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9 Ways to Learn Jira Administration

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 and new things to learn.   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.

Ideas:

  • Pick an unanswered question, 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?  Show them how to do it better in Jira.
  • Do a side by side comparison of changes between two versions
  • Install an add-on and learn everything you can about how it works
  • Get read only access to the database and learn how information is stored
  • 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
  • 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 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 instance installed on an old laptop is sufficient.  You’ll stretch your skills and learn a lot by installing, using, maintaining, and upgrading it.

3. Join your local Atlassian User Group
Atlassian Users Groups 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:  aug.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 contributor 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
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
You've made it - you're on the community website right now!  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
Official product documentation is available at:  jirastrategy.com/link/official-docs.  The documentation 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!

BONUS!
Watch "The Users' Community: Your Hidden Treasure and Best Ally" from Fabian Lopez.  Originally given at Summit, this presentation includes all the ways to get involved in the Atlassian community and even specific users to follow!  Lots of fellow users continually post helpful tips, answers, and discussions.

What are other ways to learn more about Jira?  Add your ideas below.

4 comments

Hi @Rachel Wright,

this is a great summary on how to improve your admin skills :)

I further improved my skills by doing some  Jira migration projects of different sizes. These aren't trivial tasks and for the more advanced I suppose. There are lots of stumbling blocks if you really want to do this properly.

My next goal is to learn more about Jira's plugin system and what I can accomplish by developing own plugins / customization.

Also, I'd like to join an AUG but there's none in my vicinity. I would start one but I must say that I'm a bit shy and it's not that easy to start talking to people I don't know :S

Nic Brough Community Leader Jul 20, 2018

@Patrice David FörsterAUGs are very welcoming in my experience.  I'm naturally shy as well, I find it really hard to approach new people, and struggle with crowds of people I don't know.  But I've always felt welcome and comfortable at AUGs.  

At an AUG earlier this year, I met a new community member who had come to the AUG because, like you, they had no local one, but they were on holiday in the city at the time and wanted to come!

It's well worth it if you can!

Rachel Wright Community Leader Jul 20, 2018

Hi @Patrice David Förster - migrations are a great one for the list!  Thanks for contributing!  

I find it hard to start talking to people too.  I'd rather just hide in the corner and play on my phone.  But I force myself to do it and like Nic said, the AUG environment is so welcoming and supportive!  Have you considered starting one with a friend?  You could split up the duties.  If you want to chat more about AUGs, send me a private message.  My AUG email is:  rachel.wright@atlassianusergroup.com.  Best thing I ever did for my career!

@Rachel Wright@Nic Brough thank you for sharing! I will give it a try. Maybe I'm near an AUG during my next business trip. 

Of course I though about starting one with a colleague, but because of my daughter I have only little time :) but it is still on my list.

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