Programmers with network engineering skills

John Mitchell mitch at
Tue Feb 28 14:03:33 UTC 2012


I would wholeheartedly agree with this, but I believe its worse than 
just that. I used to categorize myself as a full developer, now I'm 
slightly ashamed to be tainted with that brush since there's so many 
people using the term who don't know the first thing about programming.

It used to be that when you were taught programming, you were taught 
concepts (when to use a for loop, while loop, Boolean algebra), then 
you built on the foundations by learning advanced concepts  (data 
structures, how to program concurrently using semaphores etc etc), you 
would then pick some optional classes to make up for some non 
programming specific knowledge (networking, linux admin, etc etc).

I now have a lot of friends who work in academia and they are worried 
by a decline (as am I when trying to hire new talent). Currently the 
teaching process is one of learning to program like a monkey, monkey 
see monkey do. People are no longer taught to think for themselves, but 
instead taught to program in a specific language (PHP, Java, rarely C 
or C++ any more, C#, or VB) and that is all they know. I don't believe 
this is a failing with the lecturers but with the fundamental change in 
attitudes to programming.

One of the tests I give all interviewees is write a very short program 
in a language they have never ever used before ( personally I recommend ) since this gives people a 
chance to show they can program rather than being able to tell me "I 
know PHP" or "I know C", suprisingly very few newer programmers can 
make it through, or even try it, because the concept of thinking for 
themselves is so last year.


On 27 February 2012 20:02:13, Brandt, Ralph wrote:
> Generalists are hard to come by these days. They are people who learn
> less and less about more and more till they know nothing about
> everything. People today are specializing in the left and right halves
> of the bytes....  They learn more and more about less and less till they
> know everything about nothing.  And BTW, they are worthless unless you
> have five of them working on a problem because none of them know enough
> to fix it.  Worse, you can replace the word five with fifty and it may
> be still true. 
> I know of three of these, all gainfully employed at this time and could
> each find at least a couple jobs if they wanted.  I am one, my son is
> two and a guy we worked with is the third. 
> At one time (40 years ago) the mantra in IS was train for expertise, now
> it is hire for it.  Somewhere there has to be a happy medium.  I suggest
> this, find a good coder, not a mediocre who writes shit code but a good
> one who can think and learn and when you talk about branching out with
> his skill set he or she lights up.  His first thing on site is take the
> A+ networking course.  
> No, I do not sell the courses.  But I have seen this kind of approach
> work when nothing else was.
> Ralph Brandt
> Communications Engineer
> HP Enterprise Services
> Telephone +1 717.506.0802
> FAX +1 717.506.4358
> Email Ralph.Brandt at
> 5095 Ritter Rd
> Mechanicsburg PA 17055
> -----Original Message-----
> From: A. Pishdadi [mailto:apishdadi at] 
> Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2012 8:27 PM
> Subject: Programmers with network engineering skills
> Hello All,
> i have been looking for quite some time now a descent coder (c,php) who
> has
> a descent amount of system admin / netadmin experience. Doesn't
> necessarily
> need to be an expert at network engineering but being acclimated in
> understanding the basic fundamentals of networking. Understanding basic
> routing concepts, how to diagnose using tcpdump / pcap, understanding
> subnetting and how bgp works (not necessarily setting up bgp). I've
> posted
> job listings on the likes of dice and monster and have not found any
> good
> canidates, most of them ASP / Java guys.
> If anyone can point me to a site they might recommend for job postings
> or
> know of any consulting firms that might provide these services that
> would
> be greatly appreciated.

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