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How to Learn SCCM ConfigMgr and Intune

I receive lots of queries like “How to Start Learning SCCM” or “How to Learn SCCM”  or  “How to become expert in SCCM”. I used to provide them some of the online resources. I always had a feeling that one or two links won’t help people to start learning any new technologies. They also need motivation and real world experience to overcome the “inertia“. I thought of putting my experience into a post so that it may help some people to start learning SCCM/Intune (or any new technology). This is purely a self study guide for SCCM 2012/Intune. In general, there are THREE kind of learning in IT Pro’s (not only IT Pro) career. I’m not here to explain about 70-20-10 theory. You can just do a Google/Bing search to know more about “70-20-10”! Future of SCCM Admins?, read one of my post here in which we’re discussing about this with Microsoft SCCM admins experience here.

Learning to Learn

I started my SCCM (SMS at that time) learning on the job. My start in SCCM (rather SMS) was with pushing the applications (manually) from “Run Advertised Programs”, Installing SCCM Client and uninstalling. For the first 6 months of desktop support engineer job, I never had a chance to see SCCM console. I was not interested to see also, I was happy with manually installing applications on desktops – laptops and that kind of troubleshooting. This got changed when I promoted as a deployment engineer.

SCCM Console

As a SCCM Deployment engineer (my new job), my work was just to follow the flowchart or document which was prepared by my teammate/lead. My initial tasks were to import packages to SCCM and create Advertisement. What if I get stuck in some issue? Double check, whether I had completed everything as per the flowchart, if so look at the flowchart from “bottom to top” (this is what my senior teammate told me). Also, he told me that “don’t come to me to resolve issues, troubleshoot yourself and resolve it”. So in all sense “I’m being pushed to the wall” ! Thanks to the all the people who pushed to the wall.

Pushed Back

As mentioned in a famous quote “Sometimes being pushed to the wall gives you the momentum necessary to get over it!“, I had slowly overcame “issues” which I mentioned in the above paragraph. It was very slow and steady process. The SCCM (SMS – ConfigMgr) community helped me in this process. I spend loads of time reading forums (myITforum and Technet) and myITforum blogs to find out solutions for SCCM issues. Last but not (at all) the least, the blogging helped me a lot to improve my skill sets. It gives me a true motivation to deep dive into technical stuff. This is the overview of on the job “learning”.

So there is no “EASY WAY” to learn and become expert in any technology. Following are some of the “pillars of learning” which may help you to have a successful SCCM/Intune learning (also, better career opportunities).

Initial Inertia - Take the Decision to Learn SCCM !
More Pros - Get Motivated looking at the future !
Listen and Watch - Start Reading about SCCM/Intune !
Start the Action - Practice ! Start building LAB or Use Virtual Lab
Keep yourself updated - Be part of IT Pro Community, Forums etc..
Real Networking - In person networking via User groups, Community events !!
Start writing what you learned - Blogging !

1) Get rid of “Initial Inertia

initial inertia

Take a decision to make a move towards in learning SCCM/Intune. Overcoming the initial inertia that prevents many of us from learning is often the hardest step. This is the same inertia you feel when you want to change the TV channel, but the remote isn’t nearby;) All you need is the smallest amount of force to get you started. Once you overcome that initial inertia, you’ve taken a huge step forward. Now you just need to keep walking towards SCCM/Intune.

2) More Pros

Think About Pros of Learning

When it’s not “on the job” learning, You should feel passionate about and have a genuine interest in exploring further in the learning. Otherwise you won’t reach initial stage of your learning. The first step, when picking up a new skill, is to determine what to learn, why SCCM? Why not some other technology? Every technology has it own merits. Now SCCM is also going towards cloud path so, be ready to learn SCCM + Intune (cloud version of SCCM)!!

How about job opportunities in SCCM? Can we make better career with SCCM? Yes, I still think so in this cloud era 🙂 Honestly speaking, your career growth depends on efforts, dedication, honesty, hard work, loyalty etc…. These are applicable for all the jobs, not only of SCCM/Intune. When you’re looking for a job as a fresher then your education background gives you more weight-age to your profile otherwise it doesn’t matter much.

3) Listen and Watch 

Listen and watch

Once you cross the stage of convincing yourself about the thing you want to learn then start reading about the technology you wanted to learn. Be part of your local user group communities, Facebook groups and watch – listen latest training Videos, podcasts, webcasts etc…As you delve deeper into the pool of knowledge, you will want to add other forms of information which will come your way.

