Network Automation Nerds Podcast

#045 On Device Automation with Taha Yusuf (a.k.a. NetAutomator), Part 1

December 06, 2023 Eric Chou
Network Automation Nerds Podcast
#045 On Device Automation with Taha Yusuf (a.k.a. NetAutomator), Part 1
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, get ready for a awesome discussion with Taha Yusuf, also known as NetAutomator, as we talk about the intricacies of the network engineering field, and the state of automation in networking. Listen in as we reflect on his fascinating path into the world of technology, starting from a young age with his first PC, to learning Visual Basic, and his experiences as a Network Engineer.

We also explore the importance of self-learning in achieving true success in IT careers. Taha explains why it's crucial to transcend certification and focus on self-learning.

Let's dive in!

Connect with Taha on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/taha-yusuf/
Follow Taha on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/NetAutomator
Containers in Cisco IOS-XE, IOS-XR, and NX-OS: Orchestration and Operation,
https://www.ciscopress.com/store/containers-in-cisco-ios-xe-ios-xr-and-nx-os-orchestration-9780135782972.
Container Lab:
https://containerlab.dev/

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Eric Chou:

Network Automation Nerds Podcast. Hello, welcome to Network Automation Nerds Podcast, a podcast about network automation, Network Engineering, Python and many other technology topics. I'm your host, Eric Cho. Today on the show, we'll be talking to Taha Yousef, aka Nat Automator. That's a brilliant, brilliant handle. I love it already. Taha embodies the spirit of innovation in Network Automation, with a blend of skills, insights and foresight to not just keep up with the trends, but also to set them. I am super excited to have Taha on the show today and I know we'll have a great time chatting. Let's dive right in. Hey, Taha, Thank you.

Taha Yusuf:

Welcome to the show. Brilliant. Thank you so much, eric. It's much appreciated. I'm just excited to be here. Yeah, I think, to put it lightly, I'm very excited. I'm nervous at the same time. I'm just excited to be part of your show. Yeah, I'm honored, actually I feel honored to be here actually today. So, thank you for everything.

Eric Chou:

Now the honor is all mine because, as we were just chatting before we pressed the record button, the reason why I think it would be great to have you share your experiences is because you actually is one of the few people who's openly shared his or her knowledge and just trying to help people right Getting the knowledge out, and I think we need more of that, and that's why I think we'll just have a great time chatting.

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, absolutely. I think it's great that. I think one of the key not mistakes, but I think people often reluctant to do is that when you learn something, I think it's quite crucial that you share it, that you share it with a wider audience. I think not only is it beneficial to your audience, but it's also beneficial to you, because what I tend to notice is that people always ask me how did you learn so quickly? One of the keys I found personally for myself to be able to retain what I've learned is to share it and teach an audience exactly what I'm learning or what I've learned. It sort of cements itself much better in terms of memory, in terms of memorizing it. So it's not only beneficial to the crowd but to your audience and to everyone else within the community, the networking generation, but it's also beneficial to you as well. So I think that it works both ways. I think it's very sort of vital that we share knowledge really.

Eric Chou:

Yeah, I would raje that. I mean people say teaching is learning it twice, which is absolutely true. I would say it's probably teaching is learning on steroids, if you will.

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Eric Chou:

Yeah, I think it's yeah go ahead.

Taha Yusuf:

You tend to. I mean, what you're essentially doing is you're. One thing I've realized is that when I learn a particular topic and I've studied that topic just today I was studying a particular topic on the Nexus switches and I thought to myself, the moment you sort of the moment you finish, you stop learning it and the decline in knowledge is so steep that it just completely evaporates. So one thing I've noticed is that the sooner you share it and the better it is, and if you can sort of describe it to someone like, for example, today I was trying to teach my son exactly what I've learned, which was impossible. He's 12 years old, right, he's into games and so forth. So he's like what are you talking about, daddy? But if you try to explain it in ways that, if you're able to explain the topic that you've learned in simple terms in plain English, it really does show that there's no knowledge gaps. But if you find it difficult to explain to someone in simple, plain English without using any technical jargon, there's definitely knowledge gaps. I've noticed within myself anyway, and what I tend to do is go back and study that topic even further so that I'm able to explain it in simple terms, in a brief term because, like I said, it does two things when you share that knowledge One, it cements that information in you, but it also works as a verification tool whether you've actually digested that knowledge yourself.

