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What Would You Recommend for IT Training? 79

ITPhantom wonders: "It is that time again and my supervisor has been coming around and asking what training and conferences I would like to attend in the upcoming year. I have recently been put in charge of the management and security of a few dozen machines in our department, and our internal network (simple as it may be). While most of the machines that I am responsible for are running Windows, there are a few Linux machines in the mix. I am fairly proficient with Windows, but have not had any real experience managing Linux machines, though I have been a casual user for about a year. With all of the options available, from online training to extensive boot camps and seminars, what would you recommend for training in the areas above?"
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What Would You Recommend for IT Training?

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  • one recommendation (Score:2, Informative)

    by marybethls ( 991556 )
    If you are around San Francisco bay area, then a training outfit that I very much recommend is LinuxCertified (http://www.linuxcertified.com [linuxcertified.com]). I attended a "bootcamp" style class (Linux system administration) there few months ago and it was by far the most helpful IT class that I have attended. I found the training to be very practical in nature. It was distro independent (although they used Fedora during the class itself). Also, I would recommend having a shelf full of oreilly books... :)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @10:32PM (#15796206)
      What most programmers would like:

      Give each programmer a $500 per annum budget they can spend on tech books, let them keep the books, bring em home, read in their own time.
      Total cost: $500 each for any employee who actually bothers.

      What most managers do:

      Spend $3000 per head on a 3 day seminar, send several employee costing the company 3 days work from each person.
      Total cost: $3500+ per employee whether they bother paying attention or not.
      • Yup, they sure do. And then they deny a request for a $50 book, claiming they don't "have it in the budget" which they pissed away on the seminar.
      • This really is a good idea. $500 could buy you quite a few good books, and would give employees an incentive to go and read them. I've never known an organization to do that though. I was a coop student once and they sent me on a week long course, because they still had a bunch of training vouchers left that they hadn't used. It was a nice course, but probably nothing I couldn't have learned from buying a $75 book and spending the week reading and doing my own learning. No matter what level of course y
      • I know of some companies that do this. When the employees are done reading the books, they put it in their IT Library..
        • Yes, my company does this... but in our case the "IT Library" is our managers office. And since we have a "library", we can't buy more that one copy of a book.

          We were fighting so much over reference books like "Regular Expressions", I just bought my own.
        • These are very intelligent companies. I tried to get the company that I used to work for to buy me a few books and start a library but I guess that they thought there was a catch or that I'd never give up the books. I dunno. It got tied up in red tape until I just went and bought the few books I was wanting. Mainly some scripting books so that I could create better scripts.

          Once my immediate manager saw some of the scripts I was starting to make he wanted to borrow one of my books. I told him "no way". If
      • My company encourage you to read and learn on your own and do have some flexibility over taking time out to do so, but while this is usually ok for small focussed topics, it doesn't work well for learning any major topic you're completely unfamiliar with. Having proper, structured, training with hands-on labs is much better at getting you started in this situation.

        Another thing that formal courses are good for is that you are out of the office and away from your day-to-day work, so can concentrate on the s
  • Duh (Score:4, Funny)

    by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @08:56PM (#15795881)
    Just RTFM, it's the Linux Way®
  • CCNA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eggoeater ( 704775 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @09:02PM (#15795902) Journal
    I've been a general programmer for 10+ years. I didn't think I'd get much out of a CCNA class but I really enjoyed it. Many things that were hazy before (subnet masks, switches vs routers, etc) are now crystal clear.
    I'm now using my new knowledge of the UDP protocol to do some cool broadcasting stuff in some of my client-server apps.

  • Some books first?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brunokummel ( 664267 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @09:03PM (#15795906) Journal
    I don't know about the rest of the slashdotters, but from the experience i got from college i would get some books on the matter before attending any kind of training. I know this is not the quickest way out, but is the thorough way, and believe me sometimes in IT doing it right is much more important than doing it quickly.
    There's so much good stuff available for free on the internet that i can't even point out where exactly you can start, that depends on what you want to learn first
    But, anyhow, if budget is not a problem in your job, as it is in my, you could still benefit from some by-yourself studying before you face some formal training.

    • I don't know about the rest of the slashdotters, but from the experience i got from college i would get some books on the matter before attending any kind of training. I know this is not the quickest way out, but is the thorough way, and believe me sometimes in IT doing it right is much more important than doing it quickly.

