The most valuable IT skill you can learn in 2015: Splunk

Whether you want to move to security or just get a lot of job security and raise potential while staying in infrastructure, probably the best thing you can do for your career is to learn Splunk.

What’s Splunk, you ask? Well, my t-shirt says “Weapon of a security warrior,” but it really does a lot more than that.

I think of it as a centralized logging and alerting system, but really, because it can log and alert and draw graphs, it can replace almost any piece of management infrastructure. I asked, only ten-percent joking, why a Splunk shop needs to run anything else to manage itself.

Stand up Splunk, let it collect your logs and your performance data, and when something goes wrong, you have one place to look for the data you need to figure out what happened.

Fortunately, unlike many enterprise tools, you can run Splunk at home for free. Splunk offers a well-written 200-page book for free in all of the common e-book formats that provides a good introduction and a set of data to play with, and you can download the software itself from Splunk’s front page. You can then pull your logs from all of your desktops, and if you run DD-WRT, you can pull those logs as well, then practice learning what you can from that data beyond what’s in the book.

You will undoubtedly find some things when you start poking around, so even if you’re not able to get going with Splunk in your current role, you’ll end up with the war stories you need to get a Splunk-related role for your next job. Even if all you do is catch HD Moore and Robert Graham scanning you, your interviewer will be interested in hearing how you saw it and managed to figure out it was them.

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