Eric Chou:

So, yeah, yeah, I mean, I'm reading this book called the Brain by Dr Eagleman and what he talked about was essentially our brain. I mean, we have enough neurons and cells, like essentially when we're born, we don't gang anymore, right, it's one of those areas that you have it fixed. But what has changed is the amount of connections between these neurons where you make connectivities. And what was astonishing was I mean, this fact by itself is already great it's also astonishing is we actually make the most connections. The brain is just like the sponge and it starts expanding and have making on these connections, but we max out at the age of two. So between the age of zero to two, we make all these kind of connections and they've done the study on showing, you know, like the graph on all these light, light up, you know portions that you're just connected, but then from to and on, you actually decrease those connections and you strengthen the part of the brain or the area that you learn by making those connections stronger, right. So, essentially, for the two-year-olds who are, you know, say, for example, learning Japanese, yeah, in the Japanese family, or versus they in they, maybe like an English speaking family, yeah, the kind of connection that this starts to change right, like, so the, the parts that it's very good at, you know, learning Japanese becomes, you know, stronger connection and pipe and decreases those connections from two-year and all on. So I think what you're saying is true, whereas where we learn, we make that initial connection between in our brain, right, I don't, I don't know between, like we'll go get into this iOS and containers, right, but it's a very weak right, like, it's just little dots, if you will like a connection To, but when you're explaining it, you're like, strengthening it, you're thinking about it again and you're just trying to explain to somebody else, an intelligent 12 year old like your son.

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you're absolutely right. I mean it is very interesting. I mean I've never looked at it from that same, but but I remember one of the my previous position. It was a university that I was working at and I remember the well. The professors told me that you know One of the big ways that she finds you know easy like, and the easiest method to learn the ways that she never forgets what she's teaching is because she's constantly teaching it right, it's never, you know it, she never forgets. And and I said how interesting because this is something that I've noticed when I'm you know, the more I Teach someone the topic, the more it's sort of like ingrained and even. I tend to forget that topic. It's quite interesting because it's all it's like it's embedded somewhere that even if you tend to forget the detailed, intricate details of of that topic, it's easy to recall, right the more you you know, because it's it's. I don't know what I mean. I, like I said, I'm not a scientist, I couldn't tell you exactly what's going on brain-wise, but it's amazing, it's absolutely amazing.

Eric Chou:

Yeah, me neither so. But if, now that I know about it, maybe the way I would imagine is you know, maybe initially you pay thought like this dirt road, right, like when you initially learn it, but we're teaching it, you're like paves on cement on it. Teaching again, it's like widened again so it becomes easier to come back to and it's a smoother right to get to that. You know the point a to point B, yeah, but you know it's. It's just I get all excited about talking about teaching. And another point I would make and I don't, I would love to hear your thoughts about it too is nowadays, you know, because of the book, because of the podcast, whenever I learn a new topic in the back of mind I'm always thinking about so how should I explain this to somebody else? Right, and how do I? How do I logically Related giving by giving out examples? How can I do that? And you know, almost starting from the end, if you end up teaching somebody you knew you were gonna do that, then when you learn it, you learn it more logically. You have more, I guess, connectivity. You should go in, I don't know if the same way for you.

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, no, I think I understand exactly what you mean. So it all depends on the sort of the audience that you're trying to. Amazing yeah, so, yeah, so if the audience is a fairly technical audience, then it's easy for you to sort of, you know, express yourself using those technical terms because you know that the audience will know about it. But but I think the it's really down to audience because when you're teaching it, an audience who are not so technical, who are new to the field, and you're trying to explain Things in ways that they may be understand, it's quite difficult. I think this, this is a topic that I've also spoke to one of my the lecturers in my previous position. You know I was, I was the infrastructure engineer down, but I used to sort of talk to the lecturers on a regular basis. That it's it's it's really down to making, I think, I think Very intelligent one of the professors was it's really down to making connection To your, to your audience. But it's not just a connection. I remember her saying to me that one of the best ways is is really that you provide. The best way to teach somebody is provide sort of like a catered, individualized Way to deliver that, that material that you're trying to teach, so way that fits in with that, the way that person thinks and learns Right. That is the best way to deliver that information to that particular person. But it becomes difficult when you're trying to teach a whole class with different people. You know a different sort of backgrounds and different ways of thinking and and, and that is where I think that really teaching skills does shine out. You know, really differentiate, because the one that can grasp an audience and and use terms, that where every single member is able to understand and regardless of you know, without being individualized. I think that's where really teaching sort of splits apart. You know that really does split, so and it shows you know who's more skilled at teaching and who's not so skilled at teaching and and who's, you know, got a lot more to learn. Because what I found Is the really high skill teachers I mean these are. They can teach in ways where Everyone will understand right. They're able to connect with everyone right and they don't need to learn everyone individually Right in order to deliver that topic to them, because they can find a sort of a middle ground where they can teach everyone, which is which is quite amazing. So I think it's you know, teaching is a very complex subject, I think, within itself, I believe. So, you know, leaving outside the IT field, I think, to be able to teach, and I think this is what makes really great content creators and those who are teaching, such as yourself, because you tend to make connections with everyone, you know, you tend to sort of deliver it in a way that everyone can relate to or everyone can at least benefit from it.

