better strategy than waiting until nominations come around in December time and making a minimal token effort for a few weeks. Spending time answering people's emails, writing and coming up with new ideas is time-consuming and can be stressful to juggle with your normal 9-5 job. If you relate this journey to my gym comparison, it’s like walking into the gym in January after you haven’t worked out all year long and expecting to be ripped by February. Becoming an EMVP takes time and there are no shortcuts 😞
Become selfless, not selfish
My best advice is that you shouldn't start something just to obtain an EMVP status. I started writing and helping people without any thought at all of getting an EMVP award. Realize that most of the MVP's would still be doing the same things even if there wasn’t an EMVP program. We have all built and maintained postive developer habits. We help others by sharing the knowledge we have gained. This does against a lot of developers and teams. A lot of teams want to hoard the information and the code they have written in order to get a competitive advantage or bragging rights. If do hot share your best tips and advice, you will not be making as big an impact on the world as you can. This will reduce your chances of becoming an EMVP 🤔
Set Daily/Weekly Goals
Anything that is easy to come by is pretty meaningless and nothing in life comes free. If you want to become an EMVP, you simply have to commit a period of time, every day or week to work towards your goal. My process is that whenever anyone asks me a question I do not know how to answer, I make a note of it. In the evening, once or twice a week, I whack on Netflix, go through the list and get answers to all the questions and write the code to solve it. I then write a quick blog post about it and post it. I do this every week.
Today, for example, someone emailed me and asked for help in order to build an A to Z control in Umbraco. I sat down and spent 10-15 minutes replying by email, detailing a basic outline and some code samples so this person could understand the problem and hopefully figure out how to solve it. I'll now use that reply as the basis of a blog post to share more knowledge with the rest of the world. I'll upload a code sample to my Github and send the link to the person in question. I don't expect anything in return, well maybe a thank you, I just do it to help someone out. It's that process that usually results in 80% of the posts on this site.
Schedule Time In Your Calendar and stick to it
This sounds silly but it worked for me. I set aside every Tuesday and Wednesday evening to work at home on posts that interest me, between 9 and midnight and then committed to doing that week after week. When the time comes to work on knowledge sharing, hopefully, you will already have a plan of what you are going to do.
You may want to commit to 15 minutes a day, or a few hours a week. It's whatever works for you. Jump on Episerver World and/or Stack Overflow and help others to work through their issues. You may not know the answer, but maybe you can help lead someone in the right direction. Spend time researching how to fix other peoples issues. In this process of researching, you'll learn a lot more about Episerver.
This continual improvement outside of your work project will also have the benefit of making you more knowledgeable about the Episerver as well. This consistant learning will make you the go-to person at work on anything Epsierver related. This will allow you to work on better projects and charge more money for your service.
Make sure to set up your notifications on Episerver world so when someone replies on a forum post, it comes directly to your email inbox so you can see what’s new and respond promptly.
Use this time to build an Episerver module, package it in a Nuget package and share it with the world. If you keep having to re-do the same thing on different projects, that's definitely a good starting point. If you have to do the same thing a lot and you can solve that problem for free, the chances are that other people will want to use it.
If you live in a city, join meetup.com visit a local Episerver meet-up and offer to do a presentation. If you do not have a local Episerver meet-up, then consider starting one up.
If you want to help the community and start on this EMVP route, do it because Episerver is your passion and you love to help the world NOT because you have to. Next, set aside time each week to take time out of your day and help other people. Do this constantly for a period of a year or more and I am sure you will become an EMVP. Good luck. Happy Coding 🤘