You can hear this question quite often from those who are new to SharePoint. “How do I learn SharePoint?” “Can you recommend a book, a class or video?” First off, SharePoint is quite a complicated platform/eco-system. So no single book, video or training will cover it all. That said, in this blog post, I would like to list steps and venues one can undertake to learn SharePoint.
What can you do to learn SharePoint?
Step 1: Start using it
When you want to learn how to drive a car, I am sure you can read books and view videos or listen to friends’ advice. However, until you put yourself behind the wheel and start pushing pedals and shift transmission, you won’t learn how to drive. SharePoint is no different. The best way to learn SharePoint is by starting to use it. As a matter of fact, before you start taking formal training, I highly recommend that you test drive the tool and try to do things with it. Whether you will just try to upload and share documents or do more advanced stuff like creating sites and pages, you will get some idea about SharePoint. Moreover, when you come to paid training, you will be armed with a list of intelligent questions to ask the instructor.
Step 2: Become a SharePoint junkie
Follow SharePoint blogs, watch videos. When you want to learn SharePoint, as I stated in one of my previous posts, Google is your best friend. There is wealth of information out there on Internet, (and all free too) for you to start using. If you encountered a question or a problem on SharePoint, the chances are, someone else did as well.
Step 3: Attend Free SharePoint Webinars
Lots of SharePoint consulting companies are doing free SharePoint webinars these days. They might not necessarily be thorough, but are a great way to learn certain SharePoint topics and review capabilities of SharePoint in general. By the way, I run several SharePoint webinars myself on various topics, feel free to check out a schedule here.
Step 4: Join SharePoint User Group in your city
Lots of big cities worldwide have some sort of SharePoint User Group (meetups), meeting regularly to listen to SharePoint experts talking about SharePoint. Also, once a year, big cities also host SharePoint Saturday events, where once a year, on Saturday, they have big, one-day conference with lots of SharePoint experts sharing knowledge about SharePoint. Both of these are completely free and great way to learn SharePoint something in fun atmosphere.
Step 5: Enroll in SharePoint Training
If you are looking for structured training and want to learn SharePoint best practices before you build your next site – I strongly encourage that you consider formal SharePoint Training. There are plenty of choices out there by many providers, from whole-day online training sessions to week-long boot camps. I myself for example, offer online power user training for small groups. Such training is a great way to take your skills to the next level by learning industry best practices and expanding on the skills you picked up yourself.