Are you interested in network programmability, but not sure where to get started? Are you going to Cisco Live? If you answered yes to either question read on, this is for you!

With Cisco Live rapidly approaching the most common question I’m asked is “are you going to Cisco Live?” To which I’m given the awesome privilege of telling them, “yes, not only am I going, but I’m speaking in four sessions in the DevNet Zone, all centered around Network Programmability. At this point the conversation generally turns to the incorrect assumption that I have a programming background. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, for the majority of my 25 year career the extent of my scripting is a couple of poorly written DOS batch files back in the 90’s.

How to Get Started with Network Programmability?

The second most common question I’m asked is, how I got started. Most of the engineers I talk to tell me that their biggest challenge is not knowing where/how to jump in. They have questions like:

  • Should I start by learning a programming language like Python?
  • Should I look into configuration management tools like Ansible?
  • Should I focus on NETCONF or RESTCONF?

These are similar questions I was asking myself not too long ago. I found, for me, the best method was to start with the basics.

What I typically do is remind them of how they went about learning routing. Back in my day, (a phrase I never thought I would be old enough to use) we didn’t start out learning BGP. We started by learning RIP and working our way up. We did this not because we ran it in our networks, but because it was a simple protocol to implement and it helped teach concepts like peering and advertisements. The same holds true to how I started learning the basics of network programmability.

So, to the original question at the top of the post… If you are interested in learning about Network Programmability, but have no idea where to start, and you are headed to Cisco Live in Orlando, then DevNet has a ton of great content to help you down that path. In particular I’d humbly recommend:


No Coding Experience Required

The goal of these sessions is to introduce the concepts of standardized data modeling and the protocols used to interact with the device. As a group the students will walk through what a YANG data model is, and leverage either NETCONF or RESTCONF to retrieve the data. These foundational topics are a great tool to help any network engineer with aspirations of moving towards network programmability. The best part? No coding experience required!

Bryan Byrne leads a workshopBryan Byrne leads a Network Programmability hands-on
workshop early this year at Cisco Live Melbourne

Just a brief note on how the workshop sessions are run in the DevNet. The sessions are short, only 45 minutes long, and laser focused on a particular topic. If you can’t register for the session because it’s full don’t worry. The seating is first come, first serve but it’s not uncommon to see a large number of students following along with the proctor. Additionally, if you can’t get a seat in the session I always publish my labs to Github after Cisco Live. You just need to attend the session to get the URL 

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Cisco Live!

Check out the full list of DevNet Zone workshops and sessions.

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Bryan Byrne

Technical Solutions Architect