Imposter syndrome is the topic du jour for blogs and podcasts, so I’m almost reluctant to write about it. However, I want to share something I realized about myself that breaks from the conversation at large about this popular subject.
I believe continual professional development is absolutely necessary for workers in the IT industry, and for a network engineer like myself, blogs and podcasts have helped with my own professional development as much as formal training courses.
Below is a list of the technology-related podcasts that have been my go-to when driving the many miles I travel per month. Most are networking-related, but some cover information on security, cloud, virtualization, etc.
There are more out there, but these are the handful I always seem to gravitate to. I’d love to get your recommendations for podcasts I should be listening to, so please let me know in the comments.
There’s a lot of hype around intent based networking. Some vendors seem happy to slap the term on anything that moves. But intent based networking, apart from the marketing hype, is a very compelling shift in network operations that I truly believe network engineers, architects, IT managers, and CIOs must pay attention to.
You see, especially in large environments, network operations is difficult to do well because of inconsistent practices, a lack of visibility, inefficient device-by-device configuration, and limited vendor tools. It’s a real problem that needs to be solved.
I got very interested in intent based networking a few years ago when the term was relatively unknown. However, in the last year or so the term has been adopted by a variety of networking vendors and applied to technologies that I believe have very little to do with intent based networking.
The term has become part of the current marketing narrative leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many engineers and technical individuals. However, I believe it’s very important to consider that intent based networking is not simply the use of a new buzzword by networking vendors. IBN stands on its own as a new networking paradigm, despite it being hijacked by marketing teams.
As much as I love to call out a vendor on marketing nonsense, Ramesh Prabagaran, Director of Product Management at Cisco, made some compelling marketing statements about SD-WAN at Networking Field Day 19. In particular he said:
Deploying the new Cisco 9800-CL wireless controller is fast and easy, and by using the built-in workflows, a new wireless network can be deployed in only a few minutes. In this post, I’ll review how to deploy the virtual wireless LAN controller in VMware ESXi and stand up a very simple WLAN. We’ll also take a look at some potential gotchas and some noteworthy differences between how the new WLC is configured compared to the AireOS WLC.
A phrase that really bothers me is “not my problem.” Usually I hear it in conversation with someone who learns of a problem but immediately seeks to absolve himself of any responsibility for the cause or responsibility to help.
I believe a networking professional, whether in pre-sales or working in the field, should have a deep understanding of networking concepts and strong technical experience. But also important are the soft skills necessary to build trust with customers, encourage strong relationships with account managers, and develop camaraderie and collaboration among teams. The words “not my problem” undermine those relationships and therefore shouldn’t be on the lips of a networking professional, let alone any sort of professional.
Only a few years ago, Cisco tried their hand at a converged access wireless platform with, among other devices, the Cisco 5760 Wireless LAN Controller. To this day, I have nightmares about that box. It wasn’t fully functional, and it had huge code issues. Today, in spite of AireOS being a stable, highly functional, and well-known WLC platform, Cisco is trying it again with a range of WLCs in the 9300 and 9800 series.
However, will this brave attempt prove to have the same fate as the 5760?
This week I taught my last class as a part-time adjunct instructor at a community college. I’ve been there for six years – 12 consecutive semesters. Each term, alongside the actual curriculum, I incorporated my work experiences and lessons learned about the reality of working in IT. Making the class meaningful from a real-world perspective was very important to me.
For my very last class, I chose not to cover anything in the textbook or any of the bullets on the syllabus. Instead, I introduced my students to systems and network automation. What may seem old news to you and me was brand-new to my class, and I don’t believe this is the exception.