Jumpstart: PowerShell Learning Resources

January 05, 2022 PowerShell, VSCode, Azure, JumpStarts

As many of you may know I am a Microsoft MVP and a leader of the Research Triangle PowerShell user group. Our group focuses on giving people a comfortable space to learn and hang out with fellow IT pros regardless of skill level. One of the first questions we always get from people who are new to PowerShell and automation is: What are some excellent resources for learning PowerShell?

There's many answers to that question. Some people prefer books, others prefer blogs, some prefer videos and some prefer interactive tools. I have put together a list of resources you can use a reference for places to learn and practice PowerShell.

Article Contents:

If you like to learn from books

Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches vol 3 - Don Jones & Jeff Hicks

If you have no experience with PowerShell, then this is one book I recommend over all the others. The authors, Don Jones and Jeff Hicks, are the best in the business and write in a way that is simple to understand and follow along with.

The book consists of 28 chapters that are each designed to be done during your lunch break and still have some time to enjoy lunch. It should take you about one month to follow along with the book, and that's where the name of the book comes from.Trust me when I say this: You will learn PowerShell the proper way from this book and you will not be sorry you bought this book.

The book is available as a paper book, e-book or online. I used the online version and could do annotations I could refer to later. I also have the paperback version as well.

There are two follow-ups to this book that are equally great. These are follow on books that pickup where the first book ends. You can go wrong with any of the books in this series.


Learn PowerShell Scripting in a Month of Lunches - Don Jones & Jeff Hicks

Learn how to move from the interactive cmd prompt to repeatable scripts. This is a great first step in automation once you have finished the first month of lunches book listed above.


Learn PowerShell Toolmaking in a Month of Lunches - Don Jones & Jeff Hicks

Learn how to create tools you can share with others. Learn the advanced concepts of PowerShell in easy to digest bite-size nuggets.


Windows PowerShell in Action, Third Edition - Bruce Payette and Richard Siddaway

A great book but probably not the best place to start. This book is written by one of the PowerShell original designers (Bruce Payette) and Richard Siddaway (a Microsoft MVP). Both gentlemen have a legendary knowledge of PowerShell and have written a book that gets into some of the deep pieces of PowerShell.


PowerShell Practice Primer - Jeff Hicks

Jeff has written a book that is nothing but challenges to help you test your knowledge and reinforce the minor details that get forgotten about PowerShell. The book contains 100+ PowerShell challenges to improve your PowerShell proficiency and enhance your PowerShell learning skills.


If you like to learn from videos

Pluralsight

Pluralsight is a subscription website with an amazingly deep content catalog. Some of the best trainers and MVP's in the business produce the content. Courses cover much more than PowerShell and the membership is a steal at only $199 for a year's worth of access to about 800 tech courses. I have used Pluralsight for the last 5 years. Highly recommend.

YouTube

You can find virtually anything on YouTube, including PowerShell demos. Rather than recommend a particular channel, just go search for PowerShell.

John Savill's Technical Training

However, if you want to go to some specific channels; John's is one of the best in the business. His channel skews heavily to Azure, but there is plenty of good content to be found. John is an excellent educator and you should not skip this site.

YouTube: RTPSUG

We post all of our meetings to YouTube and now have 100+ videos covering every aspect of PowerShell, automation and Azure. I guarantee you find a relevant topic in our catalog of videos.

If you like to read blogs

Microsoft Learn

Microsoft's learn website is not technically a blog site. Rather, it is guided learning site that consists of collections of technical and educational articles.

If you haven't visted this resources in the last six months, then you owe yourself to take another look. Microsoft has built a fantastic learning resource which has guided paths to follow depending on what you want to learn. This resource covers all of PowerShell as well as other pupular topics like Azure, SQl, PowerBI, etc. You will need some time to get through all the content available. Highly recommend.


PlanetPowerShell

The easiest way to keep up with the mountain of PowerShell content is to use an RSS reader and subscribe to Planet PowerShell. It is a PowerShell blog aggregator that this site and about 100 others are a part of. One RSS subscription keeps you tied to the best content.


The Lonely Administrator

The blog of Jeff Hicks who is maybe the best teacher of PowerShell in the business. Jeff is a true pro with a gift to share. Jeff produces a blog post every two weeks and they are all worth reading.


4Sysops

A website geared towards system admins with tons of PowerShell content. Michael Pietroforte does an excellent job of mixing in various levels of content. Disclaimer: I am a writer for this site.


Adam The Automator

Adam and his cronies put out a volume of content not matched by anyone. His articles are super in-depth, very educational and well written.


PowerShellExplained

The online home of Kevin Marquette! If you are looking for a deep dive on some of the fundamental coding concepts of the PowerShell language, then this is the place to go! Kevin's tutorials are bookmark worthy and I visit his pages all the time for refreshers and details on PowerShell key concepts.


If you like to take part with others

Research Triangle PowerShell user group

Come join me and my peers for an interactive learning session! We meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month. Content ranges from basic to advanced, but we always welcome all levels of knowledge. Come spend time in a place with other IT pros and share some knowledge.

I like to say our usergroup is like no other place on the internet to experience the PowerShell community. Come join us and see why we say that!


New York PowerShell group

Doug Finke runs the NYC PowerShell group and he always has a stellar list of speakers that present topics each month. Much like my group, its a great place to hang out and learn from the pros. Doug has some of the best PowerShell modules available. You should check out his group and his personal code repo.


If you like to learn from doing

PSKoans PowerShell Module

Joel Sallow is a wunderkind of sorts with knowledge of PowerShell and .Net. Joel built a module that simply asks you a question that you have to answer. The goal of the PowerShell koans is to teach you PowerShell by presenting you with a set of questions. Each kōan (each question) is represented by a failing Pester test. Your goal is to make those tests pass by filling out the correct answer or writing the correct code. The koans start very simple to get you familiar with the basic concepts and progress towards more difficult. Teaching you multiple beginner, intermediate and advanced aspects of PowerShell."


IronScripter

Jeff Hicks runs a website that contains hundreds of PowerShell puzzles for all skill levels. Post results to the comments and compare your results with others.


When it's time to write code

VSCode

Listen, let me say this right now... stop using the PowerShell ISE!! Like now! Do yourself a favor and go download VSCODE. It's a great tool for writing PowerShell code. It has a bit of a learning curve on day 1 but there are plenty of plugins and add-ons to make PowerShell exceptional. VSCode is the de facto tool used by most PowerShell community members today.


One last resource...

Awesome PowerShell

This is a GitHub repo of a curated list of delightful PowerShell resources. Everything listed above is on this list plus many other resources.

Thanks for reading, I'd love to know what you think. Did I leave one out that you love? Share it in the comment section at the bottom of the page for others to see!