Whatever situation you find yourself in, whether you’re lucky enough to be in work, have been furloughed or found yourself without work, we’re all spending long stretches at home. It’s important to take the best care you can of yourself, but if you find yourself in a position where you want to skill up during some downtime, there are many great resources available with which to do so.
Online-only community events
The UK is fortunate to have hundreds upon hundreds of community groups, but with the current bans on large gatherings, they can’t operate like they usually would. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing though, especially if you found yourself unable to get to them because of transport or time reasons. Right now, it’s possible to attend meetups that are being held on the other side of the country.
Thanks to the hard work of many tech communities, meetups are continuing in an online-only capacity. The majority of these meetups are welcoming new participants too, so whether you want to check-in on a technology you’re already familiar with, or you want to try something new without worrying about hard-committing to transport and time, it’s absolutely worth seeing what’s out there.
You can check out this article for some ideas. Even if the events have already ended, be sure to check-in on them for future online events, as well as to see the archives of their previous meetups. It doesn’t have to be live for you to learn something new!
Microsoft Docs and Microsoft Learn
Both Microsoft Docs and Microsoft Learn are great resources to use that cover a wide variety of topics – and best of all, they’re free to use. Docs is jam-packed full of technical documentation, so it’s great for getting stuck into the nitty-gritty of particular topics. As the overview pages are written by multiple contributors, you can get both terrific overviews as well as deep-dives on the specifics.
Microsoft Learn is great for taking free courses on particular subjects. Courses are available on a variety of different subjects, and you’ll be able to dip in and out as you find the time to complete them. They’re great by themselves, but it’s also a perfect way to prepare yourself for certification, if that’s something you wish to pursue once the Covid-19 situation has improved.
Every month, the Microsoft UK team sends out newsletters full of technical articles and learning materials. While not a result of the Covid-19 situation, signing up to these newsletters will give you a new selection of resources each month to look through, which is a good, low-effort way to get another stream of content coming through that’ll help you with skilling up. You can sign up for them here.
Not only are the developer and IT Pro UK Twitter accounts great ways to get the latest news and resources, but Twitter in general is a good way to get a constant feed of content for skilling up – by following the right people. This can be a bit trial and error, but fortunately you’ll be able to find more people sharing good resources via retweets, so it’s easy to keep following (or unfollowing) accounts to tailor your social feeds to suit the interests you want to improve in.
The Microsoft accounts are a good place to start though, as you’ll get everything from technical articles to how-to videos, and event notifications to eBook downloads. Give it a go!
Stay safe out there, and if you have good resources of your own that you would like to share, leave them in the comments below!