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  • Can you get by without it?  Definitely.  Can you get by more efficiently, faster and with less work knowing it?  Yeeeep.

    I probably only know about maybe, 5% of Powershell but what I have learned is that it's freaky powerful and if you work in a Windows environment it is a GREAT option for many, many things.

    I wouldn't think of it necessarily as a requirement, especially if they're eager to learn - but being versed in it would be a huge asset, and I think you'd get hired over anyone who doesn't have that experience.

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  • I know enough to read and automate tasks. I usually can just chop and paste other peoples code I find to achieve the task I'm trying to automate.

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  • The only reason I would hire a non-PowerSheller for a Windows admin position is if they expressed interest in learning and I would make sure they had the resources to learn it! Though if we were talking about a Senior Windows Admin position, they better know the basics of PS and know how to use the Get-Help command as a bare minimum.

    Kudos if they respond to a technical interview question with: "I could write a PS script for that."

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  • It depends upon the environment as to how much scripting would be needed. If you provision on or two users a month, not so much. If you need to create hundreds or AD objects at once it can be a huge time saver. Regardless it is a good skill to have.

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  • minimoog wrote:

    ....Would you consider Powershell as a requirement if you was hiring for a Windows administrator?....
    Yes.

    If have checked the MCSA out lately, procedures are described in terms of PS.  The Server 2012 GUI is really a PS wizard, of sorts.  If have dabbled a bit with PS, it will also be realized how much effort was made to ease the transition from CMD to PS with built-in equivalent cmdlet "translations"/"aliases".
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  • I'm an old school batch file user, but I know it'd be much more efficient to dive into the Powershell pool. Don Jones has a great series that I've just started. Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches

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  • Mike-2308 wrote:

    I'm an old school batch file user, but I know it'd be much more efficient to dive into the Powershell pool. Don Jones has a great series that I've just started. Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches

    Thanks for posting the link. I have it bookmarked.

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  • Rockn wrote:

    It depends upon the environment as to how much scripting would be needed. If you provision on or two users a month, not so much. If you need to create hundreds or AD objects at once it can be a huge time saver.

    While this is mostly true, the benefits of being able to create a tool to aid in provisioning of users no matter the size of the environment is a greatly appreciated benefit of using PS. What I love about PS is the ability to find a solution, no matter the size, and automate that solution.

    To paraphrase Jeffery Snover, "Think, type, do, repeat".

    Regardless it is a good skill to have.

    Agreed!
      
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  • Despite my personal preference, I think it's still mostly unreasonable to exclude administrators just because they don't know PowerShell.  Certainly, in my book, it's a red flag that indicates someone who isn't keeping up with current trends but you don't always know why they've done it.  Some shops--and this is especially true in the larger ones--actually exclude it's use, or limit it to only a chosen few.

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  • minimoog wrote:

    I've gotten by without knowing Powershell but then again I didn't work in a very large environment where there was a lot of automation involved.

    You can get by without knowing how to drive a car either.  And I can think of folks in NYC, Chicago and LA where that is the case.  But if you want to venture much beyond where mass transit (your local tools) can take you, then it is going to cost you -- either in time or other costs.

    As others have mentioned, it is a good skill to have.  And all other things being equal I would definitely hire the candidate that had PowerShell experience.

    I highly recommend that you take a look at "Is PowerShell Really the Only Future for Windows Admins?"  It's a post from 2011, but it's more relevant today than ever.  Specifically, Right now, you've got a choice if you want to remain relevant as an IT professional: Learn Windows PowerShell, or learn ‘Do you want fries with that?'"

    

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  • I do like fries....

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  • But, you'd have to give the fries to other people.  And that's sad. :(

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  • cduff wrote:

    But, you'd have to give the fries to other people.  And that's sad. :(

    What???!

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  • Powershell is very usefull for repetitive tasks... so you cna get ahead by knowing it..

    its not required for server admin though from day to day.. but as others have mentiond..small tools can be made for use even in small environments

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  • don't know it at all. It is that thing that is always on my to learn list cause I know it can make my life better, but I never have time to help myself make my life better by learning it.  

    We all know this loop. We accuse users of doing this all the time :-)

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  • Not at all and I am ok with that lol

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  • .Powershell is becoming the standard interface for Windows systems administration. You should learn in this order:

    1. Keyboard

    2. Mouse (optional)

    3. Powershell

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  • Powershell has opened doors for automation that were either closed, creaky or chained before. My only beef with PS is the execution-policy gongshow that forces some admins to go down one of these roads:

    https://blog.netspi.com/15-ways-to-bypass-the-powershell-execution-policy/

    In one scenario, on a W2008 server I actually had to write a BATCH script that copies a PowerShell script from a DFS share (which MS thinks is an "internet" source so is oh so scary - block it!) to the local drive and then launch it from there.

