A public preview for the next version of Windows, Windows 9 codenamed: Threshold, was rumored to release sometime toward the end of 2014. Today, Mary Jo Foley is reporting that her sources tell her that a Tech Preview will release soon, but that a full public beta is still up in the air.
Set to release toward the end of September, you'll be able to sign-on to help Microsoft test the forthcoming version of Windows in it's early, hopefully stable, stage. The Tech Preview will follow the same path as any modern version of Windows with those signing on to help test required to agree to apply monthly updates supplied automatically by Microsoft. It's assumed that these updates will include new features, bug fixes, and other miscellaneous code collateral.
Microsoft has still not provided a solid date for the official release of Windows 9, but only that it should ship sometime in the spring of 2015. Windows 9, of course, is a sort of apology for Windows 8. Windows 9 will not bring back everything customers loved about the Windows XP/7 interface, but also will not remove everything hated about Windows 8. Instead, Microsoft will infuse some of its popular, newer features like Cortana and revamp existing features such as the Start Menu/button and windowing for Modern apps.
Read through Mary Jo's report: Microsoft to deliver Windows 'Threshold' tech preview around late September
As an IT Pro in charge of the company's computing assets, I highly suggest taking advantage of this - hopefully on a test system. Companies have been quick to dismiss Windows 8 to wait for Windows 9. Taking advantage of the Tech Preview will give you a good sense of Microsoft's direction with its next OS, and help build your skillset should your company agree to migrate.