Microsoft are releasing updates to their existing services at an incredible rate. They’re no longer shackled by releasing to on-premises every 3 years. We’re also seeing more services such as Microsoft Teams, Delve, Planner, StaffHub and so on. (Please read this post If don’t know what Office 365 is).
This is fantastic for customers as they get to use new tech that can give them an edge over the competition. It’s not so fantastic for developers, admins and the architects amongst us who are probably frustrated, stressed and worried about keeping up to date with all the changes!
This post is going to give you plenty of methods to stay “in the know”, so let’s get started…
Learning from Others
The SharePoint Community is amazing! So many in this community are willing to help each other out. This is also one of the main reasons we built this site, so that we could make the process a little easier. However, did you know in the SharePoint community alone there are over 350 active bloggers with more starting to write every day?
The big question here is :
Q: How on earth do you keep up to date with 300+ bloggers?
A: You visit Collab365.Today and also sign-up for the Daily Digest.
Collab365 Today is a site that aggregates and categorizes nearly all of the top bloggers out there (quite a few MVP’s to). If you are stuck for time and want to keep up, it’s a great resource.
If you need more convincing – why not check out ‘How to follow over 350 bloggers in 30 seconds‘?
Here are some of the most popular categories:
- Visit Collab365 Today and look through the categories (under the “Today” menu).
- Sign-up for the “Daily Digest”. Seriously if you do nothing else on this post you have to sign-up to get the daily digest!!! This beauty aggregates the 20 most recent posts from around the community into a single email every day (except weekends). This means you can scan and access them all from your inbox instead of having to visit the Collab365.Today site to find the link.
- If you like a particular blogger and we don’t have them listed, or write a blog yourselves that you would like to be included then please send us an email and we’ll get them added.
Learning from Video
I love learning by watching videos. I know some don’t but for me it’s way easier to relax in front of a video than it is to flick through a 400 page book. Luckily, at Collab365 we have previously run 5 major conferences and have over 550 sessions all ready for you to watch, all free and categorised. We’ve also got plenty of new videos being added to the site such as Laura Rogers Power Hour.
- Browse the Channels on Collab365
- Browse to the home page of the Collab365 Community and book on the next Live Show
- Browse videos on Channel9
- Before you join a Collab365 live show be sure to ask your questions in the live room. Many of our Live Shows allow audience participation so it’s a good way to get your questions answered by the experts out there.
- Ask questions on the video posts because the presenters will see it. Nearly all of our videos have been contributed by active members of the community, so if you leave a comment most are likely to answer. (Obviously, we can’t guarantee this but in most cases the speakers are more than willing).
Learning by sharing
On this site, the “Main Room” chat is fantastic and there’s usually someone willing to help out. In addition to this, we have all of the standard features you want from a Social Network such as discussions, blogs, events, and lists. You can also search for specific community members to find people of a similar ability or with similar interests.
Useful links to get involved:
Learn by attending a SharePoint or Office 365 training course
If you want to learn something quickly in a structured way then a training course is often a good approach. If you are a developer then Pluralsight is well worth a look and wont break the bank!
Let Laura Rogers teach you!
If you are a Power or End User wanting to learn how to use:
- List & Libraries
- Sites and Site Collection Management
- Web Part
- Content Types
Laura has many courses around SharePoint and we strongly recommend the Powers User course.
Over on the Collab365.Directory we create lists of most things to with SharePoint & Office 365. To check out some of the training providers and conferences that we’re familiar with (both online and physical) take a look the best SharePoint & Office 365 training providers.
- Find a suitable course – look for a SharePoint Training Provider and then book on a course.
- Decide if an on-line self-paced course is right for you or whether you’d prefer a residential instructor led course. (Online is nearly always cheaper but requires you to find the time and be very dedicated). In-person, physical training centers are often ideal as they force you to get away from all other distractions, but they are also more expensive..
Learn by attending a SharePoint or Office 365 Conference (Online or physical).
Here at Collab365 we’ve been running Office 365 online conferences for nearly 3 years. Our conferences tend to be free to attend and have plenty of speakers from Microsoft as well as well-know experts from the community.
3 suggested conferences:
- Collab365 Global Conference – 24 hour, online, run by us 🙂 We’ve usually got 120 speakers across 5 tracks.
- Office 365 Engage – Very friendly Office 365 conference, set in Harlem, Holland. For the 2017 event – use our discount code SPCOLL646 (Gives 10% discount)
- SharePoint Saturdays – these happen all over the world (on a Saturday and cover lots of SharePoint topics with some Office 365 ones as well)
Learn by reading books
Books are the tried and tested approach to learning and luckily some of the experts have been compiling books.
SharePoint 2016 books:
- SharePoint 2016 For Dummies (Rosemarie Withee, Ken Withee)
- Microsoft SharePoint 2016 Step by Step (Penelope Coventry, Microsoft Press)
- SharePoint 2016 User’s Guide: Learning Microsoft’s Business Collaboration Platform (Tony Smith, APRESS)
- Deploying SharePoint 2016: Best Practices for Installing, Configuring, and Maintaining SharePoint Server 2016
- Exam Ref 70-339 Managing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016
- Building a SharePoint 2016 Home Lab: A How-To Reference on Simulating a Realistic SharePoint Testing Environment
Office 365 books:
- Office 365 For Dummies
- Office 365 & Exchange Online: Essentials for Administration, 2nd Edition (IT Pro Solutions)
- Office 365: Migrating and Managing Your Business in the Cloud
- From IT Pro to Cloud Pro Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint Online
- Microsoft Office 365 Administration Inside Out
SharePoint 2013 books :
- Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Step by Step
- How to Do Everything Microsoft SharePoint 2013
- SharePoint 2013 For Dummies
- Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Inside Out
- Essential SharePoint: 2013: Practical Guidance for Meaningful Business Results (3rd Edition) (Addison-Wesley Microsoft Technology)
Gain a Microsoft certification
So maybe you have done all the above and now you want to test your skills (and also sell them to potential employers). What now? Our recommendation here is to study and pass a Microsoft exam. This not only gives you a certification to make your Resume look awesome, but it also gives you confidence that you really do know your stuff!
Exams to study for:
- MCSA : Office 365 (covers O365, SharePoint, Exchange and Skype for Business).
- MCSE : Productivity (covers O365 and Office)
- MCSA: Cloud Platform Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (covers Microsoft Azure)
- MCSE: Cloud Platform and Infrastructure (coves Microsoft Azure and Winders Server Virtualization)
- MOS: Microsoft Office Specialist (covers Microsoft Office 2013)
- Research which certification path you’d like to do.
- Christina Singletary joined us on a live show – there’s some great content here.
- Grab some of the free training @ MVA (Office 365 and SharePoint) and edX (Office 365 and SharePoint).
- Did you know that LinkedIn also has a lot of courses available on Office and Office 365?
- Look at the SharePoint 2013 Learning Roadmaps.
The SharePoint Framework (SPFx) is the newest way to build out SharePoint applications. This is a must if you are a developer. Here are some resources to get you going :
- Getting started with SPFx
- SPFx on Youtube (including videos from the PNP team)
- Mastering SPFx by Andrew Connell (Starter bundle is free).
Learn from Microsoft
Microsoft regularly produce content for both developers and admins (there generally isn’t much for the End-User/Power User). However, if you are a developer, check out the MSDN SharePoint Developer Center, if you are an Admin check out Technet for SharePoint.
As you can see there are loads of different opportunities to further your skills – have fun learning & let us know how you get on!