4) Start the Action

Start the action

  • Find out a machine (laptop or desktop) on which we can install Hyper-V. On the hyper-v host, you can install virtual SCCM server, Virtual Domain Controller and SCCM Client Machine. Build SCCM server (primary server – Don’t build a CAS server for the first time), that is best place to start learning SCCM. When you get stuck in installation problems go back to any of the above mentioned resources (point 3) and get it resolved. Don’t leave and scrap the lab. Also, don’t sit idle after successfully installing SCCM server. I’ve seen people stop touching their virtual LABs after the initial install of SCCM server.  Here comes the tricky part !!! What is the solution to this problem? Check out the following point.
Download the trial version of SCCM 2012 from here.
Download the trial version of SQL 2012 from here. Always check the SQL requirement for SCCM 2012 or any latest version of SCCM. Always refer to the Windows-Noob website for installation and configuration for LAB setup.

Intune Free Trail version from here
  • Being part of IT Pro user community, TechNet forums helps to continue using the user LABs in day to day basis. For example, being part of technet forum community will help you to know new problems, new scenarios around the world from different environments. This will help you to try some of these scenarios in your lab and that will always help you improve your technical skills and keep you always updated.
SCCM 2012 Technet Forum - here
SCCM 2007 Technet Forum - here
Microsoft Intune TechNet Forum - here

New form of RSS Feeds, keep you updated about new things in the community! Just need to Like the following page.FB Like
  • Another great resource to practice and get your hands dirty is TechNet virtual labs. What are the advantages of TechNet virtual labs? Risk Free, Simple (well guided), Fast and Free !! You don’t need to have a dedicated machine to build your SCCM lab. You just need to have a good internet connection. TechNet virtual labs are hosted in the cloud. The most important part of TechNet virtual lab(s) is each lab has an assignment you need to complete that assignment with in 1 or 2 hours. This assignments have step by step documentation which will help newbie to complete the assignment.
List of SCCM and Intune 2012 R2 TechNet Virtual Labs here
List of SCCM 2012 SP1 TechNet Virtual Labs here
  • You can also try to build SCCM 2012 SP1 (and R2) plus Microsoft Intune in Microsoft cloud for free (for short period of time) using the following Guide here.

5 ) Keep yourself updated

Keep yourself updated

Keep yourself updated about the news among the technical communities via blogs, social medias etc… Subscribe the blogs which you feel as useful so that you won’t miss any of the posts. Create Twitter account and #ConfigMgr and #MSIntune hashtag to keep the news coming about new releases of products, issues faced by ITPros, known issues of the products etc… Follow me on twitter @anoopmannur ! These things will keep you in the market for long time.

6) Real Networking

In Person

Meeting in person is always better than virtual (networking) meetings via social medias. Be part of Microsoft technical conferences and Local User Group meetings so that you can build a real “in-person networking with your peers and industry experts. These are the great places to share experiences and enrich your already growing skill set.

7) Start writing what you learned

blogging

Blogging is the new trend for IT Pros. So start writing what you’ve learned. This practice will help you to memorize the things which you’ve learned over a period of time. As I mentioned in my “About me” page hereI use this blog as my notebook or diary for technical issues / updates. Overall, blogging helps you build your communication skills, which is as important as the technology you are learning.

6 hours of SCCM 2012 Videos here from Wally Mead 

In summary, keep your enthusiasm/excitement towards learning SCCM/Intune in same pace. I’ve seen loads of people start learning with super excitement, however, over a time the excitement used to get reduced. Don’t over do it !! Try to learn SCCM/Intune in slow pace (slow and steady wins the race !). Also, remember there is no end of learning, everyday you learn new things in your personal/professional life same applies for SCCM/Intune! Happy learning !

About Author 

Anoop is Microsoft MVP and Veeam Vanguard ! He is a Solution Architect on enterprise client management with more than 13 years of experience (calculation done on the year 2014) in IT. He is Blogger, Speaker and Local User Group Community leader. His main focus is on Device Management technologies like SCCM 2012,Current Branch, Intune. He writes about the technologies like SCCM, SCOM, Windows 10, Azure AD, Microsoft Intune, RMS, Hyper-V etc...

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Posted in: ConfigMgr (SCCM)

50 Comments

  1. Raman Katoch says:

    Very Nice Anoop ! The only thing which i want to highlight is “passion and have a genuine interest” in exploring further learning…. And entire world is yours..
    Keep Sharing information Anoop!

  2. Mohan Kumar HP says:

    Good initiative, hope fresher’s will get motivated with your words……..

    • Anoop says:

      Thank you Mohan ! Yes, I think, it will be a motivation for me as well 🙂 to keep me updated about the upcoming technologies like Intune !!

      Regards
      Anoop

  3. sunil says:

    Very Nice motivational stuff. Anoop u always rocks!!!!

  4. Jyothi says:

    Nicely encouraging new comers in to this technology.Thank you Anup

  5. Ramesh Fatnani says:

    Nice article Anoop, this will help a lot of freshers and motivate them to start positively. Keep up the good work 🙂

  6. Gr8 Going Anoop !!!

  7. Alexander says:

    thanks a lot! good article. I created my first virtual lab by Hybernation Kit site deploymentresearch.com Johan and team made all for us! Just start installing and lab will work for you. It is a good way to learn.

