I haven’t posted in a while, for the simple reason that writing a blog is a challenge. What the heck am I going to write about? Sometimes ideas come easily, sometimes not. Of course, I have a day job, and part of that day job involves Cisco Live, which is next week, in person, for the first time in two years. Getting myself ready, as well as a coordinating with a team of almost fifty technical marketing engineers, does not leave a lot of free time.
For the last several in-person Cisco Lives, I did a two-hour breakout on programmability and scripting. The meat of the presentation was NETCONF/RESTCONF/YANG, and how to use Python to configure/operate devices using those protocols. I don’t really work on this anymore, and I have a very competent colleague who has taken over. I kept delivering the session because I loved doing it. But good things have to come to an end. At the last in-person Cisco Live (Barcelona 2020), I had just wrapped up delivering the session for what I assumed would be the last time. A couple of attendees approached me afterwards. “We love your session, we come to it every year!” they told me.
I was surprised. “But I deliver almost the same content every year,” I replied. “I even use the same jokes.”
“Well, it’s our favorite session,” they said.
At that point I resolved to keep doing it, even if my experience was diminishing. Then, COVID.
I had one other session which was also a lot of fun, called “The CCIE in an SDN world.” Because it was in the certification track, I wasn’t taking a session away from my team by doing it. There is a bit about the CCIE certification, its history, and its current form, but the thrust of it is this: network engineers are still relevant, even today with SDN and APIs supposedly taking over everything. There is so much marketing fluff around SDN and its offshoots, and while there may be good ideas in there (and a lot of bad ones), nevertheless we still need engineers who study who to manage and operate data networks, just like we did in the past.
I will be delivering that session. I have 50 registered attendees, which is far cry from the 500 I used to pack in at the height of the programmability gig. Being a Senior Director, you end up in limbo between keynotes (too junior) and breakouts (too senior). But the cert guys were gracious enough to let me speak to my audience of 50.
Cisco Live is really the highlight of the TME role, and I’m happy to finally be back. Let’s just hope I’m still over my stage fright, I haven’t had an audience in years!