Julie's Comments: The Scripting Games - Winter 2014

This post comes to us from Julie Andreacola, one of the members of team Kitton Mittons, who won The Scripting Games - Winter 2014. You're welcome to submit your thoughts about the Games as well!

The 2014 Scripting Games are over and once again, it was a terrific experience. This was my third scripting games and I was blown away with all that I learned.

The team approach was very appealing to me as I have been the PowerShell expert at my workplace so I was hoping to find a team where someone knew more than I did as I’m only intermediate in PowerShell skills. I struggled to put a team together from our local PowerShell user group for the practice event, but it just didn’t work out due to the timing and workload of potential team members. I took to Twitter to find a team that had an open spot and found the Kitton_Mittons.

The team was just what I needed. We had no expectations to win and we acknowledged that some weeks, people would not be able to participate. All of the team, but myself was located in Northern Virginia, so we arranged for a Google Hangout each evening around 7 p.m. We also had a shared repository on GitHub. Both of these tools were new for us, but were invaluable for our team collaboration. I think we only had one night with everyone in attendance. The sessions varied from discussion of elements of the script, screen sharing (nice Google Hangout feature), and general geek conversation. Two of the team traveled to Charlotte NC to join me in PowerShell Saturday 007 where we met and gained another team member for the final few events.

The learning benefits happened immediately. The first week I learned more about parameters and using them to validate inputs. I immediately began implementing them in my scripts at work, making them more robust and easier to hand off to others as I was transitioning to a new job. A couple days later, our team made our first module. I knew it was easy, but had never done it and now my script at work had a module. One of our team members made an install script that put the files and modules in the correct places. I realized the advantage of this especially when turning scripts over to users unfamiliar with PowerShell. I was able to take the same installer script and quickly customize for use in my workplace. The following weeks included getting more experience with efficiencies of script blocks and better error checking. Although many of my evenings were being taken up with PowerShell, I found the nightly sessions invaluable as our team leader, Jason Morgan, took the time to teach and explain the more complex aspects of the scripts.

The 2014 Scripting Games exceeded my expectations and truly advanced my skills. I also have a new network of System Center IT Pros. I’m starting a new job this week and I know what I learned and gained over the last 4 weeks will help me to excel in this new position. A big thank you to my team mates, coaches, judges, and the PowerShell community. Learning can be fun!

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About the Author

Don Jones

Don Jones is a Windows PowerShell MVP, author of several Windows PowerShell books (and other IT books), Co-founder and President/CEO of PowerShell.org, PowerShell columnist for Microsoft TechNet Magazine, PowerShell educator, and designer/author of several Windows PowerShell courses (including Microsoft's). Power to the shell!