MVP, CTP, vExpert, and More: The Alphabet Soup of Titles

Among technologists, it’s not unusual to see an acronym or two after a person’s name. In some cases, these acronyms refer to certifications, but sometimes, they reflect participation in one or more elite vendor programs. What are the various elite programs, and how does one become invited to participate?

Microsoft offers MVP (Most Valuable Professional) recognition, Citrix sponsors the CTP (Citrix Technology Professional) program, and VMware hosts the vExpert program. Companies including RES, Nutanix, and AppSense offer similar elite programs.

For each of the programs, one must be involved in the technical community and make numerous contributions. Participation in the technical community can take many forms, including presentations, blogs, user group participation, white papers, sample code, videos, learning materials, sharing answers to technical questions, and so forth. Each of these elite programs has its own criteria for participation, and individuals can self-nominate or be nominated by existing members. In all cases, vendor employees cannot be participants in the program. Competition among the nominees is heavy, and attainment is based on receiving an exclusive invitation to participate in the respective elite program.

Microsoft’s MVP program is the largest of all elite programs, with nearly 4,000 awardees worldwide. Areas of specialization include Active Directory, App-V, Group Policy, Hyper-V, and Remote Desktop Services, as well as practically all other aspects of Microsoft technologies. VMware’s vExpert program is somewhat smaller, with just over 700 participants, and the Citrix Technology Professional program has 50 awardees. Each program reviews new nominations and existing members at distinct intervals for the next award period.

Both VMware and Citrix announced the awardees of their respective programs within the past few days, and I’m honored and thrilled to have been accepted into the 2015 Citrix Technology Professional program! Notably, the 2015 CTP membership has included several women for the first time, and that makes this exclusive invitation even more exciting. In addition, Edward Haletky, Steve Beaver, Bob Plankers, and Tom Howarth of The Virtualization Practice were awarded renewed membership in VMware’s vExpert program, as announced last week. Congratulations to all!

When an individual achieves a certification level and adds an acronym to their name or title, success has been achieved. However, being awarded acceptance into a program such as CTP, vExpert, or MVP is very different, because it’s only the beginning of an exclusive relationship with the vendor. In addition to some exclusive vendor perks, the invitation to collaborate with product managers and others who are setting the roadmap for new technology releases is exciting. These vendor contacts don’t live and breathe the technologies in the same way that program awardees do, and thus the reality of virtual street input is extremely valuable in setting product direction. In addition, members of the respective programs are expected to continue their technical community participation and contributions in anticipation of the next round of nominations.

Many new technologies are in development, and competition in the virtualization industry is heating up each day. These enhanced vendor relationships that various The Virtualization Practice members have as part of these elite programs will pave the way for an exciting 2015.

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