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Hi - I am at a crossroads as a system admin, with the company I work for they value the network guys way more than sys admin and the pay reflects this, but networking does not really interest me as servers do, I am Currently learning powershell for azure,365,servers & sql,  hopefully become really efficient but will take alot of training and practice. Yet in the same maybe less space of time I could complete a ccna and line myself up in future for a networking job.

My question - is as I've heard powershell the future of sys admin? And will I stand out being really efficient with powershell?
I do not just want to be another IT guy I want to specialize  in an area, is powershell in big demand?


56 Replies

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pkrupicka
Poblano
OP
pkrupicka

It is definitely the future for Windows sys admin.
Perhaps better: It is the present and most sys admins are just late with learning it.
Even in Exchange Server 2010 there were settings you could manage only with PowerShell.

36
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Marc.W
Poblano
OP
Marc.W

No powershell courses or exams that I know of though from Microsoft.  Big gap in the exam market there I think.  I looked on the Microsoft site last year for one and NADA.       

9
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mikeakerman
Sonora
OP
mikeakerman

Yes something I did notice and a real shame, alot of material to learn. my dilemma unfortunately, isit worth the time investing if my current work employer does not value powershell.

1
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TAHIN
Cayenne
OP
TAHIN

It's hard to make "PowerShell" a specialty. PowerShell is just a scripting language/automation framework. That said, any Microsoft specialty these days does require PowerShell experience. You mentioned you're using it for O365/Azure/SQL/Servers - and that's awesome. Each of those things uses PS a little bit differently and you'll get a lot of experience working with them. 

As far as your question - yes, PowerShell knowledge will set you apart and will be absolutely essential to any sysadmin work going forward. The sooner you learn it, the better you'll be sitting down the road. It's annoying that most universities don't teach this in 2018. If this is really what you want to do and your company doesn't encourage the use of it, it may be time to start looking for something else. Your professional development doesn't need to suffer at the hands of antiquated management.

15
· · ·
M Boyle
Ghost Chili
OP
M Boyle

mikeakerman wrote:

Yes something I did notice and a real shame, alot of material to learn. my dilemma unfortunately, isit worth the time investing if my current work employer does not value powershell.

Your current job is not your career.  Don't mistake them.

If your current employer does not see the value in it, ask them what their plans are for when SDN (software defined networking) starts to take over?  Yes that will take some time but time has this way of passing :) 

Learning to script, esp with powershell, is definitely one for your future.

Picking up some ccna/networking knowledge won't hurt you either.  Whether or not you want to get certified.

11
· · ·
kevinmhsieh
Habanero
OP
kevinmhsieh

From your profile, I see that you have only 3 years experience. At my company, that would mean that maybe you're qualified for help desk. Our sys admins have 12 - 20+ years of industry experience. Pay reflects those differences in capabilities that come with experience.

Yes, you should learn PowerShell. It is a major differentiator in the marketplace. I have a sys admin who loves doing stuff in PowerShell, and I am amazed at the things he can do...things that you can't do manually. For example, we have lots of users that never login to Windows, so we now have a script that emails users several days before their password expires so they can change it before it becomes an emergency.

Find some really useful things to do in PowerShell. If your current boss and management doesn't appreciate it, I bet your next ones will.

12
· · ·
paulm8
Anaheim
OP
paulm8

PowerShell will definitely put you in the ranks.

You do not have to do a CCNA if that is not your Forte.

.NET framework will change the way IT is administered, and there is an explosion on the horizon now.

IT admins have no future whatsoever without PowerShell, .net, automation, cron jobs, bash scripts, etc...

Microsoft are increasing pushing all server versions to be GUI-less.

Automation is included in the Azure subscription for free for Azure servers, so get to play with that.

The way we have been administering our infrastructure is the way of the Dodo, everything will be changed, and for those unprepared, it will happen all of a sudden!

It was really nice over the years to be able to do everything with a GUI and not have to learn PowerShell, scripting or programming, but that is now at an end, so it is adapt or be culled.

2
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britv8
Datil
OP
britv8

Available in my country

https://www.microsoft.com/en-nz/learning/course.aspx?cid=OD10961

no exam though

0
· · ·
adrian_ych
Habanero
OP
adrian_ych

There are different ways to look at powershell....so of us were from the "command prompt" era and probably most of the time is used during script (or batch files) or troubleshooting.

