I just graduated from a tech school about a year ago in the Networking/Security field. I've been working a help desk position for the past year; but I'm beginning to get the feeling I'm not learning anything new, and possibly even starting to forget the stuff I learned in school. Because of this, I'd like to begin learning a scripting language; however, I'd like it to be relevant/useful at my current position and also in daily computing.
I have a pretty good understanding of HTML though I haven't done any web development lately. I've had a few classes on Java and SQL, but it didn't exactly stick. (I was able to complete my projects and pass the classes with flying colors, but I don't remember much.) I also have experience with Cisco's IOS, a little bash scripting, and I'm very familiar with Windows CLI.
My goal is to learn something useful for working in a Windows environment, but also to act as a stepping stone for other programming/scripting languages. From what I've looked at and seen used at work; Batch files, VBScript and PowerShell seem to be what I'm looking for.
Can anybody give me any advice on where to start, some related forums, or any useful websites/training materials?
The language depends on what direction you want to go. I'm a system administrator. The languages I use most often are Visual Basic, VBS, Command Line, PowerShell, WQL, and SQL.
SQL is a more advanced version of WQL, so they're both fairly easy to use regularly. VBS is the scripting version and close to Visual Basic. Visual Basic is for writing applications, while VBS is scripting like installing software, writing your own monitoring, automating tasks, etc. Command Line and Powershell are about the same.. powershell is a command line on steroids. The command line is still very, very useful. Powershell is great and is the new standard for scripting in Vista/7/Windows 2008.
It really depends on where you want to go. If you want to focus on Windows environments, stick to the ones I pointed out. WQL will be useful for writing queries against WMI or creating your own namespace.
As far as forums, just search and you'll find a ton of forums to use. "The Scripting Guys" is very useful and provide additional links. As you find new commands or want to try to script new things, search and you may find additional resources out there.