Cisco to network engineers: Get comfortable with software

The shift to software-defined networks (SDN) was the catalyst to usher in a whole new way of running networks—and that’s through software. Some may argue that network engineers have been using software for decades, as every good router jockey had a laptop filled with scripts and templates that could be cut and pasted into the command line interface. This ad hoc model is highly error prone and not scalable, which is why human error still accounts for much of the downtime with respect to networks. 

Historically, Cisco hasn’t exactly helped its customers be more proficient with software. Oh sure, it had programs such as the Cisco Technology Developer Program (CTDP) that were targeted at developers, but what about the network engineer? The person who wants to do his job more efficiently? For that audience, Cisco didn’t have an answer. 

A few years ago, though, a switch seemed to flip, and the company launched its latest and best software program: DevNet. Unlike previous iterations of developer environments, DevNet targeted the software developer, but it has specific programs for network engineers.

I know this concept can be a bit daunting to a network professional because most have never made an API call or worked with any kind of modern programming language, but Cisco has structured many of it’s programs specifically for that audience. To me, this is key in making DevNet successful over time, as not everyone wants to be a software developer, but there’s no reason why software can’t make the engineer’s life easier.

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