      That all depends on which mode of learning suits you best. Generally, this is broken down into (1) learning by touch/doing, (2) learning visually i.e. reading, or (3) aural learning w
      • As far as IT and computers go, i'm not sure I know anybody who can really learn by anything other than sitting down and actually doing it. I myself can learn high level concepts pretty well from just listening, or reading about the material, but when it comes to actually sitting down and applying what you know, you have to have some hands on experience before you can really use your knowledge. I learned pretty well in school about all the concepts I needed to pass the test, just from listening to the pro
        • That's an interesting idea. Does the field of discipline tend to reward those who learn in a certain way? In IT/programming, visual and kinesthetic are natural fits since we program using visual feedback (along with lots of reading) and kinesthetic feedback (try it, did it work?). Plus, there's the ability to mentally picture the problem at hand and form the solution in your head (spatial thinking?) prior to implementing it.

          I was originally drawn towards programming because I find it easy to picture th
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I completely agree. I found in college that I always did much better if I studied the material before taking the class. By class time I already had an idea about what was going on and what things confused me and could get a good explanation by asking about it then. No exception, this was uniformly the best way to go.
    • That's a good suggestion. It never hurts to have good reference material. And, for some people books or online sources just don't do it. We all have different learning styles. Some people need to learn directly from others. Unfortunately having different needs makes it difficult to give meaningful recommendations to a stranger. The system that works best for me is to try read some first, so at least the vocabulary isn't totally foreign but I learn much, much more quickly in a training class environment. It
  • Have them send you to BlackHat. You might as well learn some cool stuff. In addition to the bookshelf full of O'Reilly books that another poster mentioned, I found Linux Network Servers 24/7 to be a helpful book. Although it was centered on RedHat it did a good job of focusing on the setup of all the typical components that you'd want to run on a Linux server in a networked environment.
    • Company I work for is sending two people to Blackhat/Defcon this year. This is in addition to other team members going to USENIX, SchmooCon, Blackhat Federal, etc.. throughout the year
    • Don't tell him to go to Blackhat without warning him about the horrible things people will do to his electronics there...Anything you take WILL be hacked. Your cell phone, your laptop, your PSP, your PDA...your credit/atm cards won't work afterwards or at some point during. You will have to get a new room key every night. Pretty much, while it is supposed to be a security con, they will hack and destroy everything you own, because there is always someone who wants to prove they know more than you.
  • by Connie_Lingus ( 317691 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @09:20PM (#15795956) Homepage
    ...classes in Indian and Chinese. Pretty sure those skills will pay off big in the next 20 years or so.
    • I guess you really are a cunning linguist (apologies to Miss Moneypenney)
    • Aw come on. Apart from feeling that you need Indian (actually Hindi or Tamil or any one of abouty 14 "official" languages) or Chinese (which usually means mandarin), how about some generic stuff related to managing security in information systems (ISMS). A one day workshop that tells how to start the ISMS journey could be a starting point. HTH End
    • OP makes a joke but it's not funny. You'd be hard pressed to find a teacher in the engineering dept at UCF [ucf.edu] who speaks clear english. Even harder than that is finding a teacher who can teach. Most of them dribble off powerpoints provided by the publisher of the textbook. My college has been largely worthless in providing me an education in the field of IT. I picked up most of my skills from books and interns.
      • You probably should have chosen the school a couple hours north... ;) Same accents on the engineering profs, but at least they make their own powerpoints!
  • CEH Training (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DaFork ( 608023 )
    A lot of admins in my company seem to like the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) training (http://www.eccouncil.org/CEH.htm).
    • Re:CEH Training (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
      How exactly do you certify ethics? I mean, you can learn about ethics and probably pass quite a few tests on ethics without actually being an ethical person. Granted, it's nice to know how to "hack" since knowing the possible security holes that exist in systems is a great way to ensure high security in your own work. Case in point. I knew a "network admin" who didn't think it was possible to change the MAC address. Invalid assumptions such as this can lead to people assuming their system is secure whe
      • If you look at the training, they are not certifying ethics. I think they came up with the name like this:

        Black Hat = Unethical Hacker
        White Hat = Ethical Hacker

        So they basically teach you how to hack and probably have a few topics on when it is OK to use your mad skillz.
  • o'reilly (Score:3, Informative)

    by p!ssa ( 660270 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @09:45PM (#15796032)
    I would sign up for a subscription to the safari bookshelf service from o'reilly being able to search such a large library can be very valuable for things you have little experience with. I come from the dev. side so I dont know of many sys admin specific "classroom" type stuff, but I have always got alot out of SD Expo and the many break out session esp. the birds of a feather after hours "tech chat over beers" meetings (It hasnt been as good since y2k but still valuable).
    • To the Safari Bookshelf I would add a little bit of spare time and free machines so you can follow along. Tinkering with a working system to observe all the parts in action is an essential part of learning (and implicitly assumed by the O'Reilly books I've read,) but it isn't usually tolerated on real systems and real schedules. Management quite reasonably tends to look unfavorably on any further work once a system is working acceptably. To make up for this, they should set aside free time and machines f
  • Good Training (Score:2, Informative)

