Programmers with network engineering skills

Lamar Owen lowen at
Tue Feb 28 19:35:49 UTC 2012

On Monday, February 27, 2012 05:14:00 PM Owen DeLong wrote:
> Who is a strong network engineer
> Who has been a professional software engineer (though many years ago and my skills are rusty
> 	and out of date)

Owen, you nailed it here.  Even the ACM recognizes that a 'Software Engineer' and a 'Computer Scientist' are different animals (ACM recognizes five 'computer related' degree paths with unique skill maps: Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Services, and Information Technology; see for more details).

A true 'network engineer' will have a different mindset and different focus than a 'Computer Scientist' who has all the theoretical math skills that a Computer Scientist needs (a reply to one of my recent posts mentioned that math, and was somewhat derogatory about engineers and timeliness, but I digress). 

Coding and development can bridge across the differences; but it is very useful to understand some of the very basic differences in mindset, and apply that to the position being sought.  

It boils down to whether the OP wants strong engineering skills with the accompanying mindset, or strong CS skills with the accompanying mindset.  Given the other clearance issues, I would be more inclined to say that the OP would want a 'Software Engineer' with some network engineering skills rather than a CS grad with some network guy skills.  It's a different animal, and software engineering teaches change control and configuration management at a different depth than the typical CS track will do (and that sort of thing would be required in such a cleared environment).  On the flip side, that same 'Software Engineer' isn't nearly as steeped in CS fundamentals of algorithms and the associated math.

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