I’m a strong believer that the only way to build really good software is knowing your platform.
That’s why since from my early days of software development, I’ve made myself read at least a part of every recommended book about any topic I was interested in.
The the Internet came along and suddenly I was stroke by a tsunami of good and bad information sources.
Searching the Internet after information can be time consuming even with the aid of search engines. There’s so much information that it’s hard to know the best place to start and keep a track on your progress.
For that matter, I prefer learning through books. Since I started learning .NET, I bought more than 30 books and read at least a part of each of them. Books give you a path to follow and whenever it doesn’t give as much as detail as you’d like, you can always resort back to the Internet to gain deeper knowledge on a specific topic this time knowing what to look for.
Recently I noticed a trend in my learning patterns. Whatever problem I had that was development related, I could find something helpful in a couple of minutes because most of the time I knew what to look for.
The same has not been happening with infrastructure related stuff, though. Since I’ve been working a lot with distributed systems such as web services and web site infra-structure software, I’ve been spending more time than I would like to troubleshoot things like network connectivity and authentication issues.
For that reason, I decided sometime ago that I would start studying for the MCSA/MCSE certifications. I’m not sure I’ll pursue the whole path, but at least I’ll try to learn as much as I can about Active Directory, Network topologies, authentication and other stuff that I believe will help me do a better job developing distributed systems.
Late last month I bought MCSE Self-Paced Training Kit (Exams 70-290, 70-291, 70-293, 70-294): Microsoft® Windows Server(TM) 2003 Core Requirements, Second Edition. It hasn’t arrived yet, but after I bought it I gained access to MS Press books on Books 24 x 7 from the MVP program. The books I paid almost 150 bucks for are all there! Well at least the printed books are much more portable and I can read them while commuting to and from work.
There’s a lot of interesting books on 24 x 7. In the coming months I’ll eventually post my findings.