Back to Basics

Any profession has core technical skills needed to do the job, but what are they for the IT Professional?

Whatever you are doing in IT there is probably an element of scripting and in the Microsoft world the universal scripting language is PowerShell.  PowerShell is reminiscent of the Unix shells I used to use, in that output from one command can be piped to another, however in PowerShell the thing being piped between commands is not text it is the actual object itself.  In many Microsoft products PowerShell extends the product with functionality which isn’t always available in the user interface so certain features are only available via PowerShell.  I found this post from Thomas Lee (MVP) which gives you a gentle introduction to the key concepts.

Server virtualisation is now in place in many organisations in some capacity, be it test or development.  Its use in production is on the increase as IT Professionals become accustomed to it and the business can see that it can be relied on. I have a short separate post on this, as well as this post on getting started with the Microsoft virtualisation platform Hyper-v.  There is also extensive education on this in the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA).

In any larger organisation you’ll need to be provisioning servers and desktops at scale rather than doing them one at a time, so I think that being skilled in deployment can almost be a career in its own right.  Allied to that is the business of managing patching and updates and possibly extending into hardware and software asset management. There's a great article on the Windows Client Tech Center covering the basics of Windows 7 Deployment which you can read here. We'll also be covering the subject at length during our Windows 7 Deployment - Why and How? online conference on 25th October, which will feature a slot on deployment in the real-world, presented by TechNet Blog reader Paul Cooke.

Another key skill is security and authentication.  Terms like Public Key Infrastructure, Kerberos, encryption and certificates should be understood by all IT professionals as they provide the secure glue to allow services to work across servers and for users to be secure with the minimum impact on them (e.g. single sign-on, delegation etc.).  Steve Plank has written an excellent article covering off these must-know security issues which you can check out on his blog.

Mentioning Azure at this point may seem like I've made a switch to a developer focus, but as more server roles emerge it will be IT Professionals who will be provisioning and architecting multi virtual machine services in Azure.  SQL Azure is continuing to evolve and that’s another good point – all cloud services evolve more rapidly than the latest release of any version of a product you run on premise.  For the low-down on what you need to know about Azure and why it should matter to an IT Pro, take a look at 'The basics of Windows Azure for IT Pros' by Simon May.


We plan to cover a lot of this in our upcoming Tech.Days Online IT Pro Conference on 27th October. The various resources that I've pointed to will serve as great starting points and enable you to really get the most out of the conference. Click here to register and continue your learning.

Collaborate Better

9.00-9.20 – Introduction (Collaborate Better)

9.20-9.40 – Basics of Collaboration (Office 365 Demo)

9.40-10.00 – Designing for Office 2010 Deployment

10.00-10.20 – Live Office 2010 Deployment

10.20-10.30 – Virtual Tea Break

10.30-10.50 – Setting up Office 365

10.50-11.20 – Office 365 for Enterprise Overview

11.20-11.50 – Configuring Office 365 for Enterprise

11.50-12.00 – Q&A

System Center - It’s All About the App

9.00-9.20 – Introduction

9.20-9.40 – System Center App Controller Demo

9.40-10.00 – Packaging your Application

10.00-10.20 – Managing your Application

10.20-10.30 – Virtual Tea Break

10.30-11.00 – What about the User?

11.00-11.30 – Automate the Helpdesk

11.30-11.50 – Putting it all Together (ALM)

11.50-12.00 – Q&A

Supporting More Than Windows

13.00-13.20 – Intro (The World Has Changed)

13.20-13.40 – Building a Consumerisation Strategy

13.40-14.00 – Windows 7 For The Best Desktop

14.00-14.20 – Supporting Mobile Users

14.20-14.30 – Virtual Tea Break

14.30-15.00 – Application on non-Windows Devices

15.00-15.20 – A Better Browsing Experience

15.20-15.50 –Edge Control Implementation

15.50-16.00 – Q&A

Introduction to SQL Server Denali

13.00-13.10 – Intro to SQL Server Denali ctp3

13.10-13.40 – Management AlwaysOn Demo

13.40-14.10 – Self Service BI

14.10-14.40 – SQL Server & The Cloud

14.40-14.50 – Virtual Tea Break

14.50-15.20 – Data Quality in Denali

15.20-15.50 – Unstructured Data

15.50-16.00 – Q&A


Integrating Windows Azure into Your Infrastructure

9.00-10.00 – Windows Azure Overview

10.00-10.45 – Role Creation Demo (Web Role & UM Role)

10.45-11.00 – Virtual Tea Break

11.00-11.30 – SQL Azure Overview & Demo

11.30-12.00 – Windows Azure Connect

12.00-12.30 – Domain Join Demo

12.30-12.50 – System Center Operations Manager (SCOM)

12.50-13.00 – Q&A

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