The top 5 training tools to keep you on track with Microsoft Technology

 Ed Jones works for Firebrand Training, a Microsoft Gold Learning Partner. He has worked in the IT training and certification industry for the past 3 years. He is a tech enthusiast with experience working with SharePoint, Windows Server and Windows desktop.

The technology industry is evolving at an ever-increasing rate. With new and updated iterations of technology launched on a yearly basis, IT professionals now require near constant training simply to keep pace.

Microsoft is no exception. This year has seen upgrades and new launches across all major platforms including Windows Server 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014, Dynamics 2015 and the recent beta of Windows 10.

To ensure you’re up to speed with all the latest Microsoft technology, we’ve compiled our top 5 training tools:

TechNet Virtual Labs

This is a great way to test Microsoft’s newest products and technologies free of risk. The platform gives you access via hands-on virtual labs so you can get a real feel of the new tech. Basic system requirementsallow you rapid access to all major platforms where you can chose from a guided experience or simply roam free.

The platform offers a powerful search function allowing you to filter though 100s of labs by technology, lab type and even job role.

Firebrand Learn

This is a fantastic resource for those aspiring towards Microsoft certification. In early 2014, Firebrand made the switch to digital courseware. Alongside the launch, we released all supplementary material for our Microsoft courses, which supports of the Microsoft Official Curriculum.

You can find learning resources across all MCSA, MCSD and MCSE certification tracks, including the hugely popular MCSA: Windows Server 2012.

Microsoft Virtual Academy

Whether you’re working toward professional certification, or simply looking to get to grips with Microsoft technology, the MVA is a one stop shop. Gain unrestricted access to thousands of hours of Microsoft training delivered by experts.

Digest the material in a variety of formats including virtual labs, slide decks, video and live events. There is something for everyone, be you a beginner or 20 year veteran.

Eric Ligman’s E-Book Collection

Head over to Eric Ligman’s blog where you will find a vast compilation of e-books in his mega post. Choose from more than 40 e-books which lean more towards the Developer community focussing on Office 365, SharePoint, Azure, SQL Server and System Centre.

Recently surpassing more than 3.5 million downloads, these free e-books contain fantastic step by step guides to get you up to scratch in a range of Microsoft technologies.

Online learning platform boasts more than 13,000 video tutorials and 300 courses across Microsoft’s full portfolio of technologies. There is a free video for each course giving and overview of what will be covered during.

To dive deeper into the content, you’ll need to get out the cheque book with a monthly subscription fee of $25. Most of the content focusses on Windows Desktop and the Office suite, so if you’re looking for more in-depth enterprise tech guidance you should look elsewhere.

So there you have it, five training tools to keep your wits sharp. So whether you’re planning to achieve Microsoft certification or simply keep pace with the ever changing world of technology, these tools should keep you on course. (excuse the pun)

Have you found these tools useful for keeping yourself on track with the Microsoft Technology? Are there any others that you would recommend? Let us know in the comments section below or via @TechNetUK

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