Eric Chou:

You know, because it's it's like I said, it's it's all down to your audience, and I think sometimes Understanding your audience is is the key, you know yeah, that's a great point and that's where I kind of I would openly admit that's why I fall on my face, you know, because you know, give me a room of network engineer. It's was interested in. You know Python, I'm right at home, right Like I'm just. I go to a meetup and you see the very socially awkward Eric, you know, with my like little punch, you're in the corner of the room. You know, try not to get noticed ago. Oh, you know what, the way she talked to me, because I don't know what I'm talking about, right, yeah, that's a great point. I think I think you hit it right on the head where, you know, a great teacher makes analogy and it's hard because the analogy has to be relatable to the other party and when you're talking to somebody who you may not be familiar with it as the background such exactly from yourself, yeah, that is where it becomes very difficult.

Taha Yusuf:

He is absolutely. It is absolutely. I mean I agree with you on the topic of you know, on network engineers, because I find it quite surprising that as Network in sort of engineers, you know that we tend to you know, although you know online, you know automation is everywhere, you know, we tend to talk about it and and you get the sense where you know automation is quite widespread now within the industry. It's not, it's far from it.

Eric Chou:

Yeah, we're just talking like.

Taha Yusuf:

Exactly, you know, I mean I'm, you know, I try to introduce it in my position. It's, you know, it is. Honestly, it's a very, very scary topic to store for a lot of me yeah engineers. You know the seasoned guys, you know guys that got there, you know CCIs, you know 15 20. It's very, very tough, a difficult topic for them to grasp and and I'm not entirely sure why because you know, half of these people are very intelligent. I mean, they are highly, highly intelligent and, and I think maybe it's just you know, hesitation, maybe I'm not entirely sure what, what it is, but it's, but it's something that I thought that would be a far more widespread automation in general by now. Anyway, you know, we're in 2023. I thought that automation will be used quite fairly or uncommon without the industry, but so far, what I'm finding is, you know, I mean, I've worked for, fairly, one of the largest IT companies in the world, capgemini, and as an architect, and it's not. That is not the case. That is still not the case, eric, which is which is quite disappointing, actually, because you know it's, it can. It can bring a lot of. It can bring a lot of benefits, you know, from business requirement down to, you know, technical requirements and and so forth. So it's, yeah. It is quite a shame that it's not as widespread as we would like it to be.

Eric Chou:

Right, well, you know, I count myself into that. I mean, I got my IE back in 2008,. Right, like the other day, I was just thinking about it and yeah, it has been about 15 years, you know it's hard to teach adult doc like myself, new skills, but you know I try, but yeah, I openly admitted like I eat the same dish at the restaurants. I don't really Like exotic restaurants nowadays, but um, well, you know, I guess it's so excited talking about teaching and learning and like making you know new around Connections, but um, but let's, let's start from know your origin story a bit. So how you know? Can you just tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into technology? Have you always been interested in technology?

