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Wondering why Cisco is teaching network engineers Python in addition to their core expertise?
 
Yes, arguably there are many other tools available to use to automate the network without writing any code. It is also true that when code is absolutely necessary, in most companies software developers will write the code for the network engineers. However, networks are getting progressively more sophisticated and the ability for network engineers to keep up with the rate of change, scale of networks, and processing of requirements is becoming more of a challenge with traditional methodologies. 
 
Does that mean that all network engineers have to become programmers in the future? Not completely, but having certain tools in your tool belt may be the deciding factor in new or greater career opportunities. The fact is that current changes in the industry will require Cisco engineers to become proficient in programming, and the most common programming language for this new environment is the Python programming language. Already there are more opportunities for those who can understand programming and can also apply it to traditional networking practices. 
 
Cisco’s current job boards include a search for a Sr. Network Test Engineer and for several Network Consulting Engineers, each with  "competitive knowledge" desired Python and Perl skills. Without a doubt, the most efficient network engineers in the future will be the ones who will be able to script their automated network-related tasks, create their own services directly in the network, and continuously modify their scripts. 
 
Whether you are forced to attend or are genuinely interested in workshops or courses that cover the importance of learning topics related to programmable networks such as Python, the learning curve at the very least will provide you with an understanding of Python scripts and the ability to be able to use them instead of the CLI commands and the copy and paste options commonly used.  Those that plan to cling to their CLI will soon find themselves obsolete.
 
As with anything new, learning a programming language and using new APIs for automation will require engineers to learn and master the skills before deploying widely across their network. The burning question is where to start and which steps to take next? 
 
In How Do I Get Started Learning Network Programmability?  Hank Preston – on the Cisco blog page suggest a three phase approach to diving into network programmability.
 
“Phase 1: Programming Basics
In this first phase you need to build a basic foundation in the programmability skills, topics, and technologies that will be instrumental in being successful in this journey.  This includes learning basic programming skills like variables, operations, conditionals, loops, etc.  And there really is no better language for network engineers to leverage today than Python.  Along with Python, you should explore APIs (particularly REST APIs), data formats like JSON, XML, and YAML. And if you don’t have one already, sign up for a GitHub account and learn how to clone, pull, and push to repos.
 
Phase 2: Platform Topics
Once you have the programming fundamentals squared away (or at least working on squaring them away) the time comes to explore the new platforms of Linux, Docker, and “the Cloud.”  As applications are moving from x86 virtualization to micro services, and now serverless, the networks you build will be extending into these new areas and outside of traditional physical network boxes.  And before you can intelligently design or engineer the networks for those environments, you need to understand how they basically work.  The goal isn’t to become a big bushy beard wearing Unix admin, but rather to become comfortable working in these areas.
 
Phase 3: Networking for Today and Tomorrow
Now you are ready to explore the details of networking in these new environments.  In phase three you will dive deep into Linux, container/Docker, cloud, and micro service networking.  You have built the foundation of knowledge needed to take a hard look at how networking works inside these new environments.  Explore all the new technologies, software, and strategies for implementing and segmenting critical applications in the “cloud native” age and add value to the application projects.”
 
Community resources: 
GitHub’s, PYPL Popularity of Programming Language lists Python as having grown 13.2% in demand in the last 5 years. 
Python in the  June 2018 TIOBE Index ranks as the fourth most popular language behind Java, C and C++. 
 
Despite the learning curve, having Python in your tool belt is without a question a must have tool.

 

I suspect that many of you are familiar with the term "hard coding a value" whereby the age of an individual or their location is written into the condition (or action) of a business rule (in this case) as shown below:

if customer.age > 21 and customer.city == 'denver'

then ...

Such coding practices are perfectly expectable provided that the conditional values, age and city, never change. They become entirely unacceptable if a need for different values could be anticipated. A classic example of where this practice occurred that caused considerable heartache in the IT industry was the Y2K issue where dates were updated using only the last 2 digits of a four digit number because the first 2 digits were hard-coded to 19 i.e. 1998, 1999. All was well provided that the date did not advance to a time beyond the 1900’s since no one could be certain of what would happen when the millennia arrived (2000). A considerably amount of work (albeit boring) and money, approximately $200 billion, went into revising systems by way of software rewrites and computer chip replacements in order to thwart any detrimental outcomes. It is obvious how a simple change or an assumption can have sweeping consequences.

You may wonder what Y2K has to do with Business Rule Management Systems (BRMS). Well, what if we considered rules themselves to be hard-coded. If we were to write 100s of rules in Java, .NET or whatever language that only worked for a given scenario or assumption, would that not constitute hard-coded logic? By hard-coded, we obviously mean compiled. For example, if a credit card company has a variety of bonus campaigns, each with their own unique list of rules that may change within a week’s time, what would be the most effective way of writing software to deal with these responsibilities?

What is computer crime? Computer crime, often called “cyber crime” is any type of illegal activity that takes place on a computer with a network. Oftentimes, when you think of computer crime, you might picture a home user downloading a virus that wipes out his hard drive or spyware that hijacks her system for the purposes of spying. 

Computer crimes can also affect businesses too and they do, sometimes with devastating results. For example, in 2012, the IRS paid a whopping 5.2 billion dollars in tax refunds to identity thieves!

Protect your business and improve your bottom line by staying one step ahead of the cybercriminals.

5 Common Computer Crimes

Facebook was originally intended as a way for people to stay in touch with friends and family members by sharing pictures and status updates on their timeline. As the website's popularity has grown, so has criticism that it is becoming one giant, online high school.

Online Bullying

There has been a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of online bullying cases due to the introduction of social media. Bullying isn't just limited to younger Facebook users, either. Many adult users have also resorted to bashing others online through nasty status updates and cruel comments.

