For a number of years now (since 2002 to be exact), I’ve been chipping in with my 2 pence on various online Q&A sites. As I mention in one of my first blog posts from just over a year ago, “Ways to improve technical skills” and one back in August on “The importance of being earnest”, participating in sites like StackOverflow and the MSDN forums is a great way to keep you on your toes technically. I’ve learnt a lot from picking through other people’s questions and challenges that they are facing, and attempting to provide some input. It gives exposure to real world problems outside of the ones I face in my own job and that I may not otherwise face. I’ve found it really does broaden my horizons and help me to learn more about my favourite technologies - SQL Server, C# and more recently MongoDB have been the main focus for me. Not only that, but I actually really enjoy it.
Bearing in mind these reasons for me taking part in online communities like this and what I’ve personally got out of doing so, I found it quite humbling to have received the Microsoft Community Contributor Award 2011. It came as a surprise; I certainly wasn’t expecting it. From what I understand, one way to be selected to receive the award is to be recommended by an MVP. If that was how I came to be selected (which I’m not sure it was), then my thanks go to whoever did that for me - it was a nice surprise to open my emails to!