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, yeah, sure. So I grew up in London, england, south East London, small town, very sort of deprived area, I would say, and what I've, as I was about the age I think it was about 13. I remember at the time my father got me a brand new PC. I mean, we just said we needed a PC at home and everyone needs a PC, and I was like okay, and at the end. So at the time, I remember it was Windows 98. Oh, wow, windows 98,. Yeah, I know, and it was. You know I started, I started using the PC and I remember I don't know what happened, but sometimes something happens in your brain where it's some changes that have occurred in your brain, but I just could not let it go. I, you know I started diving deep. I learned many, many different topics. One of the first things that I wanted to learn was programming. I remember I started learning Visual Basic. I think it was six at the time. Wow and yeah. So I started learning Visual Basic. And I don't know if you can remember Delphi as well.

Eric Chou:

That's good, as me, I have to admit.

Taha Yusuf:

So I started to understand the whole concept of programming. What is? Programming I just started to fell in love, and it wasn't just the whole software development side, it was different side. So whether that was, you know from hardware, you know upgrading the PC, so for example. I wanted that when, when the time came, when the PC was too slow, I want it to be the one to upgrade it. You know, I remember my father saying we'll take it to the, to the engineers, and they're like no, no, no, dad, I want to upgrade it. Let me upgrade it Please. I can do it. I can do it my father wasn't so sure, right, and you're not going to blow up the house. So you're not going to say no, no, and you know at the time. So I got fairly hooked to the point. I remember at one point my mother was actually worried about me where, you know, my friends will go out and I would just be stuck in the room and just continuously be on the PC. I hooked up with a lot of great people online. We had IRC and it was just amazing, you know, it was just such an amazing tool really for me. And from that moment on I think about 51 hours, about 15, I knew what I wanted to do straight away. I knew that I wanted to work in IT, sort of moving on forward. So after so, in UK we have sort of the secondary school and then you go to college and then you go to a university if you want to sort of higher education. So after college, after sorry school, I went to a further education college. I did an IT. It was an IT course and I remember while I was in the IT, while we're doing this IT, it was a small web development course in the early days and one of the teachers, who was actually he was an assistant teacher of the class, said to me you know, why don't you go into university Because you know you're very passionate about what you do IT and you should really go into, I believe you know you will excel if you get a degree you know, in computer science and at the time I was still really hesitant to to go further. But I remember him he even wrote a letter to the university saying that you know, please do accept our high. I believe you'll achieve great things if you can. And that was exactly how I got into you know, into the university. So it was a local university when I left college. Then I went in and I did my degree in computer science and, funny enough, when I went, one of the modules was systems life cycle development, which was mainly around software development life cycle development. So I think we use agile. Back then it was unified systems development process, so it's more like. SDLC class diagram states you know those sort of things and one of the things that I've learned was I know that was really really interesting. I think a lot of people tend to miss out, is sometimes wonder where would I have been if I didn't learn that aspect was that it taught me sort of the state of a system can be. So, for example, I knew about object orientated development. You know class based development and and and and. You know what methods were and what attributes were. You know, we knew, you know in USDP in sort of system design life cycle. It teaches you that, but it teaches you from sort of a system design life cycle point of view. It doesn't. It's not very specific to any programming language at all. So you know. You know what a class is, you know what an object is, for example. You know what an attribute is. You know what a method is right and when you have all of those that sort of building blocks, it's like the foundation really of a house. You know. It kind of made sense because in every programming language, especially in object orientated world, you know, you knew what a method was. You said you know a method is a function. Essentially. You know, you knew what an attribute was. You knew you know you kind of. You know what class classes, essential classes and object orientated. You know what an object is. You know it's a state of a class essentially, and that really did help me. It really did help my foundation because I never forgot about it, it was still ingrained in me and it was just a matter of you know picking up something like Python and learning. But it always found learning new programming language much easier and because I knew the concept, I knew exactly what those building blocks were. So in terms of automation, that side was always good. Now, when I left university, when I gained my degree, I was working as a. It was a first line technical support at Fujitsu very good company. Within I think, few months I went into a second line role and assistant, essentially a system admin role. That was quite interesting. The role was very interesting, the people were great, they could see the passion that I had, the enthusiasm. And then I remember, after leaving that I went to do some contracting job and this was with Juniper, juniper Networks. I was working as a system admin. So, but the problem was, I think and this is probably one of the mistakes that I made is that in IT at the time I never knew about certifications. You know for me was like you get your degree, you know and that's it. You go into the field. And I never knew about how certification really come broad in your skill set and also help you specialize in a particular skilled in IT, because what you learn in university is quite broad. You know, we learn everything right and nobody learns everything right is it's impossible. Nobody knows everything. So I never knew about certification. So after that time period I was working for a contract with Juniper as a system admin and I had a issue in life where I had some personal difficulties, family related difficulties and it sort of. I left IT. In a way, I just do want to go back to IT. I was, you know, not really in a good place to be. And then it was about after a few years later where I decided that look, I want to go back into IT. But I had this sense in the back of my head where it was stealing me Look, it's too late, you know you can't go back into IT, right? Oh, come on, it's never too late, you're in your mid-30s you can't go back into IT, right, and it was just something you know. But growing up I knew I had a lot you know and you had a lot to offer. And I remember thinking, okay, I'm going to go back. And I remember just browsing the into YouTube and I remember I saw this guy.

