Leveraging Similarities

We tend to think every technology and every product is roughly unique—so we tend to stay up late at night looking at packet captures and learning how to configure each product individually, and chasing new ones as if they are the brightest new idea (or, in marketing terms, the best thing since sliced bread). Reality check: they aren’t. This applies across life, of course, but especially to technology. From a recent article—

Whenever I start learning a new programming language, I focus on defining variables, writing a statement, and evaluating expressions. Once I have a general understanding of those concepts, I can usually figure out the rest on my own. Most programming languages have some similarities, so once you know one programming language, learning the next one is a matter of figuring out the unique details and recognizing the differences.

RFC1925 rule 11 states—

Every old idea will be proposed again with a different name and a different presentation, regardless of whether it works.

Rule 11 isn’t just a funny saying—rule 11 is your friend. If want to learn new things quickly, learn rule 11 first. A basic understanding of the theory of networking will carry across all products, all marketing campaigns, and all protocols.