Sitecore Developers: How Much Does MVP Status Matter?

Oct 31, 2016 | Marketing Strategy, MVP, Sitecore | 2 comments

Certifications definitely matter in technical roles, but how much does achieving the coveted MVP status mean to developers? Should brands work with agencies that don’t have any Sitecore MVP’s on staff? How can you tell a good Sitecore developer from a not-so-good one?

I started out my Sitecore career working for an agency partner for the first few years. After that, I transitioned over to the client side, so I’ve had the somewhat unique perspective of being on both sides of the fence – Sitecore agency and Sitecore client.

As Sitecore’s popularity continues to grow, especially in North America, my curiosity around the Sitecore MVP awards has only grown. The MVP award for developers is given based on a combination of factors:

  • Sitecore Knowledge
  • Sitecore Implementation Experience
  • Sitecore “Evangelism”
  • Contribution to the Sitecore Community

I know those developers that are serious about advancing their Sitecore careers want to become Sitecore MVP’s. But from a client’s perspective, I’m not 100% clear about how important is the inclusion of an MVP on your project. I know there are strong professionals that aren’t MVP’s, and I’m pretty positive there are MVP’s that still need to brush up on a few skills.

So just how valuable are certifications for Sitecore developers?

Sitecore Certification vs MVP status – how important are they to developers?

I ask this question very sincerely, because I know that a good part of some certifications’ appeal comes from the marketing emphasis placed on the credential by those handing out the certifications. Let’s face it, “certified professional” doesn’t guarantee someone has all the answers or is a “good developer”. Programmers, like any other role, are only as good as their own abilities and experience can carry them. While certifications may establish a baseline of knowledge, there is still a grey area of expertise, in Sitecore as in many technical and marketing field today.

These thoughts spur a number of questions for Sitecore developers in the field. If you’re a Sitecore developer:

  • Do you have your Certified Sitecore Developer award? If so, do you think it makes you better at Sitecore projects?
  • If you’re Sitecore Certified, are you trying to also achieve MVP status as well?
  • For those that were awarded MVP status, was it worth the effort to get there? What do you have now that you didn’t prior to MVP status?
  • As a Sitecore MVP, do you prefer to work on projects with other MVP’s or should MVP developers and strategists be partitioned on projects in some way? Does there ever become a “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario?
  • How do you view Sitecore developers that don’t have MVP status? Do you automatically assume those without MVP don’t know what they’re doing?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the above questions. I know a number of pre-MVP developers that are trying for the award, and I’m curious as to what motivates them and how they think MVP status will change their experience as a Sitecore developer.

An Introduction to my Sitecore Module & Product Idea.

I created this project to act as the "hub" for all posts related to my Sitecore MVP pursuit and my Sitecore product idea. My first post is an introduction to the series and is titled, "Pursuing Sitecore MVP - My Sitecore Product Idea". As I post more segments to this project, they will all be included here. You can follow along on my Sitecore MVP journey from start to finish.

Should brands only work with agencies that have Sitecore MVP’s?

I think this is a huge question that many brands have. Working with any vendor in a technical field can be challenging. Projects like website launches have a lot of hurdles to overcome. How important is it for a brand to seek out developers or agency partners that have Sitecore MVP’s?

Most Sitecore agencies will tell you right up-front how many “certified” Sitecore developers they have. But being a certified developer is different than being an MVP, and I imagine the skill sets can vary widely as well. Smaller agencies may not have any MVP’s, while larger gold and platinum partners may have six or more MVP developers on-staff.

How important is that to the success of our project, though? Does the size or type of a Sitecore project dictate how important it is to work with an MVP?

I’ve had experience on Sitecore implementations working with developers that were Sitecore certified and not. I’ve also had experience working with developers that were Sitecore MVP’s and those that did not have that status. I can say that overall, those that have achieved MVP status know their stuff – it is not an empty award.

But I can also confidently say that there are very capable Sitecore developers that haven’t yet (or may never) achieve MVP status.

How can you tell a good Sitecore developer from a not-so-good one?

That’s a really tough, but very relevant question, and is something that I personally struggle with quite a bit. I think there are solid professionals in any category that both do and don’t have certifications in their field. Capabilities matter, not certifications or awards, but in theory, awards are a way for brands to know at what level the professional operates. Certifications and awards like Sitecore MVP are supposed to provide a baseline – of knowledge, experience, expertise and ultimately ability.

Good developers can be good developers whether they’re coding MVC .NET, PHP or simple CSS and HTML. Here are a few of the most important qualities I’ve personally found come in developers of all types:

Good Developers Can Lead

Good developers should lead others, and with that comes the requirement to articulate concepts, requirements, best practices and other guidance to other developers. Being a good developer means that you can lead other developers and guide them down the right path as well.

Good Developers Were Raised That Way

How you were “raised” as a developer and if best practices were instilled in you from the beginning can set you up to be a great developer well into the future. From there, I think a big part of being a good developer comes down to basic intuition and instinct. Great MVC .NET developers may have never written a single line of code in a Sitecore project, but they can apply what they know to that project and be relatively successful.

Good Developers Learn From Their Mistakes

This is so true, and something I think most would agree on. But not all developers acknowledge their past mistakes, let alone iterate and get better. The best developers I’ve worked with didn’t have all the answers up front. They provided their best solution or answer, and if there was improvement to be made, they did better the next time around.

I know this post had more questions and answers, but I suspect I’m not the only one operating on the “business” side of Sitecore that has questions like this. No matter what side of Sitecore you’re on, working with qualified, skilled profesionals is a must. Finding those professionals can be easier said than done.

The Story Behind the Photo

Lake Eola - Downtown Orlando, FL

The featured image on this post was taken in downtown Orlando at Lake Eola Park. Orlando may be known for its theme parks, but it also has a fantastic downtown miles away from the parks. Lake Eola park has a 1-mile long paved path around the lake and loads of great views.

Lake Eola Park - Downtown Orlando

Are you a Sitecore MVP?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article and your experience in your pursuite of Sitecore MVP status. Are you glad you became an MVP? Was it worth the effort? Please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me with your thoughts.