Perspectives

Applying Essentialism to certifications and skills development in the Tech Industry

We often compare ourselves to others around us. We are impressed with the skills others possess, the content others produce, the appearances others maintain, the successes others have achieved, the feats others have conquered. This constant comparison can lead to melancholic states of ambivalence, and sometimes depression due to the artificial expectations of who we think we should be. Society celebrates particular definitions of success, revolving around money, status, and work ethic. We could argue what is or is not wrong with such a desire for this prescribed success – but we’d be wasting our time. What is important to discuss are the essential components of success, measured by an individual and not others. What is essential in your life, in your work, in your short existence here on this planet? What may seem like a simple question can lead to a revelation.
 
Matt D’Avella, director of Minimalism, recently interviewed Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Greg cuts straight into the heart of a problem people are dealing with in a society of constant comparison and artificially high tenets of success. “We’re busy because other people are busy,” he proclaims. He’s absolutely right. When asked how you’re doing, most people respond with “busy.” It’s my knee-jerk response as well, because it’s true. As a worker in the tech industry, expectations are high. I find myself sacrificing my nights and weekends to sharpen my skills or learn new ones, preparing content for the following week’s meetings, wittling away at project tasks with approaching deadlines, conceptualizing ideas for future client work, supporting after-hour deployments, and memorizing insignificant bits of information that I hope will be enough to pass another certification exam.
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Becoming an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

Architecting for the cloud is becoming a highly desired skill set. Working as a consultant, I’m often in situations where clients are overwhelmed with questions about the cloud. How do I migrate my applications? How do I secure everything? How does it integrate with LDAP and DNS? What’s the best way to connect to the cloud? Will I need to rewrite my applications? How do I manage costs? While some of these vague questions can be answered with regurgitated marketing material, I feel a sense of duty to understand and explain these concepts at a deeper level. Some clients I work with already have a significant presence in the Cloud. Other clients have various pools of cloud resources and are looking to rationalize or provide a strategy around optimizing the sprawling resources. Because of recent exposure to cloud over the past couple of years, and due to the demand for practical knowledge of cloud architecture, a rigorous education program became an obvious next step for my career.  At the beginning of 2019, I made a goal to become an AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate. As of May 3rd, 2019 – that goal is achieved!

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Leveraging SD-WAN for Mergers & Acquisitions

A colleague recently asked me if SD-WAN could be leveraged to expedite network integration as a result of a merger or acquisition. His thoughts were that this could potentially provide a means to securely integration networks in a short amount of time.  At first I thought this made no sense — SD-WAN is not related to this challenge whatsoever. However, the idea stuck in my head like a bad catchy tune. I started thinking… maybe in certain circumstances this could work?  This post is a collection of some ideas I’ve been brewing with respect to the secure and timely integration of disparate networks using over-the-counter SD-WAN. (more…)

How writing has turned walls into windows

Those who have read my blog know that I am not a professional writer.  I’m a novice at best, blissfully blurting mediocre sentence structure in cyber space.  These words have never really been for anyone other than myself, so who cares if I’m overly generous with commas, or underwhelmingly inept with word diversity?  I mean, no one will ever be as critical as I am to myself.  This hasn’t stopped me.  In fact, I continue to write despite barriers and walls, for this has opened my mind far beyond what I could have imagined.  It’s all about the content. (more…)

Fireflies, Synchronicity and SD-WAN

Imagine a warm summer night away from the city hustle and techno grind. Moon is new, sky is clear, air is crisp, mind is easy. Peering out towards a bank of pines that border the woodland, you notice a few fireflies start to flash their bulbs. Your eyes are opened wide, equipped like a sharp shooters, honing in on the next flash. More start to blink into existence, matching the rhythmic nature of the others that have already joined the mantra. It’s as though an endless number of blinking fireflies are entering the night, breathing in epic unison. 

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The roof, the roof, the roof is on IP

What is Digital Ceiling?

Looking back at the evolution of the network in the past decade, we see a constant trend of devices migrating to Ethernet, resulting in a migration to IP. IP telephony took off in 2005 and is now the de facto standard for any phone system. Coax-connected cameras migrated to IP surveillance in the late 2000s. Legacy building management systems using BACnet started migrating to low-voltage PoE systems in the early 2010s. Within the past year, we’ve seen a new trend of high-voltage systems like lighting start migrating towards low-voltage PoE, dubbed “Smart Lighting”. This move towards digitization makes sense on all fronts. It’s cheaper, scalable, extensible, can easily be managed and monitored, and opens the door for new experiences with intelligent buildings. (more…)

Cisco Linguistics & The Grumpy Old Router

Traveller

I’m a first time traveler to another country. I’m aware of multiple languages, but I don’t know how to speak any other than English. It’s one of those things that I’ve always wanted to learn, but just never got around to. So, I’m aboard an aircraft to Germany, and the first conversation I had on the plane was with a flight attendant. It went a little something like this:

Her: Ist das Ihre rote Tasche dort?
Me: … <wishing I knew what she was saying>
Her: …
Me: English?
Her: Is that your red bag over there?
Me: Nein

It started out weak and embarrassing, I didn’t know what she was saying. There was a very brief moment, just a second or two, where my brain was attempting with futility to decipher the foreign tongue, returning a meandering blank stare, followed by the simple one-worded question: “English?”. The flight attendant immediately responded in my native language, and I clearly understood her. I responded confidently with a German “nein”. She smiled. (more…)