Prior to social media, bullying in high school involved "kick me" signs and toilet swirling. Facebook and other social media outlets have allowed users to take bullying to a whole other level. Victims can no longer escape bullying by leaving school or work. The torture continues online, at anytime and anyplace.

Status "Likes"

In high school, everyone wants to be part of the popular crowd; people who are outgoing, beautiful, and seem like they have everything.  Posting a status update is similar to wanting to be popular. Once an update is posted, many users wait with bated breath to see how many friends will "like" their status. They believe that the more "likes" they receive, the more popular they are.

If that isn’t enough, there are many Facebook games that involve "liking" someone's status. Games like "Truth Is", where someone likes a status update and in return the poster writes how they really feel about the friend on their Facebook wall. This can get touchy, especially if the two people aren't friends outside of Facebook. It's similar to high school where someone desperately wants another person to like them, but when they find out how that person really feels they are crushed.

Relationships Are Difficult to Keep Private

When someone signs up for Facebook they’re asked to complete their profile, which includes a relationship section. Users can select from different options including "single", "married", "widowed", and "divorced". Whenever someone changes their relationship status, the update shows up on each of their friend's news feeds.

It's easy to see how this feature correlates with high school where everyone talks about who is dating who or which couple broke up. It used to be that after graduation, people were able to keep their relationships more to themselves. Not so anymore in the age of social media. Now everyone has the ability to state their opinion on a friend's relationship status, either by "liking" their status change or by commenting on it.

Facebook has presented many benefits to its users, including the ability to rekindle old high school friendships. What one must understand when they sign up for the service is that they are opening themselves up to the same criticism and drama that takes place in a high school setting.

Proceed with caution!

Tech Life in Massachusetts

It?s no wonder that Massachusetts is a hub of major activity in information technology with a collection of 121 institutions for higher education. In 2007 Mass. impressively scored the highest of all the states in math on the National Assessments of Educational Progress. Some fun facts about Massachusest: - The first U.S.Postal zip code in Massachusetts is 01001 at Agawam. - The Boston University Bridge on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston is the only place in the world where a boat can sail under a train driving under a car driving under an airplane.
When you innovate, you've got to be prepared for everyone telling you you're nuts. Larry Ellison
other Learning Options
Software developers near Boston have ample opportunities to meet like minded techie individuals, collaborate and expend their career choices by participating in Meet-Up Groups. The following is a list of Technology Groups in the area.
Fortune 500 and 1000 companies in Massachusetts that offer opportunities for IBM developers
Company Name City Industry Secondary Industry
Cabot Corporation Boston Telecommunications Telephone Service Providers and Carriers
LPL Financial Boston Financial Services Personal Financial Planning and Private Banking
NSTAR Gas and Electric Company Westwood Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Cabot Corporation Boston Manufacturing Plastics and Rubber Manufacturing
BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. Westborough Retail Department Stores
American Tower Corporation Boston Telecommunications Telecommunications Equipment and Accessories
Hologic, Inc. Bedford Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Medical Devices
Global Partners LP Waltham Retail Gasoline Stations
Northeast Utilities Boston Energy and Utilities Gas and Electric Utilities
Liberty Mutual Holding Company Boston Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Staples Inc. Framingham Computers and Electronics Office Machinery and Equipment
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. Waltham Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Medical Devices
Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. Worcester Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
The TJX Companies, Inc. Framingham Retail Department Stores
Iron Mountain, Inc. Boston Software and Internet Data Analytics, Management and Storage
Massachusetts Mutual Financial Group Springfield Financial Services Insurance and Risk Management
Beacon Roofing Supply, Inc. Peabody Manufacturing Concrete, Glass, and Building Materials
Raytheon Company Waltham Software and Internet Software
Analog Devices, Inc. Norwood Computers and Electronics Consumer Electronics, Parts and Repair
Biogen Idec Inc. Weston Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Biotechnology
Boston Scientific Corporation Natick Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Biotech Medical Supplies and Equipment
PerkinElmer, Inc. Waltham Computers and Electronics Instruments and Controls
State Street Corporation Boston Financial Services Trust, Fiduciary, and Custody Activities
EMC Corporation Hopkinton Computers and Electronics Networking Equipment and Systems

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the hartmann software group advantage
A successful career as a software developer or other IT professional requires a solid understanding of software development processes, design patterns, enterprise application architectures, web services, security, networking and much more. The progression from novice to expert can be a daunting endeavor; this is especially true when traversing the learning curve without expert guidance. A common experience is that too much time and money is wasted on a career plan or application due to misinformation.

The Hartmann Software Group understands these issues and addresses them and others during any training engagement. Although no IT educational institution can guarantee career or application development success, HSG can get you closer to your goals at a far faster rate than self paced learning and, arguably, than the competition. Here are the reasons why we are so successful at teaching:

  • Learn from the experts.
    1. We have provided software development and other IT related training to many major corporations in Massachusetts since 2002.
    2. Our educators have years of consulting and training experience; moreover, we require each trainer to have cross-discipline expertise i.e. be Java and .NET experts so that you get a broad understanding of how industry wide experts work and think.
  • Discover tips and tricks about IBM programming
  • Get your questions answered by easy to follow, organized IBM experts
  • Get up to speed with vital IBM programming tools
  • Save on travel expenses by learning right from your desk or home office. Enroll in an online instructor led class. Nearly all of our classes are offered in this way.
  • Prepare to hit the ground running for a new job or a new position
  • See the big picture and have the instructor fill in the gaps
  • We teach with sophisticated learning tools and provide excellent supporting course material
  • Books and course material are provided in advance
  • Get a book of your choice from the HSG Store as a gift from us when you register for a class
  • Gain a lot of practical skills in a short amount of time
  • We teach what we know…software
  • We care…
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