We’ve seen a lot of new demands on the network just in the past few weeks.  There’s been a sharp increase in people working from home who may have never done it before. Our own Cisco IT had to scale from 20-30K remote workers to 170K in a matter of days. Many people are using cloud-based collaboration tools and file sharing tools who’ve never used them before. All this requires a fast-moving agile network that can quickly respond to new needs. How will automation and analytics help network teams spot congestion or network constraints and scale things quickly as data shifts?  And then there are also new security risks and needs.  So, how do  you build the networking expertise, software, automation and cyber security talent to cope with rapid change?

From our 2020 Global Networking Trends Report, we’ve found five top new networking roles that we’ll see in IT in the next few years, but networking professionals are pivoting right now to deal with these by-the-minute changes.  These aren’t just the roles of the future, they’re the roles networking professionals are moving towards right now.

  • Business translator: IT will no longer be siloed. It will be relied on to help make decisions that impact the whole business, not just IT.  The business translator will work to better turn the needs of business into service-level, security and compliance requirements that can be applied and monitored across the network. The translator will also work to use network and network data for business value and innovation, and their knowledge of networking and application APIs will help them glue the business to the IT landscape.
  • Network guardian: The network is going to be more valuable for helping to protect the organization than ever. The network guardian works to bridge network and security architectures.  They will build the distributed intelligence of the network into security architecture and the SecOps process.  This is where networking and security meet, and the guardian is at the center of it all, pulling in and pushing out vast amounts of data, distilling it and then taking action to identify faults or adapt to shutdown attackers.
  • Network commander: Intent-based networking builds on controller-based automation and orchestration processes. The network commander takes charge of these processes and practices that ensure the health and continuous operation of the network controller and underlying network.
  • Network orchestrator: How do business needs translate into network policy? The network orchestrator knows. They focus on policy translation and automation, and policy alignment across network and IT domains.
  • Network detective: The network has to be reliable: downtime means lost productivity and ultimately, lost revenue. The network detective uses and tunes network assurance tools that use advanced analytics and AI to ensure that the network delivers on business intent. They’ll work with IT service management processes and SecOps teams to identify network anomalies and close potential security holes, and like the network guardian, they’ll use data proactively to identify faults and attacks.

How do you prepare?  Find out more in a #CiscoChat with Joe Clarke, Cisco distinguished engineer, and Mandy Whaley, Sr. Director of Developer Experience, Cisco DevNet, on April 2, 2020 at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific time.  We’ll talk about these roles and the steps you and your teams can take to level up for the future – and what we’re dealing with right now.


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Joe Clarke

Distinguished Engineer, Customer Experience

Customer Experience