We've introduced a new feature on 4sysops for PowerShell learners and teachers. The new PowerShell group allows 4sysops members to follow all 4sysops activity related to PowerShell and communicate with other members about PowerShell. At the end of the post, I'll tell you a secret about the best way to learn PowerShell.
Latest posts by Michael Pietroforte (see all)

Some have already discovered the PowerShell group, which has been in test mode for a couple of weeks now. In this post I'd like to explain how you can use the group to improve your PowerShell skills.

The 4sysops PowerShell group

The 4sysops PowerShell group

IT administration has become a very wide field, and many IT pros have to focus on a certain topic to keep up with the ever-faster-moving pace in IT. This is why we will be introducing groups that allow you to follow the most relevant topics for your work. PowerShell is the most popular topic on 4sysops, which is why we are starting with this group. If you want us to introduce another group, please post your suggestions in the community forum.

This PowerShell group contains all activity on 4sysops related to PowerShell. This includes new blog posts, new and updated wiki docs, blog and wiki comments, forum posts, news updates, and personal updates from members.

The PowerShell activity stream

The PowerShell activity stream

Let's start with the last option. You can post updates as on Facebook or Twitter in the PowerShell group. These updates then appear in your personal activity stream in your profile, in the activity stream of the group, and in the side-wide activity stream we display on the home page and in the sidebar on all article pages.

You can use this feature to post anything related to PowerShell. For instance, you can share a cool one-liner or a neat trick you just learned about PowerShell. You can also post short scripts you want to share or tell the group about a PowerShell project you're currently working on. Please post code between pre HTML tags (<pre></pre>) to improve the readability of your code.

Posting PowerShell news

You can also link to external PowerShell resources you've found useful. If it's news about PowerShell, please first click the link icon below the update form field and then paste the URL there.

Posting PowerShell news in the group

Posting PowerShell news in the group

Everything you post this way will also appear on our general IT administration news page. Group members can also post PowerShell news in the group on the side-wide activity page by selecting the PowerShell group before posting:

Posting PowerShell news on the side-wide activity page

Posting links to PowerShell resources

If you just want to post a useful link that's not about news, just paste the link directly in the form field. This prevents the link from appearing on the news page. Please always explain what you are sharing and why.

Posting a link to a useful PowerShell resource

Posting a link to a useful PowerShell resource

The group forum and wiki

If you have a question about a PowerShell problem, post it in the group forum instead of as an activity update. The forum has a more sophisticated editor that allows you to explain your problem in more detail, and members can respond more easily to your question. Everything you post in the 4sysops PowerShell forum also appears in the PowerShell group's activity stream.

The group also features a wiki. In the wiki, members can collaborate on PowerShell guides. In contrast to the blog posts, we regularly update and extend wiki docs.

The group's activity page includes comments from readers on blog posts and wiki docs related to PowerShell. These are often questions readers have about PowerShell. It also gives you the opportunity to help others learn PowerShell.

Following the PowerShell group

You have several options to follow everything happening in the PowerShell group:

  • Regularly open the group's activity page
  • Subscribe to the group's RSS feed
  • Subscribe to group updates via email

With the last option you can receive a weekly summary, a daily digest, or immediate updates of news topics and/or replies.

The best way to learn PowerShell

If you've read up to here only to find out what kind of secret I know about the best way to learn PowerShell, here it is:

The best way to learn PowerShell is to teach PowerShell.

Huh? You're supposed to teach PowerShell if you're just a beginner? Exactly! This is what I suggest. You probably know you can only learn a programming language by actually writing code. This is true, and learning by doing is important. However, learning by teaching is much more powerful than learning by doing.

If I had to order all popular learning methods with respect to efficiency from lowest to highest, this is how I would do it: taking a course, reading a book, learning by doing, learning by teaching. Yes, I believe taking a course it the worst method because you have to follow the pace of the teacher or the group. Learning by teaching beats all other methods by far.

The reason is that when you have to explain how code works, it forces you to understand it fully. Copying a piece of code into your script from a tutorial is easy, but how often have you done that without really knowing how exactly the code works? And even if you believe you understand the code, you'll often notice that once you try to explain the details, you didn't really understand it as well as you thought. At this point, you start to research and experiment until you really get to the bottom of it.

Of course, if you're a beginner, you have to be careful not to post nonsense. You don't want to embarrass yourself by trying to explain something online you didn't really understand well, right? And if you weren't able to figure it out by yourself, just post a question in the forum.

Learning by teaching has another big advantage compared to all other learning methods. If you learned something really useful in a course, you'll most likely forget it right after you pass the exam and receive your certificate. By contrast, after teaching a certain topic, you'll most likely never forget it again.

And this is where the 4sysops PowerShell group comes in. You can use this group to share your skills with others. Sharing knowledge is very rewarding because it gives you a good feeling if you can help others. However, the truth is you will be the one who benefits the most this way because you will be your best student.

Of course, sharing your skills can also be helpful if you apply to a new job or want to receive an award (MVP perhaps?). You can point to your personal 4sysops activity stream that collects all of your IT community activities.

Joining the PowerShell group

If you are a 4sysops member and want to participate or just follow the PowerShell group, click the join group button in the group's header. You can access all group features including the various email subscription options.

Join the 4sysops PowerShell group

Join the 4sysops PowerShell group

If you are not yet a member, please register first. Please notice that only IT pros can become 4sysops members. Also note you can't use this 4sysops feature to promote a company's products.

As a final note, you will receive member points for everything you do on 4sysops, which gives you the chance to win the monthly member prize. Also check out our monthly and yearly member leader boards.

If you have any suggestions on how we could improve the PowerShell group, please reply to my post in the 4sysops community forum.

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Join the PowerShell group now and start learning by teaching!


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