Okay folks, I am going to toss a little reality your way.

These are tough times. Wages are flat, the economy is still recovering and unemployment is still to high. Many people are tightening their belts and being much more conservative when determining what is necessary to live and what is optional or even frivolous. People are stressed out about what is going to happen tomorrow. Many are asking them selves, “How do I make myself more valuable to help keep my current job?”……“Will I even have a job?”….”What will I do if I don’t?”….

I don’t have the answers. I wish I did (I would right a book and retire). Here are some things to consider though.

Like rust, technology never sleeps.

In the technology industry, and specifically in the software industry, there is something new to learn every single day. There are opportunities everywhere so long as you are willing to never stop learning. Here at Microsoft we offer a tremendous amount of FREE information for anyone to consume.

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You may be currently employed as a network/systems administrator. For these folks we have the amazing TechNet Portal. For over 16 years I have relied on TechNet as a source of learning, to troubleshoot customer issues, and even to resolve issues on my own networks. I can’t say enough about TechNet without coming across as a completely biased Microsoft fan boy (guilty as charged). I know there are admins working in companies that are still running Windows XP. That information is still there (We even have MS-DOS and Windows 95 information in the TechNet archives!) And of course we already have information on TechNet for products like Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 that haven’t even been officially released yet.

It doesn’t matter if you are an Exchange admin, the SQL DB administrator or you are responsible for securing the intranet. There are resources there for every one of you.

The TechNet Script Center alone can change the life of a network administrator. If you have never seen it or didn’t know it was there, please, stop reading this post and go look at it right now!

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We have an equally fantastic portal for software developers in the MSDN Portal (Microsoft Developer Network). Whether you are developing line of business applications for Windows, or a touch based game for the Windows 8 modern UI, the amount of information is amazing. API listings, free downloadable developer tools, even Code Samples! It’s just a (Bing!) search away!

Which brings me to another great resource.

For years, Microsoft has provided a variety of free technical seminars for Developers and ITPros. Some of these are in-person, some are virtual, many are recorded and archived. ALL of them are free! These have been delivered in many different formats -

Developers

MSDN Webcasts

Channel 9 – Again, stop reading right now and go look at this!

TechEd 2013 Recorded Sessions – Couldn’t make it to TechEd, watch the sessions online

My Developer peers are doing FREE Live events all over the United states (and world for that matter).

Windows App Developer Workshops

Windows Game Developer Workshops

Windows Azure Developer Camps

Developer Days 2013

You can find and register for these events all in one place -

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Which brings me to where my passions lie – The IT Pros

I want IT Pros to be successful. I want IT Pros to know more about their networks then their end users. I want you to know about the latest and greatest stuff before your CEO does. So here are some additional resources for you

IT Pros

TechNet Events and Webcasts

FREE IT Pro Tools Downloads

Beta and Preview Software Downloads

And so much more!!!

Finally – I don’t think I have delivered an in-person presentation in last 13 years where I haven’t communicated this basic concept - We can do anything we want with software. It’s just a bunch of 0’s and 1’s and with enough time and energy we can put them in the right order and make them do whatever we want.

If you want to see latest thing we have made all those 0’s and 1’s do,

Right now we have a series of FREE Windows Azure IT Camps designed to introduce you to Windows Azure and give you hands on experience with Windows Azure and Cloud Computing. It doesn’t matter of you are a 30 year veteran of IT, new to the industry or perhaps a career changer, these sessions will be valuable to you. All you have to do is click the image below to find a session near you and register.

 

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-Cheers!