    If I need an older scripting language to launch a newer scripting language, we have a problem, Houston. Your typical IT admin is not going to self-sign their own scripts. Sorry MS, but that's security overkill and we'll look for workarounds rather than do that (or even 15 workarounds!)

    But PS as a scripting language = beauty.

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  • I'd say that in future Windows admins who don't know PS will be stuck at "tier1" admins. It seems that simple stuff will stay in GUI but if you need to do something advanced you have to do it with PS.

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  • I'd like to think I'm fairly proficient with setup and management of a windows environment and I got through with very little powershell experience. However, to improve and speed your processes up, it is certainly helpful to learn powershell. I don't think it needs to come first, understanding your environment and using GUIs is helpful for learning how it ties together but powershell will help you better your ability and speed at resolving issues. 

    I've been working on a big 12-site fresh installation (with more to come) and I've automated so much with powershell. Using find an replaces between sites on the scripts, I've automated setting up DHCP, DNS, AD, shares, GPO assignments, NTFS permissions and a whole bunch more. Very helpful =).

    I'd still accept someone without powershell experience but would be worth getting them to know it.

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  • You can hire someone who don't know Powershell, but you'll miss a really usefull skill, as you can do SO MUCH stuff with Powershell ...

    Last example (aka : my 2 cents) :

    My customer IT manager wanted to have mobiler & office phone numbers filled in our A.D. The only thing I had was a mysql database used for intranet, with every phone number for every person. In the manager mind, I would have gone through all the list manually, and then filled each AD account with informations

    Using Powershell and a mysql connector I was able to obtain the numbers, then match and replace every AD informations with what's inside the database.

    150 users, around 200 phone numbers... it took me around two hours to make the script working as expected, but now it updates everything everyday.

    How many time doing this manually?

    Multiply this by the number of time you'll be updating the AD informations manually (number changed, new user, and so on...) and you'll have your answer.

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  • I don't know how I could do without it tbh!

    The amount of automation that can be done using PS for both windows servers and exchange/office365 can take a repeating task down from ~15 min to less than 1... with a lot of users that becomes a huge saving. And not just for SysAdmins, it's a great thing to have in the armoury for any IT professional.

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  • As far as I'm concerned, if you're a Windows Server admin then you absolutely should learn at least some rudimentary Powershell. You never know when it'll come in handy, for example, when you need to add more than one external domain to the anti-spam bypass list in Exchange.

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  • BDAScott wrote:

    Powershell is very usefull for repetitive tasks... so you cna get ahead by knowing it..

    its not required for server admin though from day to day.. but as others have mentiond..small tools can be made for use even in small environments


    The bigger the environment,  the more powershell becomes relevant.

    It is not always repetitive tasks, or automation, sometimes you just want to look at a particular service across the domain. Recently in my case I had worked out how to get the DFS Backlog for replication folders for a Replication Group and that is not easy to find. Once I found out how to do that, I then was able to extended it to all replication groups in the domain very easily http://britv8.com/powershell-dfs-list-backlog-on-all-replication-groups/ 

    Whilst the is not a patch on what  Martin9700  and his dfs monitoring script, what I am trying to say is the more you use it , the more building blocks you have to build with, the quicker you can resolve issues.

    The script has already paid for itself by throwing errors on a server that now considers it has no folders to replicate, yet the management console says it is configured...no event errors or warnings, just some informational messages... SCOM will never pick that up by default

    So, yes in short powershell experience and/or enthusiasm to learn.

    Yes you can get by without it if managing say a few servers and  50 users, but after that you are being less efficient not using it

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  • Before I started my current job as system administrator I didn't know much about PowerShell. I could do my work without it. A CMD file was enough to do the trick for me. 

    Then I sew the power of PowerShell scripts and started with a simple but effective sample script from the MicrosoftScript Library and modified the script further to make a backup of a bunch of files and get notified by e-mail if the job fails or is successfully completed. This simple but effective script got me so excited about PowerShell.

    Right now most of my scripts are converted to PowerShell scripts to do the tasks that needed to be done.

    The Windows Server 2012 is still a GUI based server. I'm not experienced enough to install a Core server only without any GUI and PowerShell only. I still want to see and use the GUI when I can.

