To paraphrase a saying; learning is priceless, but education must be cheap. And if you’re like me then your training budget is usually whatever you find down the back of the couch!

With this in mind I’m passing along several resources that are readily available for free. The first of which is a link to a Microsoft blog which contains over 150 free ebooks! Some of the books include Sharepoint Adoption, Big Book of PowerShell Gotchas, Designing Orchestrator Runbooks for System Center… so a great opportunity to read up on some new technologies.

RedGate also have a library of books you can download for free in pdf form, or pay up a small sum to get the book in print edition. I recently read the SQL Server Hardware book by Glenn Berry, and though a little dated now it’s still a relevant read. Next on my list is The Art of SQL Server FILESTREAM.

If you’re done with reading and want more hands on experience then for SQL 2014 Microsoft offer the SQL Server 2014 Developer Training Kit download for free. This resource is a collection of presentations and demos, some of which say you require access to Azure, but if you have SQL Server 2014 installed you should be able to get by as the demos include bak files and scripts to setup environments etc.

Another fantastic online resource is the Microsoft Virtual Academy. In the MVA there are thousands of hours of free videos, labs, and presentations across Microsoft’s products including Visual Studio, Windows Server, Azure, and of course SQL Server. After viewing all the course material you can and take the self-assessment. You can save course to your Learning Plan and take at a later date. I’ve run through several of the PowerShell courses with Jeffrey Snover and find them engaging and entertaining, as well as educational!

So you’ve read the books, you’ve watched the videos… how about conferences? Over here in the UK, SQL Bits offers a free Community Day, held on the Saturday of the conference. SQL Relay is held across several sites in the autumn, and there’s also the SQL User Groups that meet at regular times and have guest speakers.