Five Ways to Jump Start Your Career in Tech in 2021

I’ve been in tech long enough to know what’s worked for me as far as growing my career as a network engineer. So looking at the networking industry today in early 2021 and looking back at what’s worked for me, I’d like to share five things I believe can help you take your career in tech to the next level.

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Where is Intent Based Networking in 2021?

Intent Based Networking certainly became a popular term over the last couple years. I don’t hear about it much anymore in terms of new and upcoming tech, though. I hear the term being used almost as a side comment when vendors say things like, “oh yeah we do intent based networking – it’s built right into our GUI.”

So after all the marketing hype, the buzzword bingo, and as much digital transformation as we can stomach, where are we with intent based networking in 2021?

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Best Way to White Balance Your Video In-Camera

I guess I should start with a disclaimer. I don’t know if this is actually the best way to white balance a video in camera. All I know is that I’m an amateur, and I’ve struggled with nailing down the white balance on my videos for a while. After someone showed me this method, my white balance is almost perfect every time right out of the camera.

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The Hardest Part is Just Starting

Some days it’s all I can do to wearily lift my eyes from my desk, peer over the top of my monitor, and look across my basement at the squat rack.

I should’ve lifted this morning, but as usual I went to bed too last night watching the latest episode of The Expanse and couldn’t get up early enough to get a proper lift in before work.

It’s still there now, loaded with my warmup weight, waiting for me to do something useful with it.

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Remember the Big Picture

I have the luxury and privilege to work on some very interesting projects. Sometimes it’s advanced routing, sometimes it’s working with brand-new technology, and sometimes it’s a very interesting and unique use case.

However, it never ceases to amaze me that some the most important skills and technical knowledge I’ve gained over the years is understanding how to calculate a power budget for an IDF, the difference between an L620P and 620P cord, the difference between various types of fiber, and remembering to ask my customer about the direction of airflow in their data center.

When designing real-world networks, it really is the overall picture we have to keep in mind. Speeds and feeds, bits and bytes, and all the syntax in the world isn’t enough to properly design a real-work network that you can actually power on and plug into.



How SD-WAN is Causing the Growth of Multi-Vendor Networking

Over the past five or six years we’ve heard plenty of discussion around the slow and steady demise of monolith single-vendor networking and a shift to multi-vendor environments. Due to the rise of disaggregation, whitebox networking, and to an extent even vendor agnostic network automation, we should all be running multivendor networks by now.

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One Ridiculous Switch Installation I’ll Never Forget

As deep as a blade server and with a couple power supplies hanging out of the back, some of those one rack unit switches are pretty heavy in spite of their pizza-box form factor. I remember years ago I installed a pair of Nexus 5k switches in a building MDF, but since they were both heavy and used rails instead of rack screws, I just couldn’t rackmount them by myself.

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Get Your Network Under Control with Gluware

I think it’s safe to say network automation is pretty mainstream now. Judging by what vendors are doing and what the community is talking about, automation is more than the latest advent of hipster networking. It’s becoming the primary way many network admins manage their networks.

But there are a couple barriers to taking the leap into automation. For some it’s the steep learning curve. There are courses to take, programming languages to learn, and entirely new processes to get comfortable with.

But I’ve worked with enough network engineers over the years to say that a steep learning curve is not an insurmountable problem. Many engineers I’ve worked with have an eagerness to learn new things and grow in their profession.

I don’t believe the issue is learning how to automate a network. I think the real barriers are the time and resources it takes to automate a network at scale in a meaningful way.

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Blog Response: DHCP is not Intent Based Networking

Just recently, the inimitable Greg Ferro took an interesting look at DHCP and explained in a blog post:

“During a recent discussion on DHCP I realised that this process is a near perfect expression of intent.”

The process he’s referring to is DHCP, and notice that he went beyond identifying the DHCP process as an example of automation but also as a “near perfect expression of intent.”

I disagree with Greg’s conclusion, and here’s why.

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Ten Settings to Prevent Zoom Bombing

“Zoom bombing” is when uninvited (and unwanted) Zoom meeting attendees hijack a video conference with unwanted and inappropriate content including audio, video, screensharing, or even transferring unwanted files in chat.

Many companies, schools, churches, and even individuals having video calls with their family rely on Zoom trying to continue life as normal during the current COVID-19 crisis. Keeping these video conferences safe, smooth and productive has been a challenge, so here are 10 settings you can use right now to help prevent Zoom bombing.

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Surprise! You’re Homeschooling! Now What?

If you’ve recently found yourself temporarily homeschooling your kids as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some lessons I’d like to share that my wife and I learned from 10 years of homeschooling our own kids. Before we get started, there’s one overarching truth you need to accept right away:

Homeschooling is hard work.

It takes effort, self-discipline, organizational skill, time-management, and to an extent even financial resources, to provide your children with a solid education, even if it’s for only a few weeks or months.

Juggling homeschooling with your day job will be difficult. Balancing instruction and running errands will be tough. Managing three kids doing three different assignments will be no easy task. But I promise that though it’ll be challenging, it will also be incredibly rewarding for both you and your children.

So let’s get started.

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Building a Software Defined Cloud Network with CloudGenix

Path probing. Intelligent path selection. Application-aware routing. The aggregation of divergent internet links. Those are the things we talked about when SD-WAN was still an emerging technology, but that’s not the case anymore.

Today, a discussion about SD-WAN is a discussion about cloud connectivity.

As SD-WAN shifts from an emerging technology to a maturing technology, several real-world use cases have emerged, and right at the forefront is how we connect to our public cloud resources and SaaS applications.

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Tech Phrases I Love To Hate (and Hate to Love)

I’ve always been interested in how we use language. Why do we choose certain words over others? Why do we speak one way, but write our emails in a completely different way?

In particular, I’ve always been fascinated with dialects and colloquialisms, and our beloved tech industry, a veritable cornucopia of eye-rolling and groan-worthy jargon, does not disappoint.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite tech industry phrases. It’s a few of those short rhyming phrases (or almost rhyming) that we use a lot, but it’s not a list of every tech marketing word I could think of. Frankly, I don’t think I have enough cycles to synergize such a digitally transformative list anyway 🙂

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Is Cisco Software Defined Access Intent Based Networking?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about intent based networking – trying to define it – identifying its core tenets. Without a library of IETF drafts to go by, I listened to vendors explain their platforms, I read their whitepapers, I explored their solutions trying to figure out the commonalities among them and pinpoint exactly what they were all really trying to do.

I believe I came to a pretty good conclusion. IBN is a closed loop system of analytics, orchestration, and continuous validation. And in that process micro-configuration is abstracted from the network operator and replaced with higher level macro-configurations otherwise known as “intent.”

Using that definition, is Cisco Software Defined Access intent based networking?

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