Great Discussion: Do Network Engineers Need to Understand Programming?



Ernest Lefner

Bank of America




  • Truman Boyes, Bloomberg
  • Dr. David Cheriton, Stanford University
  • Vijay Gill, Salesforce

Session Description

Are network engineers the latest dinosaur in the IT employment pool? Once vendor-defined certifications, which showed an employer that you could configure and manage IT equipment, were all that was needed to get a good paying job and a long career. But as infrastructure orchestration is automated, will these vendor specific skill set jobs pay? There is no doubt that skills required for infrastructure engineers are changing, but do you really need to know how to code? Do you need a computer science degree to program hybrid cloud infrastructure or to be an infrastructure DevOps professional?   

Some say that it’s easier for infrastructure professionals to buy closed and proprietary platforms and their accompanying management tools than to develop their own toolchains and software. While open source solutions are available, are they too complex for the average company to adopt, integrate, and operate, leaving existing skills intact for years to come? Will infrastructure engineers need to know how to code infrastructure using a wide range of APIs, orchestration tools, programs and programming languages? Is much of the need to code infrastructure hype and will existing skill sets still have a long shelf life thanks to advances in orchestration software and infrastructure suppliers providing APIs to configure devices via security policy? Will vendors produce products that fill the gap between manual and automated orchestrated/configuration as the majority of customers are fundamentally incapable of building their own software?

In a discussion led by Ernest Lefner, Truman Boyes, Dr. David Cheriton, and Vijay Gill will share their views on the changing roles and skill sets of infrastructure engineers, with healthy involvement from the ONUG Community.