Mamas, Don’t Let Your Net Admins Grow Up to be Programmers

Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Network administrators learning how to program is a benefit to employees and employer, but it shouldn’t be a requirement.
  • SDN promises many things including operational simplicity. Programming isn’t operationally simple and your network admins shouldn’t be doing it.

Even if SDN isn’t having an impact on data centers like my colleague Steve Hill thinks, the idea is certainly having a ripple effect within IT departments and among network professionals considering their career path. One common topic the keep recurring is whether network professionals need to become programmers to remain relevant.Kirk Byers thinks programming will be an essential skill for network engineers and points to the number of commercial and open source tools and controllers that have APIs and SDKs that can be used to stitch together various components into an automated and orchestrated network. In principle, I think the more network professionals know about how their systems work and integrate together, the better off they will be career-wise and the greater value they will be to their employers; but I generally disagree with the premise. Besides, if network professionals also have to be developers, then the entire networking industry will have failed to deliver one of the key benefits of SDN – easier operations.
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