There are many niche areas within infrastructure and security, but we find that most IT Pros have a very broad set of responsibilities, touching different products and tasks. If you’re working in a Microsoft-focussed environment, especially one that is using Azure, these are the tools and technologies to become familiar with.
Infrastructure concepts underpin so many technology workloads. Whether an application has been developed in-house from scratch, with backend databases on Windows Server and a front-end GUI, or whether it uses cloud components like Azure Functions - an IT Pro needs to understand how things like networking, identity, and security impact the application design, performance, and data protection. And aside from applications, there are a bunch of infrastructure-driven services that need maintaining, like file sharing, DHCP, DNS, and Group Policy, as well as Software-as-a-Service.
Start with a good understanding of the main concepts of:
Whether it's physical cabling and switches, or cloud networking configurations, topics like TCP/IP addressing are universal. As is a good, tidy patch panel.
Contrary to popular belief, the cloud did not in fact remove the need for servers. Some of them went hybrid, some of them appeared as Azure VMs and some of them are being upgraded or deployed inside organisations all over the world. Huh.
Security is in everything, and many IT Pros don't have a dedicated security department. Understand the infrastructure configuration that contributes to a secure environment and the security tools that are available.
This will depend on if your organization has embraced Containers yet, but if your developers come knocking on your door because they want some near your production environments, you'll know where to start.
As you deploy new resources, query logs or run commands at scale, there are a few scripting and automation tools and languages that can help. These are especially important for IT Pros who also manage cloud resources.
Need we say more? PowerShell is the love language of Exchange administrators, Active Directory administrators, Azure administrators and more! If you want to query some stuff or run commands at scale, learn PowerShell's structure and you're halfway there.
Sometimes code isn't just for developing applications ... it's for scripting the deployment and configuration of infrastructure. Get started with Azure Bicep then dive into deployment tools, including the Ops in DevOps!
Speaking of tools that are not just for developers - now you can store your PowerShell scripts somewhere AND have source control and versioning and other developery-stuff. It's a learning curve, but you'll be approving pull requests in no time. Or not approving them.
OK but you have to write those PowerShell scripts first. Or at least copy them from somewhere else and edit them. VS Code has your back, with helpful syntax suggestions that beat the good old days of "Error in line 352".
No, not the green screen terminals that some of us started with, but if you were brought up with the command prompt, you will be AMAZED by Windows Terminal. Or at least a little bit impressed, we hope.
Before the robots take our jobs, we will automate things anyway, so we have more time to be doing the stuff we actually want to be doing. Get started with no code or low code Power Automate or unleash the Logic Apps!
The IT Pro skillset is so vast and varied, that this list feels incomplete! We know there are big topics like architecture and more details to skills like troubleshooting. And the exact technologies you will need to go deeper into will depend on your current role. But by committing to learning across this range of concepts, tools and languages, you’ll be able to handle most IT Pro tasks that come your way, or feel confident applying for your next role (we won't tell your boss).
What did we miss that you think should be included?