I’m asked the same question all the time: How do I learn more about Jira administration so I can be a great admin? There are a ton of resources available; you just have to know where to look, to seek them out, and be willing to put in a little time and effort. Like anything in life, the more you put in, the more you get back.
Here are some ways to increase your Jira admin knowledge:
1. Seek out new opportunities
You’re never finished learning. I’ve used Jira since 2011 and there’s still plenty I don’t know, new things to learn, and new features to explore. Every time I think I know it all, I humble myself very quickly by reviewing the unanswered questions on the Atlassian Community website. Look for opportunities to strengthen your knowledge, or learn something new, by trying something new.
- Pick an unanswered question on the Atlassian Community website. Research the answer and document the solution.
- Identify a problem Jira can solve and create a proof of concept
- Example: Who’s tracking information in email or spreadsheets at your organization? Show them how to do it better with Jira reporting features.
- Do a side by side comparison of changes between two Jira versions
- Example: Here’s my comparison of the Jira Cloud and Jira Server user interface.
- Install an app (add-on) and learn everything you can about how it works
- Get read only access to the database and learn how information is stored (Jira Server or Data Center only)
- Help a team adopt Jira or improve their processes
- Set up Jira for a non-profit
- Try to break Jira (Not in production, of course!)
- Hold info share sessions and teach others how to solve common problems
- Thoroughly document a feature
- Use Jira in different ways
- Example: Track your craft beer collection, your golf score, or plan your off-grid camping trip!
- Download the Atlassian Plugin SDK and experiment with a plugin tutorial
- Learn a related skill, like agile principles or server administration
Opportunities are everywhere. The goal is to stretch your exposure and do different things then you’re already doing. I’m no DBA but I learned a lot by experimenting with the Jira database!
2. Install your own test environment
Even if your company already has an official test environment, I recommend you have your own personal one. You need a place to experiment, play, and make mistakes, without impacting others. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complex. A $10 Server instance, installed on an old laptop, is sufficient. Or, use the free version of Jira Cloud. You’ll stretch your skills and learn a lot by installing, using, maintaining, and upgrading it.
3. Join your local Atlassian User Group
Atlassian Community Events are where users meet, learn, network, and share best practices. Members are newbies and veterans who like to “talk shop” about Atlassian software, about Agile development, and about related business topics. You can network with your peers, share solutions, meet Expert Partners, get special content from Atlassian, and enjoy a beer. Find a user group near you (or start one) at: ace.atlassian.com.
I’m an introvert and was new to Jira, but I took a deep breath and started a group. It helped me learn new things, meet people, and become a leader in the Atlassian community.
4. Read a book
There are a number of Jira books written by fellow administrators. My book, the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook helps you set up, clean up, and maintain Jira. It’s about strategy – not documentation and it’s not version specific. Check it out and all the companion Jira offerings on Amazon.
5. Take an online training course
My Jira courses are part of LinkedIn’s technology course library! Not a LinkedIn Learning member yet? Start your 30 day LinkedIn Learning free trial! Access to my course and others is included with your Premium subscription! See: Rachel Wright’s Jira Courses on LinkedIn
Additionally, I’ve developed quick, 30 minute, online training courses for: cleaning up custom fields, building workflows for business teams, admin mistakes, and other topics. Take the courses and earn a certificate to add to your portfolio or resume at: training.jirastrategy.com.
Atlassian also provides live online training, recorded training, and hands-on team training through Atlassian University.
6. Join the Atlassian Community
The Atlassian online Community is where you find answers, support, and inspiration from other users. Join with your Atlassian ID at: community.atlassian.com. Post your question or start a discussion.
There are also a plethora of Jira-themed support and networking groups. Check out the Strategy for Jira® group on LinkedIn or Facebook.
7. Attend the user conference
Summit is the grand Atlassian event of the year. With the palpable enthusiasm of the employees, the knowledge of the presenters, and the immense networking opportunities, this is the place to experience all that is Atlassian. Add the next annual event to your calendar now. Visit summit.atlassian.com for details.
8. Get certified
Taking an exam or extending your Atlassian Certification is a great way to show your existing skills and learn more through the study process. I learned things I simply didn’t know and explored parts of the application I hadn’t touched in a while. The certification experience made me a better Jira Administrator. I learned so much valuable information earning the “Email in Jira” Skills Badge.
9. Read the documentation
Read the official product documentation. It includes information for end users and a guide specifically for administrators. The documentation is categorized up by application type (e.g. Server or Cloud) and also by version. Make sure you’re reading the correct version!
Read the 4 part series: “The Users’ Community: Your Hidden Treasure and Best Ally” from Fabian Lopez. This article includes all the ways to get involved in the Atlassian community and even specific contributors to follow!
Also see Jira User Best Practices
What are other ways to learn about Jira? Add your ideas to the “Comments” section below.