Most of the commands can be googled or scripts can be "advised" here.....most of us would prefer you to post the script so we can help troubleshoot rather than write the whole script for you....

0
· · ·
Carl Holzhauer
Habanero
OP
Carl Holzhauer

PowerShell is just a tool that provides a means to an end.  Sometimes it's the best tool for the job, other times there are other tools that are more appropriate for the task.

I think it's something you should start to learn, but I don't think it's going to magically solve all of your problems.

7
· · ·
Larry Shanahan
Chipotle
OP
Larry Shanahan

Powershell is definitely a tool you should learn to use since Windows Server Core installs are managed using Powershell and more Microsoft products are using it behind the scenes.  It will increase your marketability without question.

It's entirely possible your current employer doesn't value Powershell because no one has ever taken the time to show them what it can do.  Start automating tasks that are currently done manually and they might just take note.

Microsoft Virtual Academy has some excellent courses on Powershell taught by Jeff Snover who developed it.  They'll give you a firm grounding as well as ideas on what you can do with it.

4
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TAHIN
Cayenne
OP
TAHIN

britv8 wrote:

Available in my country

https://www.microsoft.com/en-nz/learning/course.aspx?cid=OD10961

no exam though

I took this course with SA credits. It is literally the book "Learn PowerShell in a month of lunches" re-written into a lab manual. Don Jones wrote both. The course edition was 10961B when I took it, but I bet that's still the case in edition 10961C. Save a thousand bucks and buy the book instead.

https://www.amazon.com/Learn-Windows-PowerShell-Month-Lunches/dp/1617294160/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&i...

8
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Crotech
Poblano
OP
Crotech

I don't believe so more than every companies are going to hosted environments which require less and less scripting as well as use of powershell. Most companies are not looking to have inhouse sys admins if they can help it. 

1
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TAHIN
Cayenne
OP
TAHIN

paulm8 wrote:

.NET framework will change the way IT is administered, and there is an explosion on the horizon now.

Can you elaborate on this? I've been debating whether to start spending more time learning .Net in order to make more advanced/interactive tools and scripts, but Microsoft has all but told us that future PowerShell development is going to focus on PowerShell Core, which runs on .Net Core and its reduced feature set. Microsoft's push for PowerShell to become platform-agnostic reduces the importance of full-stack .Net, rather than increasing it. While it is likely that .Net Core will eventually be built up to fill in the gaps it's missing in ASP/WCF/etc..., it seems to me that time spent devoted to .Net might not be as valuable as time spent elsewhere, unless you're a full-time developer. 

1
· · ·
Fessor
Chipotle
OP
Fessor

TAHIN wrote:

paulm8 wrote:

.NET framework will change the way IT is administered, and there is an explosion on the horizon now.

Can you elaborate on this? I've been debating whether to start spending more time learning .Net in order to make more advanced/interactive tools and scripts, but Microsoft has all but told us that future PowerShell development is going to focus on PowerShell Core, which runs on .Net Core and its reduced feature set. Microsoft's push for PowerShell to become platform-agnostic reduces the importance of full-stack .Net, rather than increasing it. While it is likely that .Net Core will eventually be built up to fill in the gaps it's missing in ASP/WCF/etc..., it seems to me that time spent devoted to .Net might not be as valuable as time spent elsewhere, unless you're a full-time developer. 

Anything in .Net can be used and exposed by using PowerShell. You can write a full program in PowerShell by using .Net. It is the Visual Basic of today. ;)

It is the in-between niche of either being a programmer or a sysadmin.

Not my thing but it is there anyway.

1
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mlouie-cch
Poblano
OP
mlouie-cch

Don't go for computer networking if you're not interested in it. It doesn't hurt to have a CCNA if you're a sys admin at a small company, as those sys admins also do the networking (as in my case). To make the big bucks in computer networking though, you need more than a CCNA. You'll need a higher level of knowledge/certifications as well as experience in large environments (where you do networking full time). But if you don't like doing it, what's the point? You should stick with what you like and improve your skills in those areas. And go to a different company where your skills will be valued.

