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Category: Learning

The DevOps Learning Curve

Grant Fritchey gives us the low-down on learning about DevOps:

If you’re attempting to implement automation in and around your deployments, you’re going to find there is quite a steep learning curve for DevOps and DevOps-style implementations. Since adopting a DevOps-style release cycle does, at least in theory, speed your ability to deliver better code safely, why would it be hard?

Click through for an idea, including tools to use and some first steps.

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The Spark Starter Guide

Landon Robinson has some good news for us:

If you visit or, you’ll see something new and exciting from us. It’s official: we’ve written and are publishing a comprehensive guide to Apache Spark.

This guide will be completely online and completely free. A book’s worth of content, containing exercises in Python and Scala to teach you Spark, at your fingertips. Again, free.

Landon has posted chapter 1, section 1 already:

This section introduces the concept of data pipelines – how data is processed from one form into another. It’s also the generic term used to describe how data moves from one location or form, and is consumed, altered, transformed, and delivered to another location or form.

You’ll be introduced to Spark functions like joinfilter, and aggregate to process data in a variety of forms. You’ll learn it all through interactive Spark exercises in Scala and Python.

This is very early in the process but I’m excited.

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Azure SQL Championship

Mala Mahadevan announces a contest:

Learning can be drudgery, it can also be fun. One of the fun ways to learn Azure is to take part in Azure SQL Championship – a joint attempt by Microsoft and PASS to promote Azure learning. From October 12-30, there will be daily quizzes/simple challenges to solve. If you do it right you have a chance to win some fabulous prizes as below:

Read on to learn more, including the prizes on offer.

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Learn Powershell with PSKoans

Mikey Bronowski shows off PSKoans:

Recently I have got a question about resources to learn PowerShell. There is plenty out there in the wild, but I came across an interesting module I would like to write today – PSKoans.

I’m a big fan of the koan strategy of learning. It ramps you up slowly and gives you plenty of code to help understand syntax and flow. The F# koans are fantastic, as are Python’s.

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A Critique of “Advanced” as a Description of Learning Content

Don Jones lays out the argument for why the term “advanced” doesn’t mean much for learning:

Let me share a little secret of the training industry with you: an “advanced” topic is any topic that you don’t already know.

Don’t argument is that the proper axis is around commonality of usage: most commonly performed to least commonly performed. It’s an interesting argument for sure.

I’m of two minds with the idea, however. I appreciate Don’s example and like the concept of commonality for differentiation. But there are things which are legitimately advanced topics, in that they would be difficult to understand even if they were common. In Don’s query tuning example, an example of something legitimately difficult to understand is the set of rules the query optimizer chose to test for a particular query. Yes, it is very uncommon to need to know this, but it is also difficult to understand if you do need to know, and explaining how and why the query optimizer chose the path and rules that it did requires a fairly deep base of expertise.

In short, I think there’s an endogeneity problem: things can be perceived as difficult because they are unommon (which is my reading of Don’s point), but also things can be uncommon because they are difficult to understand given some baseline of knowledge.

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Mentoring from Paul Randal

Paul Randal is offering up mentorship time:

If I remember correctly, I think I helped 8 or more people decide to change jobs for a better work environment suited to their goals, and several people go it alone as consultants. It was hugely satisfying to help so many people with their careers and lives, in a non-technical capacity.

Now it’s time to do it again, as I haven’t done any public mentoring since 2015, so this blog post serves as a call for prospective mentees!

Please read the rest of this post carefully, so you’re clear how this works. We’re making a time commitment to each other so I want to be up-front about a few things.

I was one of those 54 mentees back in 2015 and can recommend it. I will say, though, that you get out of it exactly what you put in—this isn’t some “I want to advance my career” easy mode.

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Three Rants for the Price of One

Nate Johnson is a few months early for Festivus:

Another thing. This isn’t a “new update” thing; this is a long-standing “Oh my lord I can’t believe they DESIGNED it this way, WHAT were they THINKING?!?!” thing. Files. Sending & receiving files. I get an picture, like a screenshot, from a user (that’s NOT a OneDrive link, because that’s a whole ‘nother can-of-worms). I click to download it. It goes.. where?

OH RIGHT. It goes to my ‘Downloads’ folder. That dumpster-fire, where everything from anywhere goes into, and nobody keeps it organized, and nobody knows how to find anything unless they’ve gotten smart enough to sort by Date Modified descending. Right, that.

I can’t say I disagree about any of what Nate covers.

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