Network Automation Engineer: The Top Career Path in 2020

The commencement of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, about a decade ago was characterized by a great focus on digitization, innovation, and automation across industries and organizations.
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, rightly states that a “trust revolution” is imminent if organizations are keen to fully embrace the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This stems from the fact that customer data boosts AI algorithms which in turn produces seamless automated processes that dramatically improve operational efficiency. The ripples caused by this revolution is strongly felt particularly in the field of Information Technology with the advent of Network Automation.
In this post, learn more about Network Automation and how it is going to rule the IT industry in the coming days. Also understand what will be your role in fueling this growth as a Network Automation Engineer and how you can partner with an organization like Spooster to take your network automation career one notch higher.

What is Network Automation?

Network automation enables an enterprise to configure, scale, secure, and integrate network infrastructure and application services more rapidly than when performed manually by users. It is the process of using software for planning, deployment, and operation of networks and their allied services.
With the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), advanced network automation solutions can be configured to take remedial actions for network issues even before they occur, improve operational efficiency and reduce the consequences of human error.

The primary goal of networking automation is to create and facilitate autonomous systems that improve IT service delivery, reduce operational costs and minimize manual redundant tasks. This makes it one of the most sought after fields under Information Technology.

Why is Network Automation in so much demand?

Network Automation typically enables the automation of the manual tasks and processes performed in each stage of the network lifecycle to software applications that are able to complete them efficiently and more reliably. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are several other reasons why organizations are seeking network automation. Here are they –

  • Modernize and build reliable networks: In medium to large enterprises, environment networks are constantly growing. Automation of network processes significantly drives down IT spend by reducing the complexity of network infrastructure, therefore resulting in a lesser amount of total man-hours spent in manually configuring and managing the network.
  • Eliminate human error: According to industry reports, almost 40% of network downtimes can be caused by human error. By automating these network systems companies reduce human error and can offer consistent high-level services for their entire global IT operations and raise productivity.
  • Accelerate delivery: Modern IT departments today operate with a DevOps philosophy. This includes a unification of agile, continuous delivery, and increased process automation to keep up to speed with lightning-fast innovation while delivering high value to their customers.
  • Network reliability and visibility: Streamline network performance, rapidly monitor, pinpoint, and resolve network problems than through manual techniques.
  • Reduced Network Downtime — By eliminating human errors, network automation ensures that it delivers a higher level of services with great consistency across geographies.
  • Greater insight and network control — Automation helps make IT operations more responsive to change through analytics. By using AI and ML, the network automation solutions of the future will become advanced with the help of big-data and leverage model-driven network scenarios. This is done mainly to learn network behaviors, deliver predictive analysis, and provide recommendations to network operations teams.

These benefits offered by Network Automation makes it the next big thing in Information Technology. Organizations are looking for ways to automate their networks and they need resourceful Network Automation Engineers for that. A Network Automation Engineer becomes an indispensable asset to anyone seeking Network Automation.

What does a Network Automation Engineer typically do?

Network engineers are usually engaged in network planning and design, device testing, configuration verification, provisioning of deployed physical devices and services, and the deployment and provisioning of virtual devices.

They may also be tasked with optimizing network efficiency by ensuring closed-loop remediation of network issues, including troubleshooting and repair of network failures, and implementing security compliance.

These network architects facilitate enterprises to rapidly transform digitally by virtualizing and automating network and security operations – an area of enterprise network infrastructure that has traditionally been largely hardware-based and required manual provisioning and management.

A Network Automation Engineer will also be expected to use DevOps methodologies and manage the network using software and not just the CLI.

What does it take to be a Network Automation Engineer?

Josh Brown, who works as a Principal Network Automation Engineer at Spooster in Melbourne describes the early stages of the job as being a grind where he put in 10+ hours a week for a couple of months to sharpen his knowledge of Python ,Git and Golang.

After acquiring adequate coding knowledge especially in Python ,Josh finally took the plunge in the network automation field. Having worked with a boutique firm in Brisbane, he had learned how to help customers achieve stability in their networks.

It was by working on network issues of a few clients in Spooster that Josh was able to learn that Network Automation basically works by employing pre-written scripts in (typically) Python to run configuration on multiple network devices instead of connecting to each device and manually making changes.

Through this trial by fire in multiple projects, Josh not only acquired working knowledge in the application of coding in Python but also obtained valuable experience in the use of network automation tools like Ansible, Salt and Chef.

As a team member of a major network migration project for an enterprise client of Spooster, Josh acquired hands-on experience in the use of Ansible ( a network automation tool).

The project resulted in the automation of repetitive tasks to ensure a more consistent and predictable method of making network changes, provisioning new devices, and scaling the clients support networks.

It must be pointed out here that Josh’s experience as a network automation engineer is not all technical. As a part of various teams and after implementing important projects Josh acquired valuable intangible skills such as good communication, and attention to detail which are extremely critical for a Network Automation Engineer.

As a network automation engineer in Spooster, Josh also used to meet with influential customer decision-makers and communicate verbally or via presentation tools and/or hands-on demos the exact details of the Network Automation product capabilities and the specific solutions being offered to customers. Hence clear communication became an important soft skill for him as a network engineer.

Josh’s team at Spooster helps his clients’ companies implement flexible intent based networks supported through automation to become more optimal and predictable.

He finally attributes the high levels of satisfaction in the job to the fact that he helps organizations multiply their value proposition by migrating from legacy networks and by deploying network automation. He is able to streamline and optimize their internal network activities.

Spooster: Your Ideal launchpad for a Network Automation Career

Like Josh, when you join Spooster, you will be provided with an opportunity to collaborate with a diverse team of experienced IT professionals to help design and implement systems that help automate every stage of an organization’s network infrastructure.

Spooster offers a scalable and efficient network with a security automation system that helps enterprises manage IT operations seamlessly. By using a combination of open-source IT automation and configuration management, Spooster provides organizations with substantially more value when compared to legacy alternatives.

Spooster also offers SD-WAN that is the latest WAN optimization technology with only a select few organizations in Australia offering it. SD-WAN intelligently performs the best path selection for business-critical applications to provide users an excellent experience. SD-WAN also minimizes security threats and operational risk by taking closer control of the client’s network.

All these mean, you will also work on cutting edge technology, in a fast-paced, solutions-driven environment, giving your network automation career a much needed boost.

Final Thoughts

In addition to automating IT processes, accelerating ongoing development efforts, and improved visibility—automation is essential to meet the scope and scale of new technology environments. Archaic methods of manually managing network equipment will not be a suitable fit to upgrade to tomorrow’s virtual network of sensors that relies heavily on technologies like IoT and cloud storage.

Rudimentary versions of these future technologies have become commonplace in most organizations and homes in Australia. Their sophisticated descendants in the near future will need to function on flexible, dynamic network infrastructure.

Reach out to us or share this opportunity with your friends soon as the position of Network Engineer will close very soon. Do not miss this opportunity to help organizations make digital transformations and become forerunners in the fourth industrial revolution in Australia.