Network Engineers who can Code are Crucial to Success as Demand for DevOps Continues to Skyrocket
I've been working in the IT world more than long enough to understand the hierarchies, rivalries and stereotypes between the various tech fields. I'm in a unique position to ascertain these nuances because I have been a network engineer, as well as someone who has wore the cybersecurity "hat" (you can be assured it was of the white variety), and finally transitioned into a software developer role. I have certifications and experience in all three.
Cybersecurity positions have been gaining prestige as of late, but the top of the food-chain, among those who subscribe to labels and the unwritten power structure in our computerized world, has been those with a computer science (CS) degree. That's right, it's too complicated to nitpick between who has more clout in the IT world if you compare by job title.
There are software "engineers" - whose legitimacy as real engineers is questioned by those "real" engineers who manipulate tactile hardware, circuitry and chips, instead of abstract binary numbers. Then there are programmers and developers and architects and managers of all sorts, who would claim to be the alpha-robo-wizards on top of the techie mountain of honor.
Historically, most of the top positions in tech have been filled with people possessing a CS degree. Detractors will argue the CS degree is a waste of time and money; i.e. most of the coursework is not relevant to the real world and it is cost-prohibitive. But their gripes have been in vain, for some time, as more of the top jobs have went to CS graduates than any other major.
If tech degrees were early 2,000-era boy bands, CS grads are N'Sync...and the Backstreet Boys....I guess engineering grads are 98º? I don't know, maybe it's just that CS grads brag more than anyone else? Not certain. But one thing I do know is:
Just last month, Cameron Chapman, writing for SkillCrush.com, laid plain the changing times for all to see: "In fact, computer science degrees are kind of a dime a dozen in the tech world. So many people have them that they no longer stand out. In fact, employers are often looking specifically for the people who can show they have tech skills but didn’t major in computer science or another tech-related field." You can read her article here.
I'll admit, I'm extremely biased because I come from a networking background, but I believe the networking degree will become a tremendously hot commodity. Why? Because of DevOps. While the definition of DevOps seems to be in constant flux, we can agree on a few über basic points regarding it:
1. DevOps has their hand in everything. They understand the code, the networking, the analytics, the QC, the project management, and business and can visualize how they all tie together to deliver the product. They're like project managers that know more about the actual overlapping technologies involved than probably anyone else involved in the project. They understand how to leverage the different cloud technologies to dramatically increase efficiency. They're the full-stack developers of IT, on steroids....or perhaps cyborgs?
2. The demand for DevOps positions is growing immensely. Anmol Nagpal, writing for medium one year ago, stated :
"The current demand for DevOps Engineers in the market is rapidly increasing. This is primarily because these Engineers and their operations have resulted in great success for companies all around the world. Business organizations functioning with such Engineers are experiencing overwhelming returns compared to the firms that do not employ the services of these professionals."
3. The pay is good! I'm just gonna leave this here...
Finally, let's bring things full-circle and reiterate my main point that software engineers who can code are, and will increasingly be, a hot commodity. And vice-versa: programmers/developers who are well-versed in networking fundamentals are in the same boat. A very nice boat. In the future, I'll give you guys another post explaining how a networking degree and experience as a network engineer can help you become a better programmer.
And this, my friends, is my mic-drop, laptop-top-drop, mouse-push-off, or whatever you want to call it.