The open and programmable engineer

We are building our networks and services at an unbelievable rate. Not only are we innovating faster, but we are also creating a precedence of an “always-on” world.

Many things are contributing to this: the cloud, cell phones, WiFi, to name a few. How are we, as engineers, expected to keep pace with the needs of businesses, consumers and an “always-on” world?

It starts with us embracing a new set of skills: programmatic skills, which in my opinion, will be a foundational skill moving forward for anyone in IT. Understanding python, data models, and data formats are skills that the next-gen engineer will be required to have. It will grant us the ability to maintain the status quo of “always-on.” As a by-product, it will bring predictability, assurance, and agility to how we operate our networks.

Unfortunately for myself, I am late to the table. I spent 14-months and a grueling study schedule to achieve my CCIE. During this time, I missed out on learning how to be programmatic, open, and agile in a programmable age.

But it isn’t too late.

The hardest part about adopting these new skills won’t be learning them but forgetting about our old habits. I’m not talking about forgetting how STP operates or how to manage routing protocols. I’m talking about not keeping a notepad of staged configurations or working from a command-line interface.

The most natural part will be our ability to solve issues just as well, if not better, and to solve them at scale. Join me on the journey to adopt the skill required to meet the demands of an “always-on” world.



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