Introduction to Information Technology

You have stumbled upon an interesting link. The link shows you a process in which you can use a tool to modify multiple applications or operating systems simultaneously and within minutes. You immediately dive into searches attempting to find more about this tool and ultimately find even more options of managing a network of servers, workstations or network devices. This hunger to learn more about this aspect is key to sucess in Information Technology (IT). Being intrigued and active in your learning is a major thing I look for when assessing System Administrators (SA), but it absolutely isn’t the only thing as not all technology will be understood or as interesting to some. Knowing a little about a lot is a good start to getting you in the door and is absolutely necessary, but learning about the aspects of the job you love can propel your career.

I work primarily with Windows Server and a majority of feedback I get is based around this particular Microsoft product. The first thing you’ll want to do is create a home environment to make all your breakthroughs. Below are a few tools to help you on your way to learning a little about a lot of things.

People think it is hard to get started, but many of the tools are free with evaluations. The biggest issue people have is they cannot afford to buy servers for a learning environment, to circumvent this issue by using virtualization. The easiest tool to get you started is Hyper-V which is a feature within Windows 10 and Windows 11! Simply add the feature and enable virtualization in your BIOS and you’ll be off to the races!

Windows Features

The second part is Windows Server which can be downloaded for free along with 180 day evaluation periods. This makes its great to be able to build out an environment with multiple virtual machines to test other applications like Internet Information Services (IIS), Dynamic Host Configuration Host Protocol (DHCP) or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). Just visit the Windows Server Evaluations Center!

Microsoft Evaluation Center

Now that you have all your basics in place you can begin to learn! One of the most important things to begin with is PowerShell. If you can do it through the Graphics User Interface (GUI) then you can do it using PowerShell. Much of what I do has been utilizing a centralized tool that can remotely run PowerShell scripts on multiple servers at a time.

PowerShell Documentation

Lastly, you need tasks to perform in your new environment. I will put a few tasks below that will help you begin your enterprise style home lab! From here you are free to learn! If you need more tasks to complete I suggest working toward your MCSA certificate by finding reference materials for MCSA: Windows Server 70-740, 70-741 and 70-742.

  • Create an IP scheme (server names and their assigned dedicated IP addresses)
  • Create two domain controllers
  • Create a Windows 10 virtual machine and add it to the domain
  • Create your domain accounts (Domain Administrator and Domain User)
  • Create a Group Policy Object (GPO) and apply it to your Windows 10 virtual machine

I hope you have found this useful and enjoy those first few steps into the world of being a Server Administrator!