3
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Yashnahain
Tabasco
OP
Yashnahain

mikeakerman wrote:

My question - is as I've heard powershell the future of sys admin? And will I stand out being really efficient with powershell? 

I do not just want to be another IT guy I want to specialize  in an area, is powershell in big demand?

You will be useless with O365/EXO, Server core and Server 2019 if you aren't comfortable using PowerShell. Also managing Azure services in general. So, if you want to be any good with those you need to learn. Don't worry about what your employer thinks. Learning is for your career not for them. 

3
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BrentQuick
Serrano
OP
BrentQuick

Yashnahain wrote:

mikeakerman wrote:

My question - is as I've heard powershell the future of sys admin? And will I stand out being really efficient with powershell? 

I do not just want to be another IT guy I want to specialize  in an area, is powershell in big demand?

You will be useless with O365/EXO, Server core and Server 2019 if you aren't comfortable using PowerShell. Also managing Azure services in general. So, if you want to be any good with those you need to learn. Don't worry about what your employer thinks. Learning is for your career not for them. 

Painfully true about O365 and really most of MS Cloud since they figure why write a UI for something that you should not be administering via a UI.  Circular logic I know but their UI's are more like executive dashboards then functional interfaces into managing things.

0
· · ·
cdoublejj
Serrano
OP
cdoublejj

Marc.W wrote:

No powershell courses or exams that I know of though from Microsoft.  Big gap in the exam market there I think.  I looked on the Microsoft site last year for one and NADA.       

They don't have anything for AD either the last i knew. Maybe a long long time ago but, no current day courses or certs.

0
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Bob_13
Habanero
OP
Bob_13

I would say learning PowerShell is like learning English, it can be very useful... and very complicated. We all know people who "talk funny" that same idea works in PS you can do (say) just about anything, and sometimes it is elegant and clear... other times it is a real mess. 

Learning to use and understand it, is beneficial, even if your employer doesn't value it it can be a real time/work saver... or it can save your butt.

I'm considered "Helpdesk/Desktop support" but I also support applications... that run in Citrix... that can crash when the HDD of the profiles server fills up... that is not my job to maintain... BUT when that happened twice in one month (getting me a ton of calls and tickets) I wrote a PS script that checked the free space on that server drive on an hourly basis, and when it detects <5% free it emails "everyone" (me, the official helpdesk email, and the server team) after that script fired 4 times... including one Friday at 11pm with followup emails every hour after that... surprisingly the drive seemed to start managing space better. :) (or the server team decided to schedule regular maint...)

My point is, just because you don't need PS in your current job, doesn't mean it isn't very useful to have.

7
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mberna
Serrano
OP
mberna

Other than intricacies to specific languages, once you learn learn to program, you can use it for a wide variety of things. The main thing is understanding debugging and understanding logic. Once you learn the basics of programming, it doesn't matter if it is powershell or C, you will be able to utilize it.

1
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AlanLloyd
Serrano
OP
AlanLloyd

As others have said, yes, learn PowerShell. If you're working with any Microsoft stuff, you'll need to at least be proficient in PowerShell. If you're not interested in networking, don't waste your time getting a networking cert just because your current employer pays their network folks more. Don't confuse your current employer with your career, and the industry as a whole. Keep expanding your skillset, and when the time is right, an opportunity for advancement (whether internal or external) will arise.

Also, don't focus on pay... that's a recipe for a sad life. Focus on doing what makes you happy, within reason of course. Being happy with your work, and life in general, is so much more important than making as much as the next guy.

4
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ChrisN315
Serrano
OP
ChrisN315

Any relevant skill set that you can gain will be a resume builder at least. 

I'm just learning Power Shell myself and I find it's very useful... definitely a skill to have regardless.

Always learn... even if only for your own sake.

0
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ArnieRimmer
Chipotle
OP
ArnieRimmer

Why is it different for Windows admins than *nix admins?

Knowing a shell scripting language is a basic skill (that said, I suck at PowerShell, but I can Bash the hell out of Bash :) ), I don't know why this is any different than years gone by (other than it''s new to MS admins).

Training is the issue, but to say that it's something new and unheard of is a bit hokey IMO.

As another user said, focus on what makes you happy. It's not all about the money. I took a huge step down almost 3 years ago, and I don't regret it one bit. Happiest I've been in 2 decades.

3
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