Tamás Tárnok, Senior Software developer at ALLWIN won Sitecore’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for the third time.Tamás tells us about his journey to get where he is today, what he likes most about the Sitecore community, and also how the world’s most elite CMS platform is able to play a strong community-building role.
First of all, congratulations for winning the Sitecore MVP title once again. When and how did you get to know Sitecore?
About 6,5 years ago, when I joined the ALLWIN team. Before that, I would use Sharepoint, but at ALLWIN I started working with Sitecore rather quickly, only after a few months. Back then, it felt like I was thrown in at the deep end, but ever since then, I have been running almost exclusively Sitecore projects. I liked the product itself and its architecture right from the start, and this has not changed ever since.
What is the significance of receiving the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title? What does it involve? Tell us about your journey to get there.
Actually, the MVP title is awarded each year to members who make substantial contributions to the Sitecore community. They take into account how active you are and how much you support the community by writing blog posts, answering questions regularly or organizing meetups.
I got to know the community 4 years ago when I was looking for answers to technical questions. That is how I found the Sitecore community, where thousands of people from all over the world share questions, answers and advice. I met Tamás Varga, former Sitecore MVP (currently Manager, Community Programs at Sitecore), in 2016. During the previous years, he was the only Sitecore MVP in Hungary - and he is still one of the main figures keeping the community together. Tamás was the one who came up with the idea of organizing meetups in Hungary as well. And so we set up an organising committee, with Attila Horváth, Lead Developer at POSSIBLE joining us too.
The first meetup was held in 2017, 15-20 people attended, and luckily most of them were already working with Sitecore. We have been organizing meetups ever since, and the number of our members is over 100 now. There are not many companies in Hungary who use Sitecore, so keeping the community together presents many challenges. Fortunately, over the years the community has grown, and we have built good relationships with the companies involved. We are particularly pleased that speakers and attendees come now from many European countries, even from overseas.
Tamás Varga presenting at a meet-up in Budapest
What does such an event look like? What are you most proud of with regard to those events?
In general, the events consist of two or three 45 minute presentations. We collect topics from the employees of the companies involved (ALLWIN, Possible, Accenture), and pick a few of them. The venue is rotated between the offices of those three companies. The most rewarding feeling for me is that we have been able to reach and hold together professionals who come from various backgrounds and work for different companies.
What is your main motivation when building a community?
Our main goal is that companies do not consider each other to be competitors, but rather they realize, they can learn from each other, and help each other grow. Luckily, the developer community is very supportive in this respect.
What is ALLWIN’s relationship with Sitecore?
ALLWIN has a portal team that spends 95% of their time with Sitecore development. The company was already active in this field when I started, and by now we have become a Sitecore Silver Partner.
How did ALLWIN help you familiarize yourself with Sitecore and earn the MVP award?
Studying Sitecore used to be part of my everyday work, during which I learned a lot from my colleagues. I'd like to mention here our CEO & CTO, Isti Nagy and Imre Németh, Head of Portal Development. ALLWIN also helps with organizing the meetups, they take care of the facilities, the equipment and the catering. It's also cool that I'm encouraged to attend many conferences, which helps me grow and stay up-to-date with the latest technological developments.
Why did you commit yourself to Sitecore?
Because of the people. They are very nice, and honestly, it feels like I’m part of a big family. The atmosphere is very friendly and supportive, everyone knows almost everyone else.
The Sitecore developer community is strong and supportive. What do you think is the reason for that, what is your strength? What does it mean to you to be part of the community?
The professional commitment and the common interests are above all what binds us together. We are a community open to changes, so we can all influence the development of Sitecore. These are values I am happy to support.
Although cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, the annual Sitecore conference, SUGCON Europe would have taken place in Budapest for the first time. We understand that you were also involved in the organizational process. Tell us about the event and your future plans with it.
SUGCON is a large international conference, which attracts 4-500 participants from all over the world each year. In general, 35-40 presentations are held over two days in separate conference rooms about recent developments and features. This year’s conference would have been held in Budapest, I was also involved in organizing it. A great deal of topics were suggested for the event, and I was a member of the selection committee as well.
Unfortunately, this year’s conference has been cancelled, but we are planning to make it happen mid March next year (more info here). In the meantime, the community put together the first international Virtual SUGCON this past month. Here's the event page.
Tell me about your own plans, what goals are you trying to achieve, or in what respect would you like to develop yourself further as an MVP?
I would like to increase the audience of the Hungarian meetups, and somewhat change the structure of those gatherings, so that the relationship between presenter and crowd can become even more open and interactive.
If someone reads this interview and feels like deepening their knowledge in Sitecore, maybe even trying to go for the MVP title, what advice would you give them for the journey ahead?
I think there are two conditions to be met before they can embark on this journey: 1.) they should start doing something that motivates them on a long term 2.) that should serve the community in some way.
Wanna learn more about Sitecore and .NET? Check out Tamás's blog, Thoughts of a Developer. Or connect with him on Twitter. Did you know Tamás has an artsy side too? Find out more about mmuo, his music project here.