A few weeks back I was asked by Scott Lowe if I wanted to be interviewed. At first, I was puzzled. Why would someone want to interview me? Scott was looking for people to talk about their personal career journey. Where did it start? Where was it going? How did you achieve it?

With an emphasis on technology, automation, and the soft-skills that support it we ended up talking for a good 45 minutes on this.

Thanks Scott for the invitiation. It was great fun – even if the timezones are crazy!

Below are the show notes for an idea of the content:

  • Went from desktop administrator to solution architecture/engineering in just 7 years
  • On the perception of the networking industry as “slow”:
    • A certain workflow is typically required in order to minimize risk to the network (validating changes, having changes go through peer review, waiting for a change window, and then finally logging into the boxes to make the changes)
    • This seems “slow” in comparison to what the virtualization/server admin teams can do
  • Automation and learning to code/script helps with being more efficient
  • This isn’t necessarily about cost—this is about being more personally efficient and more personally effective
  • Anthony’s journey started partially due to finding himself able to talk about it, but not necessarily do it (referring to networking automation)
  • It was PowerNSX that initially interested him, but he had to learn PowerShell and some very basic programming concepts first
  • Seeing tangible results, like being able to save hours on a task, helps energize you on your journey
  • Some of the big challenges Anthony faced as he started his journey:
    • Impostor syndrome was a big deal
    • Felt like he knew nothing (which was partially true)
    • He had to accept that this was true (he was starting from scratch), but that didn’t invalidate his other expertise or experience
  • The ability to look at online help and code samples was useful
  • Having a task—a goal—helped with the learning process
  • It’s natural for your code to evolve as your skills and your knowledge evolves (Anthony shares an example of a script he wrote going from 200 lines of code down to just 22 lines of code as he iterated over the script)
  • Having a good mentor helps during the learning process
  • Other learning resources:
  • Anthony also recommends looking at GitHub for projects written in the language you’re learning (this may also give you the opportunity to learn from their code and/or contribute to the project)
  • Giving back (blogging, teaching, mentoring, contributing to other projects, speaking, etc.) is a natural evolution of your journey
  • Closing thoughts:
    • Don’t be afraid.
    • Jump in.
    • Ask questions

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