    So to answer your question:

    Yes I definitely would consider PowerShell if I was hired as a Windows Administrator. 

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  • I started in IT not so long ago. Still a young guy after all.
    Nevertheless, I learned that Powershell saves lives! (Quite literally since I work in Healthcare!)

    I learned Powershell from doing and from these lovely Spiceheads, and honestly, I can't work without it anymore. :) It saved me millions of times already!
    A: "I can't make something work!"
    B: "Well, I got a script for that!"

    Answer to your question: Yes we need it! :D

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  • I have read that there are some MS certifications that cannot be passed successfully without knowing PS.  I too am learning it, not out of pure necessity, but out of the desire to.

    I too also recommend the book by Don Jones, "Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches". 

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  • I'm in a large enterprise education environment. I've got approximately 23,000 users to manage over 50+ sites, and every year I have to move them all up a year add the new intake of 5 year olds, and then process the 11 year olds who are moving from primary school into one of eight secondary schools in my area. Then I have to remove the kids who've left between the ages of 16-18.

    We take in a lot of new teachers at the start of term every year, and countless supply teachers over the course of the academic year, so our system is pretty Dynamic.

    Without PowerShell my job would be just about impossible ! When we first put the Windows environment in we were working with GUI's all the time and we could get the bulk of the work done, but there is some stuff that you just have to be able to do in PowerShell, especially with Exchange 2007, for instance creating specialised Dynamic Distribution groups that contain everyone with a Job Title of 'Head Teacher'.

    As time went on and we lost team members due to budget constraints and natural wastage, PowerShell became more and more important. We are now at the point where 90% of our administration is done in PowerShell. We create/move/modify all accounts with PowerShell. About the only thing I need the GUI's for is Group Policy !

    Moving on to would I hire a Windows Admin who didn't know their way round PowerShell ? Absolutely not, the way Microsoft is heading with it's products is more PowerShell not less, and for someone who started out on the DOS prompt, I say bring it on !

    Mike

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  • Can't live without it in an Hybrid Office365 environment!

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  • Not as well as I'd like - these days it's getting more and more important, before long it will be essential!

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  • Necessary? No.

    Powerful? Oh god yes.

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  • I know PowerShell pretty well. I've been using it for about 1.5 years and it has saved me TONS of time. I save about 10 minutes a day from a simple 3 line script and about 30 minutes per machine that I image. My job would become really tedious without it. I've resigned myself to never be a "Click Next > Next > Next > Next" admin whenever possible. 

    The great thing about PowerShell is that you can test it, and once it works, you know it will always work until something changes. Trying to remember how to do some obscure task via the GUI after 6 months is frustrating. If you have a PowerShell script that is well commented for the same task, you can make any changes necessary and you are done.

    I would say that PowerShell scripting shouldn't be required for a new admin, but they should be willing to learn. You simply save too much time to justify NOT using PowerShell. 

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  • Not that well, but if I need something and Powershell is the advised method, I'll use it.

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  • MOST EXCHANGE admins would probably note:

    Their day would be very long and tedious if there was no Powershell.

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  • In short:

    Is it necessary? No, you can do almost eveything in some other way, be it GUI or SSH/CMD.

    Is it advisable? Yes, knowing how to use it will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run, especially as your user numbers get higher and you get busier.

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  • Even doing some basic scripting there are just things that command line can't do.  Powershell is infinitely more powerful.  I've gone from integrating Powershell commands within batches to just replacing the batches with a Powershell script & the Powershell script is shorter, cleaner, has more capabilities & is more efficient.

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  • In a lot of ways, Microsoft is forcing us to go with PowerShell. And I'm actually fine with that.

    Just yesterday I found the best way to get all your computers in WSUS, and there's no way to do it in the GUI:

    get-wsuscomputer | fl

    You see a TON of this in Exchange and Lync as well. 

    It's a must-have for Windows IT- even if just figuring out how to get help.

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  • Azure is definitely PS if you want to get anything complex done, and you will want to know it if you start deploying more than a server or 2 at a time

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  • Scripting knowledge, regardless of what language is used, is a must.  Because if you understand the baseline, you can learn pretty much any other type of scripting.  Batch, PERL, Powershell, you name it - you can build on it.  Before I started scripting in PERL nearly a dozen years ago, I was tied up doing bs little tasks every day.  Then I started to learn PERL - some of scripts were distributed to nearly 1500+ servers in our environment.  If I was still there, Powershell would be my tool of choice and I am slowly working on knowing it.

