Software opens up new career opportunities for network professionals


The topic of network engineer re-skilling has been front and center for the past few years. Some network professionals have embraced the concept and are leading the network industry in a whole new direction. Others, though, are more resistant and show about as much enthusiasm for this new world as my wife does when I ask her to watch a Star Trek marathon with me.

Network professionals need to become software-fluent

Part of the resistance to re-skilling is that change is scary and often hard. Many network engineers have been working a certain way for years, possibly decades, and now they are asking, “Do I need to throw those skills away and learn new ones?” To those people, I say an emphatic YES! It’s absolutely critical to learn new skills today, or you could find yourself quickly looking for a job.

If you’re looking for a proof point, consider what happened when the world moved from traditional voice to VoIP. How many telecom managers who did not upgrade their skills kept their jobs? The answer is virtually none, and that’s what happens here.

To stay current, network engineers need to embrace software. I’m not saying everyone needs to be a software developer — because they don’t. However, it’s important that people who work with network gear know how to do things such as make API calls, use orchestration tools, and write scripts. Software fluency is as important today as IOS fluency was 10 years ago.

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