I read The Pragmatic Programmer twice in 2014. It's a great book that focuses on improving your general development skills. I took on two goals for 2014 after I read the book. I wanted to improve my competency in VIM and improve my skills in the console.
I'm heavy into Windows. The console has always made me nervous. I always feel like I'm going to execute the wrong command and break something. GUIs are my friend. I've used the command line for two things in the past: Mercurial/Git and xcopy for deployments. The last half of 2014 was spent "playing" with the console. I installed Console2 and I created a bunch of .bat files for shortcut cd commands, launching random apps, and other small commands.
I really wanted to get proficient in Cygwin this year. I gave it a try for a day and really struggled with it. A coworker of mine recommended using PowerShell instead. I had better luck with it than Cygwin. Things were going just OK until Scott Hanselman saved the day... like he always does for me.... He's done a bunch PowerShell blog posts with tools.
- Jump Location - Replaced all of my shortcut batch files.
- Add PowerShell to your context menu
- Tons of more from Scott
- I also use PoshGit it provides a great PS interface for Git.
There are tons of other tools and utilities to enhance PowerShell. I've been really excited to dive into it. I've managed to change several 5 minute GUI based mundane tasks into PowerShell scripts that execute in seconds. This has saved me HOURS at work over the last few weeks alone.
Becoming proficient in the console sounds like a really boring thing to study and become good at, but you will eventually pick up some really cool tricks that will make it all worth it.