    by sampas ( 256178 ) *
    I have gone for training at a few different places. I liked my the Learning Tree [learningtree.com] in Linux/Unix Security and Solaris (also some Windows) because their instructors were good and had a lot of real-world experience. The difference between RTFM and a classroom is that you can ask questions, and others in the class may even have questions of their own they want answered. Some of my instructors at LT were writing open-source packages you've heard of, others had run Unix security at government agencies you've heard
    • I've been sent to around six learning tree classes by my work over the last six years. I've got some certification from them in Windows 2000. The cert is meaningless to me, but the training was good and very valuable. All of the instructors were excellent, except for one that was a former pro baseball player - he wasn't very sharp.
    • I cannot give enough praise to The Training Camp. I just got back from their Pennsylvania facility a few days ago. I took the MCSA course. It was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. The classes definitely focus on passing the exams. But you can't really pass the exams without knowing what you're doing. I have virtually no network admin experience, but I still did well in the course. I learned how to manage a network as well as how to pass the tests. The instructors at The Training Camp litera
  • For you... (Score:3, Informative)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @10:08PM (#15796114)
    ...I don't know, you haven't told us much about yourself. Maybe a *nix class.

    For IT in general, a class in interpersonal skills would be beneficial.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    A little German and Japanese would go far too...

    Might as well get ready for when your bosses bosses boss goes to a lunchin and decides to outsource whole departments overseas.
  • by shrapnull ( 780217 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @10:16PM (#15796144)
    You leave a lot to the imagination, given that you don't really explain your experience very well. With such a small network, I would start by learning some basics that will pay off as you grow:

    1. Directory Structures: LDAP it in such a mixed environment. With the prevalence of Windows on your network you might consider Active Directory, but in the mixed mode, you'll be better off with Open Directory or NDS.

    2. Virtualization: VMWare puts on one hell of a show. And in your environment, I would highly recommend consolidating servers to commodity hardware. VMWare ESX with VMotion will save you tons of money and headache down the road.

    3. Storage: SAS? iSCSI? Fiber-channel SAN? Storage capacity and proper storage replication/backups are key to an adaptable and reliable network. Get something you can build on.

    4. Cisco: You may be in a small network environment now, but the more you know about your Cisco equipment the more performance you can eek out of your topology and provide better overall network security.

    I'm assuming you're more then capable in the desktop support arena. The above recommendations are things I've had to relearn over the past 10 years in managing a system that started with 50 and has since grown to 5500 nodes. The more adaptable you build your fledgling network today, the more you'll thank me down the line.
  • To be honest, asking your boss for a day or two to just sit down with some good books and tutorials, and work with new technologies firsthand... that's what works best for me, at least. A lot less expensive than travelling around the country, and you might just get better results.

    Also check to see if there are any consultants in your area (like me, well probably not in your area) who offer training services custom-tailored to what you need.
  • The rest will solve itself.

    Oh, and O'Reily's Safari Bookshelf is pretty nice.

    • Curiosity will help you find out what you *WANT* to know. It may not help you find out what you *NEED* to know. (ie, what the industry wants you to know).

      The IT industry is one of perpetual flux. Burn it into your mind that you must be continually getting certified. Build it into your budget. Build it into your schedule.

      Take a few "extracurricular" courses as well (First Aid, CPR, Toastmasters, etc).
  • While training courses or conferences that last a few days can be a nice break, I think the money and your time are best spent on something more formal.

    I've attended training courses and spent a lot of money at Barnes & Noble, but I'm learning the most now that I'm in grad school. Graduate courses don't just give you specific information, or have you follow a manual to complete some hands-on training. (Or at least they shouldn't.) They should force you to research different topics in depth and, ide
  • The only person that can get you the right answer is yourself. The three big options are RTFM, CBT, and onsite training. I use a combination of the three options. IEEE has some online training in around 800 subjects for $200/year. TestOut has a nice little certification training and exam prep package that will cover the OS side of what you need to cover. The Safari program from Oreily is one of the great deals in the industry for online documentation. I think the benefit of travel/in person training is
  • What is your Goal? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Where do you want to be in 5, 10, 15 years?
    Where does your boss think you should be in 5, 10, 15 years?

