Here's a list of resources I'd recommend, in no particular order.
EDIT: I presented this content, along with a bunch of other content and some lame jokes, at the Baton Rouge User Groups Networking Night on July 13. You can download the slidedeck here.
• Register for PASS and join your local SQL Server User Group and also some Virtual Chapters. Pay special attention to:
o DBA Fundamentals - http://fundamentals.sqlpass.org/
o Database Administration - http://dba.sqlpass.org/
o Security - http://security.sqlpass.org/
• Register for SQLSaturday Baton Rouge on Aug 6, or the nearest SQLSaturday to your location. Somewhere in the world, a free SQLSaturday community event is held almost every week.
o Register to volunteer too: http://www.sqlsaturday.com/515/Volunteers.aspx
o Check out the pre-cons before this SQLSaturday and others like it - they are a bargain for the quality and quantity of training.
• Register at SQL Server Central and look into some of the "Stairways". Pay special attention to:
o Stairway to Integration Services: http://www.sqlservercentral.com/stairway/72494/
o Stairway to SQL Server Indexes: http://www.sqlservercentral.com/stairway/72399/
o Stairway to SQL Server Security: http://www.sqlservercentral.com/stairway/110890/
o Stairway to Transaction Logs: http://www.sqlservercentral.com/stairway/73776/
• Register for the Microsoft Virtual Academy. Pay special attention to:
o Database Fundamentals: https://mva.microsoft.com/en-US/training-courses/database-fundamentals-8243
o Updating your Skillset to SQL 2014: https://mva.microsoft.com/en-US/training-courses/updating-your-database-management-skills-to-sql-server-2014-8313?l=S3j693Yy_704984382
• Codecademy.com free online learning labs for various languages including non-vendor specific tutorials on the SQL language standard:
• Pluralsight.com contains many hours of high quality instructional videos for many, many technical platforms.
o Look for Pluralsight coupons at your SQL Server user group via giveaways, they're a big sponsor of user groups
o Pluralsight will give free access to recently unemployed and military, email email@example.com
o MSDN subscriptions come with some access
• There are a ton of books out there for SQL Server and the goal of this blog post isn't to do a book review any of them in particular. I don't intend to rank or rate any of them here, as my first-hand experience with the breadth of SQL books is limited.o But, here's an incomplete, not-exhaustive list to check out first. If you want, please add some to this list in the comments of this blog post. Special emphasis on free here.
o An excellent ground-floor introduction to being a SQL Server DBA is the SQL Server 2012 Step by Step book by Patrick Leblanc from Microsoft Press. Full disclosure: I was a technical editor and writer for this book but do not collect any sales residual.
o SQL Sentry eBooks series: High Performance Techniques for SQL Server (free)
o SQL Server eBooks from Microsoft Press (free)
o SQL Server PDF's from Red-Gate (free)
o SQL Server Execution Plans (PDF) by Grant Fritchey (free)
Got additions and suggestions? Please add them to the comments in this blog post.