& cplSiteName &

SDN: A Particular Set of Skills Much in Demand

Dan O'Shea
2/11/2014
50%
50%

Early on in its existence, software-defined networking (SDN) was feared to be a job killer, a technology transition so radical and so centered on automation that teams of networking engineers with legacy training could be shown the door.

Today, however, we're more often seeing the positive flipside of this fear: The SDN transition is looking very much like the ultimate career opportunity for engineers with the aura of SDN expertise.

Across the industry, it is becoming apparent that there is growing demand for technologists with a particular set of skills. (What, you thought Liam Neeson was talking about something else? It was SDN, man).

The latest big name SDN expert to change employers is Tom Nadeau, the SDN author and open source player, who has just migrated from Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) to Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD).

At Brocade, he'll join former Juniperians (Juniperites?) Benson Schliesser, who recently joined Brocade in the same-name role of distinguished engineer, and Lloyd Carney, who became Brocade's CEO last year. (See Brocade Poaches Key SDN Exec From Juniper, IP Veteran Joins Brocade's SDN/NFV Team, and Ex-Juniper Exec Now Running Brocade.)

Sure, these moves away from Juniper also can be attributed to the fact that things are in a state of flux, to put it mildly, at Juniper right now. Juniper also lost executives Doug Murray and Joe Palazola in recent months to Big Switch Networks . (See Investor to Juniper: 'You Suck', Juniper CEO Preps New Roadmap, and Big Switch Names Palazola Operations Chief.)

However, these moves also fit into the broader trend of SDN-driven job jumps. For example, well-regarded technologist David Meyer left old-school Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) last year for Brocade's warmer embrace of SDN. Also Prashant Gandhi and Jeffrey Wang departed Cisco for Big Switch. (See Cisco SDN Expert Leaves for Brocade, Big Switch Recruits VP from Cisco, and Big Switch Appoints VP of Engineering.)

SDN may not be the job killer it was once thought to be. It certainly could greatly change how networks are operated and managed today, but it can't get there on its own. There are major roles for engineers to play in designing the SDN-enhanced networks of tomorrow, and figuring out the rules and process that will guide their operation, as well as in the evolving standards and open networking communities. Many of the recent hirings have involved big names, but all of this activity also should serve as a motivation for ambitious networking engineers out there. Put the time and effort into learning everything you can about SDN. Then, update that resume.

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/14/2014 | 1:06:29 PM
Re: Not just vendor jobs
@mbushong, I agree with you overall with one exception...underlying infrastructure and its attending support systems.  That will continue to require some expertise in order to make sure that it not only works but supports all of the great things happening on top of it.  Sure a lot of specialized hardware will go away and one will no longer need that knowledge, but things like fiber, lasers, etc that are required to haul all the bytes around will need to keep improving, evolving, etc and so will the support systems that take care of their care and feeding. 

So early adopters...bring in the big SPIT bucks, hardware/laser/connector engineers...you go get-em too!
komatineni
50%
50%
komatineni,
User Rank: Lightning
2/11/2014 | 8:52:15 PM
Re: Reminds me of how things were when we first started using E-Booking Services
I think so. But the scale of SDN hiring in SP environment is dependant on their strategy. Ironically I see majority of developing countries looking at vendors to 'offer innovative SDN stuff'. Also there is a big confusion on what is needed for SDN/NFV environemnt. A DC person with VM/Virtualization background able to design, manage a EPC? Or is it good to train EPC engineer with VM basic and expect him to work on?. 

 
@mbushong
50%
50%
@mbushong,
User Rank: Moderator
2/11/2014 | 12:09:35 PM
Not just vendor jobs
I suspect the same dynamic will play out (though more delayed) in customer environments. When the SDN solutions start hitting the market with a bit more force, customers looking to deploy will be actively looking for architects and engineers capable of pulling off such a transition. Those network engineers who have experience will be able to cash in. The early opportunies will come before there is much supply, meaning those in the know will be able to take advantage.

That said, I don't want to predict the demise of network engineering. SDN is obviously predicated on the existence of a performant underlying infrastructure. But the biggest opportunities will be for a new breed of engineer.

Mike Bushong (@mbushong)

Plexxi
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
2/11/2014 | 10:50:18 AM
Re: Reminds me of how things were when we first started using E-Booking Services
This transition could be even more significant for the service providers. Will they start hiring more known SDN/NFV experts into their companies as they get deeper into the SDN/NFV transition. Vendors like Pica8 and HP have developed SDN starter kits to help with the learning curve, but might be time for carriers to take a closer look at the skills sets of their engineering teams.
Ashu001
100%
0%
Ashu001,
User Rank: Lightning
2/11/2014 | 9:32:50 AM
Reminds me of how things were when we first started using E-Booking Services
Dan,

Reading your Article I was reminded about the first Time Online Booking/Ticketing Systems were launched in the US and then Globally.

