The technology industry is a fast-paced one and continued success in IT is often correlated to knowledge and skill with the latest technologies. In order to keep your skills sharp and perhaps broaden your skill set beyond the technologies you are currently working with, you should check out Microsoft Virtual Academy. There are other online training sites like Lynda.com but the Microsoft Virtual Academy is free and specializes in Microsoft technologies.
Some of the courses specialize in development, system administration, software usage, and some of the latest technologies like Windows Azure, Office 365, Sharepoint, Windows operating system, and Windows Server. I am taking the course on System Center Configuration Manager 2012. Some of the content answers the “what’s different from SCCM 2007 and SCCM 2012?” while other times it can provide a walkthrough on managing your site in the best way possible. I might still have to pick up a book (that’s updated for SCCM 2012 Service Pack 1) but the video training is helping to learn terminology and expectations of the software.
A course may consist of many modules. The modules might have video and text components with supplementary materials to help you learn the technology. The module is concluded with an assessment. Upon completing the tasks in the modules, you earn points. Gamifying the learning experience can help motivate some people to finish the entire course.
Many of the videos and materials used in the course are available on TechNet and other sites. However, the MVA links them together nicely into a single themed package. You just sign in to Microsoft Virtual Academy with your Microsoft Live account so it can track your progress. This also allows you to set your preferences for technologies you are interested in to help find courses that you could consider taking.
With new technologies out in force (Windows 8, Server 2012, and others), I would recommend checking out Microsoft Virtual Academy as a way for you to continue to keep your IT skills fresh and to continue learning beyond what you encounter daily. Visit Microsoft Virtual Academy at www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com.