I know I’m a little bit late for New Years resolutions, but it’s been a tough decision making process. There is so much going on right now in the networking industry and, to be honest, I’m not sure that networking is going to be a skill that will demand the premium that it’s been able to for the last 10-15 years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that networking is dead. In fact, just the opposite, networking is going to flourish. There is going to be so much networking that needs to be done that the only way we will be able to deal with it is to dump all of our collective knowledge into code and start to automate what would have previously been the domain of the bit-plumbers that we are.
What skills to pick up in 2015:
So the question: What skills am I looking at picking up in 2015? I am a huge believer the infrastructure-as-code movement. Looking at what leaders like Matt Oswald, Jason Edelman, Brent Salisbury, Dave Tucker, Colin McNamara, Jeremy Schulman, etc… are taking us, it’s obvious that coding skills are becoming a mandatory skill for anyone in the networking field who wants to become, or remain, at the top of the field. That’s not to say that core networking skills are not going to be important, but I’m definitely branching out this year in trying to gain some another language, as well as improve my chops with what I already know.
Increase Python Skills
As anyone who’s been here for the last year knows, I’ve been playing around with python a lot. I’m hoping that 2015 will allow me to continue to increase my python skills, specifically as focused around networking, and I’m hoping that I will have enough time to go from just learning to actually contributing back to some code to the community. I’m signed up for Kirk Bayles Python for Networking Engineers course starting in January, as well as going through a few different books. Bets of all, my 9 year old son has also shown some interest in learning to code, so this might actually become a father son project.
I’m also hoping to get more involved with things like Ansible, Schprokits, as well as possibly releasing some of my own all projects. Crossing my fingers on the stretch goals. 🙂
Gain Data Analysis Skills
Cousera is awesome. If you haven’t checked it out, you need to. You would have to be living under a rock buried in a lead can stored in a faraday cage at the bottom of the ocean to not have heard about SDN. I believe that there’s an ENORMOUS opportunity within the networking space for applying data analysis techniques to the massive amounts of information that flows across our networks every day. There’s a Cousera Data Science Specialization that I’m signed up for that I”m hoping will start me down the path of being able to execute on some the ideas that I’ve had bouncing around in my skull for more than half a decade. I’m sure I will be blogging on the course, but you might have to wait for some of the ideas.
Docker, Rocket, NSX, ESX, KVM, OVS. They are all going to get a little love this year from this guy. I’m not sure how much I’m going to be able to consume, but I believe these are all technologies that are going to be relevant in the coming years. I believe that Containers are going to get a lot of love in the industry and companies like http://www.socketplane.io are going to be something I”m watching closely.
Networking Networking Networking
This is my core knowledge set and, I believe, what will continue to be the foundation of my value for the foreseeable future. I hit my CCIE Emeritus this year and also had a chance to attend a Narbik bootcamp. It was an incredibly humbling experience and reminded me of how much there is still to learn in this space that I love. If you get a chance to attend a Micronics CCIE bootcamp, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. There are very few people who understand and can TEACH this information at the level Narbik can. I’m actually planning on finding time to resit the bootcamp this year just soak up more of the goodness.
Plans Plans Plans
2014 was a bit of a mess for me. But I think I still did fairly well in executing on gaining some of the programming skills that I wanted. 2015 is going to be a crazy time for the whole industry. I’m not sure which of these four areas is going consume the most of my time. The way our industry has been going, it’s entirely possible that I will fall in love with something else entirely. 🙂
If at the end of 2015 I have managed to move forward in these four areas by at least a few steps, I think I will consider the year a success.
What about you?
2 thoughts on “Plans for 2015: Where to from here?”
We have similar interests. I have started learning Python. Just barely. Seems I have a hard time with time, but I’ll chip away. I have lots of small projects to try out, and there’s a wealth of Python knowledge written down. I’m sure I’ll make some headway.
I’m looking into becoming more of an IT generalist in the long run. More knowledge across a broader range of fields. No reason to be so specialized as I have been – makes me less useful in the brave new world, and I don’t like that feeling. So, I’ll be dusting off my old sysadmin skills, starting to think more about apps, changing how I think about infrastructure, getting more cloudy. Networking still matters a lot, but it’s going to be different. I’d like to grasp the differences sooner rather than later. Struggling to know exactly the best way to proceed. Will keep hitting things with a hammer until something makes the right noise.
Later in the year, I might sit a Narbik bootcamp again if he can slot me in. I did his bootcamp back in 2008, and he encouraged me a few months back to take a refresher. I’ll be within my “one year, need to renew” period starting in April. I am not to emeritus status as yet, and am having a hard time letting go of CCIE, although my brain tells me I should.
I found your posts on this topic very interesting! They inspired me to blog about the subject too. There is definitely a shift in the skills required to be successful in the networking area. Scripting in Python, automation with Chef and Puppet, analysis with Hadoop and development with Git are quickly becoming important tools in the toolset of a network admin. I see this as a merge process of the traditional silos of sysadmins, developers and netadmins. My fellow sysadmins also become more and more involved in the networking part of the datacenter, so this is a change that affect several parts of IT. Looking forward to see the impact of these changes as they culminate.