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SDN: Do Network Engineers Need Programming Skills?

Interop panel debates need for network engineers to have programming skills as industry moves to software-defined networks.

A lot of discussion around software-defined networking has focused on the future of network engineers and how they will need to develop new skills to adapt to the future of automated and programmable networks.

Indeed, the topic came up at a panel keynote at Interop Las Vegas, run by UBM Tech, InformationWeek's parent company, on Wednesday. Steve Shah, senior director of product management at Citrix, said networking pros need to evolve their skillset for automation. Right now, there aren't many IT folks with both networking and skills in programming languages, such as Python, he said.

Arpit Joshipura, VP of product management and marketing at Dell Networking, agreed. "You need the network to be programmed, not provisioned," he said. "That is the fundamental change that will happen in five years."

But Dominic Wilde, VP of global product line management at HP Networking, said the notion that "all of the sudden you have to become programmers overnight" is false.

Read the rest of this story on Network Computing.

Marcia Savage is the managing editor for Network Computing, and has been covering technology for 15 years. She has written and edited for CRN and spent several years covering information security for SC Magazine and TechTarget. Marcia began her journalism career in daily ... View Full Bio

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Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
4/3/2014 | 11:03:36 PM
Transformation
In the era of SDN, the network engineer needs programming skills to be successful and deploy advanced features. Otherwise you may fall into a pure network operator/administrator by and by. Without programming skills, it's hard to play with and control SDN. But I don't think it will happen overnight. The network engineer will not become programmer all of a sudden. As network professional, you must renew your skills all the time and keep learning new stuff. 
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