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 next week, we wanted to check in with last year’s DevNet Creator Award winners to see what they’re up to.

Paul GiblinPaul Giblin is an Enterprise Architect and Distinguished Engineer at Presidio, putting together collaboration solutions for customers. As an EA, he’s responsible for helping customers devise and implement comprehensive technology strategies that drive their business forward. As a Distinguished Engineer, he serves as a strategist, advisor, innovator, disruptor and mentor to others inside of Presidio, including input to the Office of the CTO.

He’s a Cisco Champion, and a passionate and energetic contributor to the DevNet Community. You may find him instructing at a DevNet Express event or teaching multiple workshops with a load of packable gear you probably saw on your Twitter stream.

We reached out to Paul recently to ask him about his journey with DevNet:

Q:  Why did you join DevNet?
A:  I joined DevNet to help extend myself professionally. I’m a CCIE Emeritus, so I know networks as well as anyone, but until I joined DevNet I didn’t REALLY know much code. Ever since I first encountered the DevNet Zone in San Francisco I knew the future of infrastructure is code, and DevNet would be the best way for me to link my new learning with what I was already doing.

Q:  What did winning a Creator award mean to you?
A:  Winning the one of the first Creator awards meant a great deal to me. The impacts one makes on a community aren’t easy to recognize when you’re participating in something you enjoy. Being named a Creator helped me realize I was making valuable contributions to the DevNet community and helping people level up their professional skills.

Q:  What have you been up to in the last year?
A:  The last year has been full of change for me. Since being named a creator, I’ve won Presidio’s Shark Tank development competition with a team of amazing coders, been named a Presidio Distinguished Engineer, and have been promoted from Senior Solution Architect to Enterprise Architect. I’ve also become one of the first non-Cisco-employee DevNet Express Project Managers, so I can continue to spread coding knowledge.

Q:  What has surprised you most about DevNet and the DevNet community?
A:  The DevNet community has a pretty unique feel. I’ve been a Spark Master, Cisco Champion, NetVet – my name even hangs on the wall at Cisco Malvern as part of the Cisco BBQ team. Out of all of those Cisco communities, DevNet is the one most focused on elevating engineers of all levels.

Q:  What advice do you have for those just joining the community?
A:  Get into the WebEx Teams spaces and don’t wait to ask for help. You’ll never find a more helpful hive of fun and decency. Seriously – every single person you see presenting a DevNet workshop, or in a DevNet training video is happy to engage and help you overcome whatever mental hurdles you may be facing. Try to force yourself to stretch a bit but ask for help before you bang your head on the wall for a weekend.

Q:  What new technologies/innovations are you most excited about?
A:  Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Augmented Reality all draw my interest these days. I’m also working on getting my head around Graph database technology and different js front ends. I’m also excited about forcing myself through cloud-native dev infrastructures and tool chains as I build my 2020 Presidio Shark Tank entry.

Q:  If you weren’t a developer, what would you want to be?
A:  Being tied to my laptop as much as I am makes me yearn for physical tasks. If I could make a career of being and inventor/designer, I’d make furniture using my collection of traditional hand tools or unnecessarily complex machines. It wouldn’t be a stretch for me to go full Rick Morranis in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Q:  What has DevNet meant for your career?
A:  I firmly believe that acquiring development skills and mindset, all largely through DevNet engagement, has been a boon for my career. If it weren’t for DevNet I probably wouldn’t have had the confidence necessary to tackle the undertaking that was Presidio Shark Tank. If it weren’t for being named a DevNet Creator, I may not have had enough of an edge to be named a Distinguished Engineer.

Q:  What are you most proud of in your career?
A:  I used to think the thing I was most proud of was earning my CCIE. What I’ve now realized is that I’m restless and always striving to do more. Currently I’m most proud of achieving Presidio Distinguished Engineer status, but I’m sure that will also give way to the next shiny new target – oh hey look a squirrel!

Check out Paul’s interview on The Cube from last year’s DevNet Create.

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Amanda Whaley

Sr. Director of Developer Experience

Cisco DevNet