I’ve been attending a Powershell fundamentals class with Don Jones (blog|twitter). If you read my blog you might be aware of the fact that I’ve posted a few PowerShell scripts in the past. So why was I attending a fundamentals class? Because I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew going into the class that I needed a better grounding in the fundamentals of Posh, but after the first day of Don’s excellent class, I realized that I had been working with PowerShell and didn’t have a clue how it really worked.
Don’s class is excellent and I could spend a lot of time talking about just that (which I’m sure would make Don happy). However I want to concentrate on something that he said during class that really resonated because I think it’s true. You don’t hear “true” things all the time, so when one jumps up and bites you, it’s worth paying attention. I don’t have his exact quote written down, so this will be more than a bit of a paraphrase. Don laid down the argument that Microsoft is creating a two tier structure where low level admins will have a GUI and the real experts will be using PowerShell. He showed how some of the functionality available in AD is already split and he said that more and more products coming out of Microsoft are going to be showing this same split.
So why do I see this as important? Well, it’s simple really. I don’t want to be in the low level, second tier, LOWER PAID, MORE EASILY REPLACED, set of knowledge workers. I want to be in the group that really can make things go. I want to ensure my employability into the future (at least until I win the lottery… which will happen right after I start playing it). You may not like PowerShell. You may not like Microsoft, SQL Server, Windows or any of that stuff. You may be a devoted Mac-head (like Don, Brent, Aaron..). But if your job is related to managing Windows servers, SQL Server, Operations Manager, SharePoint, Exchange… you get the idea, regardless of how you feel about PowerShell and the rest, if you want to be better, more powerful, and more employable, you need to learn PowerShell.
The good news is, it’s not that hard. The better news is, you can contact Don and get into one of his classes. The even better news is, if you’re a lazy, good for nothing lay-about, like me, learning PowerShell will make you more efficient, which means more time to lay around doing nothing while still looking good for the boss. So for those of you who believed that they just didn’t need to learn PowerShell… well, you’re wrong. Go get started. I’d suggest learning the fundamentals first, not just hacking away at it like I did. Don’s book might be a good place to start (TFM…. [snicker]).
Quest Connect 2009, taking place in October 21 for 24 hours, looks like it’s going to have 64 different sessions, live and recorded, by a variety of the names in the industry. It’s another chance to dig in and learn the details on a variety of topics from some of the top names in the business. Can you say Tom LaRock? How about Tim Ford? I know you want to hear from Brent Ozar. Those are just some of the featured speakers. There are a whole slew of others, it’s worth pursuing, and did I mention, the price is right.
I recorded a session for them last night. It’s on the basics of understanding execution plans.
PASS just published a new Top 10 list of mine over at the their web site. This one is the Top 10 Articles on the web if you’re trying to learn about spatial data. I’m not trying to say that I know what I’m doing with spatial data. I’m still feeling my way forward. These articles have proved to be the most useful in the learning I’ve done so far. I wanted to publish a little more information than we put into our Top 10 lists over at PASS. Having the list is good, but I thought it needed a bit of commentary to be complete.
All these articles are good and all the web sites hosting the articles have good stuff on them. A few of the web sites stand out. Paul Randal‘s site covers quite a lot more than spatial data, but he writes with such clarity that his posts are a must read. When you’re ready for more, you need to read the stuff at Bob Beauchemin’s blog. Again, there’s more than just spatial data to be had there, but Mr. Beauchemin has really done the research and he’s good enough to compile it for the rest of us. Those are, sort of, the introductory sites. When you’re ready to really and truly just go with all things spatial, the two sites that are going to prove most useful (or, at least that I’ve found most useful) are Spatial Ed(Ed Katibah) and Isaac Kunen. These are two of the people responsible for creating the spatial engine inside SQL Server. We can thank them for that, but better still, these guys are good about communicating what they’ve done, what it means, how it works, applications, ideas… You get the drift. If you’re really pursuing spatial data as an important component of your enterprise data, you need to read their stuff.
There are a few links that I couldn’t easily fit into the top 10 since they’re not discrete articles. I’ve already blogged about and reviewed Alastair Aitchison’s excellent book, Beginng Spatial with SQL Server 2008, but it’s worth another plug. You will also want to browse through the functionality being posted at the SQL Server Spatial Tools site over at CodePlex. Stuff there is pretty useful for getting your own functionality… functional. Finally, when you get stuck, if you get stuck, one of the best places to get unstuck is on the MSDN spatial forum, where a lot of the people already mentioned are answering questions and posting.
These are the resources I’ve found most useful in the little bit of spatial I’ve learned so far. I hope the top 10 list and this explanation of it prove useful.
UPDATE: Fixed link problem.
I think these are usually two different things, but most people conflate the two. There was a great discussion over at SQL Server Central based on an editorial by Steve Jones. It’s worth reading through to see how people learn or get themselves trained.
One common theme is reading books. I’m looking at stacks of them all over my desk, so it would be hard to deny their use. If you too like to read, then I’ve got something for you. Red Gate is doing a promotion where, when you purchase SQL Tool Belt, you can also download five E-Books offered by Apress. Several of them look pretty interesting, so this is a good deal. Not to mention, if you’re not using some of the tools from SQL Tool Belt already, you’re in for a treat. SQL Compare and SQL Prompt must be open on my desktop most days and I use several of the other tools every week. Get a good book and check out the great tools.
Updated to accurately reflect the offer.
I got a new SCOM book in the mail yesterday, System Center Operations Manager Unleashed. It’s friggin’ huge. I’ve just started reading through it and it looks pretty good. So far, it’s much more thorough than the only other book available for SCOM, Mastering System Center Operations Manager 2007. I’m going to ready through more of it before I post a review to Amazon. I think I’ll write up a review for the PASS book reviews too. Hey, if you have time on your hands, get on over there, request a book and write up your own review.