Learning the Industry, Labs, and all that stuff.

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Jonathan Warnken 2 years ago.

  • Author
  • #39159

    Tom Marsland

    Hey guys – relatively new to the industry. I've been a Help Desk Manager for a little over a year now. Attended TechMentor and picked up lots of tips there, but I've got to ask here –

    How do you stay current? I know a little bit of PowerShell now. I'm getting into being the guy that makes the tools for my organization, rather than just a tool user. I know a little bit of Active Directory – enough to manage the day to day, but not much more. I know a little bit about everything, it seems, and I have a hunger for more.

    My work has bought me a basic MSDN subscription, which lets me play around with some of the server technologies, but besides just playing (which is great, don't get me wrong), I feel like I'd learn a lot more if I had a little guidance. I know how to build a home lab, but not the best practices for architecture in my job, and I just don't know what references to go to, to learn that stuff.

    I'd love to do a deep dive into SCCM, Exchange, and into a lot of this stuff, but I don't want to teach myself the wrong way to do stuff, either. I'm love to hear your suggestions!

  • #39163

    Arie H

    Lots of reading, viewing loads of YouTube videos and channel 9 ones.
    Depends on how "nuts" you are 😉
    For example, every day I do all this as basis:
    * Visit powershell.org forums, reading questions, reading answers. Picking a subject that i dont know much about yet then searching history of the forums, while searching articles and videos on the matter.
    * visit github, using the filters to look for DSC, Powershell and latest updates. I then see what repos have been added or updated, I go into the scripts, trying to see how people write, trying to get best practices how to address different issues, if I feel I have something to provide, I open issues on those repos. Communication is a learning tool.
    * Goto to YouTube, search for dsc, powershell, sort by recent update, look for new videos
    * join powershell group on facebook, read questions and answers, trying again to pick issues I'm still weak on and learn new techniques and methods.
    * browse the latest channel 9 videos to look for interesting stuff
    * follow certain people in the industry on twitter. Follow some of the links.
    *go to one or more of the blogs I've bookmarked before, read and on occasions ask,comment
    * see movies in the Microsoft virtual academy

    As I mostly come to this from a devops side, you can join the movement by broadening your skill and understanding on everything that has to do with devops.

    Write some code, then revisit it and do a ver 2.0 of it, looking to do it faster ( use measuring), more general to accommodate more possibilities, write more elaborate Pester tests (must learned skill from my pov).

    Put your code on github, share and hope to get comments.
    Open a blog, write about your issues and how you handled them. Even if it didn't work, sometimes you'll get precious insight from the interaction with readers.

    Join a local powershell group in your area.

    Attend online webinars, or technical events. Use online learning tools like plauralsight and similar (some cost money) to gain more insight .

    With msdn I thing your getting azure time, more ways to test things.

    Use your scripts or existing lab frameworks to completely automate your labs.

    Enjoy the process, learn from the community and then share back.
    (not a full list of course, I'm sure others idea will be given by others😉 )

  • #39193

    Devin Garrett

    You've got a good start here at powershell.org! Personally I use Microsoft Virtual Academy, Channel 9, Powershell.org, and Twitter. Wait –Twitter? Yes, it's a necessary evil. If you're looking to stay current then there's no easier way than to "follow" the experts who are helping right here on the forums or in tutorials like those on Channel 9. It's usually easier/faster to throw out a tip or retweet a TechNet article rather than do a blog post about the issue. You'll get great insight and some gifs that may make you chuckle. Here's a tip, start by following Don Jones 🙂 Good Luck!

    • #39474

      Tom Marsland

      Thanks for both of your replies! I agree, powershell.org and following industry leaders is a great start. Last question for you for now – aside from forums, books, videos, etc., how would you recommend going about learning tech like WSUS, or SCCM, or #insert name of tech here#? I'd love to stand up a lab at home, even just virtualize the whole thing, but an MSDN subscription seems a bit expensive just to download software to practice with.

      What do you all do to practice with this kind of stuff? I'd love to play with DSC setting up different servers, but without the software itself...

      Thanks again!

  • #40062

    Arie H

    Well Exchange and SCCM require a certain infrastructure and thus isn't something you'll find people doing in their own home lab before they have a certain grasp on how to setup the environments.

    Microsoft TechNet Virtual Labs is something I would definitely check in your case.

    If your job has MSDN for you. see if you also get Azure time for free you can use monthly.

    For major infrastructure, best is to get a course.

    After that its finding exchange / SCCM leading blogs and use their forums as well

    For exchange I would go to Petri, hes a long time Exchange MVP who operates a very vibrant website and forums with various technologies.

    For SSCM I would start with SystemCentralCenter (am not a SCCM person but I did read some of their acrticles as they did relate to DSC as well).

    Good luck !

  • #40507

    Jonathan Warnken

    For any of the System Center Products a great quick start is the Technet Virtual labs. I work with SCCM everyday and have a lab at home but at times I still use the Technet labs to take a quick look at something. Don't be afraid to use them for things other then the published purpose of the Lab. Do the lab and then dig into the guts of the product. poke around sql; all that stuff you hear will break something do it and see what happens 🙂
    Also the technet site has evaluation and preview copies of products (shameless plug for server 2016) that you can use to cheaply stand up something and to test and learn.

    Check out Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials for some free azure credits

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.