Eric Chou:

No longer IRC, it was YouTube.

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, we're YouTube now, so this is way back. Yeah, this is like you know YouTube day. So we're past it.

Eric Chou:

So, and I remember seeing Duane, yes, Duane Lightfoot yes, yes, yeah, it's on the other side Two weeks ago, yeah.

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, and I remember seeing Lightfoot and this was a lab every day. And I tell him at this all the time. You know, I message him on Twitter now and again and tell him how fun they and I remember he was interviewing a particular individual, but what an amazing guy is really. And I think the guy said you know, he first got into it when he was about 40 years old and he's a CCIE. Amazing, amazing, amazing guy. I mean very, very highly intelligent person and I just couldn't believe that. You know, it made me think wait a second. You know dive, you know you can do this. You're right. I mean like you've, you've had that ingrained from you, from you know, you've got all the qualifications behind you and this was not something that you're picking up now, later. But you can do this right, you can do that. I mean, it's just a matter of willpower and I think, shout out to the one you know, I mean it was really honestly, he really did. You know, watching that podcast a few really did motivate me and it was quite inspirational actually to get back into the field and funny enough. You know, I never knew about network engineering. I know it sounds quite funny because everyone says to me Taha, even my current role, you know everything right. I mean, what do you know, how did you get into it so quickly? And it was once I learned about what network engineering was, because at the time when I was, believe it or not, this was about this was just during the pandemic, actually at the beginning, oh really, oh, wow, I know, I know.

Eric Chou:

You actually were not. I mean, I love the part about you know like system design, and there's also a great book called Thinking in Systems, right, so you actually have that. You know background and foundation to build on. But during the uni years they never taught network engineering or you know any networking related things until like later on.

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, they did teach us some concepts, you know from things like ethernet. You know IP address in layer three, ip. Just I mean it wasn't, it wasn't very it wasn't structured. You know it was. It was done in a way that was quite sporadic so you couldn't piece all the things together. You know they were very, very sporadic and plus it wasn't very. It was very, I would say, quite broad, as well as subjects, you know, it wouldn't really go into sort of lay to technologies or layer three, and so it was very broad. But what one thing they did teach you what is that? Networking is what connects computers together.

Eric Chou:

right, you can't argue with that. Fundamentally, it's absolutely true.

Taha Yusuf:

You know it's like you know they connect computers together and you're like uh huh, but it was very broad. I know it was very, very broad. And I think, going back today, if I had honestly and I say this many, many times if I had the opportunity to go back and not get that, not go to university and study for something like a CCI, I would have done it with with a blink of an eye. I'll tell you that now you know because it's the level of knowledge that you gain from the certification, especially the Cisco certification. I mean, you know I couldn't. I know a lot of people will argue with me and tend to tell me look, one certification has its way. Yes, it does have. It has it way in society. Getting a degree generally in society and an overall, I think, does have its benefits, especially across the job markets where sometimes they require you to have a degree. The level of sort of knowledge that you gain, the love you know of becoming a CCI is it far encapsulates what you learn in a degree. And I think at the end of the day, you know, the key thing is is that you're able to sort of sort of you know, provide demonstrable skills to an employer. That's the most important aspects and I think having a degree alone doesn't quite do that, you know it's because it's very broad. So, yeah, if I could go back you know and replace it, I would do that in there, you know, for a CCI any day. So because it's just just the level of knowledge, I think, I think it is very broad. It's not really knowledge that you could probably use in, especially in a role that I mean where you know, with the CCI role, especially the network engineering. It's, it's, it's, it's. You know it's amazing. It always has an amazing. So yeah, I think that was.

