Programmers with network engineering skills

Jared Newell jnewell at equinix.com
Mon Feb 27 19:24:54 CST 2012


Doug,

I think the difference is that network engineers typically find themselves wanting to learn some form of programming to automate routine tasks while doing their job as a network engineer.  They've actually managed to be interested in programming while pursuing a career in networking out of necessity.

On the other hand, I think it's very rare for a hard-core programmer/developer to want to learn more about networking because it typically doesn't come up in their job when coding a professional application / large product with many moving parts and "more than one person on the team".

I'm sure it can happen either way and has (as many people have posted going either direction in this thread), but there needs to be some desire to learn for the individual.  I think you'll find a network engineer desiring to improve their programming skills much easier than a developer that wants to learn improve their networking skills beyond plugging a router into their home network.

-Jared


-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Barton [mailto:dougb at dougbarton.us] 
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 2:31 PM
To: Jay Ashworth
Cc: NANOG
Subject: Re: Programmers with network engineering skills

On 2/27/2012 2:23 PM, Jay Ashworth wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Owen DeLong" <owen at delong.com>
> 
>> I think you're more likely to find a network engineer with (possibly
>> limited) programming skills.
>>
>> That's certainly where I would categorize myself.
> 
> And you're the first I've seen suggest, or even imply, that going that 
> direction instead might be more fruitful; seemed to me that the skills 
> necessary to make a decent network engineer would support learning 
> programming better than the other way round -- though in fact I 
> personally did it the other way.

I think it depends on what level of "coding" you're talking about. If you want someone that can whip up a few scripts to easily manage routine tasks, then sure, network guy -> "coder" is usually a safe and easy path.

OTOH, if you're talking professional application developer working on a project with more than one moving part, and/or more than one person on the team, you really need someone who thinks like a developer, and can be trained to understand network concepts.

.... and yes, the latter is the path that I've taken, so I have a built-in bias.


Doug

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