Free and Paid Learning Resources

3 minute read


As IT professionals we are always learning. I thought I would highlight some free and paid for learning resources that I use to improve my skills.

vBrownbag - Free

vBrownbag is a community driven website and YouTube Channel that provides weekly webcasts that teach new skills in under an hour. Topics have included certification tracks, automation, Cloud, careers, VMware technologies, Docker, networking, etc.

They also do Community sessions & recordings at VMworld which are excellent. They provide a great opportunity for community members who did not get to speak at the full conference a way to present a topic. For instance at VMworld US 2018 we had recordings such as the vExpert Daily, Powershell, Blogging, and many others.

I have presented on Terraform and it was a great experience. If you have an idea for a talk reach out to the vBrownbag Team.

Skylines Academy - Paid

A recent newcomer to the on demand video training model is Skylines Academy. This has been started by Nick Colyer and focuses on Azure training. The courses are low cost and once you purchase them you receive lifetime updates.

Courses include 70-533 ($49), AZ-100 ($25), Getting Started with Terraform on Azure ($19). Great prices for great content. Watch out on their Twitter as they often have discount codes. I originally bought the 70-533 course but once Microsoft replaced it with AZ-100 Skylines gave me that course for free. An excellent move by them.

If you want a taster of the content they have a free course Learn Azure Virtual Machines.

Podcasts - Free

An excellent resource are the many high quality podcasts that are available. I personally listen to a lot of podcasts on a wide range of IT topics.

Some great examples are the various Packetpushers podcasts, RunAs Radio, Nerd Journey, etc. I actually posted in July with a list of my top recommendations so go check out that blog post for more details.

Books - Paid and Free

There are many IT books available. I always have a big list of books on my backlog to read. There are the usual big publishers such as VMware Press and Microsoft Press but you have new players such as the IT Architect Series.

A place worth looking for new books is Leanpub. This lets anyone create a book and publish it to the community. The model is the author sets a minimum price and a suggested price price for the book, but you can pay over the suggested price. It clearly shows how much the author makes when you purchase at that price. I think it’s a great way of supporting the authors that have worked hard on the book.

There are some great books on there such as The PowerShell Scripting & Toolmaking Book, The Pester Book, The DCS Book, etc.

I want to particularity call out The Phoenix Project, Learn PowerShell in a Month of Lunches and The Practice of System and Network Administration which are essential reading.

YouTube - Free

There is so much great free content available on YouTube. There are so many channels I subscribe to that have lots of free, high quality learning. I really appreciate that companies such as VMware and Microsoft publish the session videos from events like VMworld and Ignite. Some recommended channels are:

Pluralsight - Paid

Pluralsight are one of the biggest and best paid for training providers online. They have thousands of courses available in various ‘tracks’ such as IP Ops, Information & Cyber Security, Data Professional, and Software Development.

The courses are of very high quality from well known people in the IT community. Plans start at $35 a month/$299 annual but there are premium options that give access to additional features such as certification practice exams. I have personally paid out of my own pocket for a subscription as I thought it was well worth it.

Note if you are a vExpert or MVP you can get a free annual subscription. See here for details. Thanks Pluralsight. We appreciate the generosity.

Packt Free Daily Book - Free

Packt offer a free eBook every day. It’s one of the first sites I check every morning. I have got some great titles such as Mastering Active Directory, Mastering Git, Learning PowerShell DSC, AWS Administration, etc.

Packt offer lots of paid for eBooks and always have offers on half price titles. They also have a subscription model. Go check them out.

Wrap Up

I have called out some of the sites and resources I use to keep learning. I would love to hear from you if you have any tips on things I’m missing out on.

Never stop learning…