8 ways to learn and improve your knowledge in the cloud – FREE

Today there are so many ways to sharpen your skills and be informed within the technical community. If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be this, your career is YOURS!! It’s not the company you work for; It’s not your boss although they should be contributors to your growth, but it’s yours. If you sit and wait for someone to drive your career, I’m sad to say, you will be left behind.
Here are some resources and tips that are FREE that can improve your understanding in what is happening in technology and further your career.
I also want to stress that these are just resources and nothing takes place of setting goals for certifications and demonstrating your competency in specific areas.
 “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Albert Einstein

Podcasts
     Podcasts are a great resource for learning and improving your knowledge of what is happening in the IT world today. Below is just a short list in what I use as a go to when I want to learn something new.
TIP #1: Use your drive time as learning time. The average person spends almost 2 hours daily commuting to and from work. What if you put in a podcast think of the amount of learning time you would accumulate.
     vBrownBag – Video & Audio lead by Cody Bunch   @ www.professionalvmware.com If you want to learn from the experts in the field this
MUST be in your learning path. These guys contribute so much to the ecosystem and it’s all on-line and FREE.
     The Chinwag Reloaded – Mike Laverick’s Podcast
     The CloudCast – Aaron Delp & Brian Gracely
     DABCC Virtualization & Cloud Computing – Great podcasts around the virtualization space with all kinds of vendor contributions.
     Edge – Channel 9 – Microsoft’s Podcast.. They have others as well you just need to find what fits for you.
     GigaOM Podcast – www.gigaom.com
     Puppet Labs – PuppetLab server provisioning automation. Great podcast for the DevOps and automation.
     The Ship Show – Building engineering, DevOps, release management & everything in between!
     VMware Communities Roundtable – VMware ecosystem and new things coming out from VMware
     DevOps Cafe PodCast – DevOps and the culture change..
 There are some other great podcasts and this is a area you can spend time getting lost in.. Let me know if I can add some of your favorites..

MyVMware Learning – https://mylearn.vmware.com/
     VMware is always providings free on-line e-learning courses that you can leverage to expand you knowledge of a technology within VMware’s offerings.

     This is a great area to touch the technology and see all of the VMWare and supporting vendors software within your OWN lab environment. They have guides to walk you through installation and test cases.

Microsoft Virtual Academy http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/
     This is a great video and on-line lab resource to mess with Microsoft technology. Powershell is gaining speed and if your a Windows Admin this is a good way to add some automation into your skillset.

Local User Groups http://www.vmug.com/ or Nashville local VMUG: http://www.nashvillevmug.com/ and a great article written from my friend Benny Hawk has a comprehensive list of user groups in the Nashville area: http://tech.lifeway.com/2014/08/nashvilles-it-dev-community/
 TIP #2: GET INVOLVED! with you local user groups. This will help you get to know people in your area and when you get stuck with something you have friends within the field helping you solve your problems. It also fosters community and helps you grow personally.

     This is a GREAT resource to help you learn all facets of cloud technology in a gaming format. You can build yourself a team and compete against team members or other teams. You gain points and badges in specific cloud categories by taking on tasks that increase your knowledge and skills within cloud technologies.
 This is a good site for video casts of new technology and solution architect’s overview of major technology shifts in the market. Some of the topics are around enterprise storage, virtualization, DevOps, new paradigm shifts in the market. I use it to get high overviews of technologies so I have some baseline of what is going on.

Tech Field Day – http://techfieldday.com/

 Field Day events bring together innovative IT product vendors and independent thought leaders to share information and opinions in a presentation and discussion format. Independent bloggers, speakers, freelance writers, and podcasters have a public presence that has immense influence on the ways that products and companies are perceived and by IT practitioners.
Obviously, there are other services and vendors out their offering resources and content for training but I find these useful as a IT professional.
What other resources do you know of that are FREE and people can benefit from?

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