First Steps: Avoid the religious wars!
Many in the networking world have either embraced the fact the tide is shifting in how we manage devices and data centers or have at the least seen the writing on the wall.
The network is changing, period. What will the technologies or tools be that we ultimately shift too is yet to be determined? Don’t get caught up in the rhetoric and seemingly religious debate of it all. Know it’s changing, know if you want to stay relevant that means you too must change.
It’s my opinion that one of the first things you can do to help yourself is to pick a rather mundane or trivial data collection or configuration task and use that as your first project to start getting acquainted with scripting in Python.
- Ensure NTP is standardized across devices
- Report back on err-disabled ports every morning
- Check the clock on all devices
- Anything that you expect to be standardized across devices?
Avoid the arguments that you are just using python for screen scraping or CLI scraping and that you should just use XYZ. Ignore that and just do it. You know what you want to accomplish, Python will be your scripting language of choice, now make it happen.
Yes, there are tons of other things to learn; Ansible, Jinja2, NAPALM and this and that. Yes, often starting out you will be recreating the wheel. Personally, it’s how you learn and grow. Along the way, you will come across the hundred other ways to accomplish the same thing, and all of that will be part of the learning process.
To sum this up, pick a personal and relatable project, fire up Python and get started! Sounds too simple I know but it’s entirely doable!