Q&A with DevNet Creator Award Winner – Jeff Levensailor
Last year at DevNet Create, DevNet’s annual developer conference, we premiered the “DevNet Creator” awards to recognize and spotlight DevNet members for their leadership and contribution to the DevNet Community. With DevNet Create 2019 happening this week, we wanted to check in with last year’s DevNet Creator Award winners to see what they’re up to.
Jeff Levensailor is a senior consulting engineer at Presidio. You can usually find him helping others in the Cisco Webex Teams developer support space. Last year Jeff wrote a Node JS library that integrates with the Cisco Unified Communications AXL interface, with over a hundred downloads in its first week on npm, and now on DevNet Code Exchange.
I sat down with Jeff recently to ask him about his journey with DevNet:
Q: What have you been up to in the last year?
A: The Creator award was the start of (and perhaps conduit to) a big 2018 for me. I placed second at Presidio’s yearly “Shark Tank” coding contest. I was asked to make a Proof of Concept for Cisco Live using Cisco DNA Center APIs which was featured on the floor of the World of Solutions. Our concept, “Honeycomb” was an energy monitoring and analysis tool for cost savings in the datacenter. Also, at Live, I was invited to speak on a panel with DevNet’s Susie Wee and Hank Preston on “Career Pivots” to discuss my transition from Networking to Code. A month later at our own Presidio conference, I helped plan the “DevOps” track for Presidio and returned the invitation to have Susie and Hank join us (and taught a few classes myself). At our conference I was awarded “Engineer of the Year.” I also just completed a customer wireless pilot for Cisco DNA Spaces, which I customized for an emergency notification system.
I look forward to returning to Create this year to share more of what I’ve been up to – whether you catch my talk on “More efficient governments through contact center AI,” join my workshop on “How to teach an old prog new tricks,” or just chat over the campfire with some s’mores!
Q: What are you most proud of in your career?
A: What makes me most proud of in my career is when I can inspire others. I love it when someone I work with approaches me with a new idea to get my take or to help them execute. Sometimes I’ve never talked to the person before, but I’m always happy to help. Being able to inspire your peers is beyond titles or certifications. I hope that sharing the use cases I’ve found for coding helps others think with APIs in mind to really bring value to the customer! If it’s not in the GUI, look in the API docs – there is our value as integrators.
Q: If you weren’t a developer, what would you want to be?
A: I help my wife sometimes with her lesson plans and really get into it. I think if I weren’t in the field I’m in (or if it paid what it should) I would be a teacher.
Q: What has surprised you most about DevNet and the DevNet community?
A: What has surprised me most about DevNet is how much fun they have in doing their job, and in general. They are always posting goofy pictures on Twitter, and always have witty responses to the questions I ask (which they do often, and in short time). A lot of us work from home most days, so the sense of humor I’ve encountered and friendships I’ve made (online and offline) are that much more meaningful.
Q: What new technologies/innovations are you most excited about?
A: AI and Machine Learning are the most exciting for me. The terms have been around for a while, but the algorithms keep getting better and the data sets keep getting larger, more open and shared.
That’s Jeff in the white T-shirt, working with one of the “Camp Create” teams at DevNet Create 2018.