Eric Chou:

I think what you said was true about certifications very tactical, right like it gives you the tools that once you learn today you could apply it tomorrow in the job and get things done and check off that box. You know like impress everybody around you, go, oh, wow, you know you configure VXLand. There's your MPLS and now that we have extended layer two over data centers, but also what you said about just the fundamentals that the degree at the uni gave you was also important. Right now that you know you could at least Know which part is is Cisco specific, which part is juniper and which part is just this underlying Fabric that runs through both of them. So I think both are important. But I like the pad, the part where you pointed out that you know the certification give you like a good bro map and the guideline and so you don't go. You know these are the guard rails, right, you don't go off rail and you know you stay within that path and they give you that foundation and also that checkbox for it like a chart and you know Very tough the thing I could do the next day exactly exact, absolutely at 100%.

Taha Yusuf:

I think, I think To be to be fair, to be honest. I think having a degree Will always have its benefits and I think that's that. I think that's a society and also the weight that it holds. I think it is is I'm not entirely sure if it's just a name or what it may be I thought by 2023, that you know, having a college degree wouldn't be a thing anymore. Right, it's, you know, but but it is you know. I mean, if you go to any country, whether you know it's in England, I don't think it's so much more important, but I think if you go to somewhere like the Middle East, the Far East, or even oh, asian right like Asian is huge. It's huge, right, it's massive, and I think that that is, I think, the Thing about it, and I think it's an HR box as well. It's like a checkbox for HR as well. That you know, and I've seen people you know, who are highly talented, hugely talented, could not get promoted to certain position because they didn't have a degree. You know, I mean, these are very highly experienced and you know, very intelligent, you know individuals and yet they couldn't go into a certain position because of their you know, they didn't have a degree. So they had to go back at a later age to get that degree in order to sort of move forward. So it's quite strange, so they had to sort of make a step backward in order to make two steps forward, which is quite interesting, because I don't I never really. I mean, yes, it provides you with a foundation earlier on, but it really doesn't specialize in any particular field. It's it's, it's like it's like it's like a highway, right, it sort of shows you all the different roads and it's up to you to choose which road you want to take. Really, so I think, yeah, I think that was the what it gave me, but I think, from programming point of view. I think it really did help because Luckily, you know, I had a very, very good lecturer who was really really a very, very nice late and I, you know, till this day, sort of tried to reach out to her and After many, many years and but you know who? She was very, very good with system design, lifecycle. You know unified system development process amazing lady and she really ingrained that in me. You know the understanding the whole object orientated Subject. So so when it came to things like when we did them object orientated and they based development in Oracle and and all these Different sort of learning programming languages, it made things a lot more easy for me because I had that that sort of foundation, especially with Understanding system design, lifecycle and the principle of object oriented. So yeah, it's, it definitely did. Did that for me without a shadow.

Eric Chou:

So, so, let me, let me, let me ask you this taha, right, because I think you have. You've experienced both Backgrounds and and, by the way, actually last year I went back to you know, finish my masters, right? I got my masters. Yeah, I would like, for different reason, but you know it's not about me. So you've, you've, you've done all of them right. You have your uni degree. You actually went away for a little bit. You came back and you express, you know, your, your thoughts about certifications. So how would you approach it? What kind of advice would you give, say, somebody who's listening to this podcast on when to go, like you know, like I'm just, you know, 18 years old and I don't know? Taha, give me some advice.

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, and I'm interesting, they're working. Yeah, I Think. I think it's quite interesting because I think this this was. There was a recent discussion on Reddit which I am sometimes like to sort of give my input on my opinion on sure, I think someone sort of said to me Ask the question whether you know how much salary raise can I expect from a CCMP right, which is quite an interesting question.

Eric Chou:

Oh yeah, People on Reddit for sure, right?

