I honestly never imagined I would attend Cisco Live early in my networking career. My real journey as a networking professional began in January 2010, after I was reorganized from an insurance company computer team to the networking team leader. During this time, I attended several Cisco Connect Canada events, which were then the largest industry events I had ever attended. Then somebody asked me if I was going to Cisco Live, which seemed like Disney World to me—a full week of networking, technology, training, and meeting and connecting with my peers in the industry! It was a real opportunity to learn from the best subject-matter experts in the world.

My dream became a reality in 2013. I was working as a senior network architect for Parliament of Canada, the House of Commons, and I learned they were sending me to Cisco Live 2015 in San Diego!  

My first Cisco Live

My first Cisco Live was one of the best weeks of my life, and I learned a valuable lesson: Leave some room in your calendar. I made the common mistake of packing my calendar with sessions and training. I even scheduled an exam using the voucher that came with my registration. If you’re a first-time attendee of Cisco Live, you’ll want to leave some open slots in your calendar to explore the event at your own pace. And don’t forget to schedule a few hours for the World of Solutions alone. 

“After practically applying and building upon what I learned at Cisco Live, I self-published a book in 2019 called
‘Automate Your Network: Introducing the Modern Approach to Enterprise Network Management.'”

In addition to the famous San Diego Zoo, the real standout moment on that trip was my first visit to the Cisco Live DevNet area, then a modest pavilion, which jumpstarted my automation journey. The two hours I spent learning about network automation and programmability quite literally changed my life and the trajectory of my career. In fact, the new tools, technologies, and, most importantly, the skills I acquired led me to become a Cisco Live NetVet after attending four events in a row. 

At the 2015 event, I learned about Ansible—how to use the tool in a sandbox, ask questions, and get assistance from the Cisco team to really understand this new approach to operating large-scale networks. I immediately fell in love with network automation.

When I returned to my enterprise, I set up a series of meetings with my team and management, and we started our collective journey toward automating our network. In fact, after practically applying and building upon what I learned at Cisco Live, I self-published a book in 2019 called Automate Your Network: Introducing the Modern Approach to Enterprise Network Management. If you are wondering about the monkey on the cover of the book, it’s a photo from the San Diego Zoo that serves as my memory of that first Cisco Live experience in San Diego. 

Cisco Live 2022

I realized another life-long dream and goal in February 2022, when I officially joined Cisco as a Developer Advocate for the Training Bootcamp team within Cisco Learning and Certifications. Now my role includes training customers around the world and advocating for network automation and programmability. In my first few months, I’ve been fortunate enough to deliver material that inspires students in Germany, India, South Africa, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands.

It’s magical to witness how others had their “aha” moment with automation, just as I had mine back at Cisco Live San Diego in 2015. This year will mark the first year I have actually been a presenter at Cisco Live – I still can’t quite believe it myself – but in just a few short years, I have gone from dreaming about attending, to becoming a NetVet, to now actually presenting at Cisco Live. 

Cisco ACI Product Mini-Bootcamp
Wednesday, Jun 15 | 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT

One of my sessions is particularly exciting to me, “Cisco ACI Product Mini-Bootcamp (LRTCRT-2003),” with Distinguished Speaker and ACI subject matter expert Joe Rinehart. I’ve been focusing on Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure for a few years now and just achieved my Cisco Certified Specialist: Data Center ACI Implementation designation, partly in preparation for this session. Joe is an incredible technical leader (and my manager on the Training Bootcamp team). I think that anyone who wants to get their hands on Cisco ACI, with real-world, practical, demystifying examples, should attend this session: 

The Cisco ACI Product Training Bootcamp has emerged as the top technology track in the Bootcamp Training series of offers. This session offers students the experience of the 4-Day Deep Dive Lab in a compressed format, enabling them to gain experience and a comfort level with this technical area. This session will be almost entirely hands-on, with the instructor giving a proctored lab experience without much lecture. “More doing, less talking” is an accurate description of the goal of the experience for participants. 

The ABCs of Enterprise Networking Programmability
Tuesday, Jun 14 | 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM PDT

I’ll present my other session, “The ABCs of Enterprise Networking Programmability (LTRCRT-2157),” with my colleagues Palmer Sample and Juulia Santala. I cannot say enough about Palmer and Juulia, from a technical subject-matter-expert perspective as well as from a good-human-being perspective. They both went out of their way to embrace me on the Training Bootcamps team and helped me navigate my first few months with Cisco. This session’s title says it all, and I am again thrilled at the opportunity to inspire people to embrace network programmability and automation at Cisco Live, as I did seven years ago. I believe this session will make an impact on the careers of those who attend:  

RESTful APIs, JSON, DevOps, NETCONF, Sources of Truth; the list goes on and on. So many technologies but what are they, and how do you put them together? DevNet Automation Bootcamps (ABCs) are here to help! In this session, participants will gain hands-on experience in a bootcamp environment. Beginning with source control using git, participants will move on to automate real-world tasks using progressively more advanced tools such as pyATS, YANG Suite, and RESTCONF/NETCONF. Change validation will also be performed to ensure the network is operating as designed. Unleash your potential and start making changes at scale without using copy and paste! 

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would attend a Cisco Live, and yet here I am over a decade after moving to enterprise networking full-time: a former NetVet, a full-time member of the Cisco team, and now presenting for my first time at Cisco Live this year in Las Vegas.

If you are attending Cisco Live, please seek me out! I love connecting with members of the community, and it would be my pleasure to meet and connect with you too. See you soon!  



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John Capobianco

Software Engineering Technical Leader

Learning and Certifications