Response: Network Automation Expert Beginners

I usually post links to my blog posts to LinkedIn, and often get extraordinary comments. Unfortunately, those comments usually get lost in the mists of social media fog after a few weeks, so I’m trying to save them by reposting them as blog posts (always with original author’s permission). Here’s a comment David Sun left on my Network Automation Expert Beginners blog post

The most successful automation I’ve seen comes from orgs who start with proper software requirements specifications and more importantly, the proper organizational/leadership backing to document and support said infrastructure automation tooling.

Half baked code hacked together by an amateur is not supported like a vendor solution and regular Joe off the street isn’t going to make the time of day to troubleshoot your custom (and typically poorly documented if at all) code, especially when it’s not being required by management. Even when they do use your solution, the moment it breaks, if there is no management support they just go back to the CLI.

Any IT professional worth their salt has been doing “devops” and checking in their code to revision control for ages simply out of the sheer necessity to rid themselves of the monotony and to ensure consistency across a large fleet of devices. If you’re at a place like Amazon or Google, those skills are simply tables stakes.

What is worrying is the number of people and job postings acting like you should have a full stack software development skill set, when the reality is that the number of professionals who can expertly do both network engineering/development are few and far between.

When you have car problems, you take it to a mechanic. When you have electrical problems, you take the issue to an electrician, yet when it comes to networking automation, people in the networking community continue to spout the mantra that you should learn to code or go the way of the dinosaur.

This has resulted in a wave of network engineers with half baked coding skills who end up being mediocre in both networking and coding, versus being an expert in one. . Yes, it’s absolutely handy to have said skills, but there are only so many hours in a day. Not everyone should, nor wants to code and that’s completely ok in my opinion. If you’re going to do something, make sure to do it well.

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