3 Things Engineers Need from Leaders

Being a manager does not make you a leader.
Now that I have your attention, I’ll dive in a little deeper. Think of it in terms of creating a meal. You can look at your pantry and see you are missing certain ingredients to your recipe. You go out to the store and purchase those ingredients. You come back and toss the ingredients in the pantry. Done! The meal has been created. Well actually, no. You have the ingredients you need, but nothing else was done. You still have to spend time putting the ingredients together, cooking the meal, making sure the taste is right, add a ton of salt and pepper, and finally serving it. It’s easy to gather the ingredients listed in a recipe, but it might not be as easy to turn that recipe into the perfect meal. It takes time and effort. The same applies to an engineering team. As a leader, or perhaps a chef, having the ingredients is not enough. In order for an engineer to grow in an environment, work must be done. Yes, some of it falls squarely on the shoulders of the engineer, but some of it comes from leadership. My goal here is to discuss three ingredients that a leader can combine that can make a difference in their team. Continue reading 3 Things Engineers Need from Leaders

Cisco 3504 Software Upgrade

If you are an administrator in a network somewhere you probably already know an important fact: Everything needs maintenance. At one point or another you have to upgrade something. In a perfect world, we would have consistent upgrade windows and periods of time we can take down a network for maintenance. If you have that, you are a lucky person. Looking for maintenance windows might fall into the same category as spotting a UFO. Often times, bugs or vulnerabilities bring forth these needed maintenance windows. In this case, I am upgrading a 3504 controller from version 8.5.151.0 to 8.5.161.6. The reason: CSCvs89410. This bug can corrupt images on 3600 and 3700 series access points. Continue reading Cisco 3504 Software Upgrade

5 Tips for New Engineers

Next year will be my tenth in a network engineering role. I’ve seen team members come and go, leadership change and roles changes as well. Nothing is ever static, especially the technology. For those looking to enter a network engineering role or are simply young in their IT career, I wanted to jot down a couple of tips that I hope can help them be successful in their roles. I originally was going to make this network-centric, but honestly it applies to any type of role you might be in. Continue reading 5 Tips for New Engineers

Image Swap: ASA to FTD

Firewalls are a necessary component in any network environment, especially in an enterprise. Take a look at your front door, would you remove it permanently? Firewalls have evolved over the years from simple gatekeepers to complex security solutions that integrate with the rest of the network. Imagine if you could program your front door to only allow people in who wore green shirts. Once inside they would only be able to walk into the living room…on a Tuesday. My own firewall journey started years back on Juniper SSG350s then onto ASA and Palo Alto. I am currently looking into Cisco’s Firepower Threat Defense (FTD). As a fan of most things Cisco (ASA CX anyone?), FTD adds visibility to the rest of the ecosystem that might include AMP, ISE and Stealthwatch. With an ASA 5512-X in hand, my mission is to replace its ASA image with FTD. Continue reading Image Swap: ASA to FTD

Networks: A Personal Connection

Has anyone ever been excited to go to a job they hate? Perhaps on the day they were quitting. No matter what your profession, passion determines how deep into your job or career you will go. If you lack the willingness to learn and the willingness to love what you do for a living, there is no passion. If you find yourself with that lack of passion, what you are currently doing might not be for you. No matter what that job is right now, do it to the best of your abilities. Even if what you are doing is not what you envisioned for yourself. What you are doing might not even have been on your personal roadmap. The goal is to someday look around and find yourself in love with what you do. It does not matter if you accomplish that goal at 20 or 60 years old. I want to write to motivate those working in IT that have not yet found their passion or to those who are interested in the realm of networks. I am a Network Engineer and I love what I do. Continue reading Networks: A Personal Connection

Challenge Accepted

Have you ever read a biography or saw a movie about someone’s life? There are many of them out there. It seems like every month there is a “Based on a True Story…” flick that gets released. It does not matter if the person was an athlete, a politician or even an astronaut; one thing that you will never read or hear them say is “That was the easiest thing I’ve done”. Never. Their accomplishments were hard earned. Blood, sweat and tears went into reaching another level. I would say the same applies to those of us working in the field configuring switch ports , looking over security logs and even providing phone support. No, I am not comparing surviving a war or landing on the moon to someone closing out a “My Netflix does not work in the office” ticket, but a similar mentality is needed. The mentality and actions of someone who wants to reach a higher level professionally needs to mirror those that meet challenges head on or even better: Someone who constantly looks for those challenges. Our professional lives need to be like a treadmill on a constant incline. Many times when our lives level out, we get complacent and speaking for myself, lazy. Look for a challenge and climb! Continue reading Challenge Accepted

Beyond Engineering

So you are interested in networking? I don’t mean attending gatherings, handing out business cards, shaking hands and kissing babies. I mean being a network engineer or administrator? Perhaps you just started the journey at a company and feel slightly lost. If you are, then the following paragraphs are meant for you. This is not only meant to be a motivator to continue learning and applying, but here you will find three things to look for or try to work on that can push you upwards in the work place.

Whether you are part of a small team, large team or riding solo there is much more to network engineering. Sure, there are days where it seems like everyone needs a port configured, but there will be times where you can bring forth your ideas into fruition. There will be times where you look around and figure out ways to improve existing infrastructure. You might be interested in pursuing certain software that can improve a process or provide valid insight. You might want to create or update documentation. You might just want to improve certain aspects of a network, such as routing or security. These are all good things to do, time-permitting and team-willing. If you have good ideas bring them up to your team or your manager. This will not only be a good way to learn, but you can excel career-wise by getting involved and pursuing ways to improve your company. Continue reading Beyond Engineering

Reaching Higher

You might be a young successful billionaire who has absolutely no needs. If you are, congratulations! This might or might not help you out. I am nowhere near that. Many of us are not. We are looking everyday for ways we can improve our skill sets and and climb higher in our everyday work lives. No matter what you do, you should strive for more, to be the best. Yes, it might be a bit cheesy, but complacency usually does not open doors. If you have a dream, a wish for something more, pursue it. Even if you cannot reach that exact goal, you might be diverted down a path you never even thought about. The main thing is to always move forward, reach higher. Continue reading Reaching Higher