The word on the street is that everyone—especially network engineers—must learn to code. A conversation with a friend and an article passing through my RSS reader brought this to mind once again—so once more into the breach. Part of the problem here is that we seem to have a knack for asking the wrong question. When we look at network engineer skill sets, we often think about the ability to configure a protocol or set of features, and then the ability to quickly troubleshoot those protocols or features using a set of commands or techniques.
While many network engineers think about getting a certification, not many think about going after a degree. Is there value in getting a degree for the network engineer? If so, what is it? What kinds of things do you learn in a degree program for network engineering? Eric Osterweil, a professor at George Mason University, joins Jeremy Filliben and Russ White on this episode of the Hedge to consider degrees for network engineers.
Personal branding and marketing are two key topics that surface from time to time, but very few people talk about how to actually do these things. For this episode of the Hedge, Evan Knox from Caffeine Marketing to talk about the importance of personal marketing and branding, and some tips and tricks network engineers can follow to improve their personal brand.
At what point in your career do you stop working towards new certifications?
Daniel Dibb’s recent post on his blog is, I think, an excellent starting point, but I wanted to add a few additional thoughts to the answer he gives there.
Daniel’s first question is how do you learn? Certifications often represent a body of knowledge people who have a lot of experience believe is important, so they often represent a good guided path to holistically approaching a new body of knowledge. In the professional learning world this would be called a ready-made mental map. There is a counterargument here—certifications are often created by vendors as a marketing tool, rather than as something purely designed for the betterment of the community, or the dissemination of knowledge. This doesn’t mean, however, that certifications are “evil.” It just means you need to evaluate each certification on its own merits.
Michael Natkin, over at Glowforge, writes: “That’s a funny thing about our minds. In the absence of information, they fill in the gaps and make up all sorts of plausible things, without the owners of said minds even realizing it is happening.” The answer, he says, is to overcommunicate. Michael joins Eyvonne Sharpe, Tom Ammon, and Russ White on this episode of the Hedge to discuss what it means to overcommunicate.
Many engineers have heard about the wide variety of Network Operator Group (NOG) meetings, from smaller regional organizations through larger multinational ones. What is the value of attending a NOG? How can you convince your business leadership of this value? In this episode of the Hedge Vincent Celindro and Edward McNair join Russ White to consider these questions.
In this episode of the Hedge, Ethan Banks, Ethan’s old-timey routers, Tom Ammon, Tom’s printer, Eyvonne Sharp, and Russ White sit around the virtual hedge to talk about networking fundamentals. What are they, why are they important, how you learn them, and how to be intentional about your career.
CHINOG is a regional network operators group that meets in Chicago once a year. For this episode of the Hedge, Jason Gooley joins us to talk about the origins of CHINOG, the challenges involved in running a small conference, some tips for those who would like to start a conference of this kind, and thoughts on the importance of community in the network engineering world.
Staring at the white line is fun at first, then mesmerizing, then it is frightening… then finally it is just plain dull. But let’s talk about the terrifying bit because it’s the scary stage that makes us all reject change out of fear for the future. And, trust me, a kid sitting in a car with no doors staring down at the white line while his uncle drives 60 miles-per-hour is going to be frightened from time to time.
If there is one thing I notice when I look around at the IETF—and many other places where I meet a lot of network operations and engineering folk—it’s that we all seem to be getting a bit older. This should lead us to an obvious question—what are we doing about bringing up a new generation of network engineers? David Huberman joins Tom Ammon and I to discuss this interesting question. David i s involved in a number of community-based efforts to train next generation network engineers, some of which he discusses in his excellent article at the APNIC blog.