#init6 – the what, who, why, how, and when
The networking industry is changing (don’t worry, I’m not going to wheel out the clichés about network engineers being CLI jockeys and having to change and adapt to become programmers). To paraphrase one of my #init6 colleagues, “up to now, automation and programmability have had almost a “hobbyist” status. People getting interested in what can be done, feeling their way, a few adopters at the bleeding edge …”
But in 2019, it feels like the winds of change have swept through our industry. No self-respecting networking vendor releases a product without an API; the challenges of integrating Public Cloud with our access networks and on-prem data centers are very real and immediate; SDKs, orchestration, and abstraction have become top of mind when integrating networking elements to start to bring the nirvana of “intent-based,” “self-healing,” “zero touch deployment” and other ideas, closer to reality.
This all means that the network engineer “as was” has a whole set of new skills and capabilities to develop in order to maintain their relevance in this new world. The major vendors realize this, and are changing their certification programs, and providing resources and platforms to advocate and educate in these new areas.
#init6 is a community effort to try and help inform, educate and bring a series of different real-world perspectives to the challenges that we face adopting this “new world.”
Once upon a time, there was (and still is!) an organization known as the CCIE Advisory Council. The council is a group of 30 or so CCIEs from partners and organizations outside Cisco across the globe, with a remit to provide input into Learning@Cisco’s ongoing development programs for the CCNA, CCNP and CCIE certifications. The council meets regularly online and once a year at Cisco Live US in order to represent the voice of the wider network engineering community during that development process.
After the recent changes to the program announced in June 2019, members of the council have taken it on themselves to be advocates for the new certifications, but also to look at the wider Cisco ecosystem to support people starting down that path. And as experts in their fields and the community at large, they also started to consider that with such a momentous shift in approach, it was necessary to provide mentoring and coaching from people who have already begun the pivot into the new world.
#init6 is the fruits of those conversations. A group of experts, passionate about mentoring and nurturing future generations of networking professionals, with varying levels of experience of automation and programmability, but a desire to evolve themselves and bring others with them, and to share that evolution with the wider community.
The name really reflects the make-up and the aims of the group. “init 6” is a Unix (and thus Linux) command to reboot the system cleanly by shutting down all processes, syncing disks and then restart the OS. What are we trying to do if not gracefully reboot our networking careers?
#init6 is primarily a YouTube channel where we post video content – we have a number of streams of content development, covering use cases and demos, guides to using the tooling, interviews with our peers to discuss real-world scenarios, discussions on the Big Picture topics.
We are engaged with @CiscoDevNet to provide access to experts in the field, but our goal is not to train people – there is plenty of material out there if you know how to approach it and guide people toward it. We are focused on
- helping people start and progress their journey;
- giving them the opportunity to share in the collective experience; and
- pointing them toward the resources they need to bring the new world of NetDevOps to their networks.
We also have a blog to which the team will be contributing over time – init6-net.blogspot.com – and we are on Twitter where we’ll announce new content as it becomes available – @init6_network.
The only time to act on gaining network automation skills is now – the industry is changing and we need to change with it – we need to evolve or die! If you watch our second episode, Ryan Rose from DevNet walks us through the DevNet website – the perfect place to start on your journey – and there you can check out the new DevNet certifications.
Take part in this community effort to pivot each and every one of our careers!