My advice is to start reading the best practices documentation for SQL, and hit MS first. Dont play with the other stuff till you feel realy comfortable with MS SQL Server. It will give you the most bang for the buck (or time) that you spend this early in your career. I wouldnt worry about exchange beyoned a basic maintnence level. With 365, most companies will start moving to that model. Its cheaper than spending 100k + every couple years upgrading, re tuning, all that bs when MS comes out with a new Exchange version. Virtulization has moved to the point where its almost a deriment no knowing it, and you can learn that so you can then sandbox MSSQL. Good luck, and welcome to the Lions den, hope you brought your sheild and spear..