    So, to repeat, ad nauseum, what many have said - sure, you can get by without knowing Powershell, but you better have it on your radar to learn :)

    I like fries too, nice and crunchy ones...

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  • Craig (Cook Trading) wrote:

    Can't live without it in an Hybrid Office365 environment!

    Agreed. PowerShell was the only way to completely delete users from O365 while I was experimenting and troubleshooting Azure AD Sync.

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  • I'm eager to learn more power shell.
    I'm decent with scripting in general.

    Pick me! ;)

    Honestly, it's a huge asset. And newer Microsoft server deployments essentially require some use of power shell.

    The ISE for it is pretty good too!

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  • I would consider PowerShell a must for senior level positions or positions in larger environments where automation is required. In smaller organizations, or more junior positions, I would say PowerShell is more of a nice to have, but definitely a skill they should work on obtaining. Batch scripting is a must, for me at least, for any Windows admin position. The reality is that too much can be done in batch scripting and PowerShell to not know them.

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  • If they are going to do any exchange support then PS is a must. A basic understanding is needed. I would not stress knowing commands, but knowing about the components of Windows and how they respond to PS commands is vital. 

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  • I can't necessarily attest to Powershell from a complete server management side of things. But, I have recently been tasked with doing a lot of Active Directory updating and organizing in our school system. When I first started the task I didn't know hardly anything about Powershell, but I committed to diving in to learning it. And there is no way I would do without. You could do without but you should kiss automation goodbye and prepare to become very familiar with AD GUI's and doing many tasks over and over. I can write some scripts in about 5 minutes that would take me hours to do by hand. I am blown away with all the things I can do in AD, and I know that that is only one module of hundreds. So, I can only imagine how it could help someone managing several servers.

    So, is it requried? Maybe not, but I can't imagine being an admin and not wanting to use it.

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  • Craig (Cook Trading) wrote:

    Can't live without it in an Hybrid Office365 environment!

    This is so true.  If you have a hybrid and especially a full 365 cloud organization, you must use powershell.  You have to manage remote exchange using PS, so you've got to use it.

    I grew up with DOS, so using powershell feels very natural.  It's definitely a tool that you should be somewhat comfortable with as a sysadmin.  Honestly, if I was interviewing someone for an admin role and they knew nothing about PS and have never used it, I'd probably look elsewhere.

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  • richardarmstrong wrote:

    MOST EXCHANGE admins would probably note:

    Their day would be very long and tedious if there was no Powershell.

    As someone still relatively new to the Server game, I have to say that part of my frustration at work comes from not knowing Powershell well at all (I'm studying for the MCSA currently, but I haven't used Powershell a ton, yet) and the fact that Exchange moved from their on-server GUI. I understand the push, and I definitely plan to learn Powershell, for the MCSA, and the reasons shown in this thread. 

    It can be frustrating for people like me though, where I'm still new to servers (I'm the "Jr" Admin at a 110 user company, but often have to figure things out on my own. Usually when I run into Exchange issues since I believe we jumped up from 2007 to 2013) it can be difficult to know exactly what to search around online for, and a bit nerve wracking having to type everything in, and then wondering what it might do, and if I might kill something important. I understand the move, and my few things I've done in Powershell have been cool learning experiences, but I definitely get anxious typing something in just before I hit "Enter" and stare hoping I don't get some coded return that I don't understand. 

    I look forward to learning it though. The stories of things people do with it are often really impressive. It's like the first time I started reading about Group Policy and all of the things you can do with that. Super interesting, but also incredibly overwhelming. 

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  • Definitely worth knowing, has saved me countless hours over the months since I started learning it =)

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  • Agamigo wrote:

    Mike-2308 wrote:

    I'm an old school batch file user, but I know it'd be much more efficient to dive into the Powershell pool. Don Jones has a great series that I've just started. Learn Windows PowerShell in a Month of Lunches

    Thanks for posting the link. I have it bookmarked.

    I can't recommend this book enough!

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  • actionhank1786 wrote:

     it can be difficult to know exactly what to search around online for, and a bit nerve wracking having to type everything in, and then wondering what it might do, and if I might kill something important. 


    To quickly pick up on this point and give some advice. Don't "wonder what it might do", use the -WhatIf flag at the end of any command that you're unsure of and Powershell will tell you what the command will do :) Get into the habit of using it early and there's a good chance you'll save yourself from some rather embarrassing mistakes (speaking from experience here). 

    Another rather useful thing that I use a lot is | out-gridview when looking at, for example, exchange transport logs. It makes everything a lot more readable.

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