PowerShell is a scripting language and command-line interface tool developed at Microsoft by Jeffrey Snover in 2003.
Since then, Windows administrators and information technology (IT) managers have recognized the benefits of using PowerShell for various administrative tasks from the command line or graphical user interface (GUI). PowerShell has replaced the Windows command prompt in default Windows menus as its capabilities have completely overtaken and eclipsed the older, DOS-inspired command line.
Today, PowerShell is tightly integrated with Windows, Windows Server and other Windows products and is also available for Linux and macOS, making PowerShell expertise an in-demand career skill.
Whether you’re handling run-of-the-mill Windows administration or are branching out into the cloud or DevOps, knowing your way around PowerShell can improve the efficiency of your workday tasks, help you with professional development and improve your job prospects.
PowerShell runs on the Server Core installation option of the Windows Server operating system group, built and designed for business needs.
Many of the best online business education platforms cover IT topics like PowerShell. If you need to brush up on all things PowerShell, check out these free training courses and general resources before investing money in formal classes.
With the retirement of the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) in June 2019, Microsoft Learn is a logical first step when searching for free learning sources for Microsoft products. To get started:
Microsoft Learn focuses primarily on Azure and various business apps, including Microsoft Dynamics 365, PowerApps and Power BI. While its PowerShell offerings aren’t as vast as other topics, you’ll find valuable modules like “Understand the Command Syntax in PowerShell,” “Automate Administrative Tasks Using PowerShell,” and more.
Check back to see if new courses have been added as Microsoft Learn periodically updates its offerings.
Supporting all platforms and languages that use PowerShell, PowerShell.org’s Free Resources section connects visitors to e-books and the PowerShell.org YouTube channel, which has more than 100 videos.
While you’re on PowerShell.org, be sure to browse its articles, forums and PowerScripting podcast series, all of which are current and chock-full of PowerShell how-to information.
Online learning platform Class Central’s PowerShell offerings include more than 70 free and paid courses. You can filter by free and paid courses as well as by course level, duration and language.
Class Central’s free courses include “PowerShell 7,” “Advanced Tools & Scripting with PowerShell 3.0 Jump Start,” “Getting Started with Microsoft PowerShell,” “PowerShell Master Class,” and “PowerShell for IT Professionals.” Paid courses include a professional certificate.
If you decide to pursue IT certifications at some point, consider evergreen certifications that have proven industry longevity and respect.
Veeam specializes in cloud data management, backup and disaster recovery for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, IBM Cloud, VMware and Hyper-V. Because PowerShell is an essential tool for managing Windows-based cloud technologies, you will find many how-to blogs and articles on various PowerShell topics.
Visit the Veeam website, select the search icon and enter PowerShell to access Veeam’s PowerShell resource articles.
Nestled under the PowerShell Team repository on GitHub is the Learning PowerShell doc, which takes you step by step through installing PowerShell, using the PowerShell editor, debugging and testing. There’s also a map book aimed at seasoned Bash users who want to ramp up more quickly.
The DevOps Collective on GitHub is a repository of short books and articles on PowerShell gotchas and how-tos, including code examples. Learn about handling errors, generating historical and trend reports, networking, remoting and much more.
Most paid training providers offer a free trial period, typically one to two weeks, during which you can take a course or two to see if they’re a good fit for you and to get a feel for the depth and quality of training before paying.
Here are a few providers to consider:
You can glean much information on PowerShell by browsing these resources:
Many PowerShell power users lament the lack of certifications for this essential admin tool. Although Microsoft doesn’t offer a certification based solely on PowerShell, the company has peppered several of its certifications, including the ever-popular Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) and Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certifications, with PowerShell questions.
Whether you earn a certification or develop a working knowledge of PowerShell to assist your career growth, you can’t go wrong investing time to learn all you can about this valuable tool.
Jessica Pooree contributed to this article.