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March 27, 2023 by Tim Herr

Your Mac admin journey from zero to hero

Are you feeling confused or overwhelmed about getting started as a Mac admin? We can offer a roadmap and plenty of resources to point you in the right direction and give you an idea of what the future can hold for you.

Is macOS device management a new area for you? Whether you’re just new to Mac or completely starting from scratch as an admin, there is a lot of Apple-specific knowledge that you may feel like you’ll take years to absorb. But the good news is that getting started as a Mac admin doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it might sound. We offer the resources you can use to get the basic concepts down first and then start moving into progressively more advanced techniques and tools of the trade. If you like what you see here, feel free to bookmark this page and return to it as you grow into your Mac management role.

Start learning the ropes of Mac management

There are a lot of elementary concepts to understand when you start working on device management, and if you come from a management background with non-macOS devices, you’ll already have a head start in understanding these. But no worries either way! Our handy “Mac Management for Beginnerswebinar and e-book are great resources to refer back to often in these early days, as you’re gradually starting to absorb what these fundamentals mean and how they relate to each other.

As a beginner, you’ll be learning about things such as:

  • Configuration profiles and management commands
  • Client management functions
  • Helpful Apple services and programs
  • Lifecycle management stages
    • Mac deployment and provisioning
    • Configuration management
    • App management
    • macOS inventory
    • Mac security
    • User empowerment

Mastering these basics will soon have you performing zero-touch deployments, building on native Apple security and otherwise enjoying the power and flexibility that comes with Mac management. You’ll probably be surprised at how much progress you can make in a short amount of time.

Start experimenting with scripting and automation

Were you hoping that this would be a little farther down the list? The truth is that you don’t need to worry about becoming a scripting wizard right away; even learning a few basic commands can help you to automate repetitive tasks and do your job more quickly and efficiently. Once you start reaping the benefits, you’ll likely feel motivated to further increase your scripting knowledge. Our beginning scripting guide for Apple admins and our “Scripting 101” and “Scripting 102” videos are great places to start learning Terminal syntax and useful commands so you can let automation do the tedious parts of your job for you.

Join the Mac Admins and Jamf Nation communities

No matter how detailed the documentation and training resources that you use, there are going to be times – and probably sooner rather than later – when real-world problems leave you stumped. The good news is that there are Mac admins all over the world tinkering with equivalent workflows, and it’s overwhelmingly likely that someone out there has dealt with a similar enough problem to be able to help.

The Mac Admins community started on Slack and soon added a popular podcast and a repository of popular community projects on GitHub, eventually starting a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in order to promote sustainable and equitable growth. This is a wonderful place to network with your more experienced peers and find help with navigating the unpredictable roadblocks you’ll encounter in your work. The Mac Admins Foundation also works with Apple to subsidize training and certification for aspiring admins who need financial help.

Note: Up to this point, we’ve focused on resources that will be helpful to all Mac admins, regardless of what mobile device management (MDM) solution you use to do your job. The remaining content on this page is dedicated to advanced support for Jamf admins. If you’re not already using Jamf for Mac management and you’d like to try it out, then follow the link at the bottom of this post to request a free trial!

Mac admins who use a Jamf MDM solution will find additional support in Jamf Nation, the largest peer-led community of Apple IT, security and education professionals. The perfect complement to Jamf Support, Jamf Nation can help with troubleshooting, automation and more. You can also make new friends and meet up with them either virtually or in person at our annual Jamf Nation User Conference! Once you start to really feel like part of a community, solving problems and learning new techniques can become simple, social activities.

Get to know one of the Jamf APIs

Jamf’s MDM solutions use Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to communicate with other systems, and a major benefit of using the Jamf platform is the wealth of integrations available for third-party applications and major ecosystems like Microsoft and Google. Familiarizing yourself with a Jamf API can empower you to develop more advanced management workflows. To get started, you can consult our documentation on “Which API should I use?” and proceed to the Classic API overview or Jamf Pro API overview.

As one great example, you can use Apple’s Swift programming language with the Jamf Pro API to get greater efficiency out of command-based tasks targeting managed devices. Admins who want to learn about and experiment with this connection can check out our expert blog series (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) for step-by-step instructions on unlocking new workflows.

Access specialized tools for Jamf admins

Jamf’s mission is to help organizations with Apple, but can anyone help admins with Jamf? Rocketman is a company that offers the Jamf Toolkit, a collection of scripts and documentation designed specifically to aid Jamf admins at work. With these or other scripts and tools offered by outside organizations or Mac admins you encounter online, there are many opportunities to tighten up your workflows and save time for the most important and fulfilling parts of your job.

We hope this helps you to advance in your career and face your fears as you progress from Mac management novice to seasoned pro. Check out our huge collection of online resources for more, or sign up for training if you want some extra help to hit the ground running. We believe in you!

Ready to get the most out of Mac management with Jamf?

Sign up for a free trial today!

Photo of Tim Herr
Tim Herr
Tim Herr, Copywriter.
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