The cover image for this post is by Unsplash user Ariel
2021 might not have been the best of years, but it’s ended on a high note at RJJ Software, with a prestigious industry award.
On the 1st of December, our founder and Chief Technical Officer, Jamie Taylor, was officially recognised by Microsoft as one of their Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs. It’s an award that acknowledges Jamie’s hard work, both within and beyond RJJ Software, and how much he’s contributed to Microsoft’s vast community of developers.
What is this award? And what made Jamie an award winner?
The Microsoft MVP Program
For over 20 years, the MVP Award has been Microsoft’s way of acknowledging professionals who contribute something special to the community working on its products. These are acknowledged experts in their field, passionate about what they do, who go beyond personal excellence to support those around them.
The outreach element of this is vital. MVPs grab hold of the latest technology, find innovative ways to use it, then share their discoveries, best practice, and enthusiasm with the Microsoft community. Their work leads to better practices and products all across the world. They spread the word in all sorts of ways, such as blogging, writing books, giving speeches, or leading teams. What’s important is that they’re engaged not just with the technology but with the people around them. They give their time and experience to others, and Microsoft thanks them with the MVP award.
The award has several benefits for its recipients. In some ways, the most important is the least substantial, and that’s the attention it brings. There are currently only 278 MVPs in the whole of the UK and Ireland, out of a huge network of professional Microsoft developers. If a company is looking for technical skills, or a journalist is looking for an expert source, then MVPs are a natural place to start. The award also marks MVPs out to the rest of the community as voices worth listening to.
Microsoft’s recognition of these professionals doesn’t end with a pat on the head a flashy certificate (though the executive recognition letter is real). MVPs receive Visual Studio technical and Office 365 subscriptions. They’re granted early access to Microsoft products, giving them a chance to get ahead with the latest tools, and to explain them to others when they’re released. Direct communication channels with Microsoft product teams, an exclusive Global MVP Summit at Microsoft’s HQ, and close relationships with local Microsoft teams mean that MVPs can learn more about what Microsoft is doing and what its products can achieve. That in turn empowers them to do what they do best: encouraging, guiding, and supporting the Microsoft community.
What makes our own Jamie Taylor a Microsoft award winner?
Firstly, he’s got the technical skills. Jamie started writing code in the early ‘90s on an Amstrad CPC 464, and he’s been fascinated by computer technology ever since. That fascination has powered a successful career as a software engineer, during which he’s founded RJJ Software and gained over 14 years of experience working with the .NET technology stack.
Jamie’s passion for technology means that he’s never satisfied to work with what he already knows. He loves trying out new bits of kit, operating system distributions, programming languages, and approaches to technology. He doesn’t limit himself to his sphere of expertise but keeps on expanding his knowledge of broader computer technology, so that he can bring new insights to his central focus, the .NET technology stack.
As a family man with a background in teaching, Jamie has a natural inclination toward sharing his knowledge, and that’s reflected in his enthusiastic participation in Microsoft’s global community. Not content just to write super quality code, Jamie actively shares his knowledge through podcasting and through mentoring other professionals. He’s the creator and host of the .NET Core Podcast, the only podcast dedicated to Microsoft’s .NET technologies, and co-host of Tabs & Space, a straight-shooting podcast about software development. Through these shows, he not only shares his own knowledge but encourages and supports others to do the same. By interviewing members of the Microsoft community, he’s given them a platform to share their learning and to gain the recognition they deserve.
Even when he’s not focused on his work, Jamie is always collaborating. He’s brought his bass and his technical skills to tracks created with other musicians. He’s the co-host of a third podcast, The Waffling Taylors, a silly show about videogames, proving that technology doesn’t always have to be serious business.
With the MVP Award under his belt, Jamie and RJJ Software are heading into 2022 on a high, and with big things ahead of us. Like all MVP Award winners, Jamie’s MVP status lasts for a year, and we’ll find out on the 1st of December 2022 whether it’s been awarded again. In the meantime, he’ll be keeping up the good work, learning, programming, and sharing with the community. Awards are nice, but the real satisfaction comes from the work, and from the people it supports.