The End of Specialization?

22 July 2019

There is a rule in sports and music about practice—the 10,000 hour rule—which says that if you want to be an expert on something, you need ten thousand hours of intentional practice. The corollary to this rule is: if you want to be really good at something, specialize. In colloquial language, you cannot be both a jack of all trades and a master of one.

Translating this to the network engineering world, we might say something like: it takes 10,000 hours to really know the full range of products from vendor x and how to use them. Or perhaps: only after you have spent 10,000 hours of intentional study and practice in building data center networks will you know how to build these things. We might respond to this challenge by focusing our studies and time in one specific area, gaining one series of certifications, learning one vendor’s gear, or learning one specific kind of work (such as design or troubleshooting).

This line of thinking, however, should immediately raise two questions. First, is it true? Anecdotal evidence seems to abound for this kind of thinking; we have all heard of the child prodigy who spent their entire lives focusing on a single sport. We also all know of people who have “paper skills” instead of “real skills;” the reason we often attribute to this is they have not done enough lab work, or they have not put in hours configuring, troubleshooting, or working on the piece of gear in question. Second, is it healthy for the person or the organization the person works for?

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Weekend Reads 071919

19 July 2019

There have been a number of research papers that have described effective DNS cache poisoning attacks using IP fragmentation. —Kazunori Fujiwara

The game is changing for the IT ops community, which means the rules of the past make less and less sense. Organizations need accurate, understandable, and actionable metrics in the right context to measure operations performance and drive critical business transformation. —Julie Gunderson

For at least the past decade, a computer crook variously known as “Yalishanda,” “Downlow” and “Stas_vl” has run one of the most popular “bulletproof” Web hosting services catering to a vast array of phishing sites, cybercrime forums and malware download servers. —Krebs on Security

Route Origin Validation (ROV), based on Route Origin Authorizations (ROAs), is increasingly being deployed by registries, organizations and users worldwide in an effort to reduce the risk of problems associated with network misconfigurations and mistakes. —Taiji Kimura

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Disaggregation and Business Value

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The Hedge Episode 1: Sonia Cuff and Stress in IT

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The Floating Point Fix

WORTH READING

Worth Reading: Wireless mesh is back

In case you aren’t familiar with the concept of a mesh network, it’s a network comprised of multiple radios, each of which connects to multiple other radios. —Doug Dawson

Worth Reading: BGP prepending is a self-inflicted security vulnerability

In the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), prepending is a technique used to deprioritize a route by artificially increasing the length of the AS-PATH attribute by repeating an autonomous system number (ASN). —Doug Madory

Worth Reading: Are broadband investments increasing?

The largest ISPs and their lobbying arm USTelecom are still claiming that the level of industry capital spending has improved as a direct result of the end of Title II regulation. —Doug Dawson

IMAGES FROM MY TRAVELS