The Hedge 65: Jacquelyn Adams and the Future of Work

6 January 2021 |

Everyone in networking—and beyond networking, in fact—thinks about what the future of work might look like. Jacquelyn Adams joins Eyvonne Sharp, Tom Ammon, and Russ White on this episode of the Hedge to discuss what work might look like based on this era of rapid change, and how you can prepare for that future.

The Hedge 64: Brian Keys and Burnout

16 December 2020 | Comments Off on The Hedge 64: Brian Keys and Burnout

Burnout stalks most network engineers—and most people in the world of information technology—striking at least once in every career, it seems, and often more than once. In this episode, Brian Keys joins Eyvonne Sharp, Tom Ammon, and Russ White to discuss his personal experience with burnout. The discussion then turns to general strategies and ideas for avoiding burnout on a day-to-day basis.

Pulling Back the Curtains

14 December 2020 | Comments Off on Pulling Back the Curtains

One of the major sources of complexity in modern systems is the simple failure to pull back the curtains. From a recent blog post over at the ACM—

The Wizard of Oz was a charlatan. You’d be surprised, too, how many programmers don’t understand what’s going on behind the curtain either. Some years ago, I was talking with the CTO of a company, and he asked me to explain what happens when you type a URL into your browser and hit enter. Do you actually know what happens? Think about it for a moment.

The Hedge 62: Jacob Hess and the Importance of History

2 December 2020 | Comments Off on The Hedge 62: Jacob Hess and the Importance of History

At first glance, it would seem like the history of a technology would have little to do with teaching that technology. Jacob Hess of NexGenT joins us in this episode of the Hedge to help us understand why he always includes the history of a technology when teaching it—a conversation that broadened out into why learning history is important for all network engineers.

Innovation Myths

30 November 2020 | Comments Off on Innovation Myths

Innovation has gained a sort-of mystical aura in our world. Move fast and break stuff. We recognize and lionize innovators in just about every way possible. The result is a general attitude of innovate or die—if you cannot innovate, then you will not progress in your career or life. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and bust some of the innovation myths created by this near idolization of innovation.

You can’t innovate where you are. Reality: innovation is not tied to a particular place and time. “But I work for an enterprise that only uses vendor gear… Maybe if I worked for a vendor, or was deeply involved in open source…” Innovation isn’t just about building new products! You can innovate by designing a simpler network that meets business needs, or by working with your vendor on testing a potential new product. Ninety percent of innovation is just paying attention to problems, along with a sense of what is “too complex,” or where things might be easier.

The Senior Trap

23 November 2020 | Comments Off on The Senior Trap

How do you become a “senior engineer?” It’s a question I’m asked quite often, actually, and one that deserves a better answer than the one I usually give. Charity recently answered the question in a round-a-bout way in a post discussing the “trap of the premature senior.” She’s responding to an email from someone who is considering leaving a job where they have worked themselves into a senior role. Her advice?

Quit!

Casual Dress Considered Harmful?

16 November 2020 | Comments Off on Casual Dress Considered Harmful?

I remember a time long ago—but then again, everything seems like it was “long ago” to me—when I was flying out to see an operator in a financial district. Someone working with the account asked me what I normally wear… which is some sort of button down and black or grey pants in pretty much any situation. Well, I will put on a sport jacket if I’m teaching in some contexts, but still, the black/grey pants and some sort of button down are pretty much a “uniform” for me. The person working on the account asked me if I could please switch to ragged shorts, a t-shirt, and grow a pony tail because … the folks at the operator would never believe I was an engineer if I dressed to “formal.”

The Hedge 56: Lysa Myers on Burnout and Good People

15 October 2020 | Comments Off on The Hedge 56: Lysa Myers on Burnout and Good People

PTSD is a real thing in the information technology world; it impacts the ability to keep and manage good people. In this episode of the Hedge, Lya Myers joins Eyvonne Sharp, Tom Ammon, and Russ White to discuss PTSD, burnout, and strategies for dealing with them.

The Hedge 52: Tobi Metz and the Technologist Question

16 September 2020 | Comments Off on The Hedge 52: Tobi Metz and the Technologist Question

Tobi Metz asked What is a Technologists? in a recent blog post. Tobi joins Tom and Russ on this episode of the Hedge to expand on his answer, and get our thoughts on the question.

Everyone Must Learn to Code

14 September 2020 |

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.