It was said that most Travel Agents would lose their jobs to Automation and it would be much harder for them to find new ones.

Fast-Forward to today and What one sees is that a Significant number of these Travel Agents have been absorbed by the Likes of Expedia,etc.

Also,companies[I am talking about Independent Travel Agencies here];have worked much-much harder to retain existing Customers especially Big-Ticket Bulk Customers by offering Discounts,etc which can't be matched by Online Ticketing Sites today.

Ultimately the Customer Wins.

We are seeing the same Process at play with SDN Today.

Eventually a stage will come when the Networking Engineers(who have extensive Experience with SDN) will not just earn more but will feel more rewarded/Valuable in the work they do as only they will have the experience to handle such Complex systems.

Regards

Ashish.
More Blogs from DOS Attack
Ciena and ADVA separately show off the ability for their new data center interconnect gear to address a variety of distance needs.
The utility industry is keeping TDM alive, but maybe not for much longer.
Vendor CEOs make a lot of money, but we have a list of those who made more than most.
Growing security threats are set to drive critical infrastructure operators to new investment and upgrades of their internal networks.
Mike Birck guided Tellabs for more than 30 years over a span of five decades.
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
CommScope – Meeting the Demands of Tomorrow's Networks

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Phil Sorksy, Vice President International at CommScope, discusses addressing the challenges faced by service providers today, and as future trends emerge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
AMS-IX & Huawei's OSN 902

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shows how its OSN 902 platform helps the Amsterdam Internet exchange to connect the world using multiplexing.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Smart Energy Innovation Center

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In Nuremberg, Huawei showcases its latest capabilities in the digitalization of Internet resources, network infrastructure and intelligence at its Smart Energy Innovation Center.
Valley Wonk
OFC & Hyperscale: A Good Mix?

3|24|17   |   01:50   |   (0) comments


Cloud and telecom players want different types of equipment for their networks, as the chatter at OFC reveals.
LRTV Custom TV
Etisalat on NFV Journey

3|24|17   |   10:37   |   (0) comments


Etisalat is a service provider that prides itself on bringing innovative technologies to the markets it serves. It was one of the first operators to implement 3G and leads the pack in fiber penetration. Now, Esmaeel Al Hammadi, Etisalat's SVP of Network Development, explains the operator's journey to virtualization, beginning with the network core, as well as the ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 3

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting on the application of technologies and key business verticals such as transportation, smart city, manufacturing, media and finance.
LRTV Documentaries
No Regrets: Cox's Finkelstein on Fiber & More

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein examines the cable capex conundrum.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Next-Gen: The 'Mile High' View From Denver

3|22|17   |   11:56   |   (0) comments


Alan Breznick kicks off the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, casting his thousand-yard stare over cable's current competitive landscape.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 2

3|21|17   |   2:27   |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting digital transformation solutions around IoT, smart data centers, OpenCloud ecosystem and its newly announced storage-as-a-service solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving Better Mobile Customer Experience While Transforming the Mobile Network

3|21|17   |   7:47   |   (0) comments


The Citrix NetScaler mobile gateway is an intelligent traffic management solution which can markedly improve the customer experience provided by mobile operators, even when traffic is encrypted. Critical network services can be consolidated and virtualized using NetScaler. Because of the unique architecture, NetScaler can be deployed on any hypervisor, on a ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: What's Next for Mobile Payments?

3|21|17   |   7:49   |   (0) comments


2017 marks the fifth consecutive year for Mastercard at Mobile World Congress and it was a great time to reflect on the amazing advances the payments industry has made as well as discuss "What's Next' in the digital commerce future. We spoke to James Anderson, executive vice president of digital payments at MasterCard, about digital wallets to tokenization to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: 2 Billion Adults 'Trapped' in Cash Economy

3|21|17   |   03:51   |   (1) comment


Despite advances made in the last several years, two billion adults around the world are trapped in a cash economy and lack what we take for granted -- a safe way to receive, save and use money. Shamina Singh, executive vice president of sustainability and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, chats about how Mastercard is developing new ways to ...
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
High-Band 5G: Let's Address the Range Question, Shall We?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/21/2017
Eurobites: A1, Nokia Turn It Up to 11
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/22/2017
FTTH No Slam Dunk for Cable
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/23/2017
Top Priorities for B/OSS Transformation
James Crawshaw, Senior Analyst – OSS/BSS Transformation, Heavy Reading, 3/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Neither Do We Click Here
Is that a prerequisite?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.