As of now we have 6 technical communities in the country. Now! don’t panic if you have registered only in few of these. Yesterday a dude called trying to figure out which one he should register. So for his sake and for many others who might have similar confused sentiments I just thought of writing this.
In a short summary we have 4 Technical communities, but 6 Technical Community Websites represent them. Total member count goes over 8,000 as of not and expected exceed 10,000 registered members by end of 2010. Student Champ Community is lead by Microsoft Student Ambassadors and currently we have 10 of them. Other technical communities are lead by the Most Valuable Professionals.
Among these .NET Forum, IT Pro forum and both MSDN and TechNet sites are developed using Community Server. SQL Universe was originally developed using the same but recently was migrated to DotNetNuke. Student Champs websites is 100% developed by students using ASP.NET 3.5.
Sri Lanka .NET Forum
.NET Forum is the largest Technical Community in the country with over 6000 registered members, and dedicated to talk about .NET and other related technologies. Started in July 2004 with few enthusiasts and have grown at a phenomenal rate due to the commitment of couple of passionate individuals.
Monthly Meeting Date: Every first Thursday of the month
Sri Lanka IT Pro Forum
This community currently have a approx. 1000 registered members. Started in 2005 as the Tech2Guys community and was later renamed to Sri Lanka IT Pro Forum. Dedicated for discussions on Microsoft Server Technologies.
Monthly Meeting Date: Every last Wednesday of the month
SQL Server universe
Started in 2007 by couple of SQL Server gurus, this community now have about 600 registered members. Dedicated to discuss about Microsoft SQL Server and related services such as Reporting Services, Analysis Services etc.
Monthly Meeting Date: Every third Wednesday of the month
MSDN Sri Lanka
This was is a new addition to the developer community in the country with the focus on adding more blogs and resources into the community. Launched about a year back and this has already grown to a base of 200 members and 20 active bloggers.
TechNet Sri Lanka
This also was a new addition to the IT Pro community in the country providing more resources. This was also launched parallel to the launch of MSDN Sri Lanka portal.
Microsoft Student Champs
Currently being the largest student technology group in the country this has about 200 student champs as active members. There are 10 Ambassadors who lead the community.
Monthly Meeting Date: Every first Friday of the month
So to summarize … if you are a developer go and register in .NET and MSDN Sri Lanka Forums, SQL Universe also can be recommended for developers. If you are an infrastructure professional you should register in IT Pro Forum and TechNet Sri Lanka forums. If you are a hard core database guru you should take the SQL Universe, Since SQL is not integrated with .NET it might help in registering in both developer forums as well. If you are a university students you can register in the Student champs community,in this case your registration will be activated only after considering by the Student Ambassadors.
First thought of writing about how you can become an MVP ... but then decided to write the opposite of that because everybody knows how to become one. In case if you don't know you can find more details @ http://www.microsoft.com/mvp or drop me an email on email@example.com and i'll provide more info. As I see it there is no fixed equation or '21 days dummies reference' guide or something like that explaining how you can become one. Activities you do in the technical communities does matter a lot. Doing presentations @ user groups, online postings, writing articles, helping others in technical matters and being a technical expert in a particular area are the key things that can drive you to the award. But there is no such fixed equation like ... ''5 presentations + 100 online posts + 2 articles = MVP'' ... I think what matters the most is being a selfless person, passion for technology and willingness to share your knowledge among others.
Anyways this post is not about 'how to' ... it is about 'how not to'. Just thought of sharing with ya'll few experiences I came across during the past couple of months about some people who wants to become MVPs and who had no dang clue about the program. There was one guy who wants to become an MVP because he wanted to jump to a new office for a big salary. When I asked him why do you want to become an MVP he had guts to say that. When I asked what is your plan to give something back to the community, he had no answer. Then there was another fella who wanted to become and MVP because he was planning to jump to USA and he was thinking that the MVP award is kinda his ticket to US. Suddenly he called me as told 'I want to become and MVP really fast, can I do a presentation in the next user group meeting and get the award after that'. Recently there was another guy who actually made a business proposition to me ... funny world ... he told me 'wela ... somehow make me an MVP and i'll give you anything you need'. Seemed like he was a disparate wannabe. Tough luck boy ... you wont be able to buy me or any other MVP for that matter.
On the good side there are few individuals who are really interested in receiving the award, but who understands the responsibility of it ... and I think they deserve it because they are doing lot of value additions to the technical community. We are keeping our eye on few and in the future they have a high chance of getting nominated for the award :). So folks, now I think you have an idea about 'how to' and 'how not to'
As uaual the schedule got nuts and couldn't blog about this.
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Last Saturday we had our first MVP open day event. Manzi was in charge of organizing the things and he did a kick ass job. Selected destination was Royal Palm Hotel @ Kaluthara. We were planing to start the drive @ sharp 9 AM, but guess what ... as usual we started bit late. How can we start early and break the traditions.
Once we got there first thing in our agenda was to have the planning meeting before we start anything with the booze. Meeting went on about 45 minutes and we discussed about all the .NET Forum activities for the next couple of months, which included stall at Tech.Ed, Deepdive session, Community Day etc. So guys stay tuned ... there's going to be lot of cool things happening in the near future. After the planning meeting it was all fun + fun + fun.
From the MVP team Manzi, Jinath, Pras, Dinesh, Padman and me participated. Merill and Buddhike couldn't make it. And from Microsoft Alan and Indica Joined (a big thanks to Alan for initiating the whole thing). and we invited our buddies from the .NET forum ... Razor, Casper, Charith, Chandana, Rajah etc. but Chandana and Rajah couldn't make it.
Looking forward for the next MVP Open day ... who wants to join ?
Sri Lanka is down another MVP. Well! not yet 100% official I guess. We were happy when Imran was selected because the MVP pool went up by another one. But he didn't get a chance to enjoy the privileges of MVP due to he lost the title because he joined Microsoft Sri Lanka. Anyways, this time it's not him, It's Ruwan ... Last week he moved to Singapore, for one year I guess. According to the info gathered while talking with him he is going to be listed under Singapore MVP List. So we really are going to miss you bro. Wish ya all da best
So now it is my self, Merill, Manzi, Pras, Jinath, Buddhike and Dinesh.
Biggest problem is what will happen to Tech2Guys? Last Thursday we were suppose to have the May IT Pro User Group Meeting. But couldn't. I received several calls regarding the meeting, which means there are many enthusiasts. We'll see what's gonna happen to the user group meting. However online form will go on.