Get the Credit You Deserve
By Jonathan Goodyear
I recently wrote about the great opportunities to get into .NET consulting at this point in time if you got on the Visual Studio 2005 bandwagon during its beta stages and already have some experience and expertise using it (see Have You reached Your Tipping Point?). If possible, you should find clients yourself, so you can avoid giving up a portion of your income to a greedy headhunter (see Beware The Mischievous Headhunter). An even better idea is for your clients to find you. For clients to find you, though, you need to get your name out there in the public consciousness.
I wrote an article entitled Going Independent - Part 2 - Marketing Yourself that explains a lot about how to go about launching your own personal marketing campaign. Some of the things I covered include how to get certified, how to get published, and how to break into speaking at user groups and events like code camps and conferences. If you re serious about starting your own consulting practice, I highly recommend you read the article.
Of course, almost all the ways that you promote yourself also contribute to the developer community. That should be worth something in and of itself, right? Well, now it is! Enter Community Credit, the newest innovation by David Silverlight. You may recognize David as one of the founders of Non-Profit Ways, a charitable organization that performs free .NET development for other organizations that would otherwise not be able to afford a quality Web site to promote their causes (I wrote about Non-Profit Ways in Give a Little, Get a Little).
So, what exactly is Community Credit? It s a Web site where you can log all the activities you do to help promote .NET development in your community. Each type of activity (e.g., blog posting, writing an article, speaking at an event, registering your photo with http://www.email2face.com, etc.) is assigned a point value. The more you contribute to the .NET community, the higher your point total rises.
Each month, Community Credit awards the developers who garner the most points with geeky (but really cool) prizes. I won a USB powered lava lamp several months ago. Each month is a new and exciting competition, so you can get in the game at any time. Your All Time point total is stored, as well. Score enough points, and you may end up in the Community Credit Hall of Fame. In What Is an MVP, Anyway?, I broke down the steps involved with becoming a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, or MVP. The bottom line is that it comes down to community contributions. The Community Credit Web site is a great way for you to present the MVP review board with a consolidated transcript of your .NET community contributions. That way, nothing will be missed.
I think Community Credit is a really great concept, as it provides a way to bring the .NET developer community together for a little friendly competition. It also provides ideas and links to ways you can contribute to the .NET community that you may not have known about. You can then benefit from the increased exposure you ll get from others viewing your contributions (like more business for your consulting practice and more traffic to your blog). In the end, the whole .NET community wins. So get in the game and get the credit you deserve.
Jonathan Goodyear is president of ASPSoft (http://www.aspsoft.com), an Internet consulting firm based in Orlando, FL. Jonathan is Microsoft Regional Director for Florida, a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD), and co-author of Debugging ASP.NET (New Riders). Jonathan also is a contributing editor for asp.netPRO. E-mail him at mailto:[email protected] or through his angryCoder eZine at http://www.angryCoder.com.