Dorien van der Linden

Visualization is one of the most effective ways to communicate. I have always believed that and I have always been fascinated by the ways people have visualized complex ideas.

What drives a Sitecore MVP?

By Dorien van der Linden

On January 31st João Neto was recognized as a Sitecore MVP. We met with him right after the announcement to hear all about this award and what drives him as a Sitecore professional.

For João it is the second year in a row he is awarded the MVP status. The Sitecore company itself grants this award to a small selection of professionals in countries all over the world. It is awarded in four categories: Technology, Commerce, Strategy and Ambassador. João was awarded the MVP status for the Technology category. It is a recognition for those who contribute the most to the Sitecore community.

When asked what the requirements are for becoming a Sitecore MVP João explained: “The most important is that you share your knowledge with the Sitecore community. I wrote articles on my blog, write posts on other blogs, respond on forums, slack channels and any other platform knowledge is exchanged. Only those that help the community the best become MVP.” Becoming MVP is something João deliberately aspired to. “Of course, the award is nice, but most of all it helps you grow as a professional. You actively increase your knowledge, but it also helps you to establish yourself within the community and the company you work for.

João is not the only MVP within Virtual Affairs. Joost Broekhuizen has also become an MVP this year and within the competence team of the We are you group they work with Rob Habraken is also an MVP for the fourth year in a row. João explains that Joost created a group that aims to unite people that aspire to be an MVP. The people in that group aim to motivate and inspire each other. That is the general idea behind the MVP status: to promote mutual support. There is no competitive ambiance, it’s a friendly supportive community. João helps other within Virtual Affairs that want to become an MVP one day: “I guide them in how to grow their knowledge and expertise and also help them share their knowledge in a more effective way.” He adds that it also helps to attend the community meetups and - once you are ready for it – apply to speak at meetups and events.

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João blogs at least once a month. His inspiration comes mostly out of the project he works on. “Also, I research things in my spare time, just to learn. I always end up finding enough new things to blog on and to share with the Sitecore community”. But for developers just starting with blogging, it can be scary. What if you are not the absolute best? “Having ‘imposter syndrome’ is very normal.” João replies. I think everyone feels like that occasionally. It doesn’t matter how much you grow or how well recognized you are by people. Just do your best as you always do. That is enough.”

We wondered if Sitecore is the one system João masters. He smiles and replies: “I am mostly specialized in Sitecore, but as the platform continues to grow, I don’t think anybody can master everything. It is important to keep learning, though.” But yes, I’m fully focused on the Sitecore .Net based platform.” In order to keep his knowledge up to speed, he immediately dives into the Sitecore documentation whenever a new release is published. “You check the information exchanged among the community and among the MVP’s. But mostly you gain experience in projects, interacting with clients and other developers. That how you grow your expertise. Working with Sitecore daily ultimately contributes the most.

The person that initially inspired João to become an MVP was his former employer Rodrigo Peplau, who always encouraged him to share knowledge. Now João want to help inspire others. We wonder if there is anything he would recommend to a new Sitecore developer that just started. “Gather all the knowledge you can get.”, João replies. “Get all the official Sitecore training and never stop learning. Always share everything you learn with the people around you, including your struggles. Don’t keep that to yourself. By sharing what you don’t know, you allow others to help you to that next level.”