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IT operations is a tumultuous field where the lines blur and get redrawn simultaneously and perpetually. To keep up -- and keep current -- lean on IT tutorials to practice processes and navigate new tools, as well as refresh skills on tools you already know.
Below are the top ten IT tutorials of 2018 for operations professionals, in no particular order. Use the expert guidance to grow at your own pace in the next year.
Code your life in YAML
YAML -- recursively YAML Ain't Markup Language -- is a human-readable declarative code language that makes configuration management easier to understand and manipulate than with complex programming languages. In this tutorial, IT expert Adam Bertram illustrates YAML's ease of use with his own household details.
Learn Ansible on a coffee break
Ansible is a popular tool for configuration management and automation. It helps fight configuration drift in large environments and uses desired states to manage infrastructure as code. This video IT tutorial from virtualization and Linux expert Stuart Burns starts out with sections on Ansible basics and graduates into the command line and how to build an Ansible playbook with ad hoc commands.
Code responsibly: Sign PowerShell scripts
Application code is increasingly complex each year, but hackers manage to keep up with the pace. Practice good code hygiene through enforced code signatures in all production and test environments. Follow this tutorial from Burns to create a self-signed certificate to validate and secure code images -- but ensure that only the enterprise root certificate is used in production.
Learn a new language
Traditional code languages are still popular for a reason, but modern applications don't always suit traditional methods and vice versa. Google's Go language, often abbreviated golang, is designed to be simpler and more condensed than other options, requiring less code to do the same task. Check out this IT tutorial from Walker Rowe, freelance tech writer and programmer, to learn how to manipulate Go infrastructure programming.
Master Minikube for Kubernetes in minutes
Home labs are useful in IT because they provide a stress-free testing ground. Admins can learn how to use tools, practice with new code languages and tear everything down without consequences. Take a few minutes to follow along this tutorial with Minikube via Alastair Cooke, freelance IT trainer and APAC virtualization podcast host, first using the command line and then the GUI, to create a Kubernetes cluster and explore container technology.
Get to the lab -- at home
Kubernetes is the de facto standard for container orchestration, but it's best to learn about this technology outside of production environments. No lab can cover everything an admin needs to know about Kubernetes; it's a complex, dynamic tool, after all. But now that you've tried out Minikube for Kubernetes, this next home lab tutorial from Cooke addresses the basics of Kubernetes cluster installation, support and management.
Use mismatched versions successfully
Most Linux versions prefer Python 2, even though Python 3 is alive and kicking and Python 2 will reach end of life in 2020. While Python 2 and 3 are virtually the same, certain features have been phased out, which can create problems and errors in otherwise stable code. Use this IT tutorial from Rowe to run Python 2 and 3 concurrently while ensuring that neither version breaks the code.
Use a config management tool worth its salt
Salt, an open source configuration management tool, emphasizes its command-line interface for flexibility and power. Rowe's tutorial features a collection of vital Salt commands, including ways to work with minions, pillars, grains and software installation or uninstallation.
Manage infrastructure as code with options
Both Python and golang are strong options for infrastructure programming, but approach the task from different angles. Python has been around longer, so more admins are familiar with it, but don't count out Go just because it's new. Use Rowe's comparison to evaluate the two languages head to head and decide which language makes the most sense for your organization.
Speak the tool's language
Ready to combine two of the emerging techs covered in the above IT tutorials? Google wrote Kubernetes using Go, which means that you should learn to manage the container orchestration tool with its native language. Even though your organization might not be on the containerization front yet, take the time to learn the technology and strengthen your skills at home so that you're ready to jump in from the top. Rowe walks the reader through a Kubernetes cluster setup on a local machine and offers useful Go code to work with and manage it.