I meet with many people over the course of a year. The most frequent question I get asked is what should I learn?
My response is what do you like to do?
I don’t think there is a right or wrong technology to learn. Let’s take a look at Microsoft Active Directory (AD). Now you may not think that AD is important or that people could make a career just learning AD. I would be the first to tell you that you are wrong. AD is the foundation of many business networks. It is how thousands of applications get integrated into your business. It controls many desktops, printers, faxes, keyless entry systems (and that is just scratching the surface). Microsoft launched AD with Windows 2008. That technology was built on many other existing communication technologies, LDAP, X.500 and some say it was based on Novell Directory Services. Active Directory has since permeated many aspects of the business network. It has hooks into many of the cloud services out there. In many cases, you must federate AD, which is a fancy way of saying that you want to provide users with single sign-on access to systems and applications located across organizational boundaries. Those resources could be in another company’s active directory. They could be with a SaaS provider like Service Now. This all provides a single management point for end user permissions and security. Companies need a way to secure their intellectual property that is housed on their networks and many times the way they do it is with AD permissions.
A quick search on Monster.com showed over 10,000 jobs that had Active Directory as a requirement.
My whole point in this is that if a technology like AD that is nearly 10 years old is still relevant. Not only that if you master AD, those skills will lead you to another technology that you can master and on and on. Learning is contagious. Focusing on a technology and mastering it is much easier if you enjoy it. Mastering a technology makes you a valuable asset to anyone.