Resources for System Administrators

I’ve seen a lot of forum posts recently about the best places to keep up with news, get help, network with others, and so on in the IT world. Now I know that what resource you seek out really depends on what you’re trying to do, but my general rule of thumb is to seek out new resources and use them all the time. I can’t count the number of times I have been listening to a podcast on the way to work and have gotten ideas, or thumbing through a magazine and going, “What? That exists?” And then going off and trying it out on my own, eventually incorporating it into my bag of tricks.

At this point I have yet to find a comprehensive list that goes over all the various tools for getting these resources so I have really been focusing the past couple of weeks on compiling my own list and set of resources, trying to think of the most useful media. Even with this list I’m sure I am missing a number of helpful resources but I will try to go over the main ideas here, hopefully adding more detail in future blog posts and expanding details about them in those posts. So here is the list:

  • RSS Feeds —  Dump them all into Google Reader or Atom Reader, start your day off by going through these.  Incredibly helpful.
  • Online forums/social outlets and communities
    • Reddit —  Great place to “talk shop” exchange ideas, etc.   Make sure to look up /r/sysdamin
    • Superuser —  Get help with computer issues
    • Serverfault —  Get help with system administration and desktop support
    • Ubuntuforums —  All things Ubuntu
    • Techexams —  Career help as well as advice on certifications
  • IRC Channels
  • Mailing Lists
  • Local Linux User Groups —  Google should be helpful for finding them.
  • LOPSA — A community of system administrators.
  • SAGE — Another community for system administrators.
  • Podcasts
    • Security Now!
    • Podnutz Pro
    • RunAs Radio
    • Hak5
    • My Hard Drive Died
    • Packet Pushers
    • PowerScripting Podcast
  • Industry Magazines
    • Linux Journal
    • Windows IT Pro
    • Hacker Monthly
  • Books
    • Time Management for System Administrators
    • The Practice of System and Network Administration
  • Conferences — A great way to learn and meet new people.
    • Black Hat
    • DEF CON
    • PhreakNIC
    • ToorCon
    • ShmooCon
    • DerbyCon
    • Pycon
    • SkyDogCon
  • Home Labs —  Build a Virtual server, test out the latest and greatest.
  • Technet — Subscribe to technet to compliment your home lab with Microsoft software.
  • Personal Project(s) — Create your own project ,website or blog, anything to keep your skills fresh.
  • Twitter —  Keep up with a person or what is going on in projects.
  • Open Source Project — Contribute to a cause that you believe in.  Gain tons of skill and experience.

What do you use to stay in loop and improve your tech skills?  I would love to add to this list.

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Josh Reichardt

Josh is the creator of this blog, a system administrator and a contributor to other technology communities such as /r/sysadmin and Ops School. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook.