Network Engineers Time to Give Up Your Blankies

Cisco Gives Certifications a Software Facelift Zeus Kerravala June 17, 2019 A new line of DevNet programs will verify core and advanced skills of Cisco platforms, applications, and APIs. I don’t mean to offend, but why would someone continue to invest time in something that won’t matter in a few years? The answer is they shouldn’t. Software is eating the world, and that includes the network. CLI jockeys need to give up this safety net and modernize their skills. They need to learn languages like Python and YANG, be comfortable writing scripts, and use graphical interfaces. It’s not a sign of weakness and doesn’t mean a lack of technical skills. Instead it lets a single person do more than they could ever do. Log in or register to post comments This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this statement from IT leaders about the technical people who work for them. This situation is no different than years ago when PC admins felt DOS was faster than Windows, telecom managers believed TDM systems were better than VoIP, or server admins had the opinion that virtualization didn’t work. See All in Careers » During the Q&A, I asked Rheams whether the engineering team accepted SD-WAN, and he confessed that many of the network professionals had pushed back on the automation capabilities. They felt they could do things faster through the CLI, he said. Tags:News & ViewsCLInetwork automationSD-WANJob skillsnetwork engineeringCareersAI & AutomationAnalyst InsightBest PracticesDigital TransformationNews & Views Articles You Might Like I understand why network engineers feel this way. SD-WANs are highly agile because they abstract the control capabilities away from the underlying hardware. In legacy networks, hardware changes require network engineers to touch every box. While such updates can take months, this process provides a degree of job safety — businesses need large teams of engineers to run even medium-sized networks. With SD-WANs, control is handled via software and can be centralized, which means a single engineer can make a change and then propagate it across the network. In addition, the end-to-end visibility enables significantly faster troubleshooting. On paper, these trends spell doom for network engineers — the stuff they’re used to doing isn’t needed with a modernized network, like an SD-WAN. I got to thinking about this the other day while attending VMware’s annual user conference, VMworld 2019, in San Francisco. Although VMware is best known as a compute virtualization vendor, it has made significant strides in networking and has been one of the most aggressive vendors on network transformation. It’s particularly strong in the area of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), its VeloCloud product (which it acquired in late 2017) being one of the industry’s leading solutions. At the event, I attended an analyst Q&A on SD-WAN with Doug Rheams, network solutions architect at VMware customer Franklin Templeton Investments. Rheams selected VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud from a number of options because of its operational simplicity. This resulted in faster changes and turn-up times, reduced complexity, and lower total cost of ownership. One of the pleasant surprises, Rheams said, was the improved application experience. This is an area of strength for VeloCloud in that it has a packet-based approach that mitigate against congestion much better than the flow-based approach that most competitors use. Engineers who embrace modernization will be able to extend their careers into the foreseeable future. Those who don’t will go the way of the TDM specialist. It’s time to shed the comfort zone and embrace reskilling. Don’t Surrender in the Fight for IT Talent Joyce Osenbaugh June 12, 2019 Combat the shortage by looking for your next hires in non-traditional places. Vmware.JPG Network pros should heed this warning and use the automation capabilities of SD-WAN to free up time to reskill. My advice to engineers is that if they’re doing a task today that isn’t strategic to the company or their resumes, then stop! Find a way to automate it instead. Take inspiration from The Office’s Michael Scott: “Don’t be an idiot.” Take Our Survey: Communications Careers in the Spotlight Michelle Burbick November 12, 2018 Share insight into your communications career and earn a chance to win a $100 gift card. Enterprise Connect Research: 2018 Career & Salary Survey Beth Schultz December 12, 2018 A snapshot of your career in enterprise communications, from the skills you possess, your top job factors, and the salaries you earn While this is true, network professionals shouldn’t fear this shift. Rather, they should embrace it as a positive. It’s been well-documented that success in the digital era requires infrastructure modernization. This, in turn, drives the need for skills modernization. In the compute space, businesses aren’t hiring people who can manage physical servers or do backups faster than the next person. Skills required for working with containers, the cloud, and in DevOps are in high demand, while “legacy” skills are moving out of IT. 4 Imperatives for Enterprise IT Communication Managers Marty Parker June 11, 2019 With enterprise communications more dynamic than ever, you must adapt and lead to keep your organization competitive. Remember Linus from the Peanuts cartoon? He was the one who dragged around his blanket wherever he went, as a comfort measure. The same goes for Calvin with Hobbes, the “Good Doctor” Shaun Murphy and his scalpel, and the Fonz with his leather jacket. For many network engineers, command line interface (CLI) serves as their blankie equivalent. I understand that many engineers have grown their careers hunting and pecking on a CLI, but these days doing so is more of a liability than an asset. read more

