Why Network Engineers Should Learn Programming

A typical network engineer starts off in a NOC and does break / fix work and that doesn’t require them to know how to write code.  But it would be great if they did AND it would help them advance.

Most other IT infrastructure engineers need to know either how to write basic scripts or at least edit or debug other’s scripts. Networking Engineering folks should learn about coding to expand their tool set and to better understand their Software Engineering brethren.  Even better to work better with the programmers that we are supporting.

An example is Powershell.

Powershell is a necessary skill for folks who work on servers, Exchange, Active Directory and Office 365. Lots of networking folks who want to dabble in other disciplines will  need to know Powershell and basic coding to keep up.  Here is a link to Greg Farro from the PacketPushers.net talking more about this very scenario.

Here are a few examples off the top of my head that other IT infrastructure engineers routinely perform.

Server / Storage Admins
•Automated backups
•Datacenter failover script
•Automatically setup new VMs and resources
•Linux Linux Linux

Security Admins
•Writing Firewall rules

Voice Admins
•Phone tree scripting

Architects
•Switch failover rules
•Pings sweeps
•SDN
•Device auto-discovery script

The IT world is becoming more and more automated.  That automation is done by scripting and coding. The networking world is far behind storage and servers in terms of automation.  Better for you to automate your own job away before someone else does… and it will happen eventually.  We’ll be examining automation in the IT world in general more in another post.