Being a network engineer…

I started my path towards the roll of engineer back in 2007, when I first became serious about learning the field. I’d worked in the NOC at a small cable MSO for several years, the main roll being that of dispatcher when something went down on the network. For so long, I wanted to be the person on the other end, the one whose job it was to fix the problem. I convinced my boss to let me attend a CCNA bootcamp, and a couple months of studying later, I had my CCNA.

I remember those days of studying, buying a few routers and switches on Ebay, building a home rack and logging endless hours of learning the basics. A few months later, a network technician position opened within the company and I was promoted. It was one of the proudest moments in my career, and one that I still look back upon with pride. I’m thankful to this day to the people who helped me and saw my potential.

I took a nose dive into a world that I really didn’t understand at first, and I always made sure to ask lots of questions. Hours of documenting the network, doing the most menial tasks in order to learn as much as possible. These were the things that motivated me as I grew in my roles at work.

A couple years later, I was promoted to network engineer, and I’ve been there for the past 5 years. I’ve had the opportunity to help deploy many things in our network, work with different technologies, and grow my knowledge in areas that I didn’t even know existed when I started. But to this day, I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to network engineering.

I know that I have just scratched the surface of what there is out there, I think every day I learn about something new through the people I’ve met on Twitter, various technical blogs and podcasts. There aren’t enough hours in the day to learn everything, and that is what I love the most about this career. It is always growing, changing, evolving.

The thing that I’ve learned to be the best trait of a network engineer, IMHO, is someone who loves to learn and does not fear change. Change, whether it be in a network protocol or in how we design and engineer the network, seems to be the only constant. And I think one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most over the past several years is not only the network engineer role, but the network of people I’ve come to get to know who share this same passion for this life.

~Dustin B.


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