Football Ohio State won a conference championship on the back of its

Ohio State senior safety Damon Webb (7) celebrates a pass break-up in the third quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: James King II | Sports DirectorINDIANAPOLIS — “Defense wins championships” is the most overused phrase in sports. It will be used one million times or more in the coming weeks as four teams prepare for a shot at a national title.Saturday, the phrase was gospel.No. 8 Ohio State made two momentous defensive stops in the final five minutes against No. 4 Wisconsin to win its first Big Ten title since 2014, and more importantly for the Buckeyes, they have a realistic shot at earning the final spot in the College Football Playoff just vacated by the Badgers.“Their preparation this week, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a college football team prepare the way these kids did,” Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “I think that gave them great confidence to go execute.”Ohio State elected to kick a field goal on a fourth-and-1 with 5:20 remaining, which extended the lead to 27-21. That’s a spot where head coach Urban Meyer is notorious for rolling the dice and winning a football game by winning that 1 yard. He said after the game that it was his decision to kick the field goal and go against his traditional action of attempting the conversion.The truth was that the defense was playing too well not to have faith that it could get a stop. It did. And after another three-and-out by the Ohio State offense, the defense made the game-ending stop.Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrooke threw his second interception of the game on fourth-and-20 to Damon Webb with less than two minutes left in the game.“I just thought our defense was playing so good,” Meyer said. Let’s let that quarterback and let our defensive line do what they do best and get after that quarterback. But that was one of the toughest calls of the day.”Hornibrooke’s has the worst touchdown to interception ratio of any Power 5 conference quarterback at 21 to 15. But he wasn’t what concerned Ohio State’s defense. Big Ten freshman of the year Jonathan Taylor, who averaged more than 150 rushing yards per game entering the contest, was the main focus on defense.In response, the defensive line played one of its best games of the year by continually penetrating Wisconsin’s vaunted offensive line and stopping Taylor before he got any momentum.The running back had 15 carries for 41 yards, his lowest total in one game this season.The defense answered any challenged thrown at them, most especially when the offense failed to put away Wisconsin.Ohio State had four three-and-outs, two field goals and an interception in the second half. There was no touchdown to decisively split the Badgers from the playoff field and the ranks of the unbeaten. The defense had to do that.“I think we were super confident the whole game,” sophomore defensive end Nick Bosa said. “I don’t think there was a moment we thought we were going to lose at all.”Wisconsin could have been the team that was on the podium celebrating as the Buckeyes walked off the field without any detection and with their heads held low, for everyone’s eyes would be on the team with the shiny football and hardware hoisted in the air. Everyone in attendance would watch the players and coaches pack themselves onto a makeshift stage that looks like it should be in a town parade rather than on a football field.Instead, Ohio State celebrated. A dominant offense at times that then went cold late couldn’t put the game on ice. To win the game, it had to be done on defense.An opportunity was there for the Badgers. Ohio State left the door open after each missed chance to deliver a decisive blow, but the defense seized it when the Badgers couldn’t. That’s why Ohio State is the Big Ten champion. read more