Programmers with network engineering skills

Holmes,David A dholmes at
Tue Feb 28 03:26:18 UTC 2012

Yes, a theoretical understanding of algorithms is a common element in programming and networking. But the thread seems to assume that highly capable programmers/network engineers are mere serfs, unable to forge their own destiny, at the beck and call of whomever they work for, instead of independent beings who are doing what they are doing because they like it and choose to continue doing so, even at the expense of foregoing substantial financial gain.

-----Original Message-----
From: Daniel Schauenberg [mailto:d at]
Sent: Monday, February 27, 2012 7:09 PM
To: Randy Bush
Cc: Holmes,David A; North American Network Operators' Group
Subject: Re: Programmers with network engineering skills

> a real programmer can be productive in networking tools in a matter of a
> month or two.  i have seen it multiple times.
> a networker can become a useful real progammer in a year or three.

Thank you! I always wonder when someone distinguishes between a networker and a programmer as if they came from completely different worlds. I find these fields to be highly related. They are algorithmic at the core and you need a good understanding of architecture and design to successfully make the concepts work. If you have ever tried to find a bug in a badly structured network, you should be able to understand that implementing all of your application's use cases in one module is not a good idea. After implementing a good serialization scheme for your class data, network protocols are not that strange anymore (I know I'm exaggerating on simple examples here, but I hope the idea comes across).

My point is, if someone has a good understanding of applying architectural patterns to a problem and isolating error causes while debugging, it shouldn't matter if he wrote mostly software the last years or if she administered a large scale network. A good sysadmin can learn to write software and a good programmer can learn to love the datacenter.

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