Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Is it a good thing to be - "Jack of All Trades"?

I believe usually this phase "Jack of All Trades" has a bad connotation especially "master of none" goes with it.

These few years if you have read my blog, you will see that I am exactly in this position.

In my journey to the cloud, I found that I have to pick up a lots of new technologies everyday as this industry is moving in a high pace.  Often times I found that I have to get back to the basics on various topics such as YAML, JSON, systemd, SELinux, linux bridge ... etc.  Yet there are other things that has different flavors.  Linux has Debian and Red Hat/CentOS/Fedora.  Container has Docker, CoreOS ... etc. Container orchestration has Kubernetes, Mesos ... etc.  SDN has OpenFlow, VMware NSX, Cisco ACI ... etc.  I have been thinking what I have been doing is making me to become a Jack of all trades which in turns a master of none.  This cannot be good. :(

Well, some people will say that oh you are just becoming a generalist. This is a little comforting but still I feel that something is not right with this label.  While contemplating on this I have this idea recently, instead of thinking myself as a generalist, I am in fact being comprehensive.  What triggers me to have this idea is that recently I found that all the different things that I have been trying to pick up is starting to come together.  I can see relationship between the different pieces.

My background is a software developer in networking and I can see that container can be used for Network Function Virtualization.  Also I found that some networking equipment vendor is already running containers on there router which is using Linux as the operating system.  Each feature can be deployed as a single container and this makes bug fixing easier.  To patch the software for one bug, we can just stop one container and then load in the new one and restart that container while the other features can still be operational.

Lately, I have not blog that much and even when I blog, the articles are not technical in nature.  So let me update you what I have been doing lately.

In may I had a one hour podcast with vBrownBag on Ansible and PKI (Public Key Infrastructure).  I did not know I can talk for one hour non stop.  One thing amazes me is that even when something went wrong with my demo I was still able to keep on talking and troubleshoot in the same time.  It was fun.  If you are interested, go to this link .

I have been using Ubuntu for some time and is very comfortable with it.  Last week as Fedora 24 was GA, I reload my desktop with Fedora.  There are 2 main reason that I wanted to try out Fedora.  The first one is I wanted to play with systemd and the second one is that most Linux deployment in the enterprise are Red Hat based.

Sometimes being a Jack of all trades does payoff.  In the upcoming VMUG, the original theme was container and I was going to give a user presentation on container with some demo on how to spin up a single container.  The theme got changed because we eventually found a sponsor and they are in the storage area.  So we change the theme of the meeting to be NSX and storage.  We were able to find a NSX expert to cover the VMware portion of the meeting.  With that I was able to change my presentation to gear toward NSX and now I will be talking about "A survey on SDN technologies" so that attendees without much networking background can pick up some SDN basics and get more from the VMware NSX in-depth materials.

In the mean time I am adding a new area into my bag of tricks.  I will be looking into Amazon Web Services.  I will be presentation at vBrownBag in September covering exam objective section 3 for the Amazon Web Services Solution Architect (associate level) certification.    Well, this means I am going to sit in for this certification as well.  I have never thought that I will get into the public cloud.

As you can see I am really all over the places learning different things and is truly a Jack of All Trades.

Hopefully, all things will come together real soon and I will be able to find a job that is cloud related. My journey to the cloud had not been easy but I learned a lot and also I get to know different people both online on social media and personally.

So I would say it is good to be "Jack of All Trades", if we are able to connect the dots.

image source: http://cdn.free-power-point-templates.com/articles/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/connect_the_dots.jpg

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Being relevant even considered as irrelevant

image source: https://mikecanex.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/pois01e0107.jpg

The TV series “Person of Interest” is one my favorite show.  Even my kids have exam the next day I will still watch this show whereas I will usually abstain from watching any TV the day before my kids have test or exam.  In this TV show, often times it will show the view of CCTV seeing different people walking on the street and labels such as “asset”, threat” or “irrelevant” are assigned to these people.

Last week at work, I have the unfortunate and sad experience of being marked as irrelevant in terms of my skill and knowledge in virtualization and cloud technologies as well as my presentation skill and the ability to engage with various audiences. Ironically, if you read my blog you will see that these past few years I have been trying to catch up with the virtualization and cloud technologies so that I will be relevant in the IT industry.  I was trying not to be the dinosaur and yet found myself being the opposite as seen by my employer. 

It was a strange feeling for me. I have been a loyal employee and I am doing what I am told and on top of that I use my own time to catch up with the latest development in the virtualization and cloud industry. I work for a networking equipment company and virtualization and cloud technology is very relevant to what we do.  Our product has to fit into virtualized data center or the networking product can operate on the cloud infrastructure.  I know Arista Network  is already using Docker container in some of their products.  In my mind my skill in virtualization and cloud technology is very relevant to my employee one of these days.  There is a Chinese Proverb - "Army is to be maintained in the course of long years, but to be used in the nick of time. Keep feeding the army and you will find a use for it”.  I hope my employer realizes this truth.

While this is a sad news to me, I did get tons of support from the community.  I got DMs from various people telling me to stay strong and to keep doing what I am doing as I am in the right course in my pursue of my destiny in the cloud.  This was very encouraging to me. And incidentally, I found a few job openings and I sent in my resume.   

From this incident, again I see that skill and knowledge is important and yet being involved in a community is equally important.  To be part of the community, everyone has to contribute into the community.  My slogan is "I know some, you know some, let's share what we know". 

Moving forward, even it was some what discouraging to me I will keep on doing what I am doing now which is to keep learning every day and stay relevant.  Over the pass few months, I did not blog so much because I was busy doing things with the home lab. I think I will get back to blog more.  In fact the title of this blog post says it all  - "Being relevant even considered as irrelevant".  I know one day I will be able to find my destiny in the cloud thanks to the continuous support of my family and this community.

 image source: http://silverleafministryconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/keep-calm-and-stay-relevant1.jpg