    If these align, work on a plan that has you trained appropriately with what is useful today, next year, 5 years from now. A wide range of jobs makes your life more fun and you more valuable, IMHO. I've been an IT professional for 20 years now and never would have guessed I'd be an independent enterprise technical architect from where I started as job title "Programmer A" writing Space Shuttle GN&C co
  • I would recommend one of the redhat classes. About half of the training classes I have attended have been through redhat. I pay my own way sometimes for classes and when it comes to classes the only ones I'll put my money on are the redhat ones. So far I have been very satisfied with there classes and can't remember being bored during any of there classes. Each instructor is a little different and has different skills that they are willing to share (beyond just the course work). I've learned a few tips
  • The 20th annual USENIX LISA System Administration conference is in Washington DC in December. Lots of content, no fluff.
    [usenix.org]http://www.usenix.org/events/lisa06/ [usenix.org]
    Disclaimer: I teach tutorials at USENIX conferences, but I've paid to attend many over the years
    • I'll second this recommendation for LISA. The tutorials are a good way to get a base understanding of a specific topic. (The tutorial schedule for LISA'06 is not yet announced.) Check out other USENIX events as well, http://www.usenix.org/events/ [usenix.org]

      While I've never personally paid to attend a USENIX conference, my employer has paid for me to attend several.

  • by Ramanujan R. Ramanujan.
  • What Would You Recommend for IT Training?
    I would recommend having sex for starting the training. I say, treat your training like you would treat a soccer match and have sex! [spiegel.de]
  • Immersion. If your in IT, then you understand computers. That said immerse yourself in any of the schools of thought and you'll pick it up. Case in point. I started Computers on Apple II and IIgs in '83-'89. '93 graduated High School and went to College. Had to learn basic Unix to do email, usenet, and compiling C progs my 1st year in College in '93-'94. Come '05 I hadn't really touched nix since college. Now I work for an entirely MS free company. We use Suse and Solaris only. Picked it up in no time. I wi
  • Join the League of Professional System Administrators [lopsa.org]. We're a relatively new group, but we're growing quickly. You'll have an instant peer community to talk with, and a good peer community may be more important to your long term IT career then a few training classes. I also suspect that asking this question on the lopsa-discuss mailing list would generate a different set of suggestions from Ask Slashdot.
    • League of Professional System Administrators


      Just make it a point at the meetings to not sit between the lady vampire and the guy with the painting; sometimes they get along quite well and sometimes not...
  • you learn best...classroom or read and play. Then take the suggestions presented and apply as you see fit. I would recommend buying the Linux Systems Adminstrator's Handbook, for a basic desk reference. If you learn best in a classroom, I like the Linux bootcamp for a comprehensive hands on. Otherwise, I think you are just as well off with the LSAH and a couple of O'Reilly books and a computer.
  • The 2nd week of August is the Linux World Expo in San Francisco. I was there last year, and I'm going again this year. I wouldn't say you'd learn a lot about Linux there, more so learning about new commerical software and new hardware. But any place is good to start, and theres always plenty of opportunities for networking and discussions.

    You can always learn Linux like I did. Go get a pound of pot, lots of beer, coffee, make sure Google.com is accessable, and (wish I had this when I started learning)

  • A class in Abnormal Psych. Seriously.
    How many people that call a help desk are experiencing acute anxiety?
    How many VIPs at your company will think they are your exclusive supervisor?
    How many bitter department secretaries will try to monopolize your time to show how important they are?
    How many times will you hear: "don't help that person, I'm mad at them"?
    How many times will you see a user make the same mistake over and over and over?

    A class in abnormal psyche helps you spot the kooks early on. Every job h
  • I assume that you have at least one year of working knowledge of software engineering. Learning any of the 29 or so languages from India is worthless; Their intercultural language is English. One could learn the Cantonese form of Chinese, but the Middle Kingdom is focusing on manufacturing, NOT service based solutions.

    Software Engineers solve problems. HTML is pretty light weight for a software problem. Web services are console apps for the Internet. So what is a problem that a software engineer can solve
  • I would take in consideration all of the suggestions for training listed above. After completing the training you should direct your conferences to something that will rejuvenate your energies.

    1) E3
    2) Mrs. Nude world
    3) The Adult Video Awards

    These, of course, are just a few suggestions.
  • Tell the manager it's just $12,000 and covers not just you but also ten other people concurrently from A+ to CCIE. I've tried many CBT materials, but Nuggets are what was most useful to me.

    There is some seriously good information in those videos.
  • Get your hands on as many systems as possible.

    Break these systems in as many ways as possible.

    Fix these systems.

    This will teach you A LOT. Not so much on the theory, but you'll gain a lot of real world practical understanding and be able to put the theory you get from various conferences, books, and classes into a proper context.
  • San Francisco, CA Linux Expo August 14-18 next month. Great place to go for seminars, training, certification, and to find out more about what's going on in the world of Linux. For more info... http://www.linuxworldexpo.com/live/12/events/12SFO 06A [linuxworldexpo.com]

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