I get lots of questions from my loyal blog followers on what are the best ways I can recommend to learn SharePoint. I am not talking about learning SharePoint from end user perspective, but rather more of Power User/Administrator folks. For example how do I learn to create a project or team site in SharePoint, setup security, information architecture, etc. Let me share few tips on SharePoint learning that I gathered over the years, as well as came to conclusion from my experience with the tool.
Reality # 1: You won’t learn SharePoint by taking online classes or attending formal SharePoint training alone
These are definitely a great start, will probably teach you some basic principles and best practices. But no more than that. Paraphrasing a famous shoe company, you have to “Just do it”. SharePoint is like driving – you can’t learn theory only and claim to be a good driver. Repetitive practice will make you better. Same exact logic goes with SharePoint. You have to roll up your sleeves and just immerse yourself into it. You will make mistakes, lots of mistakes. And that is fine, because that is the only way to learn SharePoint (like everything else in life).
Google is your best friend to learn SharePoint
The reality is – you will do majority of learning by “googling” the topic or issue and reading blogs like this one or from other SharePoint enthusiasts. There is lots of useful information out there and the best way to address it is by finding the answer on Internet. There is no single book or magic user guide that explains all the nuances of SharePoint. Trust me – this is how we all of us “SharePoint consultants” learned SharePoint.
Reality # 2: You won’t learn SharePoint unless you are 100% committed to it
Truth of the matter is you can’t do SharePoint (well) on a part-time basis. You know that feeling when you put on skis or skates once every 5 years? Same thing applies to SharePoint. If you are building an occasional site here and there – you might get away with it, but to do it right – you have to be committed 100% to it. Remember, it is not just about building a site and dropping off a bunch of documents in the document library. You have to consider overall information architecture, security, understand well user requirements, make time for training and user adoption, etc.
Reality # 3: You will never learn it all or know it all with SharePoint
Truth of the matter is, SharePoint is a very complicated system and you can’t be an expert in all of its aspects. Moreover, SharePoint is a constantly evolving system. Especially with it being in the cloud now as part of Office 365 offering, you might find new functionality every time you login. And there are always 10 ways to do 1 thing. And, let’s keep in mind, that it is not an easy system and was never designed to be easy. The only way to excel in SharePoint is by working with it, day in and day out, and grow your internal knowledge and skills.
Speaking of Training, I offer both End User SharePoint Training, which is complimentary, as well as Power User online Training sessions. So in case you want to advance your skills in SharePoint, please consider both.