  8. Anoop says:

    Great !! You’re welcome. Keep yourself busy with SCCM + Intune !!

  9. vinunov05@gmail.com says:

    Nice inspiration Anoop.You are a star***** Mate.

  10. Poorna Chandra says:

    Such a nice post i ever read Anoop….this just motivated me alot . I am sure lot of ppl will find it usefull

  11. Ron says:

    I just got laid off after 13 yrs at a job. I used to package apps and deploy them using just Active Directory around 10 years ago. I’ve heard of SCCM but never used it (as my role changed) because I didn’t have access. I see many job postings in my field and I have a SCCM gap in my skillset, and your post has me excited to learn.
    I have just completed the 1st TechNet Virtual Lab (basics) and it was great. No need to spend $5k for a course. I have another 4 months of severance pay to last me, so I’ll be learning more of SCCM everyday, until I feel confident enough to put it on my Resume.
    Great resource Anoop – thanks for taking the time and effort to put it together for us.

    Ron.

    • Anoop says:

      Hi Ron ! – Sorry to hear that you been laid off. SCCM and Intune are doing well in the market. Hopefully, these technologies stay for at least 10 years after release of next version of SCCM. Glad to hear that the post helped you.

      Regards
      Anoop

  12. Ajay says:

    Awesome Anoop. Keep going,….

  13. Great Stuff Anoop,

    Getting engaged with the community is a must if you want to grow.
    Let’s inspire everyone in ITPro community to get out there and share his/her knowledge.

    Sharing is the only way , Knowledge grows 🙂

  14. sai says:

    hi anoop what is the different between scom 2012 and sccm 2012

    why we use sccm instead of scom..

    kindly assist

  15. Chithra says:

    amazing article

  16. Regin says:

    Anoop I never had the patience to read slowly on any passage/paragraph but i did in this particular Blog. Pictures and Narrations keeps me tight .Awesome Bro !!!!

  17. sachin says:

    Thank you Anoop this is actually what I am looking for and u explain with grate resource also. And your past is very motivational for me just six month completed in SCCM team and I’m learning a lot
    And your blogs are helpful

  18. Mohammed Shahvali says:

    Iam struck up with windows adk 8.1 installation to proceed with sccm installation. I have Internet which only one gb limit but adk for winPE it requires 2.2 gb which iam unable to download. How to proceed with this.

  19. Mohammed Shahvali says:

    Limit is from my office. In home it’s taking more than 24 hours on 3g. Actually it’s on my laptop hyper-v I created sccm vm.

  20. Mohammed Shahvali says:

    I heard from Microsoft employees that there is new version coming for sccm or system center after 2012 R2….is that true ?? Do u have any information. ..apart from sp2

  21. Shri says:

    Im on the same path where you started! Completed manual installation and stepped into deployment team..Your past is really motivation and keep us learning. Thank You.

  22. Dilip says:

    Wonderful article…thanks a lot for showing the path…I’m working with SCCM 2007 from last 3.5 years, but never had chance to work on SCCM 2012. You are very inspirational… I’ll start working on SCCM 2012 on my own now… Thanks again

  23. Bikash Biswal says:

    I am very much glad to read this post and also is a good motivational article because I started my carrier as a desktop support engineer and now become a SCCM admin. I really appreciate on this article. Thanks a lot for this post please keep on posting this kind of motivational dialog in the blog so that we can re-initiate our mind to grow and keeping update our-self. Thanks again.

  24. Dhanabal M says:

    Thanks Anoop for your guide in this forum, Its really nice. Can you please clear my doubts about SCCM- OSD related?

  25. Ravikiran says:

    Very inspired anna .ur the supet star anna

    • Anoop says:

      I know loads of people like me .. So I’m not super start dear 🙂 But thank you for the compliment. I’m happy that I can inspire you.

      KR
      Anoop

  26. Sajid says:

    Thanks a lot! Great article.It is helping me lots,please provide me some real scenarios base question for software distribution and software update to crack sccm interview.

  27. rati says:

    Anoop, i must appreciate your labour to share this useful information. It contains lots of information in and around about “learning of sccm”. Thank you very much and it really helped me and motivated me. 🙂

  28. Akshay says:

    Hi anoop,
    I want to learn sccm and i am planning to take training for sccm, however i dont have hands on experience of server troubleshooting. I just have some bookish knowledge of servers, but never worked practically. Please suggest if i can learn sccm without practical knowledge of servers?

    • Akshay says:

      Hi anoop,
      waiting for your reply. Please help and suggest whether i should go for this training or not without having hands on experience on servers.

      • Anoop says:

        Thank you for asking. I think, we can try to setup servers in lab and try to learn yourself as I mentioned in this post

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