Network Consulting Engineers: Evolving with Confidence
Customers reach out to Cisco Services because they have confidence in our skills and abilities. One way we build that confidence for our customers—and for ourselves—is through certifications and specialization.
- As we study for certifications, we gain confidence in our understanding and abilities to execute in our areas of study.
- As we test our knowledge against known standards, we prove competency, which also improves our self-confidence.
As the networking industry evolves, the role of the Network Consulting Engineer (NCE) also must evolve. Gone are the days of configuring and managing a large-scale network via command-line interface. An IPv6-based Internet of Things world is likely to be too large to manage that way, and next-generation networks increasingly use more programmatic methods. Gone too is the siloed approach. Specializations in individual areas like network, compute, and storage must evolve to a more holistic approach, considering the unified infrastructure that reflects a combination of software development, quality assurance, and IT operations.
In light of this evolution, savvy NCEs are moving “up the stack,” diversifying their skillsets and distinguishing themselves professionally by moving beyond routing and switching. They’re delving into new areas, such as SDN and network-programmability architectures. They’re increasing their knowledge in Python programming, the REST interface, and SOAP/XML. They’re learning new methodologies, like Agile and Scrum. And they’re becoming more familiar with popular customer applications so they can model our relentless focus on positive business outcomes for our customers. Because when we fully understand how mission-critical customer applications use the Cisco infrastructure—and how to optimize the process—we become mission-critical business partners. When we understand our customer care-abouts, and consistently map back to them, we add value with each delivery and become trusted advisors who can translate what we’re doing to how customers will benefit.
For NCEs with a programming bent, I strongly encourage enrollment in one or more of the new certification programs offered through Learning@Cisco. Other expanding areas to explore and embrace are L4/L7 solutions, application communications patterns, automation and orchestration, and virtualization with multiple flavors of hypervisors, storage, security, management, and orchestration.