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What qualifies you as a Visual Basic.NET Expert?

What qualifies you as a Visual Basic.NET Expert?
I want to address this very valid question from the outset. To be honest, I am a little uncomfortable with the title "Visual Basic.NET Expert". At this time, the only real experts are the folks on the VB.NET project team at Microsoft. But they are a little busy right now. My qualifications are simply this: background and time.

My background is very diverse. I have worked with languages like C++, Java, Fortran, ADA, and Visual Basic. I am already familiar with many of the concepts introduced in VB.NET like true inheritance and garbage collection.

Admittedly this background does not make me uniquely qualified. Many developers share similar experiences. The second qualification is truly the important one: time. You see I am an instructor. A large part of my job is to dig into new technologies, learning everything I can in order to write class materials and teach others. Ever since Microsoft introduced .NET that is exactly what I have been doing. Most developers do not have this luxury (or burden as the case may be).

Now let me tell you a little secret about teaching: it is a two way street. Nothing tests your knowledge on a subject more than 12 highly motivated professionals grilling you on the finer details. And nothing prepares you better for the next class than these 12 people prodding you to investigate issues you never would have dreamed of yourself. I see this "Experts" gig as a chance to be exposed to hundreds, maybe even thousands of these different points of view.

Rather than "Visual Basic.NET Expert", I may prefer the title "Someone who is doing extensive R&D into VB.NET, is willing to share knowledge, and is looking forward to challenging questions from many different points of view". But that reads more like a personal ad rather than a title. So I hope you will look past this "Expert" title, and that together we can learn more about this fascinating and exciting topic.

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