If you’ve read any of my articles you’ll know I’m old school. Automation in my days was batch files, Kix32 scripts, then group policy and Microsoft Systems Management Server (before SMS was a popular messaging protocol). I’m fortunate to mingle with some very smart Enterprise tech people occasionally, and they are talking new automation languages. Infrastructure as Code. Chef. Puppet. Ansible. Wow. I’m going to pause for a minute in envy.

 

To start with, there’s the debate of “which one do you choose?” I’m going to leave that to anyone who has more knowledge of these products than me. Are you using one of those or an alternative product, to handle server and infrastructure configuration management?

 

Do we all need to be versioning our infrastructure or has this DevOps thing gone a little too far?

 

Or is there a tipping point – probably an organizational size – at which this makes way more sense than how we used to manage infrastructure? Does your organization slide under that, making you wonder what all the fuss is about and why you’d bother?

 

Meanwhile, back in my SMB world, PowerShell is nudging in more and more as “the way you do things." In fact, many Office 365 administration tasks can’t be performed in the web GUI and require a PowerShell command. Which also means you know how to install the required PowerShell components and issue the correct commands to connect to your Office 365 or Azure Active Directory tenant. If I ignored the operational efficiencies from going command line again (hello, Lotus Domino Server), I would still be dragged into the world of PowerShell when it’s the only way to do something.

 

If this is all new to you, or if you live and breathe this stuff, my next question is …. how do you start? Whether you’re resigned to needing this stuff on your CV now or whether you are genuinely excited about learning something new (or you might be somewhere in the middle), what are your go-to resources?

 

Product websites are always a good place to start. Many are offering videos and webinars as an alternative to drowning in text with screenshots.

Are you searching through Github for infrastructure as code samples and PowerShell scripts, or are you learning from peers on Reddit?

Maybe you’ve gone with a different learning resource altogether, like the courses at Pluralsight?

 

If automation is the new normal (or the old normal), how do we pick up new automation skills? Let me know what’s worked for you.

 

Disclaimer: I’m a Pluralsight author of one course that is nothing to do with the topics I’ve just written about. And there are no affiliate links here either.