As a Network Engineer, I like to get hands-on and solve complex problems. I’ve been able to combine my networking skills with my Master’s in computer science to create automation tools and practices for my teams.
I decided to start publishing content for a couple of reasons:
- To give back to the network engineering community
- If other engineers can stumble on my blog posts and solve a problem or become inspired then it would make me very happy!
- As a brain-dump for stuff I work on.
- I don’t like solving the same problem twice…getting stuff down and documented should help with that.
- Solidifying my understanding of the tech I work on by writing about it.
I spent the first half of my career working for a regional WISP in the NYC-Metro Area. We were all about growth and moving quickly. We were building out new sites every week to expand the customer base and network footprint. This type of environment forced me to start building tools:
- Using a LAMP stack I built a network deployment system for new network sites
- The process involved creating labels, creating configuration templates and loading the templates onto network routers, switches, and WAPs
- Additionally, I built out some custom monitoring tools to check RSSI (wireless signal strength) on our rooftop links with a tier of email and text alerting
- The majority of the tooling was built in PHP and used cURL to scrape data and load config.
The next phase of my career, I moved to a live webcasting company as a Network Engineer on the DevOps team.
Working on a live webcast production network can be intense…the margin for network error is very small.
I did some typical network work here such as:
- DataCenter migrations and refreshes
- AWS Direct connect and Point-to-Point Circuit architecture of the WAN
- BGP traffic engineering
The network did not have a constant need to grow so I was able to expand my breadth of tech knowledge to other fields such as Security and Linux Systems. I was able to build out systems for Vulnerability, Perimeter Scanning and IDS and also expand my knowledge of CDN Streaming (Fastly).
The next couple of years I worked in the financial services industry as a Lead Network Engineer. The biggest takeaways from this experience were:
- Change control is a thing (who knew?)
- I learned Agile (sprinting, scrumming etc). I don’t think agile can ever work well for an Infra team but at least I learned it!
Currently, I am working for a great organization and team with the New York Times as a Staff Network Engineer.
Our team straddles the boundary of two distinct tech worlds:
- Support the classic enterprise and paper-printing infrastructure
- Stay up-to-date with the big-tech world of CI/CD, Cloud, (insert buzzword here).
It keeps things fun!
- I am focusing my efforts on implementing systems and practices to improve network operations and visibility.
- Maintaining a source-of-truth, an automation platform and using software defined processes to improve business workflows.
- I believe solving a problem is only 50% of the job. The other half is documentation and knowledge sharing. As I build these processes, explicit documentation (and implicit via IaC + code commenting) is key. I also setup team sharing sessions to make sure everyone is included at any level of their progression.
- As a parent of young toddlers its hard to have interests but I enjoy BBQ, Cycling and Baseball as hobbies.
- I’m a homelab enthusiast with all the bells and whistles setup in my basement.
- I enjoy keeping up with tech. I follow the usual network engineering community on twitter. Feel free to contact me