Taha Yusuf:

Yeah, yeah, you know it's, and it's quite an interesting question because I don't, you know, at the big, when I first started learning about certification, I thought, yeah, these, these are great, is the end of a bill. But then I've changed my mind. It's not about the certification that will essentially Give you that bump in salary is about the knowledge that you gain from earning that certification that will give you Then the salary bump. Because I can show you now that you know, I I didn't have a CCMP, but I was able to demonstrate all of those things in my name or car architecture interview, right, I was able to demonstrate things that probably could even be done at CC, essentially CCI level. I wasn't able to demonstrate, you know, like 10 ways we can. Well, I think it was six ways we can automate a Cisco's ACI things that you know. So it's, it's really sometimes it's not about. You shouldn't assume so. While certifications are great, especially for ticking that HR box, you shouldn't just rely on them. It really should be down to Self-learning. I think surf learning is a key, you know, and some may argue and I think at one point you know, I think you know, yeah, but when you're earning certification, you're essentially self-learning. But when you're sort of studying for a certification you're you're essentially Looking for, you know you want to get that pass right, you want to get a certification. So what you tend to have is you tend to sometimes rush your studies and in ways that where you have a steep decline, especially after when you pass that certification, everything's completely forgotten. So what I would advise anybody who's getting into it, anybody you know, whether they want to get into software development, engineering or you know no engineering or any other field in IT really is that Take the time out you know to, to, to, to research the topic that you want to go into, whether that's the cloud, engineering or so forth and learn. Really. I think it's the and then this is a quite difficult topic is is the ability to surf, learn right, the ability to something, to teach yourself a topic, to sit down and read about the theory and then, most importantly and this is the crucial part be able to implement whatever you want to learn like physically. Try to put yourself in that position where you are implementing how you would have implemented in a sort of real life work environment scenario. Right, and once you do that and you're able to self-learn a particular topic, you will realize that no matter where you go into, you're going to succeed, right? I mean because you've gone. I mean learning is a life cycle, right, it has a sort of unique life cycle and that life cycle doesn't end with just theoretical learning, right? And I think that's a shame because that's what a lot of people tend to do with certification. It seems to be that they will maybe do you know 90% theory and then like maybe 10% of actual physical implementation or the lab, and yet they'll. They may pass that, they will probably pass the certification, but it's a shame because they never actually got to experience the actual, you know, the implementation aspects, the physical implementation of the theoretical subject that you're learning. So I think, whatever that you're going to do, you know because as an 18 year old I wouldn't exactly know which part you want to go to is that I would say you know, learn to lab. Honestly, learn to lab. You know whether that's your development environment, set up your own dev environment. Whether that's networking, engineering, setting up you know even G. You know, setting up your lab environment. Whether you want to go into network automation, you know. You know, try to set up your own lab, learning lab and what they will essentially teach you is the ability to self-learn as well, and I think that would really set you up for success. Because, to be perfectly honest, eric, one of the things I've noticed in this industry especially, it's not so hard to stand out. It's quite. It's very easy to stand out actually If you can put yourself, if you, if you can I mean passion can come over time. I'm not saying you have to be very passionate about what you do. I mean that can grow over time, right. But if you can put yourself in a position where that you are constantly learning and you're constantly sort of upskilling yourself and you know, and you can display that all the time to different, you know, to the crowd, it's very easy to stand out because you know, one thing that I have noticed is that whenever I go into a position, there's we always have a short of a skills gap. You know, maybe this guy is good at automation, maybe this guy is good at, you know, aci. There's always a gap, you know, there's always a gap within, within that. So it's not it's very easy to stand out actually in the crowd. And I think specializing but I think the key aspects is really really is. You know, as, as you know Duane will put it. You know, just to lab every day, we need to learn, to continue learning, because I think that's why you're-.

Eric Chou:

I don't actually think it's commissioned somehow, because it's just promoting it. I know, I know.

Taha Yusuf:

So I think you know, with I like.

Eric Chou:

I like how you're so elegantly dodged my question, but with an answer that is so excellent that I would gladly accept it. Right, like actually, okay, certification, you need degree. And you're like, no, you just learn to learn. Absolutely no, actually, I love that answer. I mean, you're right, I agree 100%. But I think this is probably a good time to wrap up our first, you know, like the part one of our interview, and then next week we're going to actually go down. I mean, I enjoy learning about your background and you know your learning, your theories about learning, but in the next episode we're going to talk about containers, we're going to talk about all these other exciting stuff that I saw you posting a couple of weeks ago. So stay tuned.

Taha Yusuf:

Brilliant, thank you.

Eric Chou:

Cool. Thanks for listening to Narrag Animation as a podcast today. Find us on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify and all the other major podcast platforms. Until next time, Bye-bye.

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Importance of Self-Learning in IT Careers